I lost my way in an abusive dynamic -- and fought my way back into deeper self love and satisfaction

Just a handful of weeks after the most magical elopement to the love of my life (like snowy rain with sparkling lights in a whimsical backyard dream night), a glass came forcefully whizzing by face to then smash into hundreds of tiny pieces off the kitchen wall behind me. I cannot express to you my horror and shock. My body was flooded with feelings of lack of safety, powerlessness, and dismay. I tried to leave so I could be removed from this nightmare, but he stalked me through the house, screaming the most hurtful, hostile, and demeaning things. Ragefully yelling at me to get the fuck out, but simultaneously blocking doorways and snatching the keys out of my car ignition. After hours of this hellacious cycle, after begging and screaming and crying, I finally am free from harm.

At least this time.

The next part of the story is where the “Cycle of Abuse” kicks on. After an “episode” like this, he would apologize, tell me all the ways things would change, and shower me with love, attention, and affection. I loved this man SO deeply that I thought perhaps it could change him. Because of this love, and the love of his beautiful daughters who became my own, I stayed by his side and experienced at least four more massively explosive and violent episodes and countless smaller “offenses”. He was also an expert at gaslighting me, convincing me things that had occurred, had not, and disrupting my trust of self even deeper. In not too short of a time, my nervous system was a hot mess and I couldn’t tell the difference between my intuition and cPTSD symptoms. His rage bouts had NO pattern (once the trigger was the bathtub faucet not turning off) and my mind and body were always on “HIGH ALERT”. I was anxious, experiencing panic attacks, and my self esteem was practically non-existent, but I kept coming back because of how addicted to this cycle I was and the deep rooted beliefs of fear and scarcity that were now hard wired into my physiology.

It’s important to understand that humans in highly abusive dynamics are bonded similarly to that of hard drugs. The intense down and then upswings in hormones released in fear and stress, slapped next to the hormones released in forgiveness, love, and intimacy; create a cocktail of inner drugs that is ELECTRIC and INSATIABLE. On top of this, the process of stress and trauma rewires your brain and your body’s “operating system.” If you are, or you know someone who is, struggling to leave an abusive relationship, please soften and have compassion. Perhaps our understanding of the “withdrawals” that can happen will soften our judgments of these humans running back to their abusers, behaving in erratic or irrational ways, and can equip us with better tools to support those we care for, especially OURSELVES.