If you are wondering …
Where do I find the strength to leave when I am trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship? Or
How do you get the energy to keep going when you are lost in a fog and life just feels too damn hard?
Then please read on.
In this series of blogs I will be sharing with you how I escaped a narcissistic abusive relationship and my journey to healing from emotional and narcissistic abuse. I write this in the hope that it will help others to do the same.
I read so many heartbreaking posts from people who are in the midst of an emotionally or narcissistic abusive relationship. Their pain and confusion is so raw and I can so easily relate to what they are going through but I also want to shout from the rooftops some of the knowledge that helped me finally leave, heal and in fact become empowered from the experience.
For me the number one factor that triggered me to reach deep down and find my strength when I was just a shell of my true self, was my children.
I say triggered because it often needs a jolt to wake you from the fog you are living in. There were a couple of big triggers that spurred me into action and they both came from my children.
Why your children can be your greatest source of strength during abuse
Yes, those little people that you so want to protect can be the source of your power. Because it is through wanting to protect them that you will draw on that lioness, “don’t you ever hurt my children” force that no one is going to mess with.
These are the kinds of questions that went through my mind over and over again. You might relate.
Am I harming my children by staying in this relationship? YES – you are their role model. This is how they learn how a woman or man should be treated and treats others.
Am I creating life-long trauma for my children that will affect all their future relationships – YES if you stay in the same cycle. But hey, we all have childhood trauma. It is part of growing up. But think about it this way. If you are walking on eggshells trying your damndest not to ignite an angry outburst, then so are they. And because your own nerves are frayed, who are you taking it out on?
They too are suffering from being in that fight or flight mode. And their little brains are learning patterns that they will repeat throughout their life unless you change things. And of course that role modelling that I mentioned above.
I am not telling you this to make you feel guilty – I’m sure you already feel enough of that by the manipulation you are probably facing on a daily basis. But what I want to share with you is that you can use that protective warrior energy to give you strength.
You see the question that made me finally decide to leave was – do I want my girls to think this is how a woman should be treated? These beautiful beings that I have brought into the world. I am here to love and protect them and teach them and guide them. What would I say to them if someone was treating them the way I am being treated? Hell, I would tell them to run and never look back. So what the heck am I doing giving this person chance after chance to change, to heal, to be sorry.
Late one morning, my daughters were making a lot of noise because – well they were 2 and 4 and that’s what 2 & 4 year olds do. My partner came out of the bedroom and started shouting at me about what a shit mother I was, I couldn’t even control the kids and keep them quiet. Blah blah blah shouty shouty shouty. It was after 10 on a Saturday morning and he was bellowing down at me as I sat on the floor with the kids. So I said hey, it’s after 10. It’s time to start our day, come on it’s crazy for you to make me keep the kids quiet at this time. Now I usually wouldn’t be so provocative as I would avoid confrontation but that day I just wasn’t in the mood for it (must have been menstrual lol) So then he started telling me to fuck of and leave, useless mum etc etc and he stormed back into the bedroom and slammed the door.
The next moment – I will never forget.
My 4 year old turned to me and said “Mum why does daddy always tell you to leave? Why don’t you tell him to leave? He’s the one that is being so mean.
At first I was dumbstruck. Speechless. She was right. I needed to get him out. HE was the one that needed to leave.
I opened the bedroom and told him to get out.
Question – How can I be a better role model for my children for them to have healthy and loving relationships? Answer – Be in a healthy and loving relationship
Of course the battle did not end there. It was long and I made some bad decisions, because I did not know enough (Segway to my next blog which will be the importance of Knowledge – knowledge is power! Starting with knowing everything about the behaviours of narcissistic and emotional abusers.)
But it was the beginning of the end.
A couple of years later when I was umming and aahing about whether to go the family court route to sort our custody issues, I once again had one of those trigger moments. I had spent so many months trying to be reasonable, fair, giving in, avoiding lawyers. But nothing seemed to appease him. He was reasonable when he wanted something (usually more money) but a complete ass when he didn’t.
On this one occasion it was close to the time when I was going to hand the kids back to their dad after my weekend with them. I had organised something for straight after so wanted to make sure he came on time. I also didn’t want to see him and provoke yet another argument in front of the kids so when he came (late) I said goodbye to the girls and let them go to his car without coming out of the house. He started shouting abuse at me from the driveway.
“Oh my god I can’t believe your mum. She’s pushing you out of the house. The only thing she cares about is her social life and her appointments. She doesn’t even love you. She’s actually pushed you out of the house like you’re pieces of meat. What a fucking disgusting women” etc etc
I heard a little knock on the door. My little 3 year old was crying at the door. “Mummy I don’t want to go back to daddys. Mummy I’m scared.” She was looking at me with such desperation. I have never felt such grief and I never want to again.
He started shouting at me that if she didn’t come in the car he would call the police and I would never see them again as it was his time with them. I was in such a state. I didn’t know what to believe.
I could see my 5 year old in the passenger seat, sliding down trying to make herself as small as possible so she wouldn’t provoke an attack.
I looked my daughter in the eyes. I put on a brave faced and smiled. I’m sorry darling but you have to go with daddy. It will be alright. Sisters there, she’ll look after you. She walked to the car.
Now although my ex had been constantly emotionally and verbally abusive he had never been physically abusive so I did not worry for them in a physical sense. But the fear. The pain.
In that moment I knew I had to get full time custody of the girls so that I would never have to go through that again.
That moment triggered my anger and power.
That gave me the strength to persevere. It gave me the strength to know that what I was doing was right.
I swore I would never put my children through that again.
I never did.
If you need help accessing this strength or would like more help escaping, healing from and becoming empowered after narcissistic and emotional abuse, please contact me for a free 30 minute “Unlocking a life you love” intro session.