life after abuse

Shared Voices: Your Stories of Life After Abuse

Those who have left an abusive relationship many times come face to face with new challenges and a complicated healing and recovery process. Last month we explored this topic of life after abuse and asked our Facebook community to share their own experiences finding happiness with a new partner.

The responses were powerful and enlightening. We heard from survivors in all stages of recovery. Many shared messages of their courage and openness to try to find love again, and we were reminded that rebuilding your life after abuse can take time and space.


Here are some survivors who shared their unique stories of hope and patience:

Kathy’s Story

It took a great amount of time to heal after being with someone of that nature. But, not everyone is a bad person so hopefully one day I will meet a kind person.

Mary’s Story

6 yrs later, I have not found happiness with a new partner… I’m still trying to be happy with myself first.

Ashley’s Story

I still haven’t found anyone after my 2 divorces, but for the past 2 years now I’ve come to see it is alright to just let go and allow the healing to flow. I still have a hard time with nightmares and flash backs, I’ve just barely been able to be around coworker males when they use knives for jobs we do. But the progress is steady. One day I hope to be blessed with a loving partner as well. But for now, I am just going to care for me.

Bethann’s Story

I was in an abusive relationship for two years. It’ll be a year next month since I left. While I haven’t found a “new love”, I have started dating again. I’m positive I will find someone worthy of my time and love someday though.

Johanna’s Story

I don’t have a partner but I’m really happy being single, my son is the only love of my life right now. After a really bad relationship, a relationship is not in my plans for a while. But I trust God one day I am going to find a good person for me and my son.

Anna’s Story

I am so much calmer, and have emotional energy for my kids now to be the example I have wanted to be. Before, I was just so busy trying to survive — I was often short with them or emotionally unavailable. Now, I show them everyday what awesome kids they are, and how to live happily and peacefully. It is hard being a single mom, but it was much, much harder being an abused mom!


We also received many stories from survivors who have found focusing on their own personal goals and happiness to be an important part of the healing process.

Katrina’s Story           

It has been nine years. I didn’t find a partner yet but by choice. I did however go to work at a domestic violence shelter, earned a bachelors, then my masters and now I am a licensed social worker who specializes in therapy with trauma/domestic violence/sexual assault. It has been nine years of recovery as a single mom with five kids but I am here to say it can be done!

It has been a journey for sure. Of my five children 2 are in college and one graduates this year to go to college. 2 of the 3 are earning social work degrees and the third one is looking at political science/policy setting. Education is empowerment.

I was fresh out of my marriage and trying to make sense of it all. I became a volunteer advocate (DV and SA) then later the Children’s Program Coordinator. I worked up from there! My initial framework and knowledge base that I learned as a volunteer has shaped my entire role as a therapist. Don’t give up!!! I know it seems forever but now I look back and never ever would have believed I would have been here! I was a stay at home mother in a rural area, cloaked with religion as a reason to stay and completely under his thumb. Today I am independent and so much happier. Hang in there!!!

And happiness did follow! Every time I take the kids to the park or movies without fear, every time we can stay up late or sleep in, without fear… every time I can speak to somebody without fear… happiness abounds!

Christina’s Story

I’ve been single for four years now since I’ve left my abuser. A little bit of dating here & there, but I enjoy being single & learning to love myself so that my daughter can have a happy mother that doesn’t believe that she always has to be in a relationship to be happy or successful. I do have to say I’m a lot happier & healthier. Take time for yourself to enjoy your own company and learn. Share that with your children if you have kids and embrace it. You have plenty of time to meet someone. There’s no rush and even if you never meet someone, it’s better to be single and happy than in a relationship and miserable! Keep loving, keep fighting.

Andrea’s Story

I have not, however I did fall into the wonderful arms of a great job that allows me to support my 4 wonderful boys, and my own personal dreams both professionally and personally. Life is beyond anything I ever imagined.

Marissa’s Story

Finding happiness isn’t always through finding someone else. I haven’t found love yet, but I have become a nurse and am continuing with my master’s degree. Freedom to make one’s own choices and being independent is such a reward.

