What does it take to redefine who you are after long-term abuse? Can you co-parent with an abuser? Why should you reach for the freedom of allowing yourself to be truly seen and heard?
In the fifth podcast episode of the How I Got Through It series, Joe Sanok speaks with Cindy Brock about getting through an 11-year marriage of abuse.
In this Podcast:
- Trying to make it work
- Redefining who you are
- Being honest with yourself and with others
- Co-parenting with an abuser
- Cindy’s advice to her past self
Trying to make it work
I thought about leaving and wanted to leave for quite some time but I was stuck in that abusive pattern of “Oh, it’s going to get better” … finally when the abuse ramped up until I was fearful for my life, that’s when I decided to leave. (Cindy Brock)
Cindy wanted the fairytale life and marriage and tried to make everything work for as long as she could.
It was until she feared for her life and her son that she decided to make a change and leave the situation for good.
My son was at the age where I could hide everything from him but I started to fear what the future was going to be for us. (Cindy Brock)
Even though leaving was incredibly difficult for Cindy, she managed to do it, and reached out to people in her circle for support.
Redefining who you are
After consistent and long-term abuse people can lose their sense of self due to the lack of agency and autonomy.
They may get into the habit of giving themselves away entirely to stay safe, but over time, this can lead to them becoming disconnected from who they are, what they want, and how they want to lead their lives.
A lot of it [came from] time that I spent journaling and reflecting. (Cindy Brock)
Cindy spent time journaling and writing letters to her ex-husband that she wouldn’t send, but as an act and tool to help her process. She wrote letters to herself and to God to help her reflect on what she had been through.
Being honest with yourself and with others
As an act of survival and self-protection, people in abusive partnerships will often put on the emotions that will please their abuser to deter any more aggression or violence.
Therefore, it can be scary but powerfully healing for people recovering from abuse to learn how to fully express how they feel and what they think.
Going through years of abuse, I learned to just put on that smile and just keep going and act like everything’s fine. I had to get to that point in [my] healing journey … to say, “I’m not okay, things are not okay, and that can be what it is” … I don’t have to pretend I’m okay. (Cindy Brock)
Co-parenting with an abuser
Due to the situation, Cindy and her son have no contact with his father.
Cindy has had to learn to be a single parent and finds joy and freedom in being honest about its challenges and its joys.
Whatever your family looks like, there are so many blessings, and it’s beautiful in [just] the way that it is … and I’ve learned to empower myself to know that I’ve got this. (Cindy Brock)
Cindy’s advice to her past self
It is not your fault, and you do not have to make everyone happy because that is not on you.
Books mentioned in this episode:
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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