How To Avoid the Long-Term Effects of Abuse

Although I’ve written about PTSD before, I think it’s helpful to post update articles on this blog to share my struggles with the healing process; I want to illustrate the importance of educating ourselves ~ and future generations ~ on abuse in all aspects. If I had my way, everyone would end abusive relationships before they have a chance to start, which is the HEALTHIEST option of all.

I have been out of my abusive situation for 6.5 years and I’m currently battling depression, even now. As mentioned in previous posts, I always knew that healing wouldn’t be an overnight process. As recently as yesterday, my fiancé said something a certain way and, although it was perfectly innocent, I felt transported back in time to one of the many times my abuser made me feel inadequate and stupid. Logically, I knew he didn’t mean it the way it sounded but the feelings elicited were all it took to trigger an episode. To someone who hasn’t experienced abuse, it might sound exaggerated or like I’m dwelling in this past; the truth is, reacting to a PTSD trigger is beyond my control. PTSD affects everyone differently and there are variables, in every case, that remain unknown. A sufferer of PTSD can go years without having an episode and, yet, when an episode happens, the memories are still as vivid as the experience. I believe that it never fully goes away, rather, it lies dormant until a new episode occurs.

My battle with depression, although not a constant one, feels like it’s always going on in the background. I understand a lot more than I did when I experienced the abuse and I realize why some abuse survivors might struggle with depression more so than the average person. I have the traits of an empath and I’m an introvert. As such, my limited energy stores deplete more quickly than the average person because of my sensitive nature and my propensity to absorb the emotions and problems of my loved ones. If you Google “empaths and narcissists”, you’ll wind up with pages of results leading to articles about how toxic such relationships are for the people involved. My abusive ex was a narcissist and I can tell you that my kiddos and I are still dealing with the after-effects of such an unhealthy dynamic. If I’d known then what I know now, I never would have stayed in the relationship for as long as I did.

I’m a strong advocate for the empowerment of women because I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on my worst enemy. It’s important to learn all about red flags and the symptoms of abuse. It’s important to feel confident enough to walk away from any relationship that leaves one feeling disrespected and broken. What we must realize is that it’s far easier to end a relationship early on {even if it’s during the “honeymoon phase”} than to wait for the need to escape it. Don’t wait for it to “get better”. If there are red flags going off, listen to your intuition and never ignore any treatment that makes you question your self-worth. Ever.

Consider that it only takes one single traumatic life-changing experience to turn a promising relationship into one with lasting, painful effects even after it’s over. Take it from someone who knows.

As always, we’re here to help.

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