Home » That time when I got myself out of an abusive relationship

That time when I got myself out of an abusive relationship

Followers of my blog will know that I did indeed live through, escape and survive an abusive relationship with another human being. One I chose to be in for 12 years.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about a far more significant and more devastating form of neglect I endured. That my friends, is the mal-treatment that I chose to inflict upon myself. The 12 year relationship was only the tip of the iceberg of the myriad of different ways I chose to disregard myself.

I’m not sure when it started exactly, but I can tell you that by the time I was 12 years old, I had begun to make a series of loveless choices for myself. Those choices might have been based on a desire to be an ‘adult’ and could happily have been dismissed as teenage (almost) rebellion.

It wasn’t just teenage rebellion. It was a choice I made to dis-connect me from me and begin a cycle of ‘carelessness’ that took many different forms;

  • In terms of the people I chose to let into my world and in some cases, rule me.
  • In terms of extremes of consumption – whether that be food or alcohol.
  • In terms of the inability to ever stop and rest, disregard for whether I felt tired – something I hardwired into my genetic make up almost.
  • In terms of the unhealthy way I refused to move my body.
  • In terms of my refusal to listen to my intuition.
  • In terms of the way I quietened my own inner voice, and observed the will of others.
  • In terms of the way I filled my world with so much stuff, that I couldn’t hear my own voice even if I tried.

The effects were far-reaching and continued until my early 30’s. They coloured every part of my world in some way, shape or form.

What changed?

Me. The way I see myself and therefore the choices that I make.

How did it change?

In many ways, but the largest of all has been due to the influence and counsel I received from two very brilliant coaches. Those two brilliant humans have helped guide me towards a path of self love, self respect and self honouring. From that place of love, I have been able to eradicate almost all of the forms of neglect I subjected myself to and I will continue to build upon this on an ongoing basis. Love is the beginning and has to be the foundation for everything.

Zofia Sharman was the first coach I saw. She helped me untangle and unravel myself in around 2010, the year I completely changed my life. There was no quick fix, just the gentle exploration of self, of finding my inner voice again and choosing to hear it. And even more importantly, listen. For you see, if we are honest with ourselves – we know that the choices we are making are the wrong ones in real time and from the very moment we make them. We choose to ignore the feeling of uneasiness and plough on regardless.

When we choose something that’s ‘at odds’ with what truly serves us, we feel it immediately. Every. Single. Time.

Each piece of disregard builds up inside us, and we end up completely disconnected from ourselves. Loving choices, namely choosing the thing that truly serves us, will always feel good. You will never feel worried or get that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach afterwards.

After Zofia moved to Singapore, I began to see Sara Williams. The work I have done with Sara, alongside coaching me for the real time issues, hurdles and decisions I make, has been focused on healing the abuse I chose to inflict upon myself before. Restoring my connection to me and revelling in my amazingness. There was (and is) a lot to be done, I continue to evaluate, change whatever is needed and make loving choices. It’s not a perfect science. It’s my life’s work. And will remain as challenging as it is rewarding. Breaking old cycles isn’t easy after all, but it is infinitely possible.

Everybody can benefit from some form of coaching. For those of us that are lucky enough to be in a position where this kind of support is readily available to us, there really is no excuse.

The time is now. Break the cycle.

Sara recently taught me a new way to overcome a neglectful attitude to self – when you are making a choice that doesn’t serve you – change the way you view that action. Change your mindset to see that act as abuse and as blatant disregard of yourself, that in the moment you are making that choice, you are able to determine; is it a choice that says; ‘I care about me deeply’ or is it one that says ‘I don’t care’. That change in focus has really made me feel the actions of self neglect for what they truly are: abuse.

Finding the courage to live as myself, without fear of rejection has been huge. You see, it really doesn’t matter who else rejects me and what for now, the most important person never will. That person is me.

What’s quite incredible is, that the more coaching work I have, the more it becomes infectious. I coach my peers in return on the incredible learnings I have discovered and encourage them to do the same; to follow a path of love and connectedness.

If you feel like this is something you might like to explore for yourself, I’d be delighted to introduce you to some amazing people who can help.

  • So much truth and greatness in this post. Thanks for sharing, I have to say I relate with a lot of what you have said here and I am inspired to go seek some guidance! Its time to stop watching life pass by and feel like you can truly take part in it, without fear. There is so much to enjoy yet it can be so hard to feel connected at times.

    Thanks Penfold!