Today I celebrated…
It’s my anniversary but not one that people generally celebrate.
I’ve been in two minds about whether I should post about this, but I figured that if just one person reads this, and it helps them then my job is done.
Today marks the day, two years ago I left an abusive relationship.
It has the hardest most terrifying decision I have made in my life. I had no idea what to expect, I didn’t know what the fall out was going to be. I had no idea how I was going to support myself and two children financially.
I looked at my children and realised I didn’t want them to grow up and think that the relationship between their parents was normal. I didn’t want my son to think that it was okay to treat his partner the way I was being treated. I didn’t want my daughter to grow up and be in a relationship like I was in. I didn’t want to feel insignificant, lost, and alone anymore.
I decided to end the relationship, and that’s what I did. After my life was filled with police reports, court dates, and generally being scared 90% of the time. However, at the same time, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. I knew that I would be able to survive this. I found that I had an amazing support network that I had all but cut out of my life and they welcomed be back with open arms. I never realised how amazing my friends were. I thought that my family would be disappointed that I was leaving the father of my children but they too rallied behind me and showed such amazing support.
The last two years have been a very bumpy road of self-development, and learning to trust my instincts again. I look back to the person I was two years ago and she was so different to whom I am today. Today I am back to being me. Today I see an amazing tomorrow. Before I couldn’t even look at the week ahead, today I have my future planned and boy does it look great.
Please if anyone reading this is questioning whether it leave an abusive relationship please remember you have support. You might not believe it to be true, but you do.
Here is a little practical advice that may be helpful –
Make a plan – I made a plan, I vocalised the plan to my closest friends and family and made sure that they were happy to participate in my plan. It took a couple of weeks to get everything sorted, I had to be very patient while I got all my ducks in a line. But looking back, this is what helped me end the relationship.
- Speak to a solicitor – find out what you’re able to do legally, and also that services are available to you. She also discussed what happens if things turn sour and a restraining order is required.
- Go and visit your GP. Talk about how you’re feeling. Don’t pretend everything is perfect when it’s not. Your doctor will probably refer you to see a psychologist – this is nothing to be ashamed of. Use the time to talk through how you are feeling to a complete stranger – you can let lose, cry, yell, and be angry about your situation. How do you expect to feel better if you don’t release the emotions?
- If you’re worried about your partner becoming violent – visit your local police station. They can help you form your plan and they can actually help remove your partner from your house.
- If you still need a little positive reinforcement and want to discuss your plan with people who are trained and can also provide some constructive advice call Berry Street. Talk it through with them. They are trained – they can totally handle you losing your shit.
For about six months I was so ashamed that I had been in an abusive relationship, I had a supportive family, a good education and I lived in a nice area. But as you might already know domestic violence happens everywhere. This is nothing to be ashamed of – unless you are the person who is being violent. Please remember you are not a victim, you are a survivor.
Finally, my past piece of advice – if people offer to help say yes. Something that it has taken me way too long to learn. Some people offer help to be polite, others actually mean it. Your friends, the ones who know what is going on, if they offer say yes. They would not offer if they didn’t mean it. Practice – say yes! Take all the help you can. Whether you have children or not, you will be exhausted – it is okay to accept help.
You are not in this alone, you can do this. I believe in you.
As a part of moving forward and paying-it-forward, I donate 10% of profits to the Luke Batty Foundation. I hope to help others who find themselves in abusive relationships.