As a survivor of 23+ years of domestic abuse, in all forms, my story didn’t end well — violently — but better than it could have. After everything I had been through in September 2017, I missed this abusive man and became very depressed. I shut myself in my room and stayed in my pajamas and watched Hallmark movies with my Chiweenie. I only left that room to go to work, to go to the grocery store, and to pick up my youngest child. What on Earth could cause me to be so depressed? He had physically, mentally, verbally, financially, sexually, and spiritually abused me. I felt totally done in and the shell of what I once was.
It wasn’t until I started reading about narcissistic abuse, I found out about long-term abuse caused what’s known as the “trauma bond.” Learning about this made it to where I didn’t want to continue this sick relationship dance. I wanted to break that bond, so I started keeping myself busy with activities — especially those that he never allowed me to do. I started doing activities with my kids again, speaking publicly, writing for periodicals and other blogs, listening to live music by myself, reading a whole novel in a day, doing self-care that I never had time to do. It was GREAT! Beyond, even!
Since I have learned to be alone, I have come to the conclusion of this: that if I do what I want, no one is there to veto what I plan on doing…and I WAS HOOKED! I could do things in my own time and in my own way. I had NO idea how addicting and healing that could be! Wowsers! The more I was alone, the more unclouded my thoughts were. Ideas could flow freely and my judgement and emotions were more clear.
Now, I’m glad to see so many other counselors and advocates stress self-care and being alone. I have a friend that is a life coach and has a mission devoted solely to being alone with yourself. Holly Hartman has the Solo Date Challenge, with missions for both men and women. You do not have to be totally alone at all times, as you can do activities with your BFF or children, it just doesn’t need to be with an intimate partner. Check out her site here: https://solodatechallenge.com/. It is socially acceptable to go “stag” to an activity…you’d be surprised at how many kindred spirits you’ll meet and fellowship you’ll experience. It’s so empowering, I cannot even put it into words!
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams