Healing After Divorce From An Abuser & While Fighting Chronic Illness Is Hard
So many people judge abused people for not getting out of a bad relationship. They don’t understand that the person you love did not start out abusing you. Most people wouldn’t go on a second date with someone who got abusive on the first date. Abusers are good at reeling you in and tearing you apart slowly. It’s like the frog that is put in a pan of water, it doesn’t feel the gradual increase in heat any more than someone being abused. That’s why healing after divorce from an abuser and while fighting chronic illness takes time.
Healing from abuse is difficult all by itself. Being diagnosed and living with chronic illness after years of living with an abusive partner is a strain like no other. Add in being abandoned by your partner and you have wounds so deep it feels like you will never recover.
I am here to tell you that healing after divorce, mentally and emotionally, is possible. It is going to take some time. I think finding a way to love yourself and care for yourself is really important at this stage. It’s hard to do when you have been told for so long that everything is your fault but it is vital in your healing process. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you do something right no matter how small it is. You need to replace the negative voice in your head with one that is loving, patient and kind.
You WILL heal after divorce. Take your time, get medical help such as therapy and/or medication and be nice to yourself. You wouldn’t treat a friend badly after they went through abuse so don’t treat yourself badly.
Leaving Your Abuser Is Also A Very Scary & Dangerous Time
The most dangerous time for someone being abused is right before, during and right after leaving their partner. Plus leaving is hard enough when you are healthy and feels impossible if you have an autoimmune disease or other invisible illness. There really is no support network in place for Spoonies who want to leave their partner. Most of us can’t work and have no means of taking care of ourselves.
Over time your partner has damaged your self-esteem and alienated your family and friends. Lack of financial and medical support makes it harder to pack up and go. It’s difficult to explain how the gaslighting and mental games leave you confused and scared. Most of us are probably not working and have experienced financial abuse. Judgment from others makes it doubly hard to see a way out and make a happy future.
Chronic Illness Means Life Is Unpredictable & Depression & Anxiety Make It Worse. How Can You Start Healing After Divorce?
Each day is a crapshoot. Sometimes we have extreme pain, fatigue or brain fog and a variety of other problems. Some days you feel like you will die…and sometimes you wouldn’t mind if you did. Before the divorce, on good days, you may have been able to do something nice IF your abuser didn’t ruin it. Living this way makes it harder to have good days because you aren’t ever completely resting. You still feel the anxiety of always keeping an ear out to make sure your partner isn’t going to come at you. It takes time to let go of that.
Starting a journal can help you release some of the tension you have become accustomed to feeling. Now that you don’t have to worry about your abuser finding it you can write everything down and get it out of your head. Journaling helps get all the messiness out and helps you start to heal. You may enjoy a post I wrote not too long ago 5 Depression Journal Tips & How To Make It Private I have found journaling helps me think more clearly, it’s like doing a brain dump. My mind isn’t so full I can’t think straight.
Chronic Life After Divorce Can Really Tear You Apart
There is no way to describe how it feels when the person you did so much for and loved with all your heart goes “hunting” one weekend and never comes back. How can someone be so inhuman? I don’t know but I do know that because we aren’t like them we can’t understand. It took me a long time to understand that they do not have the same heart we do, too long.
Putting yourself back together after years of abuse, trauma and dealing with your illness or, most likely, illnesses can feel like walking upstairs while your fatigue is flaring and your joints are painful. Getting through something as horrible as this is difficult enough when you are healthy. It is especially scary if you haven’t been able to work for a while. It’s okay to be scared. I’m still scared sometimes.
The 5 Most Important Things To Focus On After Being Abandoned:
- Medical treatments
- Medications and,
- A good divorce attorney
These are just the minimum necessities you need to survive but they are a good start. Try taking things one day at a time or even an hour at a time. Talk with social services, churches, and indigent programs in your area to see what is available to you. Ask your friends and family to help so you don’t get overwhelmed and can rest. You don’t want to end up in the hospital.
