You’d think that finding love would be the first thought after divorce and enduring years of abuse. You might believe that having someone hold you in love would feel comforting and help you feel whole. Love is definitely on the radar, but it’s not front and center. After years of being on an emotional rollercoaster, it’s the stability that you crave.
You want love but you want slow love. A sure love. Love with someone who makes you feel secure and who doesn’t make you feel like the rug could be pulled out from underneath you at any moment.
That’s what emotional abuse feels like. One day you’re floating high, sure that your partner loves you and is going to change. They say they love you, and you love them so obviously you believe them. They have groomed you for years to trust them. You could be the most intelligent person in the world, and an abuser will still have you ignoring all the red flags.
Then, the next day you’re hitting rock bottom again. The fall is harder and more painful each time because you’re tired…so, so tired. Each incline is harder to climb and each decline is faster and faster. All you want is for the ride to stop. For the ground to be stable underneath your feet again.
After you break up with an abuser, you crave solid ground. You look for it in everything you do and every decision you make. It could be a job, your finances, a friendship, a relationship- you just want consistency and to know what’s coming next.
The biggest problem with emotional abuse is that you know what’s to come. It is consistent. But it’s consistent in a very bad way. It consistently beats you down and makes you feel like you’re absolutely worthless. You don’t want to take it anymore, but you almost don’t know how to live without it.
When you’re finally out of the situation, you’re like a baby learning to walk for the first time. You don’t trust the ground beneath your feet because it’s been shaken so many times before. Just like a baby has to hold onto something to steady themselves, so does a person leaving an abusive relationship.
That’s why stability is the biggest craving after enduring years of emotional abuse. Sure, you want to fall in love. You want passion and excitement. But more than anything else in this entire world, you want to simply know that someone is there for you and that they aren’t leaving no matter what.
Not only are they not leaving, but they aren’t going to hurt you either.
You’re not going to trust them at first. That’s okay and completely normal. The right person will understand. They’ll be patient and willing to wait for you to get both feet firmly planted on the ground.
That consistency – that stability – is what someone who has endured years of emotional abuse needs. They need an uncomplicated and reassuring relationship.
Those years of abuse will have you questioning literally everything, even the very ground beneath your feet. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Love can blind us all, especially when someone is very good at manipulation.
Stability is a beautiful thing. After breaking free from an emotionally abusive situation, you must first find it within yourself before you can find it in another person. Once you have both feet firmly planted on the ground, nothing will be able to shake you. No one will be able to pull the rug out from underneath you ever again because you’ll recognize the signs and be strong enough to show them the door long before they ever get close to it.
Baby steps will get you there.