Can I break out of my cocoon?

I’ve reached the point in my recovery, where I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to love again. I believe wholeheartedly in love. I want that joy again, one day. But I’ve no idea if it will ever be possible for me.

I look at the women I know – online and offline – who have been through the horror of domestic violence and have went on to forge happy, successful relationships. I look at these wonderful, shining women and have no idea how they had the courage to love again.

Photo by icaromoreno

Photo by icaromoreno

How on earth will I ever find it in me to do the same? Even the imagery around love scares me. Consider these terrifying phrases, only slightly tamed by cliché:

  • Losing your heart
  • Head over heels
  • Shot by Cupid’s arrow
  • Burning with love.

What’s more, the men I come across seem colourless and grey. I want someone with fire in his belly. Unfortunately, I don’t trust my choices anymore: they’ve landed me firmly in the flames and I’m determined to never be burned again.

Still, safe as it is inside my self-made cocoon, I don’t want to be in here forever. How do I break out?

Have you found it in you to open up to love again? Was it something you worked at, or did it just happen?

© Avalanche of the Soul, 2013-14
https://avalancheofthesoul.wordpress.com

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26 responses to “Can I break out of my cocoon?

  1. First, it pains and saddens me to know that you went through something so terrible that it has shattered your faith in love so deeply. That said, being the son of a woman who was verbally and mentally abused, I can tell you my mother was equally shaken. It takes a special person to not only help you put the pieces back together, but inspire the kind of trust needed to want to do so. She found that person in my stepfather, which is a testament to the fact that real love exists. Finding that person requires a delicate balance of resoluteness and faith, hope and trust. Letting your heart open to that won’t be easy until a very special person comes along who understand what you need and, most importantly, why you need it. When they do, letting your heart open to them will be more than easy — it will be absolutely right. I don’t know when that will be or how long it will take, I only know it will only come if you’re completely honest with yourself and this person. And it will be worth the wait.

    Somewhere out there, someone will discover you and know you were worth waiting for as well 😉

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind and wise words, Ned. You are always so encouraging and your mother sounds like a wonderful, strong women. My mother is a domestic violence survivor too – and, like yours, also found her happy ending. The man she married (technically my stepfather), I’ve always known as ‘Dad’.

      People who can win the trust and love of a survivor are truly exceptional, amazing people. I hope (eventually) to meet a person like that, and until then I’ll keep waiting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • My mother had a similar experience with my father. They divorced when I was about two. He never beat her, but he did abuse her mentally. She found love years later with another who became my step-father. He was a wonderful loving man. So happiness finally found her.

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      • Hi there, thanks for commenting – so pleased to hear that your mother also found her happy ending. That you are so supportive of your mother really fills me with hope for my own little boy.

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  2. Mingling with single friends who invited other single friends helped me. Here in Dallas they have a cool company called Single Adventures. The company plans all types of outings, you go as a single, enjoy the adventure and maybe meet someone. That’s the way I would do it if I have to go that road. I hate to say Church because many wear mask as Christians. Several people I know did find their love in church. It gave them a foundation for their relationship and took the time to see if the person is who they say. It’s hard after what you’ve been thru but I’m a firm believer of let it happen. You may not be ready and God is helping you from making a wrong turn. You’re a beautiful women with a heart of gold, be picky, really visualize what you want in a relationship and what are the red flags are while dating. You’ve learned some very difficult lesson. Take what you’ve learned from them, remember you are a survivor and any man lucky enough to date you has to know what to expect. Volunteer work is another good way to meet friends who over time the circle grows. No more thinking the man of you’re future is in a bar. Take some steps on your side and God will handle the rest. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Looking and thank you for your advice. I like the idea of busting out of my cocoon without having to burst onto the dating scene (which just fills me with horror!). Your approach is very sensible, and I like that you say let it happen and focus on meeting new people. And you’re right – I’m so well versed in the red flags I’m now hyper-aware. The merest hint is enough to send me running for the hills. Your words reassure me that that’s not actually a bad thing. Thank you so much x

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      • If you don’t meet a nice guy it would probably build you confidence and you might meet some cool gals to hang with. You just decide how you want to fill in the details without giving details. I’ve heard so many great stories from volunteering. You’re future is wide open and it’s nice to have a do over. You’re such a nice person, I think people will be drawn to you. Just keep the radar up. Do you have children, I can’t remember. The reason I ask is if you met a man with kids you could do kid outings vs dating. You can learn so much about a man with their children. Have a great day.

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  3. I think our spirit protects us while we heal, by taking that spark that gives us the desire for love and hiding it for as long as it takes until we are ready again. If we didn’t take that time off, we would throw ourselves into something we surely would regret later. When one doesn’t feel one’s life is measured by the ability to love or be loved, then one can set aside all the traps that harm a relationship and find that someone that brings deep and lasting love. Until then, its best to focus on healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Willy Nilly and thank you for sharing your advice. You describe the healing process so beautifully, and remind me that it cannot be rushed. I realise that I’m feeling pressure from well-meaning people around me, who see me wrapped in my safe little bubble and think I should be moving on faster than I am. Lots to think about there, thank you once more for your wise words.

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      • It was the same for me. People even tried to “find” a girl for me, someone they trusted. It just left me wanting to bury myself deeper. I appreciated their effort to help get me back into life, but I was not ready and it did more harm than good. You’ll know when you’re ready. It usually starts with that hello and a smile, and the warm fuzzy feeling returns like it was never gone.