You WILL manage to survive and find ways to create a stable home environment. I won’t lie. There are going to be times you break down and feel like giving up. Sometimes you won’t know how to take the next step or you won’t have the energy to take the next step. It is going to be scary and you are going to feel hopeless at times BUT I promise you WILL get over this mountain and the other side is beautiful. Remember…healing after divorce IS possible.
Healing After Divorce Is Messy, You Need New Foundation To Avoid Repeating The Cycle Of Abuse
Once things are more stable it is time to work on healing. This is going to be messy, ugly crying messy. Healing is ugly. Healing requires demolishing old ideas, thoughts, and habits, kind of like tearing a house down. That wrecking ball hurts but it is also tearing down a poorly built frame so you can rebuild your life on a strong foundation. You most likely grew up without the love, support, and tools to live a healthier, loving life. Right now you need to learn how to create that life so you avoid abusive people and environments in the future.
Keep in mind that unless you really do the work and heal yourself you will be vulnerable to allowing abusive people into your life again. If you don’t heal you will continue the same cycle. Having chronic illnesses made me realize how short my time could be and I don’t want to spend another minute in an abusive situation. I want the rest of my life to be stable, happy and peaceful. I want that for you too.
Abuse & Chronic Illness – 3 Tips For Healing After Divorce
Here are a few tips that worked for me when I was trying to process everything and heal. I hope they work for you and if you have tips I would love to share them here. You never know how much your tip could help someone. If you want to share something helpful, email me and give me permission to use your tip here on Chronic Chimera.
- Taking time to de-stress after your divorce will help you start healing. Stress is not good for us Spoonies and can even make us worse. Finding ways to relax and heal are as important as eating healthy and resting. You can’t heal in a stressful environment.
- Learning who you are and what you want is an important step toward creating a post-divorce life that you enjoy. This may just be the first time in years you are able to put yourself and your health first. Do something just for you. I started by cooking the food I wanted and watching what I wanted on TV or listening to music I liked. There are so many things I wasn’t able to do when I was married and I enjoy them now.
- Get your feelings out of your head. If you can, get some therapy but if you can’t then start a journal. I sometimes even take a video when thoughts are coming too fast to write. It doesn’t matter how you do it just as long as you get the pain, anger, and feelings out of your body. Holding onto it all will continue to hurt you. By being able to express yourself, you allow yourself to start healing after your divorce.
JenniferTwardowski, a contributor at Huff Post, wrote “Forgiveness is huge. And I don’t just mean forgiveness towards the ex, but also towards ourselves.” I agree, you are going to feel guilty but forgiving yourself will help you heal. Nobody can expect to make good choices when they have self-esteem issues stemming from childhood abuse or any kind of trauma. I realize that now and work every day to heal my inner child as well as change some behaviors that no longer serve me or the life I am building.
Life threw a sucker punch and it hurt like hell. We can’t fathom how someone can do what was done to us but we need to stop letting it take over our thoughts. We will never understand. I like to think about how lucky I am that my husband left me. I was miserable. Things were tough but even on the worst days, I felt better and better without him. I have a beautiful life, he gave me a gift.
I think I was so done with all the hell I had been through that I didn’t even miss my husband. He had an affair a few years before and it destroyed me. Sometimes I think that was the final straw and the “hold” he had on me broke. I used to fight so hard for him, for our marriage. This time I used my energy for me because I’m worth it. I am worth so much more than the way he treated me.
YOU are too!
Over the years I started being grateful for however things turned out even if they were bad. I imagine that they saved me from something worse. Next time something doesn’t work out how you planned or wanted them to, take a breath and ask yourself to be grateful for what you were saved from and see how you feel.
What will you do to start healing after divorce? Please let us know in the comments so maybe we can help another get through this scary time.
I love hearing all about how you tackle your struggles with chronic illness!
Do you have other tips you can share with us? Most spoonies have found workarounds for all types of things and I’d love to share your advice. Write a comment below or send me an email.
Kim is a freelance blogger, writer and VA. She loves sharing resources for other “spoonies” to help them create lives they love. Hoarding crochet patterns on Pinterest is her second favorite thing.