I was talking to a friend the other day who had just gotten out of a out of a very emotionally abusive relationship and she said “all I want to do is sleep”. With just those few words it was like I stepped into a time machine and was transported back to a place in my life when I was also coming out of a very dark emotional relationship and I remembered what I called the ‘sleeping time’. During the ‘sleeping time’ it was everything I could do to work a normal eight hour day at my job and for a time time I even had to sneak off during my lunch break to take a nap just so I could finish the rest of the day. After doing a lot reading and research I now understand the ‘sleeping time’ – it was caused by years of hyper-vigilance in my former relationship. I was always so afraid that I would say the wrong thing and set him off, that I would do the wrong thing and set him off or for crying out loud just look at him wrong and set him off. It was as if I was walking around a china cabinet on a floor of egg shells trying not to break anything and it was exhausting. It is only in reflection that I see just how exhausted I was both mentally and physically, so when I finally got away all I wanted to do is sleep.
I wish I could have told my friend her recovery will be fast but it won’t be, mine sure as heck wasn’t. It took me about a year before I started to recognize myself in the mirror again. Slowly I would see a brief glimpse of the crazy brave and smart woman I had been before that relationship took its toll. I still don’t know how it happened- how I let my spirit be crushed by someone who had to put others down to feel superior — I just don’t know and I may never know. However, the most important thing I learned and that I shared with my friend is that she must forgive herself for making the decisions that lead to that relationship. I know sounds like some talk show line but the honest truth is no one can move forward if they are holding to the albatross of unforgiveness no matter how strong you think you are you are not strong enough while carrying that – let it go (whatever IT is) whether they deserve it or not — YOU deserve it.
Keep surviving and thriving – Tiffany