Every new relationship begins with hope, excitement, and a little fear of the unknown. The longer we are in a relationship, the more our hope and dreams grow. We start making plans and we move forward, hoping, expecting our relationship will last through time, half afraid that we will fail.
This is not the type of fear that is found among victims and survivors of domestic violence. An abusive relationship begins just like every other one, with hopes and dreams. The fear begins as the abuser begins to cause their victim to question their instincts. To doubt our gut reactions is to go against the first line of defense given to us and it is the first attack to break down our barriers.
A abuse victims begin to fear that we are going crazy, fear that we are imagining things, sometimes fear for our very lives. After we leave, fear continues. We fear him coming after us, fear of stalking, fear of not being strong enough to stay away, fear of trusting someone else who will only betray us too….
Many, if not all, domestic abuse survivors experience an anxiety disorder after escaping an abuser; some develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Many go through a period of depression, others will continue to struggle with depression and anxiety for a long time period.
I am afraid. I am afraid of a new relationships. I am afraid of opening myself up to trust others. I am afraid of trusting people, of taking the risk of being rejected and betrayed again.
I won’t let fear stop me.
Bravery is stepping forward in the face of fear. Bravery is moving past the crippling desire to stand still and take a step, to keep moving forward. To find healing in the little victories, to find joy in the moments that take our breath away. I can only pray that the fear will diminish, but I have learned that life is hard. Life throws roadblocks and challenges in our path every day. We do not stop because of them, we climb over them, we catch our breath and continue the journey.