Margaret uses her own experiences to empower other survivors to regain their sense of self-worth after domestic abuse, and is a passionate writer, activist and coach. Here, she considers her own journey in leaving an abusive relationship.
I know most of you will roll your eyes, especially if you are in abusive relationship as to what I am about to say.
Moving on after any breakup is challenging, but healing after an abusive relationship can be especially difficult. It was hard. Awkward. Terrifying. I felt vulnerable; as if the abuse was happening again because I was discussing it with strangers and those who I had hid it from for so long.
Along with therapy, reading numerous self-help books, attending seminars and workshops, a very dear friend was instrumental in helping me come to a crucial realization of my dysfunctional thoughts and feeling from the past. It was like an electric shock. It seems that I was continuing the pattern of abuse from memories of my emotionally painful childhood and past relationships, full of confusion and abuse, and how I was responding to them. I was actually self-abusing myself.
“Let’s not look back on our lives with shame. Look at the past as part of the richness and fullness of your life,” says Louise Hay, an amazing woman who opened my eyes to the reality of life and inspired me from the first time I read her book The Power Is Within You. She herself came from a damaged childhood filled with violence and abuse.
Suffering, challenges, mistakes, feeling unloved, blame, guilt and shame, they are all part of life – no human being is guaranteed a perfect positive happy life. The only thing we can do is to be true to ourselves with acceptance, letting it out and forgiveness, along with faith, hope and trust, in order to grow and move forward, no matter what life storms we have had and are to encounter. I did say you will roll your eyes.
Though my life was full of abuse, pain and suffering, now it is far richer and more meaningful than I ever imagined it would be. No way I would have liked to miss those experiences, though I would not like to go through them again! What makes them so meaningful and rewarding is that I have found the core of WHO I AM and my purpose to help society unlock the bondage of the traumatic physical and physiological effect of domestic violence on women, men and children?
Sure, all breakups have their aftermath of sadness and loss, but for someone transitioning from victim to survivor, the fallout may include continued harassment or attacks. You still have a long way to go and a lot of healing to work toward. The resulting ongoing mental trauma and emotional stress can make a survivor question — was leaving really worth it? We’re here to say YES, you have made the first step. YES, leaving is worth it!
Margaret is a prolific speaker, writer, coach and trainer, founder and CEO of Break Free of Domestic Violence Forever. She has a proven track record of devising and delivering dynamic, innovative workshops, where she uses an honest, gentle approach laced with enthusiasm to share her life experiences with others. Visit Margaret’s website at http://margaretaberdeen.com.