The trauma of Domestic Violence can last a lifetime!
Nearly thirty years ago I fled an extremely violent relationship, fearing if I did not escape that I would be killed.
There was no other option other than to leave, but at the time it was such a daunting prospect. The thought of how I was going to financially support myself and my children and the fear that my attacker would never fully release me from his control.
The ties that bound me to him were our offspring, our youngest daughter. I knew that whilst he may eventually relinquish me from his control, he would never release my daughter.
Unfortunately the community was not as understanding and sympathetic to women who had suffered from Domestic Violence as it is today. Whether it was spoken outright, “What did you do to make him hit you?” Or just silently thought, many people, both men and women believed the victim had to have somehow provoked the aggressor.
Thankfully that mindset has changed and there is now zero tolerance towards the perpetrators of Domestic Violence, most of this change has evolved through the public awareness campaigns that have infiltrated people’s homes via television and print media advertising.
Whilst I consider myself a survivor of Domestic Violence I know that there are long lasting side effects as a result of the years of abuse I was exposed to.
It took me a long time to understand that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This presented itself in many innocuous ways that at first had me thinking that I was just a little bit strange, but over the passage of time I realised that it was directly linked to the abuse I had been subjected to.
I have heard that veterans who have been involved in action would sometimes drop to the ground shielding their heads when a car back fired, they were reliving the sounds of war.
For me, I was easily startled, jumping when someone would simply walk into the room without announcing themselves first. I would sometimes scream just when someone walked up behind me without me knowing they were there. Clutching at my pumping heart I would need to take several deep long breaths to settle myself down.
It helps to understand that this is normal and to be expected.
Today there are so many places you can go to get help to deal with this and I am hoping that someday soon I will stop freaking out at sudden noises and movement.
There is help and much greater understanding and awareness than ever before, you just need to take the initiative to tap into it.