TW: Domestic violence, sexual assault.
(I. Will. Be. Consistent. With. Posts. )
Or, I will give it my best shot. Ah man, if I was consistent with everything I’ve started I would be..I’m not sure what I would be but when I put my mind to something, I go beyond achieving and really excel at things. Really I do. I mean that in the least arrogant way possible, but I’m really good at stuff when i’m able to be consistent, but consistency and me are not currently in key. (Sorry, I can’t help it). Consistency with anything for me is halted when I blippidity blip blip. Going back to my last post when I mentioned feeling angry with wasted time, I especially feel this when I’m challenging myself to be consistent ‘for fuck sake Charlotte, get it together will you!!’ – of course, this helps loads right? I’m boringly rambling and this isn’t relevant to much of today’s post so lets start on ‘Healthyyy Relationshipsss’. I thought it would be a good idea to try and break it into separate posts as 1. There’s a shit load we could write 2. Some stuff can be emotionally triggering for myself and anyone else so lets not over do it eh and 3. There isn’t really a 3 but it feels odd just doing a 1 and 2.
As a quick side note, having had a skim read back over my posts I realise that I put so many things in adverted commas and it’s really fking annoying. I was reading it like, please stop this??? So apologies for that and I will try less, I will also try and reduce the amounts of ‘I guess’ statements I say…I guess I do this because I don’t think I’m ever really too certain about anything and that beds into my vocab. Working it from…now.
Healthy relationships. When I say relationships I mean with everyone – friends, family, colleagues, romantic partners, flat mates, even in some way our interactions with strangers forms a part of relationships. Relationships with the outside (almost did commas there). In one of my posts on guilt – I mentioned I would expand on my statement around people manipulating your vulnerability and ultimately make you feel like a burden. The topic of domestic violence is quite sensitive to me at times, well to anyone I suppose, you don’t have to be a direct recipient to empathise or be upset by something, but specifically, if I’m not managing myself properly (a full time job lads and ladies) then I can be triggered if the subject is broached – is broached the word? I have no idea. Howeverrrr, I would like to start on romantic relationships for the first part as for my own personal circumstances, it is actually the easiest to talk about. When I say ‘easy’ I mean, I have worked through most if not all of the trauma surrounding it and can process my emotions much better now than I have ever been able to do (yay).
Ok i’m just saying a lot of words for no reason I realise that, thanks for continuing to read my dribble. I think it’s because it’s a bit of a sticky one to start. ‘Hey, I was in an abusive relationship for many years and it was incredibly damaging’ – good start. Growing up in the home I did, I never had a male role model and never experienced healthy attachments. Witnessing violence and experiencing violence was a daily occurrence and that was my only real experience of male interaction. It would be to no surprise then, for my first real relationship I fell smack bang into the arms of someone who would seek to abuse that (that’s not to say everyone follows this path, however statistically we end up being a stereotype). I fell completely in ‘love’ and it would then be the standing point for the next 3ish years, on and off.
I was physically andemotionally abused, as well as some other things, throughout this time and it wasn’t until I began a new relationship a few years later that I had much of an idea of the lasting effect it had on me. Much of it I never really saw it as abuse until long after. Then I remember throughout the time I was single thinking I had moved on, laughing at certain things (that screams unhealthy when I write it but at the time I thought it was genuine). Sure, I had a few trust issues or so I thought, in actual fact I think I was still heavily traumatised from it up until a year or so ago, 10 years after we met. Part of me as I write this feels a embarrassed to say it took so long, but to be a bit clearer, it wasn’t so much the specific events or flashbacks of anything – it was the effect it had on my self-esteem, self-belief, ability to communicate with others, how I saw relationships, how I saw men in general (as a cis-gendered straight woman). My complete self-loathing was heavily reinforced by that period of my life and over coming that lasting effect has been so significant to how I am today whilst at the same time, a process that has been unimaginably difficult. Of course, it has been embedded with other trauma, but the role it played I had massively overlooked for a long period of time.
The thing that really did damage, was how I had been conditioned even further to believe I would never be worthy of anything, from anyone, at any level, due to my childhood. They made me genuinely believe I would never be accepted as a person and would be broken, unwanted and unable of receiving love. Ultimately when you have such deep insecurities they alter pretty much everything about you, your perceptions on your place in the world and how you’re seen, as well as your ability to form real, honest connections with other people. I developed an overbearing defensiveness of my identity as a consequence to this, which made me completely inept to receive any form of negativity from anyone, no matter their position. I became so wary of it ever happening again, I would argue I was even antagonistic to people. I wish I could explain that better but I’m not sure I can.
