I am only giving this five stars because it’s not possible to give any more. If I could it would be all the stars! Since leaving an abusive relationship I honestly have never felt so liberated!! It took a while for me to get into it but once I was there, wow! Was I there!!!
I am able now to wear – or not wear – make up whenever I choose. I could before but its different now. I don’t get accused of trying to attract somebody else or called a slut or a whore. I don’t get told I look a state. In fact, my kids tell me I look ‘beautiful’ and ‘so pretty’. Same goes for my hair. It doesn’t matter if I want to dye it or cut it or grow it. I can wear it up or down, curly or straight, extensions or none. Whenever I do something different with it, not only is it noticed in a positive way, I also get complimented on it! Complimented! I mean, just wow. That brings me on to the clothes I wear. I don’t feel guilty for spending money on clothes – for myself. I’m not made to feel like I’m dressing like a slag or revealing too much or too little. My husband, well, he gives me ‘that look’ no matter what I wear. Not the look I used to get that filled me with fear and dread for what was coming; but the look of appreciation, lust and it’s clear he is attracted to what he sees.
Living in my home is now like I actually have somewhere I can call a home. It isn’t full of tension. I don’t have to make sure everything is exactly how somebody else wants it. It doesn’t matter if I don’t do the dishes straight after eating or the washing piles up a day longer than usual. It’s just crazy how there is no argument over it. I’m never told that I’m ‘useless’ or ‘slacking’ or ‘should be doing what a woman is supposed to do’. If something goes wrong in the house like the washing machine breaking, for example, it’s not my fault! The problem just gets sorted out when we work as a team. It’s the craziest feeling to have a team mate as opposed to a manager! I feel safe in my home, it sounds so alien but it’s true! I don’t manically lock all the doors and windows every time somebody comes in or out. I even leave the back door wide open through the summer so my children can run in and out; something that feels so trivial yet is a huge win on my part! My daily routine is set by – yes, you guessed it – me! I can do things at my own pace and when I want to. I love taking the kids to and from school and stopping off at the park because I don’t get hounded to tell anybody where I was, who I was with, if I spoke to anybody, and my phone doesn’t get checked! I know right?!
The lectures and phone checking don’t happen at all anymore. When I want or need to go somewhere it’s not questioned. I don’t feel like anybody has done me a huge favour by letting me go out and I don’t dread that non-existent favour being called in. I have made new friends, moved from job to job, started at gyms and exercise classes, heck I’ve even been on nights out and not owed anybody any explanations for it. I don’t get constant phone calls or text messages while I’m out and I don’t have anybody telling me what time I need to home by. The best part? I don’t feel like being allowed to go out is a set up that will be the base of an argument after I return home.
I am allowed now to have relationships with people without feeling like I’m doing somebody a disservice by wanting that relationship. I can call my parents whenever I like. I can speak to friends – both male and female – whenever I want to. I can talk about people without a constant mithering as to who they are and how I know them. I know it sounds so crazy BUT I actually have control over my own life!
Whenever I say no to sex, it isn’t met with an argument or accusations that I must be ‘getting it elsewhere’. Not even a ‘you don’t love me enough’ or anything. Instead, my body and my choice are met with respect. Do you know what that’s done? It has increased my confidence, helped me to develop a new-found respect for myself and helped me to unlearn the lack of boundaries I have had to live with for so long before now. I feel safe in my own bedroom and that in itself has made the world of difference for my own growth. I feel humanised again, like I matter to somebody other than me. It has even helped me to learn why I should matter to me.
As for my life, well, it took quite some time but; I’ve allowed myself to dream again! I’ve spent some time figuring out what it is I want to do with my life. I’ve had the space to assess where I am now and where I want to go. I’ve even been supported throughout the time I’ve spent at home with my children because not missing their early years felt like something I needed to prioritise. Beyond that, now I’ve figured out what it is I want to do, I have a support network that makes sure I keep going. They want to see me be where I want to be just as much as I do. My husband even goes as far as to invest our family finances in what he believes will be a success! I never could have dreamt of that level of support before.
So for anybody wanting to step away from abuse and try life again, I would strongly recommend. It is, of course, scary as hell to begin with, I even found myself in the position of not knowing what to do with my own power in the beginning. But the more I stepped into it, the more comfortable I got with being scared. That step away that you take may be a bit less clean-cut than a ‘step’ but, even if you stumble, please do get away and try life afterwards.