To love again after abuse
This is for those who have identified they have trouble being in stable, settled loving situations after abuse. And a life that doesn’t involve fighting for your existence daily. For those who are so used to being in flight mode, protection mode, that just don’t know why it feels so weird to be in a “normal” calm situation where nothing is wrong.
At the start
I met him and felt instant calm, but that soon subsided and I felt anxious and started to look for things that are wrong, I jumped from situation to situation. And I still do. I mean no one is perfect he has let me down a few times over committing, but he has never ever abused me like I am used to.
He doesn’t care what I do~where I go~who I’m with. If I cancel on him, he is ok with it, and doesn’t question me.
If I am running late he tells me not to stress, and says more times than I can count
she’ll be right
He doesn’t ask me to give details about anything in my life.
He just wants to know how my day was.
I am so used to explaining myself, why I was running late, why I bought something, explaining my life away and my existence.
It became a habit, and has been so hard to resit an over the top explanation to a loved one.
What I realised is; I might for some time feel stressed in a non abusive situation, and I can only hope it subsides soon, but I can’t shake the feeling that something is going to go wrong.
So I wait, like I’m impending a disaster, I prep for our breakup. I have asked more times than we both can count “is this over now, are you breaking up with me”
Because previously I was punished
I was given punishment when I did things that my partner felt were not acceptable, that elicited a response in him he didn’t like. So he then he would create scenarios to punish me, be that ignoring me, or denying me him, or saying/doing things to teach me a lesson. Like If I changed my plans, or decided to visit a friend and didn’t let him know of my change of plans. Because my diary management was a way for us to keep in touch with my busy every changing life. So he said. Yet if he called and I was somewhere that wasn’t in my diary. I was punished. or scolded. For not updating my diary.
So to love, when everything is calm, is hard for me, and It’s not just because of the previous abuse I’ve had in love.
It’s the compounding affects of my childhood, that led me to be in these subsequent abusive situations.
You see people who have grown up in a nervous system repose that is a fight for your life, because of either mental illness of our parents, or abuse, be that physical or emotional. Can find it hard to be in situation that are not eliciting the hormonal responses with high stress.
People choose relationships over and over that are abusive and seemly go back for more.
It’s because, put simply it’s what they are used to. On the surface it seams a little insane, of course I had awareness my mum warned me when I was teen she studied human behaviour. She warned me, be careful you will choose men like your father. What did this mean though? I would look at men and not really think are you like my father or not. But when I Look back at who I had the strongest most intense and dangerous relationships, it was in fact a very real replication of the most dangerous aspects of my father. To start to explore this, one must know the traits of the mother father wounding. I have a simple exercise that can be done here to start your awareness of this subject.
So when I realised that I would feel the same anxious feeling in a “normal” relationship for description sake “normal” to me is non abusive and not dangerous or addictive love.
It will take time to get used to the fact there is no impending threat or disaster. To have someone be there, and love you no matter where you go, what you do, how you dress and behave, to love you for all you are, even in the anxious mess you are.
So while I heal, and take my time to allow, and be. I see that this rewiring of my nervous system that in effect took my lifetime to wire neurological pathways to keep me safe, is learning new pathways. New ways to be and trust.
In time I wait, anxious or not. I know now that I am safe, even if I don’t feel it all the time.But I accept as much as I can the feelings that arise, until they don’t anymore.