BIG news – launching Relationship Free
If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living. Gail Sheehy
Just like that…
Like a flick of a switch.
In just a brief moment in time.
Everything went back to how it was.
It was like…
A tidal wave cleansing a desert.
A burnt out forest, turning green.
A wilted flower coming to life again.
Every fractured bone – repaired.
In an instant the spell broke.
It was as I looked into his eyes that I realised… I felt something.
And it wasn’t exciting like it usually would be. It wasn’t like: “Oh my god, this is it: I’m in love … again!”
It was: “Oh my god, I actually FEEL something!”
And in that moment, looking into his eyes, I realised just how numb I’d been for the past year.
What I experienced in 2013 was so painful I had shut down.
Not just romantically, but from everything.
Although I have obviously laughed, I don’t remember feeling a thing. Even as I laughed.
I don’t remember joy. I don’t remember sadness.
I’d numbed out.
All I remember feeling over the past year was fear, and looking behind my back to see if he (or someone he sent – I know how he works) was watching.
My experience in 2013 made 2014 feel as though I was putting my foot into freezing water
I was so hurt, I actually didn’t want to move.
Everything that I’d ever known, changed.
It was like I started experiencing everything differently. I still do.
Not like a second chance at life though… Although he did try to kill me three times.
It was like in the movies, the bomb goes off, the person goes deaf and there’s just a high pitch noise?
Life has been like that … but no noise and no feeling.
Apathy like I’d never experienced before.
A shattered innocence – because I now know I can never be completely safe or protected.
Some of you have only just joined me and are probably wondering what I’m talking about.
His crimes left me in such a state that if anyone approached me: I was looking to see if they would attack me.
Before I spoke: I asked myself a hundred times how it could be used against me.
I watched my back where ever I went – even walking in my apartment complex.
I hardly made it to the grocery store out of fear.
Whenever I drove, I’d pull over and let any car that looked like his: pass.
Every night I slept with a pillow against my door.
I vomited violently every single morning for the first six months after I left.
I have never experienced anything as painful as what my abuser put me through. Ever.
And the worst part?
Even at the time he committed the ultimate crime against me: I was completely and blindly in love a man who abused me.
I still find it difficult to process how someone I loved, so much, would want to hurt me so badly?
But he did.
The same man who once would have moved mountains to protect me.
Once I got out, I tried to take my own life.
Because I’d had enough. I couldn’t take it anymore.
I’d never get him out of my life. He would always have control over me and everything else.
This thick, black, evil power.
That’s what I thought at the time.
I was wrong.
I am still alive.
And now that I can feel again, I realise it more.
Of course feeling again comes fraught with fear “I don’t want to go numb again, I don’t want that to happen again…”
What’s strange is not feeling wasn’t so bad – because I didn’t know I couldn’t feel anything until I felt again…
If that makes sense…
Now that I do feel again, I guess I don’t want to lose this.
This healthy sense of self, the healthy relationship, my healthy life.
And with those three elements aligned, I look at the people I have allowed in my life and they are are very supportive, patient and loving.
They’re not going to allow me to “numb out” again.
It’s difficult, and what I find most challenging as I look into his eyes is stopping myself from thinking: “Will you abuse me one day too?”
The deception linked to domestic violence is what makes it so complex and adds to a target’s fear.
If I had known my ex-boyfriend was going to be abusive at the beginning, I never would’ve gone there.
During my recovery, every time I met someone – I would picture them really angry: “Would they hurt me?”
I couldn’t help it – and it’s become habit.
I read this book called Way of the wound about trauma recovery by Robert Grant and in it he says: “A single perpetrator has the potential to taint or implicate all humanity. If one person can abuse then all others become potential abusers” (Grant, 1996, p13).
It was the first thing I could identify with throughout my recovery.
So I started acknowledging that anyone could hurt me – in any profession. A police officer, a magistrate, a lawyer, a doctor…
I now accept that I will never truly be safe and protected solely based on the person I choose to be with.
BUT! The person I am with, always and forever, will protect me.
And that person is me.
I know every red flag to look for.
I know every feeling that could lead to long-term damage and trauma.
I’ve been there and that means I know exactly what to look out for.
I’m aware of the high intensity relationship I’ve been in. And I know better than to try to match it.
So what I’m saying is, if I make the same mistake – maybe I’d understand judgement.
But for people to judge someone in a domestic violence situation who hasn’t been in one before: it’s not your place.
The deception transforms your relationship into a hall of mirrors.
You can’t see where you end and they begin anymore.
How can you know to protect yourself when you have this deceptive grooming phase, with a love so passionate and amazing!
Unfortunately we’re all easy targets to a psychopath, particularly empaths like myself.
We like to be liked, we love to be loved and when someone makes us feel special: we want to be with them no matter what.
That is why, the biggest red flag in a relationship is being wooed.
My current wonderful and fabulous boyfriend said to me early on: “I don’t text!”
I stared at him. We’d been texting for days.
