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Old November 28th, 2013, 10:26 AM   #4
rjsfeminist's Avatar
Join Date: May 2001
Location: west central Florida
Posts: 1,564
(((Dianne))) Having survived an abusive first marriage that lasted way too long (20 years), I can relate to what you're saying, including the dreams. There were times I'd wake up crying and close to screaming, shaking all over; sleep would be pretty much finished for the night.

While I never went to a therapist (officially), I'm sure that that would help. But here's something that might help: I hung out with a Vietnam vet for maybe a month. Biker-type. BIG tough guy. Turns out, he counseled vets at the local VA, especially those with PTSD. While he admitted that he wasn't officially "qualified" to diagnose, he was sure I was suffering from PTSD. (Yup.) He then told me that he was going to give me the same advice that he gave the vets: What happened to you stunk, was the pits, was the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen to a person, and that no one should have to go through or feel what you're going through. That said, can you change 5 seconds ago? Can you change 5 minutes ago? 5 hours? 5 days? 5 years ago?

Of course, the answer was "no." He then told me that the best way to start to recover was to look at the shit that happened, admit that it was absolutely a horrible thing, and if needed, I could cry over it, scream over it, etc. But that I was to give myself a time-limit, say, maybe a couple of hours. Then, I was to say out loud, "I'm over you (the past) and you (the person who did this to me). You're gone, and I REFUSE to let you control my life any more." Then, go to bed (exhausted, of course) and then let tomorrow be a new day.

Simplistic? Yes, very much so. But did it help? I was skeptical at first, but I did this 2 or 3 times over a period of a week or so. By the middle of the next week, I told the biker/vet that I thought it was time we went our separate ways. He had done nothing wrong, we were just so different, but that piece of advice he gave me during the few weeks we hung out helped me start getting my life together, and that's something I can never repay.

The other thing that helped was reading Gloria Steinem's "Revolution from Within." In one place, she mentioned a woman she knew who divorced an abusive man, but kept being attracted to the say type of man. She finally decided not to date for 5 years and to learn to love herself. When she finally started dating, she met her second husband, a man she never would have been attracted to years earlier. So...since I could relate (some of the guys I dated...UGH!), I decided to try for 3 years. As it turned out, I met the man destined to be my second husband 5-6 months into that 3 years. We didn't date for almost a year, but then within the next year, he'd moved in and we were married. He was someone I never would've given a second glance to when I was dating the wrong men.

Between those 2 bits of advice (letting go of the past; not dating for a while), I was able to get my life back on track. While I was able to do that in my 40s, I'm only a few years younger than you are, so I can say with authority you're not too "old" for another chance. And yes, a therapist couldn't hurt.
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