I’ve been sitting here for an hour, one sentence written – since deleted. I’ve had this vague sense of what I would write about, but it’s hard to express the swirling thoughts about it in my head.
I’ve had the passing thought about the topic for a few days, and then today I stumbled upon this meme on Facebook – it seemed to go right along with the theme in my mind.
For awhile I would mentally kick myself because I felt like so much time had passed, that I should be over it. God, just move on already, Emma!
But I started to realize how certain behaviours or thought patterns that I had for all the years since were rooted in in that first abusive relationship with Wyatt. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here before, but for a long, long time I had internal reactions whenever I’d get into an argument with any boyfriend that followed. Though most didn’t do anything to deserve the thought process, my kneejerk reaction was often to expect to be slapped as soon as I understood they were upset.
I knew my thought was irrational. I recognized that they likely wouldn’t do such a thing, likely wouldn’t even think of it, so I would have to actively push that thought out of my mind along with the thought that I probably would deserve it or that I’d prefer it over all the fighting – just get it over with, damn it! Regardless, it all still popped up each and every time.
There were other things as well – other subconscious behaviours that I didn’t realize until many years later as I started to reflect and connect the dots. A sense of intimidation; a tendency to bury my true feelings, build emotional walls, and reserve my attachments. Depression. I then lied, for lack of a better word, acting bubbly and confident and exactly as I thought I girl should in the company of her guy. I also often apologized even when I knew I wasn’t at fault.
Unfortunately, occasionally my secret timidity was picked up on – whether consciously or unconsciously – which I believe is a key thing that David picked up on.
After David, I had a host of other newly ingrained issues. New nightmares regularly for years, a new cyclical depression, new feelings of fear – palpitations at the thought of seeing him again. I had a sudden sense of anxiety when I thought he was back in town, and at the thought of my husband taking a job at the next base he went to.
The thing is… Perhaps even my over all point is… that my experiences were far from the worst that happens to others on the daily – and it has still effected me for years upon years.
So for Domestic Violence Awareness month, I guess I just want you all to be aware that an abused person – with any level or type of abuse – will still feel the effects for the rest of their lives. Sometimes we don’t realize certain involuntary reactions, or even recognize or admit to ourselves the abuse we’ve endured, but we also don’t forget. It’s hard to move on.
Don’t ever think that we don’t try. And don’t, please don’t, act like you know what we’re going through in our heads or with our often involuntary emotions.