I was in an abusive relationship. For six years, I was physically, mentally, and emotionally abused by someone who made me believe that I could never survive in the outside world without him.
But that’s not the worst of it. My children – who were 2, 4, and 9 at the time – were also abused. I could endure the pain, but to let my children endure it, too? There are no words. I cannot begin to describe the guilt I have carried with me for all these years. It’s one of those things that always bubble to the surface and I suppress as quickly as possible.
When packing boxes this week, I found a file that I have carried with me since those dark days. Filled with divorce proceedings, lawyers letters, and an account of that awful time in my life, right until the day it reached its fateful end, it brought the emotions flooding back: guilt, fear, doubt, loathing… I can’t tell you why I kept the file all these years. Maybe he got into my head and I really didbelieve that I would never make it on my own. I felt trapped in this relationship. I believed that I deserved the abuse and that anything I thought or believed about myself was irrelevant.
Why am I telling you this?
Because, as I get ready to move into my dream space, which I achieved ON MY OWN, through sheer willpower, hard work, and determination. I realise that he no longer has a hold over me. Despite everything he said to me. Despite all the doubt he drilled into my head. In spite of him.
And here’s what I have to say about that: Fuck you, B. Look at me now.
I had to break the cycle. I couldn’t carry that file into another chapter of my life. It was time to let go. I owed that much to myself, my children, and whatever relationship may come in future.
And so, I burned it. I watched as the flames engulfed every painful reminder. I thought I would feel relived, powerful, liberated, free.
But I didn’t.
I was overwhelmed by a sense of sadness and anger that I couldn’t go back and change the past. That I couldn’t gather my small children in my arms and tell them that I was sorry and that it wasn’t supposed to be this way.
And I realised it was because the file was not the issue. The issue was that I hadn’t yet forgiven myself. The past is in the past. I can’t change it, as much as I desperately want to. My only option is to try to let it go and to make time in my diary to focus on healing. I need to guard that time as fiercely as I guard my clients’ appointments. That’s their time; their sacred, safe space to focus on themselves, to move forward, to forgive.
My point is this: we all have our shit. We all have ghosts in our closets and demons under our beds. Our pain might not be the same but we all hurt and we all bleed the same. I’ve been there. I know rock bottom, I know hopelessness, I know despair and depression and the feeling of wanting to give up and drown my sorrows in wine and chocolate. But I’ve emerged from it stronger, wiser, and with an even bigger desire to make a success of my life.
I’m heading for a good space, even though I was in a very dark space for so long. Where are you? Do you need a safe space to start addressing the tough questions and to start healing? That space could be in my Pilates studio or on my Health & Wellness Life Coaching couch (it’s very comfy).
Are you ready to leave the past where it belongs? To empower yourself to become the warrior you truly are?
I think so. And I believe in you. Let’s make it happen together.
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