Therapy session.

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.

-Franz Kafka

Complete transparency. I write this blog in the hopes of helping others and with the goal of bringing awareness to emotional abuse, since many don’t even recognize it for what it is until it’s too late (I know from first hand experience). But….I also write this for me.

Writing these posts is a therapy session for me. I do also have a therapist (which I highly recommend and I’ll go into more detail on later) but sometimes when all the thoughts and uncertainties and confusion are at war in your head, something as simple as writing it all out can make such a difference. That’s actually how the idea for this blog started for me.

It was a week or so after I found out he had been cheating on me in Arizona. I was still very much in the shock phase, trying to wrap my head around how this man I’d had on a pedestal was really nothing more than a boy who was a great actor. It didn’t even feel like real life. The more I found out the more difficult it became to understand how this could be the same person. It was all right there. All the proof, all the evidence I could dream of. There was no question. But I had been so effected and was so heartbroken that it still took me days to start to accept it. I vented all of my feelings and hurt to a note on my phone. It was overwhelming how much he had lied about and done to me. Getting it out gave me a little clarity and helped it feel more real. It reenforced the truths in my head and helped my heart accept them. He had always hated that about me…that I was more of a thinker than a feeler. But it became my saving grace and is something I now know to never apologize for.

Writing is a therapy for me and I recommend it to all of you, even if you don’t post it anywhere. As I said earlier though, I highly recommend an actual therapist as well. Being military, I’ve been bounced around between therapists a bit, I’ve seen a counselor and a couple doctorate level behavioral health providers, as things are always shifting and changing. They’ve all said similar things. More importantly, they’ve been understanding: this is something that is crucial in the beginning. Having support from someone who knows and understands what you’re going through.

My first counselor commented on how I was still smiling. It’s hard for me to show real emotion but he understood it was a coping mechanism instead of not taking me seriously, which is a response a lot of untrained people have. “It can’t be that bad. You’re still smiling.” Or “today must be better, look how happy you are!” having no idea I had been crying minutes before. But he understood. I was afraid I’d have to “act like a victim” or they would think I was exaggerating or making it up. Even having someone understand and acknowledge that gave me some relief. I could still be myself and be believed. He was concerned for me and encouraged me to move out before my ex came back. He knew how dangerous he has the potential to be.

My social worker is very professional and always has been. After listening to me recite my story she looked me in the eyes and said “I’m so sorry you had to go through that. You’ve been doing a great job so far.” Yes, it’s her job. But she had genuine concern for me and her kind response actually made me cry in front of someone for the first time since this started. She was one of the first to verbalize how awful my situation was and helped me realize it wasn’t just awful to me.

My provider at behavioral health saw me at possibly my worst. I had been struggling for a while. I felt trapped, controlled, smothered and helpless. Like a tiny boat in a hurricane. I had to find time to go and I had actually been trying for weeks. I went a few weeks ago over lunch break and sat down with him. I got about three sentences in before I just broke down and started crying. He told me it was ok to cry and I shouldn’t be ashamed. Of course I had been shamed for it before, since crying was “a manipulation tactic and it’s not fair”, according to my ex. But I cried and I was told it’s ok. And it is. You should let it out if you have to. I told him what I could remember at the time while upset. He praised me on how level of a head I’d kept and told me it was obvious I’d been thinking through things. That is something an abuse victim can’t put a price tag on. Validation that you aren’t crazy, and you’ve been getting on just fine.

That provider was moving jobs, so I got a new one at the same clinic. The circumstances were slightly different when I met her. My commander had some ideas about what was going on and wanted to be able to hear what I told her that day, so they somewhat suspended my hipaa rights. This is a military thing, so don’t be concerned about it happening to you if you’re a civilian. I was furious at first. All I wanted was to be able to talk and not have to worry about what I say for once. But I decided I would anyway. If he wanted to know what was going on, he’d definitely know after this appointment. I vented about how my ex was still controlling who I saw and where I went, how his commander was (and is) covering for him in a lot of ways, how because of this I was being treated unfairly and he was enabled in continuing to abuse me even though I hadn’t spoken to him in over a month. I told her I felt trapped in my own life and nothing I did mattered. I was looked over and ignored because of the words of a pathological liar. She listened. She heard my concerns. She took me seriously. This was the appointment when everything finally began to change.

