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In Support of Emotional Abuse Survivors

Dear survivor:

Before anything else, I want to tell you your trauma is valid. Even if you don't have bruises or scars and you feel like you don't have "proof." Even if you were only with them for a short time. Even if you feel like it was your fault and you had your chance to leave. You are not crazy or complaining for being honest about your trauma.

You are not the only one who feels this way. You are not alone in your confusion, frustration, and pain.

It may take you a long time to recognize that you were abused. It may take years. That doesn't mean you're making it up. It may take several therapists to properly deal with your residual feelings. That doesn't mean you're being too dramatic.

Someday, you might find yourself doing things that your abuser used to do, and you start to panic and think "I'm turning into him/her." You're not. You're not like them. You're a survivor and you can change those behaviors and be better.

You might be reading this and thinking you were crazy to leave, they weren't abusive, just a little hard to love. You might miss them and feel guilty for abandoning them. But you didn't. They do not need you to survive. You do not need them. You made the best decision for you, and I'm proud of you. You do not need to apologize and try to "make it right" again; it never was right in the first place.

(Maybe you're reading this and you haven't quite left yet. Well, this is your sign. You are capable, you are worth more than they're having you believe.)

The important thing to know is that you are not out of your mind, even if they gaslighted you or convinced you that you wouldn't survive without them. He/she is not the only person to ever love you and he/she is not the only person who will ever love you.

You were probably isolated from your other loved ones, but you can still repair relationships. And even if you really can't, you can still make new ones. There is a whole life after your abuser.

You may find yourself with vestiges of the broken relationship. You may be apologizing just a bit too much, but know it's not your fault. They probably turned everything back on you, but it's not always your fault. The abuse wasn't your fault, either. Your abuser is the one who made the decision to abuse.

It's okay to need therapists to work it out. It's okay if recovery takes a while. It's okay if you're still working through it. It's all okay, there's no "right" way to cope. You just do the best you can. Find other survivors, talk about things, make new connections.

One word of caution; be careful of getting enmeshed with other broken people. A relationship's purpose is not to "fix" someone. A relationship is two whole individuals coming together to make something new and healthy, not two halves attempting to complete each other. Relationships of love should never be about a power struggle.

You are not unlovable or unworthy of someone's genuine affections. You are whole. You are priceless and irreplacable. You are more than what's been done to you. You can choose to become bitter or become better.

And most of all, you have a future in which you are loved and happy.

Love,
Me

P.S.: To understand emotional abuse, read up here: https://www.safehorizon.org/programs/5-signs-emotional-abuse/

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