Now that I have your attention, I’d like to tell you about PTSD involving domestic abuse, at least how it has affected me, as I don’t speak for everyone.
Anywhere from once to three times weekly, I wake up from dreaming of being abused, whether this be sexual, physical, mental, or emotional. I wake up screaming, shaking, gasping for air, crying, staring off into space unresponsive, and/or grabbing the nearest thing to me with a death grip, as I have just been raped in my sleep. Some nights, all I want is to be held, some pushing me into anxiety the second I’m touched.
I was raped, molested, or forced to touch you. I watched people kill themselves as I tried to do to myself. I watched you drown me in your lies. I have seen your open scars as you tell me over and over that without me you’ll die. I’ve been aware I was dreaming at times, yet still unable to make it stop and wake up, just as I was aware I was being abused in real life, but yet again, unable to make it stop.
Too many people are asking the question, why do you continue in these kinds of relationships instead of leaving. Yet nobody thinks to ask, why is this person abusing you in the first place? The blame stays set on the victim as society has trained you to do so.
What I want to get across to you, is that trauma doesn’t end when the action of abuse ends. It stays with you, haunting your mind, feeding you the lies. “It was all your fault. You deserved it. You brought this on yourself. If only you had…” The list goes on.
Although many people refuse to discuss this particular topic as it is becoming so close to taboo, we have to understand that this happens to too many people and it happens to people of any gender, age, religious belief, or culture in all parts of the world. It’s not something we can ignore any longer.
I was 14 entering my first abusive relationship, 16 at my second, and 19 at my third and final abusive relationship. Constantly I told myself, “It’s different than last time.” Only I was just being abused in a different way. I had to learn that there are multiple ways in which your S/O can abuse you. Just because they didn’t hit you doesn’t mean it’s not abuse. Just because they didn’t rape you doesn’t mean it’s not abuse.
In my case, I had to encounter all forms of abuse. Physical, sexual, emotional, and mental. Entering my third abusive relationship I told myself, “He hasn’t laid hands on me which means this is healthy. I finally got it right. Even though he tells me every day how awful I am, that I’m crazy for having anxiety attacks, and how I ruin our relationship more every single day.”
It wasn’t until 3 months before my 2 year relationship ended that this man molested me, and allowed two of his friends to do the same. Which I blocked out for way too long. But it’s time to face it. Do I call myself a victim? No. I prefer the term Warrior because it takes someone so strong to endure that and come out fighting for their life back. Every. Single. Day.
You reach your breaking point every so often, and all you want is to stop everything. But you just have to keep fighting. PTSD is real. Many, including myself live with it every day, 24 hours a day. The trauma doesn’t end when you zip up your pants.