There is no one size fits all in the world of domestic violence recovery. It’s one of the things that makes offering general advice so difficult. Advice that might be perfectly sane in a healthy relationship can be deadly in a controlling one. The stakes for getting it right are high. That’s why it’s recommended that you get personal, professional offline help in navigating your difficult relationship. Websites, articles, books and resources can build your knowledge and understanding but you must not rely on them for instruction.
Intuition and patience are your allies in protecting you as you navigate towards peace and freedom in your life.
Living with an angry and abusive partner is by it’s very nature unpredictable, so you have to pick and choose which paths, resources and advice are relevant to you. Which can be dicey – it can be so easy to get overwhelmed with all the advice and resources available when you have messages in your head that you’re crazy or stupid or both.
If that didn’t make choosing “the right thing” tough enough, I found that some stuff is utter crap at the best of times and other material just isn’t relevant or helpful at different ages and stages of life and relationships.
To try and make things less confusing and relevant information easy to find, you’ll often see me categorizing articles and resources according to the archetypes below. Choose the one that’s closest to you to find the information you need for where you are in this journey.
Remember, the women below don’t really exist – they’re character sketches – so don’t look for 100% match, just the one with the most similarities for the information you need. For instance, you may find yourself to be a mix – a Veronica in business but a Karen in life-stage and will want to filter your reading accordingly.
Veronica Green is a young stay at home mom of one with another on the way. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and she was always sure they were on the same page as far as their dreams and plans for the future.
They had agreed that she should stay home, but lately he’s been grousing about the expenses and encouraging her to get a part time job or do something with herself. She’s been thinking about these work at home businesses, but she’s not sure if she could do direct sales and doesn’t want to get duped by an Internet scam.
Plus she’s not sure how she’d add more to her to do list than is already on it as a mom. In the midst of this, she’s getting concerned about her husbands drinking patterns. She thought he would grow out of it by now, and she’s not sure if she’s imagining it – but he seems to get meaner now when he drinks than he used to.
She occasionally daydreams about being free of him and all his demands that she can never seem to live up to, but she’s pretty sure life on the other side would be just as much of a struggle. It’s no secret that being a single mom is hard and he’s really not that bad of a guy. A little rough around the edges, but it’s mostly that he’s misunderstood.
She could certainly do to be a little more patient, it’s just really hard – between the toddler and being so tired from the pregnancy. She’s sure things will get better if she can just start contributing a little to the family income, but has no clue where to start. And she really hates it when everyone assumes that her best option is to leave her hubby. They don’t understand how much she loves him or how much potential he has and she would mostly like to learn what she can do to make the situation better, not advice on how to leave.
Tabitha Blue is a thirty something mom of three who has had it with her husband. She used to think there was hope, but he continues to disappoint her time after time and she looks at her children and realizes she would never wish for them to feel as hopelessly oppressed and miserable as she does. But after so many years at home, she has no idea how she’d survive if she left him.
She’ll be fine if he does his part in paying child support, but if he doesn’t cooperate, she has no back up plan, yet. And she has no idea if he’ll co-operate because his Jekyll and Hyde behavior has only become less predictable as the years have worn on.
She doesn’t really believe in divorce, but she’s so tired of feeling like second best in her own life.
She knows there has to be more than this. But what?
Her job experience seems downright prehistoric and her middle child has special needs that require several therapy sessions a month – what job can be flexible enough? Some days she’s going to stay, some days she’s going to go.
Change is on the horizon. She can feel it in her bones. But she has no idea what that looks like. She’s fairly sure she’s co-dependent and she has flirted with depression, she’s feeling strong, most days – but confused, almost constantly.
Karen Plum has flown the coop, but struggling to fly.
She is finding that this life after hubby is more devastating than she ever imagined it could be. Her husband had always been a bit on the mean side but the separation has turned him downright viscous. He’s turned friends and family against her and she’s not sure how much more she can take.
Meanwhile, she’s trying to make a living so that she can fight for her life and her children through the court system – which is something that terrifies her in and of itself. She doesn’t know where to turn to for support – all the resources for entrepreneurs focus on having a positive attitude as a key to success and sometimes she can’t bring herself to do anything but cry.
Some days she wonders if she should just go back to make the pain stop, but she remembers how bad it was and how it was suffocating the life out of her. Not that life in the midst of this seems much better. Where is this feeling of freedom and empowerment that everyone promised (or so it seemed)?
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