Hi.

My name is Zoe Marshall, I'm an over sharer and media personality. 

Violence in the home

Violence in the home

This is probably my least favourite topic to blog about. But many of you have asked and connected with me through this. I had a gorgeous woman write to me last week and ask how I overcame the domestic abuse I went through.

Warning that this post could be triggering to some: 

Her questions were about:

The long lasting effects of abuse?

How do you come to terms with allowing yourself  to be in that position?

Explaining the layers of domestic abuse, not just the physical but emotional abuse and constant shame that comes with staying in an abusive relationship?

How do you step up and take your power back?

How to move on and experience love again with another partner?

I think the best way to start is by explaining that abusers are often attracted to the vulnerable. There is no way I would tolerate what I had went through today.  At the time I met my ex I was at the lowest point in my life, I was the perfect match for him. 

It didn't start out physical at the beginning. There was trust that he needed to build first, he needed to make me dependent on him alone.

He started by taking my freedom away, stopped me from talking and seeing certain friends and family. Stopped me working. Then came the brainwashing. Completely changed the way I saw myself. He was constantly undermining me. He wore me down so thin that I started to believe that what he was doing was because he "loved" me. It was a struggle for control and he eventually got that 100%. For me it turned into many types of abuse from sexual to physical but still to this day the emotional abuse was the worst and took the longest time to heal.

The long lasting effects of abuse?

I worked with a kineseolgits yesterday and he said something that took me right back to the time I was in that toxic relationship. He believes that I am still carrying elements of it in my body. I believe him. 

I still have "stuff" that haunts me. I've even brought some of it into my relationship with my husband even though it has nothing to do with him. I have to thank God for blessing me with such a patient and compassionate man but I also believe we all need to do a lot of grieving and therapy to heal the effects of the abuse and not allow the subconscious to sabotage our new relationships.

How do you come to terms with allowing yourself  to be in that position?

This is hard. I had a lot of anger towards myself for not having the strength to leave sooner. I still think I wasted so much time.

As much as we hate ourselves for staying we need to be softer and more understanding. It's a terrifying place to be in a relationship thats a living hell but at the same time it's just as scary to leave. I would think "How would I survive without him?"

Victims become so disabled by their partner they don't know how to think let alone do anything for themselves. 

It comes down to compassion for yourself and also forgiveness if you have had a lot of anger present. A therapist is the best person to guide you through this. It can take a while to find the right therapist. It took me 4! It's just like a relationship. You have to connect with them.

Explaining the layers of domestic abuse, not just the physical but emotional abuse and constant shame that comes with staying in an abusive relationship?

Like I mentioned above. The emotional abuse was by far the worst. The shaming, name calling, verbal abuse, day after day of being ignored, the looks of disgust and never being able to please or do anything "right" is often never seen by the public or even those closest to you. I remember going out to dinner with another couple and he didn't like what I was talking about so he squeezed my thigh so hard under the table to shut me up. Even when we were around people he would do things to "keep me in line".

It's still shameful for me to share, I'm such a strong woman that I'm sad that I ever let someone take my self worth away.

How do you step up and take your power back?

I was very alone in my relationship. I had cut off friends and family and I had no job/money or resources. The only thoughts I had is that I could possibly be killed in one of his raging moments or that I would kill him to get out. It was bad. Really bad.

I knew that deep down inside of me this wasn't the end of my story. I knew there was more to my life than being trapped in a apartment day in and day out (I wasn't allowed to leave home without him).

I started reading books. His friend gave him a copy of a book called "Conversations with God" he didn't read it but I did. I still have it til this day. That book saved my life. 

It gave me the strength to leave. Not immediately, it took me about a year and a half to get out completely. But from reading that one book and then another.  I started to plan the way I could leave. I finally got the strength to go. Without any possessions or money and just the clothes on my back, I left and stayed with my family for a few months. 

The integration period is tough too. No one understands what you've been through and you have so much shame that you don't want to talk about it. 

It's also strange having freedom and safety again. I went back and visited him on and off for 8 months after the day I left. I almost had a fatal car accident leaving his home one day that really hit home that had to stop seeing him. Thank you Universe.

It is a long process. The more support you have the faster it will be.

How to move on and experience love again with another partner?

This is not so easy either. I wish I could say its not that bad.. But you have been living a nightmare. Integration is tough but there is so much goodness on the other side if your willing to work through it.

Trust is the hardest part. I dated guys for a while when me and the toxic ex split. I had a great time going out dancing, wearing little dresses and flirting. I felt like I was getting my confidence back. Unfortunaltey I wasn't ready for anyone for a while. I really had to work out my trauma. I found a few different types of therapy to help me. Some were very cathartic and physical other types of therapy were gentle and super deep. 

I so badly wanted to heal and be healthy, I threw myself into these. I googled workshops, retreats, seminars and therapists and I spent money and time on healing myself. 

When I met Benji, I still wasn't ready and continued lots of therapy whilst we dated. He was always supportive and loving even though he struggled to hear detail about that time in my life and I can't blame him. 

I'm a survivor but I'm still working on myself. I have a very deep relationship with God (my higher power/universe) and I don't think I would have if I didn't go through so much shit. 

I know I sound like a bloody broken record, but it all happened to bring me to this point right now where I can share this with you. And hopefully help someone out there. 

This post is dedicated to Hayley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy and delicious spelt pasta

Easy and delicious spelt pasta

Liku Liku - our island home

Liku Liku - our island home