It has been almost five years since the sociopath was arrested and I was given the miracle of getting my life back free from his abuse. It is amazing to me to know that once upon a time, I was abused. I was downtrodden. I was completely broken. The walking, breathing dead. At the time of his arrest, I had given myself up for dead. I dreamt about dying, yearned for my life to end. And then, the police walked in and arrested him and in that moment, everything changed. Life began again.
It was not life as I knew it. Life as it was. It was new life, with a whole new perspective and outlook. A whole new appreciation for what it means to live within my human condition, what it means to be free.
My transformative journey began the day he was arrested and I faced the total devastation of my life. Through the stress and despair, trauma and uncertainty I held onto one goal, one belief — I had to reclaim my life so that I could reconnect with my daughters. I had to find me amidst the turmoil so that I could show them that my journey through the hell of that relationship did not kill the woman who gave them birth and whom they had believed loved them with all her heart — I needed to find a path back to myself so that I could grow strong enough to help them through their pain and fear. I had to find a way to reach into their hearts and minds so that they would understand that I fell into hell, not because I didn’t love them, but because I didn’t love myself. And more than anything, I had to teach myself that forgiveness led to loving myself so that we all could grow stronger.
And so I journeyed.
My growth in the beginning was incremental. One day it was simply that I had the courage to pick up the phone and call my daughters. Another was, I had the courage to speak my truth to the police about what I knew of the sociopaths illegal activities. Another day it was having the courage to apply for a job, to open my own bank account, to not accept the unacceptable when someone treated me disrespectfully.
With each step, each moment of feeling successful, I created a ‘body of evidence’ that showed I was growing through the trauma into well-being. I was overcoming the PTSD by focussing on my Post Traumatic Growth (PTG). There are many aspects of my PTG that astound and thrill me. For example, things I have learned and ways I’ve grown include:
I believe in the power of love — my relationship with my daughters and friends is a testament to the incredible power of love to heal. Today, I am in a committed relationship with a man who treats me the way I need and want to be treated, with tender loving care, respect and dignity. We share our fears, and our dreams. We talk about what hurts us, without fearing we will hurt the other by sharing our pain and we look for ways to grow together.
I believe in me — I never had such certitude in myself before. I never treated myself with such tender loving care, respecting and honouring who I am in all my words and deeds — I never knew me before.
I am resilient. I have bounced back from rock bottom and learnt the depth of my strength and courage. I have persevered through the emotional pain and trauma to become All Of Me — Beauty and the Beast — Perfectly Human.
I am capable of making healthy choices.Every day I make choices that honour me, support my journey and pay tribute to my hope, strength and experience — and belief that I am loveable. I am worthy.
I have the courage to live in reality. I am more in touch with my reality than I ever have been before. I recognize my strengths and use them to help me when my weaknesses threaten to grasp control and pull me from my path.
I am a Victor in my own life. I am neither a victim nor a volunteer. Whether I was a victim or a volunteer to his abuse and lies makes no difference to my freedom today. In judging myself to be either, I denigrated the pain and sorrow I endured on that journey. And yet, in being willing to face reality, I have the courage to lovingly face the truth in the statement — I was a victim and a volunteer to his abuse. Because, at times, I was a victim. At times, I volunteered to make myself a victim. It is simply a fact of what happened to me. It is not a judgement. It is not something I can change. It is the past. All I can do is stay focussed on being neither victim nor volunteer today. All I can do is stand in my light and be true to me, love all of me, warts and all, and rejoice in the wonder, the beauty, the joy of my life today.
I have grown far beyond the trauma of those days and nights when counting pills and ideating suicide seemed my only escape from the pain of my existence. I have grown into the woman I have always dreamt I could be. Free. Passionate. Willing to leap into the void of living life on the other side of her comfort zone freed from the lies that would have her believe, the past was all she deserved. This is the life I deserve. My one and only wild and passionate life where I am the dreamer and the dream maker. Where I live fearlessly in love with making my dreams come true.
How about you? Can you identify ways in which your PTG has moved you beyond the PTSD so that today you are claiming your beautiful life?