Bruises, scars, pain are all part of the package when you live with an abuser. Emotional hell carries on, even after life with them ends. There are many things which I have learnt along the way and I would like to share some of those experiences. I don’t think too much about the abusive side of the marriage anymore (two and a half years on) but it took a lot of time and healing for that to happen.
If you live with an abuser, you won’t have mentioned anything to anyone. Unless you’re reaching the end of what you can bear. Ofcourse, there’s the possibility that you haven’t allowed yourself to recognise that you are in an abusive situation. You know deep down that something isn’t right but allow yourself to be swayed with any pitiful amount of niceties thrown your way. I truly believe only the strongest amongst us leave abusive relationships. I wasn’t one of them and as a result have respect beyond what I can even express to those that do. All I can say at this stage is talk to someone anonymously. In the U.K, we have domestic abuse helplines which are untraceable and allow you to express the realities of what’s going on. Once you vocalise what is happening, it is hard to return.
If you have come out of an abusive relationship then seek help. It’s unlikely anybody around you will ever get to know the full extent of what happened but it’s important that you recall it and move on from it. The first step is acceptance. It happened and now what? For me, it was important to work on my confidence which had been sapped and reduced me to a shadow of my former self. It takes time but it also takes effort.
Next, you will want a sense of justice. Being asian, this is never encouraged. Nobody in my own circle has ever mentioned about going to the police and in truth, I partly resented that. Was one of the biggest traumas which occurred to me, allowed to happen without any repercussions? Sadly, yes. However, I researched and found my own sense of justice. In my country, a database exists in which the police hold names of all domestic abusers or other perpetrated criminals, reported anonymously through a friend, organisation etc. My ex’s name will be place in that database. Should he ever be accused of similar crimes as the ones held in the database, he will be charged. That in itself is enough for me. Perhaps I feel secure in the knowledge that he will be held to account one day.
Using any amount of beauty products on your marks doesn’t work! For me it is easier to accept they are there and get on with it. Nobody really notices and if they do then they’ll probably put it down to an old injury. People don’t naturally jump to your man being a wife beater.
Lastly, the way in which you move forward depends on how much control you take back of your life. Dance to his tune then continue to hold back on your own healing.
As a side note, I opted to share this picture, taken from my journal when the abuse was at its worst. I failed art miserably in high school, not having been blessed with the creative genes. However this, to me, encapsulates perfectly my lowest point.
Two and a half years on, I am confident in many ways but none more so than to be assured in the knowledge that woman in the picture has gone, to be replaced with a woman who was stronger than she could ever have imagined.