20 replies
  1. kitty says:

    Today makes 6 days of freedom , no one to beat me ,
    Control me , hold me against my will .. But I’m still so afraid
    Scared he will find me . When if ever can I breath again ?
    I left everything behind , I knew after 24 yrs of his abuse
    Had I not left I would not be here today .I did all the right thing
    Pfa , call police , women resources but nothing even my
    Own family nothing no help so I had a chance a window of
    One hour to flee and I took it . I don’t know now where I turn
    Where to ask for help never got help before . I’m lonely ,deprrssed
    And questioning if I did the right thing ?, I feel like I’m a criminal
    On the run , and I’m just trying to stay alive ……

    • HotlineAdmin_MB says:

      Kitty,

      It is amazing that you have been away for six days and are free from a violent relationship. The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help you find shelter, counseling, and legal help if you call 1-800-799-7233. Advocates are available 24/7. You don’t have to be alone on the streets, please call so that we can help you find resources in your area. I am glad you reached out through our Share Your Voice Blog community.

      Hotlineadvocate_MB

  2. unique says:

    I have bieng in a relationship with my Daughter father.he is getting verbally abuse and physically abuses he push me I felt down hit my head I endup having seizures and I spend 6 days in the hospital. and now I just got home one day ago he is treating me he is saying that he will make sure I’ll spend 3 months in the hospital I’m homeless witb my 8 month baby girl pls give me an answers cause he is trying to kill me cause he said to me my family will find ne in a plastic bag with my baby girl pls need answer thabk you….

    • HotlineAdmin_AB says:

      Unique: It sounds like you are in a dangerous situation. We are available to discuss your situation and to help you to come up with a way to be safe. We are available 24/7 to speak with you. We are a confidential phone line and can contact us anytime it is safe to do so. You can call us at 1-800-799-7233.

  3. Confused says:

    When I was 16 I got into an abusive relationship. It started with him beeing jealous when someone would look at me, he would scream at me and later beat me up! For six months I was in hell, beeing a young teen not knowing what was happening to me I moved to the other side of the country because i was scared! That is what saved my life and i am so happy to still be walking around on this planet! Now 3 years later I have not found a new partner, I just broke up with someone because it was too hard for me to trust him (he was also a jealous guy so that made it hard for me!) I know there is someone out there for me who will give me respect! Im in therapy now !

    Problem is I moved back to my hometown because he was gone but he has moved back now! I have seen him 4 times now since our “relationship” he has not seen me because I run away and hide, I cannot walk around in my own city anymore because I am too scared to see him and i have no idea what he will do!

    • HotlineAdmin_KK says:

      Confused,
      Thanks so much for reaching out and sharing your experience. You’ve done some amazing things in the past, and it sounds like now, to take care of yourself and keep yourself safe.
      If you’d ever like to talk about what’s happening right now and your safety concerns being back home, please don’t hesitate to reach out to The Hotline and speak to one of our advocates.
      We are available 24/7 and are completely confidential and anonymous.
      Give us a call anytime at 1-800-799-7233

      HotlineAdvcoate_KK

  4. cee says:

    I know exactly how you feel. its as if you are always looking back over your shoulder, always paranoid that he would find you, you are not alone and there is help out there, don’t be afraid to ask for help, you can get through this & like myself i’m healing by sharing my story and my experiences. i know it takes a lot of courage to leave, and it is hard. There were so many opportunities for me to leave, i tried several times to leave, believe it was hard because the next few days I would find myself back with my abuser. I felt alone and I felt like I couldnt go to anyone. stay safe & get counseling as soon as you can, it is the start of your new life without him.

  5. zzz says:

    It’s been 12 years since I left, but only 3 since the final court hearing. It never really ends, does it?

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:

      zzz,

      Thank you for contributing to our blog community. It sounds like this has been a frustrating and long process. Unfortunately, we know that these situations have no timeline. Leaving is a huge step among others in this process.

      If you would like to talk about what has been happening or would like to find support in your area, feel free to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. An advocate is available 24/7 to offer guidance and support. Know that you are not alone throughout this process.