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  4. thank you for writing the post. If your instinct tells you that you would rather stay in a cocoon, listen to your instinct.
    I have been in two abusive relationships over the last 15 years, and have decided to work on myself first before jumping into another relationship. I am in Al-Anon, counseling, started meditation and yoga, and read tons of books on the topic. I am hoping to raise my awareness, and heal a bit from the abuse (both the recent and the one suffered as a child) so that I won’t be attracted to the same type of person again.

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    • Thank you exposure001 for your words. I’m glad that you’re working on your healing. I am too. But perhaps I’m still in the halfway phase where I am fully aware of the people I want to avoid letting in – but not yet trusting my instincts. So your advice to trust my gut is especially relevant to me. Thank you.

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  5. There is so much love in you through this post it is not possible that you do not find a special kind of love. I believe in always staying open minded with an open heart because you just never know. Also, I believe in self love first because normally it is through the process of self love that you attract the same type of love. You sound incredibly wonderful so you must be and that is the first of everything 🙂 All the best to you, don’t rush it, because everything always happens the way it should, besides, you deserve the best because you worth it. Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words, which are filled with wisdom too. I am trying to love myself once more, but maybe I’m still discovering the person that I *am* now. I hope that I can keep my heart open and make a better future for myself and my son. I am now feeling more philosophical that there may be a special man in that future someday! x

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  6. This is an excellent question and I have felt exactly the same. I couldn’t imagine loving again or trusting someone again. But I think the real issue is learning to trust yourself and your judgements. Consider that with all you have read and learned, (and I’m assuming you’ve done the Freedom Programme) you are now actually an expert at identifying abusive men. (I’ve recently been in touch with an old friend who I am quite fond of, and am taking the advice of Cat Stevens in the song, ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’… One day I might try to love again.)
    But I also agree you should stay in your cocoon if that feels right to you right now. I am still working on myself with meditation and yoga etc. Actually my blog logo is a dragonfly as I feel like I have been in a cocoon while I recover, but I look forward to being a dragonfly soon!

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    • Hi Peggy, thank you for sharing your experience of this. I’ve completed the Freedom Programme and yes, I feel like some sort of expert ‘abuser spotter’ 😉 Sometimes it feels like I’m hyper-aware, and perhaps getting in the way of getting on with my life. But I know in my head that’s not correct, and as you say, I need to give myself time.

      I agree that it is at heart about trusting our judgements. I’m working hard on that, from within the cosy confines of my cocoon! Here’s to the day I bust out – and I’m looking forward to reading you in full Dragonfly Mode, too.

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  7. Avalanche~ my first thought when I read the “most men I meet are colorless & grey” was, our brains get so programmed from the abuse that subconsciously the abuse was the only ‘color’ in our dark world we had to live in. Now it is about seeing the actual ‘color’ in people, the goodness, the empathy, and so on. Love yourself first and foremost everything {& everyone} will fall into place, in time! ~hugs~ and this was an excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tela, I think you hit the nail on the head with your analysis. We do feel ‘addicted’ to the extreme highs and lows of life with an abuser – it does make the ordinary and the normal seem bland and colourless. Your comment has reminded me that until I start to see the joy and the colours as they really are, I’ve still got work to do. Thank you!

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  8. Sometimes I think it’s o.k. to just be where you are. The sense of wanting to grow often occurs before the outward changes in life. I see it is very hopeful that you want to get out of your cocoon. Even having thoughts such as this is a sign you are breaking out of it.

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  9. Love is the most natural yet hardest thing to feel sometimes. I think just being in love with yourself will give you the confidence and the strength to risk your heart again. It takes time, sometimes it takes a second and others years, but you will know it when you feel it and it will be worth the wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi and thank you so much for your encouraging words. I’m working on the self-love thing (it’s not easy) and I hope good things will come from that. I guess I just need to remember not to push myself too hard, too fast.

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      • I’m working on the self-love too. Sometimes I think I have some and other times I think it will never ever happen. It is a process 🙂

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  10. I can completely empathize with your position. I feel like my people picker is broken and I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to choosing a partner. My issue is somewhat the opposite of yours: I seem to find red flags with every woman I meet. My thought is I’d rather be overly picky right now than have to endure another repeat of my past. I also agree with Tela; I am so programmed to look for someone with constant drama that I can save that I have no idea what normal looks like, nor what it feels like to be in a normal relationship.

    My approach has been to get out there and date. Dating has been a great way for me to hone my new found skills at spotting the red flags and I’ve met many great people along the way. I’ve yet to meet someone with true long term relationship potential, but I’m willing to keep trying. In the meantime, I’m perfectly comfortable being single. If the right person doesn’t come along, I’m OK with that. Being happy in my own skin is a wonderful feeling, and something I’ve never really experienced before after a lifetime of abuse.

    Trust your gut. It will tell you when you have found the right person. Your gut doesn’t lie.

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    • Hi Stephen and thank you so much for your insight. I’m so sorry that you went through all that, and your positive outlook is truly inspiring. I really like your blog, which is particularly interesting to those of us wanting to understand more about the impact of narcissism.

      It’s so hard, isn’t it, to risk our heart once more when we’ve been put through the wringer of abuse. I think I’m a ‘saver’ too. All my life I’ve found flawed and complex people to be more interesting than others – I call this the Heathcliff Instinct.

      I thought love had to be all passion and gnashing of teeth and yes, drama! It’s only when we fall in love with someone like that we realise the dangers of being ‘crazy in love’ and how destructive it can be.

      Like you and Tela, I do agree that we can get addicted to these crazy-making patterns. Now, I’m trying to re-programme myself to see the goodness and joy in the normal. Relationships shouldn’t be traumatic. They shouldn’t feel like we’re sprinting a marathon. And to start with, like you, I’m working on myself. And if a good-hearted, self-aware and repectful guy comes along in the meantime, fantastic! 🙂

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