By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS
If I had a dollar for all of the times that I heard a survivor of domestic violence or narcissistic abuse tell me that if they knew then what they know now about post-separation abuse, they would have done things differently, I would be rich.
Victims are told to escape and that things would get better and safer. But is this really the case?
In my experience and those of my clients, this could not be any more false.
And this is especially true if you share children with your abusive partner.
You will experience abuse in another form, post-separation abuse.
So, what is post-separation abuse?
Abusive relationships are all about one partner gaining and maintaining power and control over their victim. When an abusive relationship ends, the abuser’s need for power and control doesn’t. In fact, because there is a significant decrease in the amount of control they have over their victim, very often the abuse increases.
By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS
By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC
As I sit with my female clients day after day, a common theme emerges. Right now, they are extremely angry and that makes them extremely uncomfortable. It is probably helpful to mention that all my female adult clients are victims and survivors of domestic violence and narcissistic abuse. Maybe that makes more sense to you now. That they are angry at the abuse they have endured and maybe that they are angry at themselves for allowing the abuse to happen. You are not wrong. Many are angry for exactly these reasons.
But they haven’t always been angry. It wasn’t safe for them to be angry. So, what has changed?
Similar to the grief process when someone you have loved has died, anger is a stage in a larger process of healing. These women are also grieving, but they are grieving the loss of a person and a relationship that was not real. They are grieving the promise that was made to them over and over again as a way to keep control of them. Some are grieving the loss of the years they spent trapped, and some are grieving the loss of their identity completely.
"If what is being mirrored back to you is a person worthy of love and respect, a reflection of your strengths and your greatness, you will likely agree and walk with your head held high. Ready to take on the world. If the people around you are reflecting something different, maybe it’s time to change who is around you.
Sounds easy. But what if the people you have around you say that they love you and that they will take care of you, but the reflection does not match? If you believe that you are unworthy and are broken based on what you see in the people around you every day, the idea of leaving and finding your new village of people where your greatness will be reflected seems impossible. In fact, you probably will take on the reflections you receive back to you as truth. That you are unworthy. That you are broken."
In her article for bizcatalyst360.com, Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS, discusses the importance of surrounding yourself with a genuinely supportive inner circle -- people who will reflect and validate the best version of you -- when healing from a relationship of domestic violence and narcissistic abuse. Read the full article here.
By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, AC
You’ve got to be kidding me?!?!?!
My ex has won over and over again. No accountability. The smear campaigns and false allegations against me (even on the stand), and you are telling me to let him win?!?!
If you are thinking that we can’t be friends anymore, let me explain.
When you are going through a “high conflict” divorce with an abusive ex, I’m sorry to tell you that it is going to be a battle. A long one at that. And for most survivors of abuse, it feels like you are doing everything just to keep your head above water day in and day out. There is nothing fair about this situation. Nothing.
So, what can you do to get to shallow enough water to stand up for yourself and your children?
Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in working with victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse.