A Letter to the Family and Friends of Victims

This.

Forget Me Not Advocacy Group

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Dear “You,”

You are the people that represent stability in a victim’s life, or at least you should.  You are their parents, their siblings, their extended family, and their friends.  Perhaps you are the friend or family of the abuser.  Or, maybe you are the neighbor next door, across the hall, or down the street.  You are the bi-stander that will witness the changes taking place in the individual you love.  You are the acquaintance who works in the same office.  You are someone to a person who has no one at home.  This letter is for you.

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Benchmarks

A year ago today, I didn’t feel whole. Instead, when I looked at myself, I saw something resembling a shattered window. All the glass reflecting bits of me, refracting light every which way, but nothing whole.

Jumbled. Confused. Broken.

I wish I could reach back in time, and wrap the woman I was in a big, long hug. To tell her, “Your journey is worth it.” Because it is. It has been. And it continues to be.

There are days I still wonder if I’ll ever be fully healed again, moments of irrational fear and obsessive thoughts that lead to anxiety. But instead of derailing my day like they once did, I am able to start moving past them. Being able to write and process life and struggles and perspectives here has been such a blessing.

I am starting to come back.

Promotion at work. Slowly getting my finances in order. Starting back to school. Spending time with friends. Working on healthier habits. My own car. Renewed friendships. A healthy relationship.

Life doesn’t often allow us to stop and reflect. I still have a long way to go, and I am still cleaning up a lot of messes that happened when I was overwhelmed, anxious, and lacking in funds. But if I’ve come so far in just a year, where could I end up in another?

 

 

Insecurity, lurking around every corner

Nothing brings your emotions to light quite like the enforced seclusion of keeping germs to myself. Each night this week I’ve lurched home, dropped my things on the nearest flat surface, and found a corner to coil up in. It’s left me surprisingly little human contact, and allowed my mind far too much space for rampant play.

My rapid forward progress in the healing process was bound to hit a few little roadblocks on the way.

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Safety lines

“How would you feel about going away for a weekend?”

I froze, sitting in the car, suddenly aware of the thrum of the wheels against the pavement, the fragility of the windows, Guy – relaxed and easy, driving, and unaware of my fight or flight reaction.

“No rush on deciding,” he continued, voice easy and nonchalant, throwing a smile my direction before focusing back on the road. “but I was just thinking it might be something fun for us.” His own uncertainty slipped out then, as he hurried to add, to reassure, “I want you to feel comfortable, though, so don’t let me pressure you if you’re not ready.” He offered two location options, and then a third with more of a ‘surprise’ potential.

As quickly as my anxiety reared it’s protective head, it settled back down, coiling up like a wary, sleeping dragon with tendrils of smoke and steam still sidling from its nostrils. It wouldn’t take much to stir it up again, but for now, it lay somnolent. Continue reading