Someone once told me that writing down my thoughts and my story would help me to process all of the emotions that were racing through my brain. At the time, I didn’t give it much consideration. I was too overwhelmed with my sadness, my anger, my depression, and my despair. I had just fled my abusive boyfriend of one year. The entire relationship was a nightmare. He was physically and sexually assaultive, he would terrorize me with emotional abuse, endless mind games and threats, and he was extremely controlling and jealous.
I didn’t really believe that writing about that experience could help me deal with it. What I did not yet realize is that writing about the abuse I endured would have a profound effect on my own healing process. Or that it could positively influence so many other survivors’ lives as well.
I Eventually Began Sharing My Story
I eventually chose to open up about my abuse and share my story. With abuse still so stigmatized and victim blaming still so rampant, it was the only way I knew how to combat these issues. So I wrote. I wrote my story as many times as I could and in as many places as I could. I wrote about everything. I wrote about the abuse, how I managed to escape, and how I have been coping with life after abuse. I have written (unsent) letters directly to my abuser and told him exactly how much I hate him and how he made me feel when he abused me.
They say that your story is the key that can unlock someone else’s prison.
It is also the key to unlocking your own prison.
I wrote with the intent to let others know that anyone can be abused, that survivors are not alone, and that we all go through roughly the same things. What I did not expect to happen was to find the process of writing so extremely therapeutic. I had written my story so many times that it was no longer so painful to relive my abuse. It is true that writing helps you process your emotions, and I have been able to make peace with my past because I have confronted my emotions over and over again.
The most rewarding part of sharing my story, however, has not been my own personal growth and healing, it has been the countless women who have come forward to admit that they are still in an abusive relationship and that they need help getting out. I never realized the impact that my story would have on other people, or that it would be the story to make people willing to get out of their terrible, abusive situation. I understand how very difficult it is to get out of an abusive relationship and how hard it is to ask for help. It amazes me every day the strength that people get from other’s stories.