I’ve worked with victims for quite a while now and every single one is different. Each has brought something different into the abusive relationship. Some have come from abusive childhoods. Some have come from very loving, caring backgrounds. Some have had a mixture of both.
In addition to their upbringing or past, they all have their own personalities, insecurities, fears, hopes, dreams and strengths to add to the mix.
Then, depending on the type, amount and duration of abuse, they are all going to have different time lines and need different resources to recover and live an abuse free life someday.
But there are also many things that the victims have in common. Every victim I’ve ever talked to has told me that they are just so exhausted, so tired, so weary. And it’s not the type of exhaustion that comes from not getting eight hours of sleep. It’s the type of exhaustion that comes from treading water for years, trying to keep your head above the crashing waves so that you don’t drown. And most are also holding on to their children, trying to keep them safe.
All of them have used the expression “walking on eggshells.” Because that’s what it’s like living with an abuser. You never know when the next onslaught will hit, so you tip toe around him, trying not to upset him.
But the other thing that I have noticed, and I love when I see this, is some of them realize along the way that the very best way to get back at their abuser is to live a life full of happiness and joy – WITHOUT HIM! That is their best revenge.
I’m not saying that their life is easier without the abuser in it. Many ways it can be harder, especially when it comes to lifestyle and finances. But even though they may have much less money or live in a smaller place in the shabbier neighborhood, I’ve not seen one survivor who would go back to their abuser for any amount of money or prestige.
And those who really have turned the corner and can feel real joy and happiness and the very fact that they have found that without their abuser, in spite of him actually, can really instill a feeling of accomplishment in them which translates into self-confidence, self-assurance and self-love.
Yes, the best way to get back at your abuser is to live a life that you love without him…a life of JOY!