Dear Avalanche: I need to straighten myself out and fast

Ceecee has left her abuser seven times in 18 months. She has cut off communication with him, but continues to struggle against the trauma bond – and her own heart. What advice do you have to share?

This message was posted as comment on the My Story page. I’ve been where Ceecee now stands. I know how it feels to be buried under that avalanche of complex emotions. And, I also know that this is a critical time in escaping domestic abuse. I’m therefore flagging this comment up as a post because I’m hoping you all will also share your advice to help Ceecee in her quest to break free, permanently.

Ceecee: I can’t take much more of this

Worried woman

Photo by bluebetty

“I am struggling desperately with trauma bonding now. I have left him seven times in 18 months. I just got him out of my place and changed the locks, blocked all lines of communication, and sent him an email that I do not want to see him again. He seems to have accepted it. However I am still missing him! And it is hard not to think of him.

“My brain seems to work okay but my heart is all messed up. I am so scared he will be back in my life again – with my permission!! I feel he has hypnotized me. I’m trying to make sure I am with friends as much as possible so I can pull away. I will get the book Living with the Dominator – I’m reading everything I can.

“Any more advice is welcome. I need to straighten myself out and fast. I can’t take much more of this – – I’m in treatment with a Narcissist Recovery Program and it helps. If it weren’t for Facebook and the internet I think I would be dead either from suicide or him killing me. This is something no one else can understand except those who have been there. Thank you for your blog. It’s one of the things that saves lives of victims of abusers.”

Avalanche: It’s a tough road, but you are on the right track

I’m so sorry that you’ve been through this, and that you are feeling this way. I know it doesn’t make things any easier, but I need to tell you that what you feel is absolutely normal. I know this because I felt the same way too. Many women who have been through domestic abuse feel that way when we make the important decision to get out.

It sounds like you are a switched-on woman who is already doing your research – including into trauma bonding. You’ll therefore know that the ties you are experiencing are the direct result of the abuse that you have suffered. It is a strong emotional (and, according to some, also biological) attachment to someone on whom we feel we depend.

The bond feels enormously powerful. It may feel like we are going mad with pain and sadness when we resist it. I missed my abusive ex too. I secretly hoped that maybe this time he’d change, and turn back into the wonderful man that I fell in love with. I’m pleased to say that I don’t think that way anymore. I managed to get to that stage by determination to ignore that soul-destroying impulse to bounce back to him – and by hard graft. I invested in my own recovery. You are clearly doing the same.

It took three serious attempts before I was able to leave my abusive ex forever (and the countless times I was determined to leave but didn’t get past the end of the road). Here are the top three things that helped me to make my last escape a permanent one:

  1. © Avalanche of the Soul 2013-14

    © Avalanche of the Soul 2013-14

    Like you, I stuck rigidly to No Contact. This, without doubt, was the single most powerful tool in enabling me to fight for my freedom. It gave me the space I needed to begin to think again. My abuser couldn’t try to hoover me back up. Without him to stoke the fires, the trauma bond weakened.

  2. Among others, I read Living with the Dominator, which you mention. I also took the Freedom Programme, which was developed from the book. It is slightly dated but it did switch on a whole lot of lightbulbs.
  3. I engaged with my local domestic violence service. Through this, I gained an awesome support group of fellow survivors. Having others to talk to really helped. We shared our experiences and motivated one another to keep strong. If you can’t get to meet survivors face-to-face, then as you suggest, there is a wealth of experience, strength and solidarity to be found online – just look at the fantastic WordPress community!

You can find other tips in my Checklist for staying out of an abusive relationship. But most important of all, I want you to know that you are the one in control here. You have the power to make a better life for yourself. You are stronger than your abuser. You are stronger than the bond, too. You are taking proactive steps to keep yourself out of the toxic relationship. That’s something to be proud of.

You are on the right track. Research shows that, in time, the pull of the trauma bond does weaken. I’m living proof of that. And you will be, too!

Be free, be safe, be happy.

Photo by xJasonRogersx

Photo by xJasonRogersx

Did you struggle to close the door on your abuser? Do you have advice to share with Ceecee and others in a similar position? Please share.

ALSO SEE: Information on disengaging from abuse, permanently, in Escaping Abuse.

© Avalanche of the Soul, 2013-14


13 responses to “Dear Avalanche: I need to straighten myself out and fast

  1. Reblogged this on The Cut-Throat Clubhouse Online and commented:

    Crew, can you help? Ceecee is at a critical time in escaping domestic abuse. She’s left her narcissistic partner seven times in 18 months. She is currently in No Contact, but grappling with trauma bonding and feelings of missing him. I know from experience that this is a really critical time, so any words of wisdom or experience will be greatly appreciated.


  2. As Avalanche stated, the longer that you keep the no contact in tact the weaker the pull to return to him will be. One major thing that helps me when I feel lonely and the thoughts that maybe it’ll be better this time begins to plague my mind I stop and think of all the times he abused, degraded, belittled, and emotionally raped me and it wasn’t long before I was totally committed to fight for my continued freedom. It is normal to want to go running back and I have those thoughts more often than I care to admit and I’ve been free for sixteen months. It’s okay to feel the loss and the loneliness, we just have to temper that with the reality of truth. The truth is Narcissists are incapable of loving us in the way that we love them. The truth is that their only concern is power and control. All of their energy is stolen from you for their survival.
    Many hugs to you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for contributing your wise words Tee. In particular, I like that you’ve pointed out how useful (though painful) it is to remind ourselves WHY we need to fight to stay out. It’s human nature to want to remember the better stuff and gloss over the bad – but that is so dangerous when we are dealing with domestic abuse.


