A while ago I came across a post on Upworthy about a woman writing a letter of support to her neighbor who was experiencing domestic abuse. It made me want to write to you, and tell you:
You Are Not Alone!
Your abuser will want you to think you are, but you are not. In fact: see those things you are made to believe about yourself? Those names you are being called? You are not them either! Your abuser may not be attacking you physically, but trust me: they have no right to crush your soul!
Your abuser needs you to feel alone.
They need you to second guess yourself.
They need you to think you cannot succeed, that you cannot live without them.
They Need You To Believe That So You Will Stay
They need you to stay because they feed off you. And without you there as a source of emotional food, they cannot sustain themselves.
Please realize that it is not your responsibility to sustain their emotional well-being (however much they would like you to believe it is).
Because they have taught you to take responsibility for their emotional state, it can be hard to separate your own self. You may struggle to distance yourself from their influence. But the key is to start by realizing what is going on, and putting up some safe guards in your mind. This will help you to start seeing their abuse for the toxic behavior it really is. It will help you see how they target you, and help you survive.
I Called You Survivor Because That Is What You Are
You may not feel like a survivor yet. You may still feel like a target, or even a victim. Trust me, though, you are a survivor.
If you are reading this, and still reading this, you are willing to start understanding your situation for what it really is. You may feel wobbly, you may feel like you could fall over any second, but you are deciding to stand up.
You are no victim. You are a survivor!
Dear survivor, don’t forget the following: the ugly duckling was bullied and broken down by everyone he met. A feeling you might relate to. But he is still the hero of the story. Just like you, the abuse victim in this classic fairy tale does not have to do anything to become heroic. You can simply be yourself and grow into your own. At the end of the day, there is actually nothing wrong with you at all.
You already are a ‘Swan’ and a survivor. You carry your grace, beauty, and strength inside.
You have however been influenced by someone who did not nurture your natural gifts, and made you feel worthless and a failure.
I Know That Feeling Intimately
I am no professional on this topic. I am no psychotherapist, nor am I a lawyer.
But I am a fellow survivor.
I, too, had to come to terms with the emotional abuse that was keeping me from being a rounded and balanced human being. I, too, had to detach myself from the toxicity. And, at age 32, I had to rebuild myself from the rubble.
But, like a phoenix, I rose from the ashes and learned that
1. I am worth it!
2. I could not have done this alone!
Make Sure You Get the Support You Need
An abuser does not like their victim to fight back. So realize that as soon as you start to stand up to them, they will double their efforts to break you back down. That is why that second learning point is so important.
Don’t try to walk this path alone. Emotional abuse is extremely harmful and can spill over into physical abuse, too.
Reach out to friends, family, local domestic abuse charities, or even law enforcement.
Make sure you feel safe!
And the Community of Survivors at SwanWaters? When you need us, we will be here. We will pick you up on your dark days. We will cheer you on, and celebrate your victories with you.
We cannot fight your battles for you, but we believe your are worth fighting for.
We really hope you agree with us on that one.