Saturday, July 09, 2016

Life after an emotionally abusive relationship- Yes, PTSD from that is REAL!

Hope that link is clickable for everyone. This article really spoke volumes to me. I identified with nearly everything the writer talked about. The biggest point she made was when she said "I'm not sure which scares me more: the fear that others will find out my secret, or that my husband will find out I told the truth about our marriage. I realize I'm not afraid of him."
And when she said the last part:  "I worry that not only have my daughter's witnessed a man mistreat a woman, but that my sons have had a poor example to follow of what it means to be a real man.
I stayed for the sake of my children. Now, I blame myself for the effects of staying may possibly have on them.
Why did I stay? I stayed becasue I was isolated; I was financially dependent on him; I was sleep deprived; I was told and I believed I was worthless; I was worn down from constantly being on guard for the next attack.
I stayed becasue I was more afraid to leave."
That. Right there. I was more afraid to leave.

I stayed in a relationship for 14 years with my ex. Of course it was all beautiful rainbows and love for the first year, but then it quickly went sour. I was young, just 18 when we married. Pregnant. Many people assumed we married only because I was pregnant. I was in love. People said we wouldn't last. After 10 years, and 2 kids later, everyone was surprised we were still together. I kept telling everyone that was love. When I got pregnant with our third... well that's when I was forced to actually see through everything and start to think independently for the first time. I was diagnosed with severe depression at 5mo.  My dr also said she believed I had been suffering from undiagnosed PPD since my first child was born, 10 years before. I was put on zoloft, had counseling twice a week for the last trimester, then down to weekly for 6mo after birth, then biweekly the last 6 months.  

The last visit with the physcologist ended up with me breaking down into tears and the cops being sent to do a welfare check on my husband. He ended up in jail for 24hrs. That was in 2009. I thought at that point, I'd take the advantage of our situation, being evicted from our apartment and him going to jail temporarily, to finally leave him. But I didn't. It took me an additional 2 years after that to really wake up and realize that the best thing for myself and my children was to walk away. 

And I did. I walked away. 

However, I took small, sneaky steps to get away. My now ex was deported back to his home country, and I stupidly followed him becasue I "wanted to work things out and fix our relationship." After 6 months it hit me that nothing I would do or say could fix anything, and it was NEVER my fault... I was basically stuck with him for those two years outside the US, but while I was there I started making the plans and planting the seeds for my departure. We held a "family" meeting, and my older kids agreed with thier dad that I "needed" to go back to the US, find a job and a place to live, bring the kids back as soon as I had the first two things accomplished, and I was supposed to consult a lawyer to find out what we needed to do to allow him to come back legally. 

Well, it took me an additional 2 years to find a steady and decent paying job, and a place to live, but I kept my end of the bargin. I got my kids back with me. I consulted with a lawyer and found he had a 10 year ban. It made my decision to never get back with him a done deal.

I'm still struggling with depression, and the last time I actually went to a counselor, she did think I could have PTSD, but would have needed to see me more often, and the timing was off with work and juggling with the kids, so I wasn't able to fit in any more appointments. I'm trying to push myself to get back into counseling. It's been 3 years since my kids were back with me. 

My biggest challenge has yet to be overcome. I still have not officially filed for a divorce. You read that right. I am still legally married... and it eats at me every time I think about it. I get nightmares about him. Nightmares where he shows up suddenly and tries to kill me and take my kids back with him. I know I get those nightmares because I haven't cut the last tie to him yet. I'm feeling guilty over it, over not filing yet. Sadly, it's a financial thing. Legal Aid won't help me because they "don't do absent spouse divorces" and because I've not had any contact with him in 3 years that's considered absent spouse. 

I've never really spoken up about all of this because the one time I tried, my "friends" dismissed my feelings and tried to tell me I was fooling myself that any of this happened. And I was so fresh from walking away, I sort of listened to them. I learned that I can't do that either. I can't listen to other's feelings about my own situation because they weren't the ones in the relationship. They weren't the ones dealing with the verbal assaults. They weren't the ones who dealt with the drinking and the drugs. THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT I WENT THROUGH. I have to push through on my own for the most part. I know I need to talk to impartial people such as counselors, who can't be biased because they are supposed to be the impartial ear. They can't tell me I'm wrong. They can just listen to what I have to say and then do their best to help me get through it and get to a better place.