The War Doesn’t End With Divorce

Sometimes we get to pick our battles.

And sometimes, they pick us.

I’ve describe what a trigger is in a previous post. You can read it here,

I’ve also talked about triggers somewhat fondly in the videos on my Youtube channel. You can watch one of them here,

But, unless you’ve experienced a trigger, they can be difficult to understand. Being triggered doesn’t feel like a battle because it’s actually a war. In abuse, it’s a power war over of trying to control someone else. Being triggered makes me feel like…well, like that time I sat in a dirty plastic chair in the noisy public building waiting for my number to be called. I might have been smiling since I was having a really good day. I’d been living by myself for a couple months and had begun to get his voice out of my head.

Then, my phone dinged alerting me that I received a text. The threatening words on the screen instantly took my breath away. I felt like I was suffocating. Literally I couldn’t accept air into my lungs. Gasping, I felt my face heating and probably turning red since a woman asked me if I was O.K. I nodded my head at her trying to stand up to run away but my feet were frozen to the floor. People’s voices in multiple languages swirled around me.

I read the text again.

My counseling sessions started to kick in. It was just a text. He wasn’t here. He couldn’t hurt me right now. I was safe in this waiting room. If he walked in the door he probably wouldn’t touch me infront of all these people. He only hurt me behind closed doors.

I breathed in.

Then exhaled.

I breathed in again.

Then exhaled.

I reread the text. I hadn’t heard from him in weeks. Now he wanted something from me. If I didn’t give in and do it he’d…..

“But, right now, I’m safe. I’m safe right now. I’m safe right now.” I replayed those four words in my head until my number was called. Walking up to the window the drone of people’s voices kept swirling around me. I heard mine join them as slid my paperwork under the glass.

If you’ve never experienced abuse I hope that you never do. Having someone try to control you and take your opinions and choices away is beyond words. Statistically, I’ve researched that 1 in 4 women have experienced this.

Abuse isn’t just in the violent words and bodily harm suffered it’s also in the manipulation and control tactics. Since I didn’t have children in that marriage I am blessed with the ability to really get out. But for those individuals who must continue to communicate with an abuser for their children’s sake, I can only admire them as they continue to heal but are continuously dragged back in.

I hope that my words can open your eyes and bring understanding to what those men and women live with. The never ending war of manipulative battles and exhausting boundary reinforcement.

Abuse doesn’t end when the divorce is finalized. It keeps going as long as the abuser wants something from their victim.


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