A Letter to Myself, After Leaving an Abusive Relationship

[This is a letter written to the woman I was 9 months ago. These are the things she needed to hear, and that I can now put a voice to after months of therapy and healing space. This is everything I wish someone had said to me on the morning after I left my abusive relationship.]

Dear Amanda,

First of all, take a deep breath. There are a lot of things that you need to do right now, and the first one is to just breatheSecond of all, take your time. Get out of bed slowly, if and when you are able. When you do, take a look at the woman in the mirror. She has a whole world to rebuild. If that sounds daunting, try to reallocate that weight to be hopeful for the new and beautiful things that I can see from where we are now. It’s going to take some time for you to get here, and that time will not always be easy, and that’s okay. Healing is like that. Third – and you may not be ready to believe this yet, but we’ve got to break the ice on this – none of this was your fault.

You thought you could fix him; save him. You thought that if you stayed, he would finally love you in the right way, instead of the way that kept you isolated, and up at night, and hiding things. You offered that man every square inch of warmth in your heartThe fact that it didn’t heal him says nothing of any insufficiency on your part, and everything of how cold and despondent he really must have been, despite your best efforts to see the situation in any other light.

Here’s what you need to know. Not to spoil the ending, but your life has absolutely expanded in his absence. But his departure doesn’t get the credit for that; your life would have expanded regardless. You know who you are, what your purpose on this planet is, what you deserve, where you’re headed, what you are worth. You have always known, and those things were never contingent on his staying or leaving, but it sure is easier to hear all of that without his voice in your ear constantly telling you that you are too much, to slow down on your dreams, or:

“That didn’t happen.

And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.

And if it was, it’s not a big deal.

And if it is, it wasn’t my fault.

And if it was, I didn’t mean it.

And if I did, you deserved it.

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