  3. CeeCee, My name is Warrior. I want to help anyway possible. I have not been in you’re situation so I can’t speak to leaving. You have taken the most difficult step, tells me you’re very strong. The other thing I know about you is you are very smart, you gathered information to help the process. It will take a long time to have the toxins out of your body, that’s how I want you to look at him, toxic. Right now your mind is probably spinning as expected. One suggestion is to start drawing a rough draft of you’re future. You make the choices now, let each decision give you strength. Try to take a minute to tell yourself I’m a survivor, I did it. No matter how small. It sounds crazy but you need to switch your brain to thinking positive. Put a bucket list for the hell of it, my guess is you and still in shock. The other things that may be important. Is he the violent, stalker, try to hurt you type. If so I would talk with local law enforcement to see what you can do without giving them any info on where you are. Keep a journal on you, write down any instances with the time. Put together an In Case of Emergency ICE. Keep one copy in your wallet behind DL, they are used to looking there of the info., Have one or two contacts that you trust with your life. Note any serious illnesses you have and the doctor caring for you. List all meds and what dose. It might sound crazy but everyone needs an ICE. Give a copy to the contacts. If you think he may get nasty, I would include his name with car tag. If there is a shelter near by, when you can, go by see what type of services they have or who does. All of this may sound crazy at this time. Planning went into leaving and planning is a part of everyday now. If you give you’re brain/heart nothing else positive towards you’re new life, it opens the gate for negative and attachment thoughts. I am thinking of you and as you can see, you have a strong support system.


      • I’m not sure I offered her much. I haven’t been is that situation so why would it help. I just felt I had to say something, I talked about all I know. I hope she made thru the first 24 hours. I have so much to learn about what many of you have gone thru. I’ll be more valuable if I understand what is going thru the mind. Thanks for writing.


  4. CeeCee:
    Chin up, you’re on track and off ‘n running now…
    keep a steady pace – it’s pace, not race – to get away this with your head on right…NO CONTACT can’t be stressed enough, as my girls have already emphasized to you. You have made the hardest decision of the entire process already, that part is over with. Now, you can THRIVE and SURVIVE. Whatever I can do for you, I will. Chin up, eyes open.


  5. CeeCee, I have been where you are and you are doing awesome whether you think you are or not, you have taken the right steps and you are asking for help dealing with it and keeping friends close. It is hard, damn hard and a lot of the time it is hour by hour, not even day by day. Looking for the Light had excellent advice. The journaling is a great idea for several reasons, to record any events like LFTL said but it also is great for looking back when you feel you haven’t made progress to see how far you actually have come.
    I also used to write in my journal all the things I felt I had to say to my ex. You know, in the middle of the day you feel like you have had an epiphany and want to share it with him, or you discovered something else he lied about and you want to rip his face off; instead of calling him I would write it all down. But not send it and the next day I would be glad I didn’t call, I would reread it and realize there was nothing there that I hadn’t said a hundred times before. I was always hurt about the same things, for 10 years it was like our relationship was stuck on a scratch on a record (you are probably to young to know about records) but they were damned annoying and meant the song would play the same line over and over again.
    I sat down with pen and paper and wrote out a “what if” list. IF I did go back to him what could I do differently to make it work because we all know they don’t change so it would have to be me. When I wrote it all out there was nothing I could have done that I hadn’t tried. Not react when he didn’t come home at night? not get angry that he had personal ads? the list goes on and on and I tried everything and I am sure you did also. We have to face the fact that there is only so much we can accept and even then it is never enough. I realized after that; that I had been so busy trying to be what he wanted, I totally missed the fact that he was not what I wanted. I didn’t want to be treated like that and neither do you. We fell in love with a facade and have been trying to save a facade. It isn’t possible so we have to decide, either we live with being abused and stop complaining or we leave and have a chance at being happy and healing.
    They can not, not they won’t, they CAN NOT change, even if they wanted to, they are physically deformed. There are scientific tests proving their brains are different that regular people, they are missing the parts that control empathy, conscience and consequently love. They can not change, no amount of counseling, no medication, no amount of hoping or wishing.
    Not calling, if just like any addiction, your brain goes into autopilot and wants to do what it always does, it is the “go to” response that your brain is trained to do. It takes time to retrain your brain. you said you feel like you have been hypnotized, very close to it; try brain washed. like POW’s, cult recruits, etc your brain has been programmed and it takes time to change that programming.
    This is way too long, sorry.
    Good luck and stay strong; you can do this!!


    • Wise words, as ever Carrie. Thank you for sharing your advice – and don’t worry about the long comment. You make really important points!

      I particularly like the idea of doing a ‘What If’ list – a great way to remind ourselves that whatever we’ve tried to do in the past to make them change, has failed. We can’t fix them. And we can’t sentence ourselves to a life of misery at the hands of someone who sees us as nothing more than supply and a way to feel powerful.

      This is Ceecee’s time to invest in her own recovery process. It is gruelling – as you said Carrie – because the conditioning we lived through can’t be undone with the flick of a magic wand 😦 But, it sure sounds like she’s on the right track – and I’ve a good feeling that this will be the start of a brighter future!


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