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I Don’t Know Who I Am: How I’m Finding Myself Again After the Abuse

“When you turn the corner / And you run into yourself / Then you know that you have turned / All the corners that are left.” ~Langston Hughes

Nearly two years ago I left a long-term controlling and .

I didn’t know that I was in one. I just knew that I was desperate.

Abusers take everything away from you. I don’t just mean your money or your home or your children, although they take those as well. I mean everything, including your sense of self.

Toward the end of the relationship, I wrote in my journal: “I have nothing. Nothing. No future. No family. No home. Nothing. I don’t know what to do any more. There seems to be no .”

When I first left I had nowhere to go. I stayed in a hotel for a while and then moved to a pay-by-the week residence. I genuinely could not see any future for myself at that time.

When you read about leaving an abusive relationship, there is a lot of information about how hard it is to leave. It takes someone, on average, seven attempts.

It also can be dangerous to leave. Abusers escalate their behavior when they fear that they are losing their control over you. These are important things to be aware of.

What nobody seems to talk about, and perhaps there are good reasons why, is how hard it is to recover once all the dust has settled.

I have spoken to the police and been to court and had some excellent support from a domestic abuse charity. I have been to support groups. I feel like I’ve processed a lot of the abuse and that I am now able to move on from that trauma.

I have a truly amazing therapist, who recognized the situation I was in even when I was trying to hide it from myself. He helped me escape. I credit him with saving my life.

I have my own flat now that feels safe. I live in a nice area.

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