When we think about abusive relationships, it can be easy to underestimate how much a persons character can be altered. I think about how much I went through in such a short space of time and how emotionally stunted that made me and I don’t anymore, but I used to have a big batch of bottled up resentment which didn’t do anybody any good. Physically, I don’t have anything lasting and I could talk into detail about being hit and beaten and police involvement and all that jazz, but I don’t think I’d gain anything from reminiscence and I feel that it distracts away from the more insidious form of abuse, which to me is psychological. Of course, there has to be an element of psychological abuse in all forms of abuse, but it is the most difficult to recognise and subsequently, understand and heal from. Again, it also makes it much more difficult to recognise the change that happens within yourself.
Of course, learning to have healthy relationships isn’t all about recovering from domestic abuse. I think as humans, we can then go on to make mistakes ourselves, but recognising them is part of the process of becoming better people and understanding who we are. I decided after my last relationship broke down that I wouldn’t start another one until I had worked to resolve traits of my behaviour that had become toxic (unknowingly at the time). Arguably maybe for me, as a direct result of being in a former abusive relationship. This, as well as working through my mental health and other ‘issues’ (there’s been a few lol). I’ve dated here and there, but on the most part I’ve been single for around 3 years and it has been an incredibly positive decision, to help with the changes I have made individually and to stuff around me. It can be easy to get swept up in romance again, want to get involved in a new relationship, it is within us to want to love and care and be all smooshy, but I would never want to re create problem scenarios or not to truly believe I had learned from the past. This would inevitably occur though, without whatever healing process you have to go through. On that note, I guess where does one draw the line and how do you know when you’re healed enough to start a new relationship without trying? *hits blunt*.
What I feel the important bit here is, is that even though we didn’t chose it or deserve what happened, we have to ‘fix some of the damage’. Pick up the pieces otherwise we can end up being hurt again in other ways.
To develop healthy relationships, there has to be a degree of healthiness within yourself. That’s not to say that us lot with mental health difficulties aren’t allowed to fall in love or bag a husband or 6, but you have to be able to fully commit yourself to a partnership, know how to resolve disagreements, give empathy, understanding and patience to one and other – all of which can be harder when you don’t have the capacity to even do that for yourself. I know some people may disagree on that and that is again, part of being human and having your own experiences, from mine, the consequences of an abusive past, partnered mental health difficulties as well as the whole bucket of insecurities did not previously make for plain sailing on the love train.
Also, whilst we are on the notion of healthy relationships I wanted to mention that I have such a strong dislike for the ‘you are what you attract’ thing people like to throw around, as like, a means of encouragement? ‘If you dont love yourself, no one else will’ Ok, but there’s a big line between my ability to love myself and not deserving to be abused. Lets not draw those so close together. Whilst I know now so much of what I didn’t – how to set boundaries, how to respect other peoples boundaries (a big one), worthiness etc etc. That doesn’t stop there being bad people out there. I think in some ways, part of me will always have a ‘weakness’ or a vulnerability due to my past and I may think I could recognise the shit out of someone who may try and manipulate that now, that doesn’t mean I ever deserved it in the first place. The reason I write that is because I would never want anyone to feel like they do, and if they do at the moment, you are not alone in that but there is sometimes a huge gap in how we deserve to be treated, and the treatment we receive.
I think I’ll end here as this has felt like a lot of sharing and talking (maybe over sharing? Maybe not sharing enough but just feels like over sharing?)…but for the first part of this topic type, I can only do my best to introduce a subject so inherently messy which can result in me switching from this to that and back again.
I hope I have managed to express myself well enough and I hope that by sharing the brief bits I have, it can open up some possibilities of sharing / taking the steps you would like to heal. I will always always advocate professional help as the paramount go to because it is so tough to over come some of the things you may have been through and whilst no one should ever doubt your strength, or ability to cope, having specialist help really does make it all a bit easier.I have linked some pages in my resources tab and as always, please get in touch if there is anything you’d like to share / ask / shout about.
(I almost wrote a problem shared is a problem halved, but I don’t think I would have forgiven myself).
- No matter your past or present, you are worthy of receiving every kind of love and warmth
- Reach out whenever you have the ability to do so, many services let you remain anonymous and you can build up the courage (that you do have) to get help
- You will get through it