We’re just days away from the New Year, and I can’t wait to send painful 2013 off into the cool winter sunset. So, now seems a great time to say goodbye to my annus horribilis and send a huge thank you, to you – and everyone else – who has helped me on my journey out of abuse.
In October, fresh from escaping an abusive relationship with the father of my child, I enrolled on a domestic abuse course. The fantastic Freedom Programme, by Pat Craven, shone a mega-watt lightbulb on the dynamics of abuse. My eyes started to open, for the first time, to how much I had endured and what it took to get free.
Looking for a way to get my pain out, learn more about abuse, and hopefully help others along the way – I started Avalanche. Researching, understanding, and blogging helped me enormously, especially what I learned about the power of trauma bonding.
I also encountered many bloggers who strive to help set others free – too numerous to mention here. However, I owe a huge thank you in particular to my first followers (and others) who gave me a glimpse into the strength of the blogging community and depth of wisdom, talent and humour online – especially Dragonfly Woman, Electrikkiss, Opinionated Man, and schizophrenicbunny.
I was also wowed to be nominated for the Leibster Award by the marvelous Sophie Buck. The vote of confidence in my fledgling blog inspired me to work even harder on developing Avalanche.
It was tough finding time for the blog in between the day job, looking after my beautiful child, and grappling with my stalking ex – as well as all the practical things we need to do to disengage from our abusers. (Massive kudos to my supportive family for their help!) But, Avalanche brought a new and welcome dimension to my quest for safety and happiness.
Through blogging, I was uncovering some of the answers that I needed about why my ex behaved as he did, and why I shelved the misery to stay with him. I started to develop – and put into action – new strategies to make this a permanent break.
Finding a sense of purpose
The following month brought new surprises – some delightful, others terrifying – each with something important to teach me.
My post, What your abuser doesn’t want you to know, achieved over 500 Facebook likes and visits to Avalanche hit 1,026 in a single day. Wow! People who took the time to comment that the post helped them in their own personal journeys filled me with a sense of purpose that maybe, my experiences could help others to carve out abuse-free futures.
Meanwhile, my ex continued to violate court orders forbidding him to contact me – and was repeatedly arrested and released. To make things worse, I actually missed him (or, at least the idea of him).
Avalanche, and the blogging community, helped me realise the funk I was falling into by allowing my fear and sense of loss to over-run my new life. I straightened out my shoulders, and got on with positive things. And, guess what? My world didn’t come to a crashing end. I got stronger.
Meeting the festive season head-on
Facing up to the first festive season without my abuser, I was inspired to reach out with my Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Christmas, and attempted the gruelling 12 Days of Christmas challenge! I also faced down the similarly difficult task of telling my abusive father what had happened to me, which reinforced my confidence that I had done the right thing by getting out – and the strategies I shared on emotional blackmail helped me to overcome my guilt at leaving.
This was also the month when followers of Avalanche topped the 50 mark. Many thanks to everyone who has joined in, showing me that my experiences and learning could potentially be relevant and interesting to others. An especial thank you to Ros at Freefromhim, whose recent post prompted me to think about my own journey over the last few months. Next year already looks brighter!
THANK YOU ALL for your insights, wisdom, and humour. Thank you for supporting me on my own journey out of abuse. Thank you for making Avalanche meaningful – and fun to do! As we welcome in shiny-new 2014, here’s wishing you all happiness and safety, and that you achieve your goals in the year ahead.
© Avalanche of the Soul, 2013-14