I have recently broken free from an abusive relationship that has dominated my life for the past 4 years after finally finding the courage to do so. Whilst I am certain that I have managed to do it for good this time and will not go back (I have tried numerous times but always have returned to relationship - this has been partly to do my lack of self esteem that has been eradicated through his treatment or, more severely, when he has threatened suicide and I have been too frightened at the thought of having 'his death on my hands' as he has put it) I find myself in a very bad way physically and mentally.
During this relationship I have had talking therapy, CBT, taken medication, and have sought help from the Women's Trust; I have even spoken to the police. None of this has left me feeling like I am strong enough to get over all of this once and for all - what can I do? Part of the abuse I experienced was being made to feel like I was, in fact, the abuser and the one to be frighten of, and that I was seriously mentally ill and hence a danger to society. This has de-stabilised my sense of self so dramatically that I feel as if I have been turned inside out (I can't think how else to describe it). I feel raw, vulnerable, frightened and most worryingly, I feel like he was right to call me those things. I also feel unable to trust anyone again because everything I told him about my hopes, dreams and fears for the future, has been used against me as ammunition in the form of verbal abuse. For example, he knows that I long to have a family but often taunted me that at my age (33) my eggs would be s**t by now and then just shouting IVF at me again and again when I tried to speak.
I have lots of good friends and a supportive family, many of which have urged me to escape this scenario for longer than I can remember but I feel so alone. It is easy to just tell me to leave. I feel like I have worn their patience with me right down. I feel like I have to start from scratch to rediscover who I am and fall back in love with myself. How can I do that?
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