They all helped in their own ways. One of the things they all said became less and less surprising every time I heard it. I had been in an abusive relationship with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They said it as a fact, although as a disclaimer he hasn’t been diagnosed yet.

It’s ok to struggle. It’s ok to cry. To hurt. To feel like you’re breaking inside. Honestly, feeling all of those things is part of healing, as difficult as that may be. You will have awful days. You will feel like you can’t go on. But you will have amazing days too. Find your outlet. Something healthy. Writing. Drawing. Running. Lifting. Hiking. Learning a new skill. Getting a new hobby. Something productive. But also find a therapist or a social worker if you can. They have all helped me get to the point I’m at now, and I know they will also help you.

My anytime, anywhere therapy sessions though….those are here. Sometimes I vent. Sometimes I merely try to inform you. Sometimes it’s just hard and I write whatever is running through my brain. Sometimes I have good days, and I post them here so others know it isn’t all bad.

I hope it makes you feel like you aren’t alone. I hope it makes you feel understood.

I hope it’s therapy for you too.

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10 thoughts on “Therapy session.

  1. Thank you for being so transparent. I hope anyone going through these same things can read your posts and know they aren’t crazy and they aren’t alone. Reading these myself makes me think that I can get through anything too 😉

  2. Stevie,

    Incredibly sorry to hear what happened. I’m glad you are able to get over it by writing a blog. But by writing more you are bringing back to life vivid memories of the bad things that happened. I am truly surprised to see how clearly you still remember everything. I’d suggest not writing anymore to help you forget what happened. Understand life is not fair. People cheat. In fact you are in the Army, you know this – Wars are won by deceit and surprise. Young infants die in bombings. Lives are lost because people cheat. What happened to you is a small blip in your life. He lied and cheated only to get what he wants. He made your life hell becuase he wasn’t truly interested in you anymore after the first few weeks.

    You’ll forget it with time. Move to a new place, get a new job if possible. Do not talk about it anymore or even associate yourself with people who may talk about it. It is indeed a learning experience for you, but you are no longer the same person you were before. Believe in yourself. If God helps you feel better, take his help too. I am sure you can change this failure into a future success and live happily ever after. Good luck with everything. Wish you the best!

    Chay

    1. I appreciate your input. I spoke to my therapist about my blog a couple days ago actually, and she said she thought it was great and I should definitely keel writing. I’m sorry if seeing your future makes you uncomfortable but you’ll probably wish you hadn’t commented that in a few months. I used a fake screenname for my and his anonymity, I’m not sure why you did. I know who you are. You can ignore this, a repeated pattern time after time for years. But then it’s your choice to “avoid the drama” and stay out of it, or heed my warning and save yourself some suffering. Either way, it seems you’d definitely know the mindset of a cheater at the very least 🙂

  3. Chay, I think her posts are great. She’s a voice for a silenced community. A community that’s been shamed into silence —-kind of like you’re trying to do right now.

    I also think she should speak out, and surround herself with whomever she deems the healthiest for her healing. She’s lived it, she knows herself the best, she’ll heal in due time in the best way she sees fit.

    If you don’t like these posts, excuse my language but you can kindly screw off. Also of note. Your wording sounds oddly familiar to someone from our past. It would behoove you to go away now.

  4. Wow. I would never advise someone who was abused to just forget it, stop writing and stop talking about it and move away. Where did Stevie say that her abuser was just uninterested in her after a few weeks? That’s not accurate at all.

    Cheating is only part of it. Abuse goes much deeper. I, and I know several others, have found strength in these posts! It’s much more than high school-type drama. Abuse needs to be identified and talked about. We need each other for support and strength.

