Kaybee

Grief, anxiety, fear, avoidance...the list is endless

16 posts in this topic

Hi everyone. I have a complicated story, which I shall try to keep brief.  I apologise in advance if anyone is triggered by what I have to say. Here goes.

4 years ago I left my ex husband. I had been subjected to domestic abuse for a number of years. It took approximately a year and a half to finally leave. For the next number of years I shut down, kept a very low profile and existed between work and home. He stalked me for a few months but finally lost interest. I never stopped looking over my shoulder.

A couple of months ago, my ex died. The news triggered nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety...all of which is still very current. The memories I had stored away are now very vivid. I feel ghastly, to tell you the truth. I have to sort his estate as we still had a house together. I went "no contact" after I left him and he simply would not budge from the property. My solicitor is dealing with this. However, I can barely bring myself to talk about him, let alone see any paperwork to do with him. I dread the mail every day. The house will have to be sold as I have my own housing costs to meet. I panic day and night about financial issues but don't feel I have the strength to get through this final hurdle. I feel under such enormous pressure and so fearful about the future. 

My partner has been incredibly supportive but I feel like I've let him down by bringing this chaos to the door. He says this is absolutely not the case.

I feel hopeless, helpless, worthless. I'm just exhausted.

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Kaybee, my dear, my heart reaches out to you as I read your story, and it's good to know that you have an "incredibly supportive partner" beside you as you cope with all of this. I hope you will allow yourself to accept the support he seems willing to offer, without criticizing yourself for needing it. In addition, you might consider reaching out to one of the domestic abuse services offered in the UK. Doing so may connect you with others whose experiences are similar to your own, and offer you the additional understanding and support you need as you navigate your way through the unique challenges you are facing. You might also consider a session or two with a qualified grief counselor or therapist who could help you sort through and better cope with the all reactions you are having (nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety) ~ all of which suggest to me that you are struggling with post-traumatic stress. (See, for example, Domestic Violence: A Power Struggle with Lasting Consequences.) There is help available to you, if you are willing to reach out and find it. See, for example,

 National Domestic Violence Helpline: Homewww.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/

Domestic abuse | Victim Supporthttps://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/domestic-abuse

Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline | Refugewww.refuge.org.uk/what-we-do/our-services/helpline/

Freephone 24hr National Domestic Violence Helpline - Women's Aidhttps://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/helpline/

You may find this article helpful as well: Nightmares and Bad Dreams in Grief

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Hello Marty, thank you very much for those links. I shall have a read of them this evening.

It's strange but, although I am able to put into words the emotions I'm going through, I somehow don't feel 'entitled' to feel them or that I'm overreacting. A legacy of being told for years that I was crazy, I guess.

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Well, my dear, you've managed to find your way to a safe place (here) where no one will tell you that you are crazy or "overreacting". Here we believe that you are entitled to whatever emotions you are going through. They belong to you and not to anyone else. It helps to remember that feelings aren't always rational or justified. They are not the same as facts. We cannot always control our feelings ~ but we do have some control over how we behave in response to them.

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Kaybee,

As someone who has experienced domestic abuse, I can assure you that your feelings are normal for what you've been through, there seems to be no time limit on triggers taking us back to that time.  My XH is still alive, I keep tabs on what part of town he lives in so I don't go there, I just don't want to see him, ever.

Is there anyone who could handle this stuff for you so you don't have to have so much involvement?  I'm not sure what a solicitor does or doesn't do.  

When all is said and done, I hope you will have some peace knowing he cannot hurt you again.  I'm glad you have someone supportive, that means a lot.

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Hello Kayc, thank you for your reply. It still doesn't seem real that he has died, maybe because the bad memories are so vivid or maybe eventually it will sink in over time. 

The solicitor will take care of paperwork etc. It's just I feel that I'm reliving it all. I couldn't even bear to go to the house we once shared. The sooner it's dealt with the better. There are things that happened that are only just coming back to me now. It's an exhausting time, as I said.

I completely understand how you feel, not wanting to see your ex. I hope you're keeping ok. After I left I found myself flinching at the mere mention of his name, so I did everything I could to avoid anything to do with him. 

I have lots of positives to be thankful for, I need to retrain my brain to appreciate that I can now probably start over properly, however long that will take.

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I'm okay, I've had lots of counseling over the years. ;)  It's funny how a trigger can bring it all back though. His sister contacted me on Facebook a few months ago and I can't believe how upsetting it was.  I wouldn't friend her, but we messaged back and forth a bit, she understood and tried to reassure me that he's a burned out drug addict that doesn't do computers...one look at his picture and I could see his eyes were vacant.  Still, I don't want contact with his family, it's just a reminder of all I'd rather forget.  It's a long time ago, I'd rather leave it there.

19 hours ago, Kaybee said:

I have lots of positives to be thankful for, I need to retrain my brain to appreciate that I can now probably start over properly, however long that will take.

That's wise, there are a lot of meditations, etc. under Tools for Healing section on this site.  It's helped me a lot with my anxiety and just getting my head where it needs to be.  I think you'll be fine, getting this all behind you will be good.
 

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I think that I've got a lot of counselling coming up on the horizon.

I can't bear any reminders either. He used to say to me that I would only get my life back when he was dead, so that time is now. 

I will check out the section you recommend, thank you 😊 

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Hi there, sorry you are experiencing this...my abusive ex made life miserable in my new marriage until i finally ignored him but my late husband was understanding like your partner.  Anyway, maybe join a support group like griefshare.org?  I also found myself and developed a new me after divorce from my ex with prayer.  Triggers are normal and will happen...I still have them with my ex after 15 years since the divorce esp since we share a son but they are getting better..anyway, praying for you...

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Hi amstcole, thank you. Appreciate the prayers. I shall certainly seek out as much support as I can. 

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I have a grief support group and you might look for something like that in your area.  They're all different, so it might take trying a couple...
http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/seeing-specialist-in-grief-counseling.html 

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2010/04/finding-grief-support-that-is-right-for.html 

 

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21 hours ago, kayc said:

I have a grief support group and you might look for something like that in your area.  They're all different, so it might take trying a couple...
http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/10/seeing-specialist-in-grief-counseling.html 

http://www.griefhealingblog.com/2010/04/finding-grief-support-that-is-right-for.html 

 

Hi kayc, there don't appear to be any grief  support groups around where I live but it's worth keeping an eye out for.

Marty...I saw a therapist this morning who feels that I am experiencing PTSD symptoms. The plan now is for a period of CBT or maybe EMDR. A step forward!

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Thank you both for your recommendations. I can see now that issues needed to be addressed some time ago but there's no time like the present to finally get started.

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