My name is Jennifer and I am a young married mum of 3 children. I am also a 'survivor'.
I often think that being a 'survivor' to some extent defines me more than some of the other more positive areas of my life. Ultimately, I think that it is because it's an everyday struggle to overcome its effects despite the years that have passed by.
Many people have wondered why on earth I haven't got over it by now. Well, in answer to that I would say that I have moved on from the person and the act with the exception of a few episodes of frustration. However, the truth is that emotional abuse has a long lasting, residual effect on its 'survivors'.
Does that mean that I am not really a 'survivor'? Does that mean that I'm not over it? Does that mean I'm damaged? Does that mean I am forever trapped?
In answer to that, I would say I am a 'survivor' because I got out and am living a happy and productive life, but I am surviving the daily battle from the emotional scars left behind. I am over it to some extent and have to accept that a part of me was damaged but I am working on me through personal development and that sets me free from the mental entrapment of emotional abuse. I don't think it will ever completely go away because you can't wipe a memory but you can decide whether to let this rule your life or whether to take control and become the person you want to be.
It's not easy being a 'survivor' and no one should underestimate its long term effect. The dictionary definition of the word 'survivor' is "a person who copes well with difficulties in their life" and this epitomises my belief that however difficult, surviving is worth it on so many levels! Putting my daily struggles aside and looking at my life now, I feel so lucky and some of that stems from an appreciation of what I have now. After the abusive relationship I slowly learnt what happiness felt like, what it felt to be cared for and loved for myself by someone else and finally and most importantly what it was like to love myself and have pride in my own identity.
Looking back on events after the relationship had ended I realised that others need to be educated about this unacceptable behaviour and be able to see what an unhealthy relationship can look like. Many don't realise until it is too late and by then it is accepted that it is normal as it has become a way of life. I can't explain how it works but it needs to be stopped or at least people need to know that it isn't normal at all!!!
I am one who believes in recording things and it has helped me to record my emotions. At first there were so many struggles and I used my desire to help others to write as a channel for my emotions and difficulties and thus my debut fictional novel was born (called "Isolation Junction". ) It helped me on so many levels but there were times I couldn't write because I felt so close to it that it was damaging emotionally, I really had to be in the 'right zone'. Now my debut novel is released (and it is a novel rather than a personal account) it feels a little strange. The focus of conversation now is about the message contained within the book and this is an important message to bring hope to many. I feel like I don't have to be quiet anymore, like so many do, about admitting what I went through and through my novel I have been able to share some of the more common behaviours experienced by those affected by emotional abuse and coercive control.