Relationship after Domestic Abuse
Hi, I'm 26 years old and this is a little back story.
A week after my 18th my mum was diagnosed with cancer. I took over family duties and very rarely went out. I was drugged and raped at a party with friends (still 18). I suppressed alot of what I was feeling to get on with looking after my family. At 19, I fell for the first man that made me feel safe. Around 6 months in I moved out with him and the abuse started - physical, verbal, emotional, mental, and financial (I was the bread winner, caused debt etc). He isolated me from family, cheated and took everything. I was stuck for almost 6 years and feared for my life.
Fast forward to now. I have the most beautiful long distance partner. He is so great with communication but I feel myself struggling to let him into the deeper parts of my trauma. I know he genuinely cares and wants to understand but I just don't know how to.. any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated for navigating a healthy relationship after DV x
Thank you for sharing here today. We are so sorry to hear what you have been through. No one deserves to experience what you did. We’re glad you had the strength and bravery to share this here.
Sharing the parts of ourselves that we tend to keep hidden can be very challenging and it is very understandable to feel the way that you are feeling.
Something that might be helpful is preparing what to say beforehand, and allocating some specific time to have the conversation. It is always completely up to you how much you want to share.
If you'd like to have a chat with one of the lovely people at 1800Respect they're on 1800 737 732, or you can reach them on online chat, here: https://chat.1800respect.org.au/#/welcome
If you'd like to call us, too, we're on 1300 22 4636, or you can reach us online via our webchat: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/
Thank you again for your courage and strength in sharing your story. If you’d like to share a bit more here about how you’ve been feeling, our kind community will be here to offer their support and understanding.
Welcome to the forums and thank you for reaching out to us.
You have been through a lot of very stressful circumstances at such a young age, it comes as no surprise that you have reservations trusting someone else with the most vulnerable parts of you. No one, at any age, should have to go through what you have and I am sorry your experiences have left you with so much trauma to deal with.
My first question would be to ask what steps you have taken in trying to heal some of the trauma.
Have you spent some time in counselling to work through it?
Do you have close friends or family who know what you have been through who you have been able to talk to?
Your feelings of trust and security have been severely compromised so I would explain to your partner that you will only be able to open up to him when you feel ready to do so and that may take some time because you don't feel able yet to be that vulnerable with another person. If he truly does care, he will understand that it will take time.
Your number one priority needs to be healing the trauma and starting to feeling whole again. We are here for you if you feel comfortable to continue this conversation.