“When I’m at home, back in the States, I don’t text,” he clarified.
He was true to his word. Not one text message since he returned home.
And once he left Sydney, I let him go. I didn’t go to Melbourne with him like I maybe once would have.
Already we are maintaining healthy boundaries and a healthy relationship.
And we’re still communicating – even without texting.
Why is this so important and defining for me?
My abusive ex “love bombed” me.
We dated for about a year and lived together.
In that time we exchanged more than 1500 text messages and that’s not an exaggeration.
Needless to say: I don’t like texting much…
We don’t get to see each other much and my boyfriend misses me.
But it’s different this time.
He doesn’t miss me all the time and not in a way that he’s asking where I am, who I’m with, what I’m doing…
At first I volunteered the information – out of habit.
I could tell it made him uncomfortable.
In exposing it to me, it’s become another habit linked to the trauma that I have broken.
Love bombing is unhealthy.
In fact, it’s probably called bombing for a reason: take cover, let me tell you!
When he kissed me, for the first time, I left: almost immediately.
I couldn’t handle it.
The place where we were. The sound of joggers louder than ever.
It took me days to process.
And you know what he did?
He gave me space.
Meanwhile my mind whirring “what if, what if, what if…”
It was his gentle persistence, his certainty over what he saw that changed me.
That’s when I realised he would never hurt me.
His kindness when I was still so numb, broken and fragile helped me.
And of course a lot of other friends influenced that and helped me on the way, it wasn’t just him … but he made me feel again.
It was only as I realised that I was feeling something that I acknowledged it was a positive feeling.
Imagine being paraplegic for a year … then all of a sudden feeling the sensation of a feather on your foot.
That’s what it was like!
It was almost shock at feeling something I’d gone so long without that I’d almost forgotten it entirely.
And in acknowledging feeling something positive, I searched deeper.
It was the first time I’d felt something positive towards a human being in over a year!
The best part was there was no fear of “what will happen next”. It was just, exactly as it was.
It was the foundation of a healthy and lasting relationship.
So things I looked at that matter following domestic violence:
> He was raised similarly to me – in a caring family.
> He’s ambitious yet shares my values and beliefs.
> He’s so proud I’m his girl, and I’m so proud he’s my man.
> We’ve both let each other into our worlds: I’ve met his parents, and he’s met mine.
> Our friends both know about us. And like the idea.
> We demonstrate our commitment to each other every single day in healthy ways.
> We share, we listen, we respect, we appreciate…
And it comes with perfect timing. Because now I’m really walking the talk.
Happiness Weekly was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had.
I started this blog as a way to give back to the community.
I spent a lot of time on it, just wanting to help others.
And it helped me too!
Without Happiness Weekly, I’m not sure I would’ve survived domestic violence.
I may not have maintained a healthy mind, and for a moment – I lost that too.
Perhaps my abuser knew that I could handle what he did to me.
Even before I did.
Maybe it was his test.
Throughout my recovery, I learned to love myself. To respect myself. To value my self and my journey.
I thought I was healthy and happy before, but I’m even better now and I have another half that is equally as healthy.
I say that because he doesn’t take anything away from me. He just builds on the new foundation I’ve made.
And fortunately, I didn’t build walls. Instead, I used my experience to build a business!
Relationship Free is the foundation of a new venture. And today I’m launching the website.
The business has been operating since January 2015 as I combine my experience, knowledge and qualifications to work in an area I’m most passionate about.
Relationship Free isn’t about breaking up or helping people out of relationships – unless that’s the path they choose.
It’s about releasing attachment and reclaiming your life!
For those who don’t know, I’m a qualified life coach accredited through the International Coaching Federation.
I am an NLP practitioner. I’ve studied trauma, counselling, psychotherapy techniques and journalism.
I’m passionate about helping people – my first job was as a weight loss consultant.
Relationship Free focuses on self love and finding the freedom within to be your best self.
Release attachment, overcome love and people addiction, empower yourself to leave abusive and toxic relationships.
I offer a series of FREE resources under the Tips to Freedom section.
My priority is to work to enhance my client’s self esteem, self worth and self respect.
Learning to love myself was the most precious lesson I could ever learn.
And I learned to help others.
I decided not only would I help people understand, but I would help people heal.
I have worked really hard to get to where I am today.
But finding this relationship and launching my website made me realise: I did it!
This – right here, right now – this was my reason for leaving my abusive ex partner.
I wanted to leave and after telling him in as many words and demonstrating it: I was punished.
The danger was in not acknowledging that I was being abused. And I’d been abused for long before then.
My ex-partner has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and is an opportunistic psychopath.
My experience strengthened me, but didn’t harden me. I pride myself on that.
A healthy relationship gives you space to grow and develop. It encourages you to chase your dreams.
It’s an outlet to share mutual compassion, values, beliefs, desires, empathy, honesty and love.
This is an advertisement I’ve made for Relationship Free:
I also want to thank my best friends: Kat and Lara for standing by me unconditionally xx