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 !