Sitting in the living room with candles alight and the feeling of calmness surrounding me. Dinner has been prepared, cooked and eaten with satisfaction, an air of contentment lingering around the fall walls. Not a sound to be heard. Nothing but a safe atmosphere can be felt. Reaching over for the TV remote, I find my favourite channel, rest my head on the back of the settee and let out a sigh. A sigh of relief.
Curtains are closed and the front door is locked. There’s no panic or fear each time the clock ticks by of getting the table laid and the tea dished up as soon as it chimes 6pm. There’s no worry of the meal not being cooked to perfection or fear of cleaning the mess up of the kitchen walls.
My first DD came out of my very own bank account today, I had enough money in to pay for my gas and electricity bill – without going into the red, this is a big deal to me – and I still had money to last the week through – this is a big deal to me.
Walking down the high street earlier, head held high, smile on my face and I caught the smell of my favourite perfume lingering on my neck. I made eye contact with everyone I walked past and even gave a smile to one or two, I did it without worrying about the consequences – this is a big deal to me.
Wearing my favourite outfit gave me so much more confidence, I really felt good about myself and I’m sure it showed! It felt wonderful to wear what I wanted, without having to ask permission or to be told to take it off because I’m purposely drawing attention to myself.
Being in control of my own life again, is a big deal to me. It not only gives me a sense of belonging but also a sense of achievement too – achieving, surviving and thriving without my perpetrator, when all they every told me was how I wouldn’t be able to live without them. Well, look at me now!
This is a big deal to me.
Living life on the edge of fear, thinking that tonight will be your last night, that tomorrow will never come. Not knowing what boundaries will be moved to today or where the goalposts will be placed just so power and control can be gained and maintained yet again.
Having no self-esteem, worth or confidence because the one person who claims to loves you steals it away from you, without a care in the world only for their own satisfaction. Having nothing but isolation, manipulation and fear is no way to live, yet living with a perpetrator makes you feel it’s the only thing you have to survival.
Baby steps are the way forward in the healing process, learning to love yourself again, learning who you are and what your wants and needs are is a huge step to take but one that must be done slowly through fear of returning back to the life of abuse.
Taking things for granted isn’t what life is about but looking around to see what you actually do have in life and that is the one most important thing to have – life. Waking up in the morning knowing it is full of whatever-you-want-it-to-be-full-of and doing whatever-you-really-want gives you a sense of happiness inside your stomach where fear once lived.
This is a big deal to me because I know what could have been. I know what it was like to live in such a dark place that you felt so suffocated because you felt there was absolutely no way out and you stayed in that rut through fear of dying; dead if you stayed, dead if you left.
Never knowing what the right thing was to do, you just did it anyway in the hope that the peace would be kept and just for tonight no abuse would emerge. Isolation wrapping itself around you, hands all over you, around your neck, stopping you from reaching out to those that love you so very much and just want the best for you. Blinded by lies you can’t see a way forward let alone out.
Being a thriving survivor is a big deal because without surviving, perpetrators would be winning.