Do it for the next girl.

What is stronger

Than the human heart

Which shatters over and over

And still lives

The name of this blog has a few meanings. When I chose to start it in the first place I had some trouble thinking of what to call it. I’ve never thought of myself as very creative; I’m more a practical, analytical type. That’s probably why I settled on something that implies an action as opposed to something deep or a clever play on words.

So what exactly do I mean by ”Do it for the next girl”?

•“It” is speaking out about the abuse.

This isn’t to point fingers or attack the abuser, but to educate the general public on the abuse itself. How it happens, who it happens to, what it entails, what it looks like, what it doesn’t look like, what’s abusive versus just unhealthy, the effects it has on the victims. There is a stigma that surrounds being an abuse victim that would paint you as weak, or lesser for having been targeted. If none of us speak up and show the world our side, that stigma will continue. And honestly, maybe it will anyway. But we can rest easy knowing we did our part. You shouldn’t feel shame for being the innocent target of a malicious person.

•“It” is being as transparent as you’re comfortable with about your recovery.

After months or years of being shamed for normal emotions, being told you’re exaggerating and over reacting when your response is not only justified but normal, being gaslighted to the extent you don’t trust your own judgement and doubt your own memory- you will need time to get back to your old self. I know I did. Being transparent allows others struggling through this to see the progression from shamed and unsure victim to the strong, caring person you were before. It’s your chance to give them hope and to see it won’t be like this forever.

I use “transparent” instead of “positive” for a reason. They will see your bad days, yes. You will have them. But they’ll see your good days too. They’ll see that even though yesterday you felt low and trapped, today you got some good news and you’re still pushing forward. Be that light at the end of the tunnel for them.

Be open about what options worked for you and what didn’t. How having a counselor or therapy helped, how other avenues didn’t. Be a listening ear for others who come forward as sometimes all a victim needs most is to be heard.

•“It” is making information available to your abusers next victim.

I contacted the new girlfriend he picked up while we were married (as is she, although I didn’t know that at the time) in an attempt to tell her before it was too late. But like most abusers, he always has a backup victim in case you get away, so he had already sunk his talons into her too deep. I put specifics of my abuse in this blog for a reason. Quotes, places, nicknames….because I know what he’ll tell her and I have the ability to get ahead of that, or at least let her know she isn’t the first or only one he’s said those things too.

Examples are important for this. He will have told her you were the crazy, controlling, abusive, and unfaithful partner (along with what other colorful words he can think up to inaccurately describe you), so the more examples you use, the more glimpses you are able to give her behind his mask. This is why I plan on uploading actual screenshots and audio in the near future. Examples are also important because he will have told lies about the situation already (i.e. him telling her he’s already divorced when he hadn’t even seen a piece of paperwork yet). The more information you can put out that combats what he tells her, the better the chances of her figuring it out on her own.

•“It” is ensuring no one going through this has to feel alone.

You aren’t the only one who found out you were being cheated on the day before wedding dress shopping. You aren’t the only one who was subjected to an abusive tirade and came home to flowers. You aren’t the only one who’s been made to feel like a prisoner in your own life. Show others they aren’t alone, we’ve been here before and can help them through. As someone who had other victims to talk to during my recovery I can honestly say it does wonders for the progression, especially in the beginning stages.

•“The next girl”: this could be anyone. Not just your abusers next girl, and not even specifically a girl: it’s anyone subjected to abuse. Anyone who knows someone who’s been abused. Anyone who has a soft spot for helping victims but has never heard a first hand account because it simply isn’t talked about.

•Most importantly: do it “for” them….but also do it for you.

I’m not naive enough to think speaking out will help every victim. Everyone works in different ways and needs different things. There are some people who may have a harder time with recovery if they spoke out. Some may not be ready for all the questions that are bound to follow, and in some cases, the backlash. That’s ok.

Do it for them, but more importantly, do it for you. Find what you need to recover and to be ok and commit to that. Dedicate yourself to that (as long as it’s something healthy, otherwise you’ll just prolong your recovery period and run the risk of getting caught in a cycle of unhealthy coping mechanisms). Especially in the very beginning, you need to be your priority again. You spent a long time making an abuser your priority and had your goodness and selflessness thrown in your face. Now is your time to be “selfish”. I use quotes because to an empath, as most victims are, almost any focus on self seems selfish. After being with an abuser who then accuses you of being selfish even if your actions are done out of self preservation, it may take time to realize what actual selfishness is. Don’t worry about that for now. Put yourself first for a while. If that’s hard for you to do, tell yourself you’re doing it to be in a better position to help others down the road.

It’s a difficult road. I won’t lie to you and say it’s easy, or there’s something painfully heroic about it. It’s hard. I still have bad days once in a while. I hope the retelling of my experiences give you some hope for the future and for your own ability to pull yourself back up on your feet.

You’re stronger than you think.

I was always the first to roll my eyes when I was told that, but I can assure you that it’s true. It’s very likely you will eventually hit the point where you feel there really is nothing left. You’ve been fighting too hard for too long. That’s what we’re here for. The survivors, your support system, friends, family. If or when you hit that point, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone.

Stay strong, keep fighting. Do it for the next girl.

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