I need your help and advice

  1. During my senior year in HS and after, I was involved with a man that physically and emotionally abusive. I don't want to get into details but I firmly believe deep down in my soul that by saying the Hail Mary I escaped death. I came that close.

    Now to the present: I have been in therapy for 5 years, with 3 different psychologists and psychiatrists. I have been diagnosed with depression, GAD, and post traumatic stress disorder. I take Cymbalta for depression (which I don't think is working, got a dr appt for that), Xanax as needed for anxiety which works.

    For those who have survived an abusive relationship.......when does it end? His voice inside my head telling me I'm worse than horse s*** on the bottom of his shoe, that I will never receive an education because I'm not smart enough, no one will want me now since I'm damamged goods. etc. Therapy isn't helping. I go in with an open mind and I realize that I have to help also. I do and I am at the same place I was before. All three of my counselors don't want to touch too much on the relationship. They just generally say by believing what my ex told me I am victimizing myself over and over. How do you build your self esteem up again after something like this???? I want to fall in love again, but how do I date again? Will I ever look at sex as not rape?

    We may have broken up years ago but he's still in my head everyday. My life is a mess, I'm not in school this semester (just like he predicted), I live with my parents because I was a little irresponsible when it came to money - retail therapy after breakup. Also, food became a crutch so I didn't have to face my feelings, and ended up gaining 100 pounds. I saw a picture of me when I was in high school. I was thin and I looked geuninely (sp) happy, really happy. I want to be that person before.

    So my question to you: how do I get past all this and learn to love again, not look at men as the enemy and what they're capable of, how do I build a self esteem again?

    I'm sick of living my life like I am. Not going anywhere but to work or school. What ever happened to the fun loving gentle nice Elizabeth?
  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I don't know what to tell you, but I wish all the best for you. You are obviously an intelligent, articulate person.
    I hope you can believe it.
  4. by   rn/writer
    Keep working with your docs to find the right meds.


    I can't overstate the importance of finding like-minded individuals who have experienced the same kind of trauma and degradation you have gone through and survived, recovered, and triumphed over the negativity.

    It could be that the docs try to gloss over the relationship fall-out because they have no clue what to tell you. If that's the case, then it makes sense that they would try to steer you back to their comfort zones. But that doesn't help you get over the past.

    You won't be able to block out the bad voices unless you substitute something good in their place. And the only way you'll be able to do that is to find people who understand what you're dealing with and who can build you up and give you hope, compassion, and encouragement.

    Try to find a support group that doesn't go to the extreme of becoming anti-male. That's just trading one problem for another. Look for a group that is anti-abuse but still in favor of healthy relationships. Check with churches, social service groups, hospital staff, or even your docs. Someone ought to be able to hook you up with a good group.

    A support group should be able to help you identify your areas of vulnerability and give you ideas about how to become strong and capable. Group members can share their own stories and inspire you. They can give you feedback on where you're undercutting your own success as well as cheer for you when you've done well--something I'll bet you aren't able to do for yourself right now.

    You are not alone in this and you really, really, really need to find that out and throw in your lot with other women who have been where you are. As you hear their stories and begin to share your own, you will begin to redevelop the trust that your ex stole from you. That's a big part of what is happening to you right now. You do not trust yourself to go forward. You need the love and support of others to supply for you what you can't dredge up on your own at this time. Eventually, their borrowed perspective will seem more normal and you will wonder how you ever fell for the lies that have you tied up now.

    There will come a time, and probably not too far off, when you will find yourself strong and capable and shining--ready to reach down to another sister who needs a hand up out of the pit of despair. Get help for her sake. But most of all, do it for yourself.