    Everyone has their ways to cope with ptsd and/or abuse. I feel this is a selfless and supportive way to help others, while also acting as your own therapy.

  5. @Babyrattle – I think her posts are great. Her intention to warn others about similar situations and help them is great too. Nobody is trying to shame anyone into silence. It would behoove you to speak in a respectful manner. If you can’t, you can screw off too, whoever you are.

    I am giving my honest advice and people like you try to find some micro sized issues. Me personally, if I was a woman, and let’s say I was a rape victim, I would speak out till justice is served. I would definitely make posts like these to help others.

    But eventually it has to be forgotten and life has to go on. I wouldn’t let the rest of my life revolve around it. Every time you think about a memory, you reinforce that memory in the mind. Each time she writes a new post, she thinks more about it. It has been a month already that she’s been writing these posts. My intention in telling her not to write posts is to prevent reinforcing bad memories and help her move on. She can’t do his forever.

    1. Chay,

      Your initial comment did not speak at all to the strength in her posts. You chose to make comments such as “he made your life hell because he wasn’t truly interested in you anymore.” This only serves to reinstate the abuse and JUSTIFY his reactions. YOU are serving an abusers actions on a woman that was abused. She no, I did not Find a “micro sized issue,” I found a you issue. And no, I do not respect you.

      As a health care professional myself who now has gone through months of my own therapy to move on from my personal abuse I cannot imagine any person, especially someone who seems to be emulating someone with a psych background, making the statements you did above. If they are your own personal opinion that is fine, but you do not tell an abuse victim to sit down and shut up. That’s what he did for months.

      Also, advice is great. Because you do eventually have to move on. However our past shapes us. It is impossible to go back to the pre abuse self. You have changed as a person—eventually for the better. Also, healing takes time. PTSD that he has given her takes time. Trusting people not to have the worst intentions for you takes time. She is barely a couple months out from his hell. I know she will heal in due time but you, a stranger to the situation, have no right to justify her abuse, or tell her that she’s healing wrong for seeking comfort where she can—in her posts.

  6. Chay – Everyone heals in their own time and she can certainly decide when it’s time to stop thinking about things. Two weeks after her husband was served divorce papers is hardly long enough. Those of us who know her know this is not something of the “past”, but very much the present. He is still in her life in one way or another, every single day, beyond her control. I’m sure she would love nothing more than to help others and move on with her life! The reality is he is STILL CURRENTLY making that impossible with his obsession with her and attempts to control her. She turns to writing, therapy and her support system to help her through these times.

    She will certainly be able to move on when the time is right. As for now, the abuse continues…
    -M

  7. @Babyrattle – I would never justify any form of abuse. I never told her to sit down and shut up. I suggested that it may make it easier to move on if she doesn’t think about it and write anymore. I am glad she spoke up and came out of that abuse. She would have never came out if she didn’t speak up. And btw, I do not respect you either. I don’t respect people who don’t respect me.

    @Me-Ers – It is nerve wrecking to hear that this abuser is still currently trying to continue his abuse. If writing helps her then so be it. May be this blog will indeed help some other women after all.

    1. Chay,
      It does help me, as does knowing I am helping others. A number of women (and men) have come forward and talked to me about their abuse because of this. As I said, if reading what your current partner is doing/has done bothers you, feel free not to read. If you’d like to continue reading, please do. But the comment section of this blog is not the place to argue with others who are supportive of abuse victims and are victims themselves. If that’s what you wish to do then please take it elsewhere. I’m moving on just fine- although I do appreciate the “concern”. The fact of the matter is, a large part of the reason the general public is uneducated about emotional abuse is because it is not spoken about. My goal here is to change that. I’ve stated that in multiple places in this blog which is another reason I’m lead to believe you haven’t actually read most of the these posts, but were prompted to comment for other reasons. Best wishes, take your negativity elsewhere please.

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