      HotlineAdvocate_SG

  6. Donald says:

    My mom, Emilie, ended up taking her struggle against domestic abuse to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal. Her court decision changed the way courts and the Attorney General’s office view domestic violence today. She became a role model for me and is one of the reasons I help counsel victims and survivors today. Sincerely, Donald

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:

      Donald,

      Thank you for contributing to our blog community. It is so great to have such a good role model and nice to have you out as an advocate for victims of domestic violence.

      Keep spreading the word!

      HotlineAdvocate_SG

      I removed some content from your post that did not align with our community guidelines. If you have any questions, I encourage you to read over them here.

  7. Diane says:

    I had been in more than one domestic violent relationship and it had left me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which I had EMDR treatments for. I worked very hard to get my life back. And I have peace today. The sun shines today, I have been in a relationship for 6 years although we have our challenges there is no domestic violence and it is the best feeling on the planet. The only way to be free is not to play their game, another words don’t participate. If someone is domestically violent and you stay whether you take it or fight the abuse your still in it. It will escalate and they will walk away and you will be a complete emotional basketcase. When a person loves you they will treat you with love and respect.

    • HotlineAdmin_VW says:

      Dear Diane, Thank you for sharing with our blog community. The story of your personal quest for Safety and a peaceful life, witness the hard work many go through to live free of domestic Violence. Of course there are many obstacles that frustrate “getting Free”. If new readers would go back to last weeks fine articles on just those obstacles (“50 Obstacles to Leaving”), readers might find new ways of seeing the problems they or their family members face.

      “Just leave”, is often not a viable option for most DV victims. But what options does a victim have? Discovering that answer may involve several conversations with each victim and assistance from local DV shelter programs. Here at the National Domestic Violence hotline we try to help people decide what they can do to make their own lives better. Advocates are here 24/7 to talk with DV victims, their family and friends. Call 1-800-799-7233.

  8. karen says:

    Well I’m happy for all of you who were lucky and got blessed with a miracle cause its been all opposite for me!! Back in 2006 I left my husband cause I thought it was for the best for him beating on me but however its been nothing but hell!! Nobody or Charities will help me and I’m homeless cause a year after I left and wouldn’t go back to my husband,”HE COMMITTED SUICIDE!!!” MY 2 CHILDREN AND I WERE VERY HURT. I WAS GETTING SURVIVOR BENEFITS FROM SS AND WAS RAISING MY CHILDREN ON MY OWN, THEY WERE MY REASON FOR WANTING TO LIVE. LAST YEAR DUE TO UNPAID TRAFFIC TICKET I HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT, I GOT LOCKED UP FOR 10 DAYS. WELL, I WAS EVICTED WHILE INCARCERATED AND DSS TOOK MY CHILDREN, SS SURVIVOR BENEFITS AS WELL. I HAVE NO FAMILY TO HELP EITHER!!! I HAVE TRIED TO GET HELP FROM CHURCHES AND ALL BUT THEY ALL SAY, SORRY THERES NOTHING THEY CAN DO!!! SO, HOMELESS, NOBODY TO TURN TO AND GET HELP, THERES JUST NOOO HOPE!! I REFUSE TO LIVE IN THIS PAINFUL, COLD, PLACE ANYMORE!! MY CHILDREN WANT TO COME HOME AS BAD AS I WANT THEM HOME BUT THERES NOTHING I CAN DO TO GET US BACK IN A HOME TOGETHER AGAIN!!! THAT JUST ADDS EVEN MORE TO MY PAIN!!!! I CANT EVEN IMAGINE WHAT SUCH LUCK AND A MIRACLE WOULD TRULY FEEL LIKE!! IVE CRIED SO MUCH ITS LIKE THERES NO TEARS LEFT!! MY HUSBAND DID THIS WHEN I WAS 33 YRS. OLD. I’M 40 YRS. OLD NOW AND IVE NEVER BEEN SOOO SURE OF BEING AT MY ROPES END AS I AM NOW!!! JUST DONT KNOW WHAT I DID TO DESERVE SUCH HELL!!! THATS IT THOUGH, NOBODY CAN HELP SO THERES NOTHING LEFT!!!

    • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for sharing your story with our online community. Your family has been through so much in the last 6 years. It’s very clear how much you love and miss your children, and they love and miss you. It must have been so difficult to ask for help and not receive the support you need. Your local community information line may be able to provide the information and resources that you’re looking for. You can find their local number at http://www.211.org.

      We are also concerned about your statement of not wanting to live anymore. It sounds like things have been overwhelming for a long time and we can hear that you’re feeling hopeless. Please know that the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. Their counselors want to provide the help and support you’re looking for.

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate AS

  9. Violet says:

    I was with my abuser for five years. I was only 15 when we started dating, I thought I was so in love with him and that the only reason why he would spit in my face, bang my head against the tile, throw me into the wall, or hit me was because it was my fault and he was just battling his own demons. I stayed with him in the beginning because i thought i was the only one who could save him and change him. Later on i realized no matter what i do, HE has to be the one that wants to change. I stayed with him even longer because i was scared if i left he would stalk me, harass my friends, or kill me. he ended up getting me pregnant at 18 and begged me to get an abortion. silly me said no and thought that if i had a baby with him all of our problems would be solved. after our son was born everything went downhill. there came a point in my life where everyday i thought he was going to kill me and my baby boy with his gun he oddly started carrying with everywhere. i was so hopeless while dealing with postpartum depression that i never told anyone about, that i didn’t even care if i died and thought i deserved it because he made me feel so bad about myself. right before our baby’s first birthday he broke up with me saying i was unappreciative and lazy. i begged him to stay but he wouldn’t. only 2 months after he got a new girlfriend, lost 50 pounds after being nearly obese, and started believing in god again. knowing that he is better without me makes me feel really sad because i just think to myself “what made me so horrible to make someone that i loved so much and would do anything for hurt me so much for years, and then easily leave and make a new life?” i contemplated suicide so much after he broke up with me because he was the only person i had in my life. since i was 15 i pushed my family and friends away to make him my #1, but now that he left me i have no one except my son. my baby boy is the only one that keeps me going while i’m trying to recreate my new life without my abuser. i’m learning not to dwell on the past and not to blame myself for all the times he hurt me. i am going to college so i can get a good job and don’t have to see my ex anymore because i cant afford daycare on my own. whenever i am feeling alone in the world or that i wasted too much time on such a horrible person, i just remember that i wouldn’t have had my precious son and i now have a second chance at life without violence.

    • HotlineAdmin_SG says:

      Violet,

      Thank you so much for reaching out to our blog community. It sounds like this healing process has taken so much courage to continue through and that is totally normal. It is completely understandable to question what has happened but I want to let you know that this isn’t something that happened because of anything that you did and you definitely did not deserve this. People who are abusive use many different tactics to gain power and control over their partner and the relationship, including turning the blame around and not taking responsibility over their actions. One thing that we often hear is that abusers can manipulate situations to make it seem like they have changed but actually adopt new strategies to abuse their partner that are more subtle. That may be what is happening here as well.

      It sounds like your son is a huge motivation for you and has helped remind you to bring the focus back on you. This is the time for you to get your power back and it sounds like you’ve taken so many HUGE steps to do just that! Know that you are not alone in this situation, unfortunately many people experience abuse in their relationship and that’s why we exist. I encourage you to give us, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a call at 1800-799-7233. An advocate is always available to offer guidance and support and may also be able to help you locate support services in your area. All our calls are completely anonymous and confidential and we are available 24/7.

      Until then, I hope you can continue to focus on you and the steps that you have taken to keep you and your son safe. And remember that the healing process does not have a timeline.

      HotlineAdvocate_SG

      • HotlineAdmin_AS says:

        Hi Sandra,

        We’re so glad you’re part of our online community. Sharing experiences and being supported by others can be a very powerful experience. If you’d like to talk to a hotline advocate, please know that you can reach us 24/7 by phone at 1-800-799-7233 or via online chat 9am-7pm CST here on our website. All conversations are confidential and anonymous, and we’re here to provide support and resources, and help you figure out next steps.

        Take care!

        Hotline Advocate AS

  10. sandra says:

    Thank you violet for writing voucher story. It is giving me hope. I really do hope I have a similar ending

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