    We need you healthy and happy.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Aug 16, '06
  5. by   LanaBanana
    I just want to hug you right now! I was raped and beaten 11 years ago by my boyfriend at the time. I was 16 and it messed me up soooo much. For years I sufferred from debilitation depression (including being on disability) and only in the last year after finally deciding to take things back in my control have I been able to get better. Finding a counselor who understands and is trained in dealing with abusive relationships is really the key, as is support groups like rn/writer said. I don't know if you've ever heard of RAINN, but it stands for Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. They deal with every form of abuse and can help you find a local center to help you. http://million.rainn.org/ You can also try a YWCA if you have one close because they usually offer this counseling and support groups as well. http://www.ywca.org For me, talking to other women who had gone through a similar situation as mine and who were doing so well was really inspiring.
    As for the messages you received from this guy, they are crap, just as the way he treated you was crap. My boyfriend used to tell me that he was the only person who could make me happy and I wouldn't be happy without him. But here I am today, happy happy happy!
    Goodluck, and keep in touch!
  6. by   CHATSDALE
    magnificant advise from miranda
    you are doing a good job of identifying your problem...you ae carrying him around with you wherever you go getting rid of him will take some effort because this has become a habit
    keep busy when a negative thought enters your mind do something positive
  7. by   live4today
    (((((((Bethin))))))) Just wanted to leave you lots of hugs, and let you know you're in my daily prayers to receive a total healing from what has happened to you. :icon_hug: :icon_hug: :icon_hug: May these cyberflowers cause your heart to smile knowing I care about you, and join you in praying for your healing.:flowersfo A support group would help. JESUS is who I turned to for the many years of traumatic healing I needed, and that led me to counseling and support groups. Use every available resource that you can in order to heal from the pain that has robbed you of life for so long.
  8. by   jnette
    Been there, too, Bethin. But I carried around with me the fear of physical violence and death more than anything else. I already KNEW I was not stupid or uneducated, and he never even attempted to persuade me that I was. With him it was all about control and keeping me in his life by threats of violence and death, and proving that he was willing and capable of carrying out those threats. Like you, it is only by the grace of God that I am alive today, as I should have died many times over by the near daily choking and strangling... not to mention the knives at my throat, the near drownings, the revolvers cocked, loaded and stuck in my forehead, the broken ribs and other bones from the daily onslaught of violence.
    It was fear itself which kept me imprisoned for three years.. the fear of leaving and its consequences. For the first year after I made my courageous and last attempt at freedom, I was CONSTANTLY looking over my shoulder. I still jump at loud noises or sudden unexpected moves, and I cannot bear to be around a man's anger or raised voice. So yes, there is still a touch of PTSD there to this day... and it's been ten years now.

    We each need to adress these things individually, as we are all put together differently. What works for some, won't for others, and there is no "right way" or "better way". You must do what woirks for YOU. Be it counseling, support groups, meds, whatever it takes. I did none of the above. But I am extremely stubborn and hardwilled, so as I said, we're all unique in our make-up and you must find what works for you.

    The MOST important thing is to understand that you are NOT disabled now. You ARE the beautiful person you once were, and still ARE.. you just need to recognize that and SEE her in the mirror. Nothing has changed, you still are who you always have been. I just mentally scratched out those three years of my life and moved on as though it had never occurred.. I simply refused to allow it to control my future. I KNEW I had what it took to succeed in life and love and that this experience would only make me stronger and wiser in the end.

    You ARE a lovely person, Bethin, you always have been.. and you still are. Screw him. Don't allow him to control your life any longer. REFUSE to allow it.
    When I do still hear his "voice" in my head, and his threats, I now laugh and stick out my tongue. It is HE who was (is) sick, messed up, and disabled... not you, not me. These sickos controlled us for a time, but it is up to us to not ALLOW it any more. Use your mental "delete" or "block" options. Screw them, yay YOU !

    P.S. :kiss
    Last edit by jnette on Aug 16, '06
  9. by   TheCommuter
    I witnessed physical and emotional abuse between my parents during my growing-up years and, as a result, have daily flashbacks of the violence. My parents were verbally abusive toward me at times, and I sometimes weep because their cruel words have left lasting wounds that have not yet healed. In addition, I have gained 80 pounds after having a bout of depression over 2 years ago because the food felt good going down. Food was the only constant thing in a world that changes so very fast.

    I have never been in a romantic relationship that was physically or emotionally abusive, but I know your pain and will say a silent prayer for you.
  10. by   Grace Oz
    Bethin, :icon_hug: I'm sorry you have endured such abuse. You are young and have much to look forward to. Still so much life to live. With the right help, time can be a great healer. Not always, I agree, but time can achieve amazing things in all kinds of situations.
    You have received excellent advice from the other posters here, I second most of what they have to say.
    There are a couple of good books you might benefit from reading ...........
    1) You Can Heal Your Life. Author: Louise. L. Hay.
    2) Pulling Your Own strings. Author: Wayne Dwyer.
    I hope you are soon able to feel good about yourself and come to believe in YOU!
    Don't give up your power to that scumbag by allowing him to have any space at all in your thoughts. He is less than human excrement. He really is. Try not to waste your precious self, your precious time, your precious moments, thoughts, feelings, on a waste product!
    When you learn to LOVE yourself again, you WILL feel and BE better!
    I wish you all the very best in your quest for healing and the wonderful future which awaits you and which you richly deserve.
    Warm :icon_hug: :icon_hug:
  11. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    I'm so sorry that you are going through this. ((((Hugs))))