I am a woman who has lived in the dark of for many years.  By darkness, I mean abuse, domestic violence and the shame attached to both experiences.  Not until 2004, did I even consider another way of life, a life free of shame where my past did not control the present.  The journey to reclaim my life began that year when I made the decision to get outside help.

Thus began my journey into recovery and healing.

Next came the time for me to focus on mental and physical health with help from traditional mental health professionals and alternative medicine.  Later, I moved out of the family home; found different medical professionals, peers and friends not connected with my family of origin. Little did I know this was the beginning of a new support network.

My secret life of independence slowly became my real life.  Living away did not change anything once I visited the family of origin.  In fact, relationships with them got worse.  The internal changes, as much as I tried to hide them, refused to live in the dark and shadows.  I could not, would not be who they expected me to be anymore.

Then came a mental health diagnosis that made sense: complex posttraumatic stress disorder.  With this realization, I stopped feeling so helpless and out of control.  This makes sense.  This can be treated with help from a trauma trained specialist.  Three years of therapy with this specialist combined with assistance from outside resources provided me with the knowledge and courage to confront the truth of my familial relationships.

The domestic violence and abuse would not end unless I did something about it.  My parents, sibling, extended family, and family friends were not going to change their perception and treatment of me.  So I left.  I walked away from almost everyone, moved, changed my phone number, changed my email address, etc.

Years later, I am still in hiding and working towards complete freedom from my family and a new life where I can live according to my values.  This website is both a coping strategy and a way of thanking the numerous individuals and organizations who have helped in the past and continue to assist me now.  I hope that, in sharing my experiences, others are helped too.

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