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  • Writer's pictureI'm a Survivor

Six months on by Isabella M

Six months ago today I left my abusive relationship. So much has changed since then. I have a new home, which I share with my new dog.

Six months ago I had given up on ever having a dog. On ever unpacking my beloved things that I'd packed away before I moved in with my wife seven years earlier. On having an organised house, a house I could walk through without stepping or tripping over things. On eating what or when I wanted. On sleeping when I needed to and ever feeling rested or relaxed. On ever having a peaceful home, a home where I was not hit, or shouted at, or hurt and abused at all. I am surrounded by the love of old friends and new friends, friends who have been with me through this, friends I've found since and friends who've been with me through the years.

Six months ago I struggled to ask for help, I felt unworthy, useless and worthless. A waste of space who wasn't worth anyone's time... and I wasn't sure I wanted to live anyway so what was the point of taking people's help if I was going to let them down. Today I know that I am talented. I know that I am precious and invaluable to some. I know that my bruised heart is open to love and be loved. I feel safe and at home for the first time in my life. I see the spiral that drew me into the abuse, a subtle weaving of threads, a twisted recipe of adoration and abuse that left me reeling, convincing me that I must be perfect to be accepted, while I knew that was impossible. I had given up on myself, on my autonomy, on my potential, on my dreams. Today I look back and the whole ten years feels like a bad dream. It feels foggy and unreal because I was dissociated most of the time. It feels a lifetime away and in many ways it is.

Today I sang a song by Karine Polwart called 'Painted it White'. This has always reminded me of gaslighting and of grooming, of hiding the motivation to hurt and control you behind professions of love. Of the justifications we make, whether excuses for the abuser, or criticisms of ourselves, those thoughts that give us the responsibility, the ways we deceive ourselves to make our relationship seem to make sense. Six months ago I would not have shared this, but now I am excited to, it is a song I love, and I love to sing. As a favourite quote of mine says "Don't die with your music still inside you" (Wayne Dyer).

Today I am so grateful for my life, so grateful to be alive. Six months ago I did not believe this life was possible. I could believe in only the life I was living or the escalation I feared. I was as near to death as I have ever been. I am so grateful that I hung on, that I clung to enough faith and hope to reach for help, to reach for the life I find myself in.

I enjoy the little things. Each decision I make that considers me first. Each decision that chooses people and situations to preserve my worth as the highest priority. I will not deceive myself again. I will see and honour myself, and set boundaries full of love for myself and others. I cherish this life I have been given, this life I reached for and worked for and leapt terrified into the unknown to gain.

My song plays on....

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