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From Wanting Revenge to Healing, to Overcoming Your Mental Illness

When your being has been put in danger, your body and your sense of safety violated and your soul threatened, it is natural to feel angry. Even after years of therapy, that anger can pop up at the most unexpected moments. It can happen suddenly and without warning. After having been sexually abused it is natural to want justice and to have some form of revenge.

Knowing True Intimacy Can Be the Best Revenge

The only problem is that want doesn’t get. Just because I want justice doesn’t mean I’m going to get it. Far from it. No one is going to be prosecuted and my ex-husband, ex-abuser gets to go on living his life. Because he loves himself more than anything else, I will have to be satisfied with the idea that he will never know true love, which is usually reciprocal in nature. Also, I’ve heard that karma has a way of getting back to people. Because of the evil deeds that he committed against my being, I have no idea what karma has in store for him. The fortune teller whom I, for fun, went to see just over a year ago said that my ex-abuser doesn’t have much time left to live. What did I make of that? After the initial hurrah upon hearing that unfounded prediction, I realized that is not what I truly desire, although I have thought about it many times. What I want is for him to go on living his life with me knowing that he will never know the joys of true love and intimacy, both of which I have discovered through my sessions with my therapist. We have the most intimate, special, and loving relationship with zero physicality. He has shown me the potential of what I can hope for in others. I know now what true intimacy is and the kind I am talking about has nothing to do with physical touch.

Intimacy Transcends Sex

Intimacy and love without physical touch? That’s unheard of! Or so my life story went for many years. I thought love and affection equalled sex. I thought that intimacy was sex. I knew nothing of a higher realm of consciousness which transcends the body and rests in the sacred space of the mind. Before meeting my therapist, I had not known such things existed. I had never been taught or been shown these things. Until, over the years in therapy, I was able to heal and to find my true self again.

Healing Means Continuing to Live Your Life

Healing is about finding your true self. It’s about being incredibly honest with yourself in terms of your moral expectations of interactions with other people in your life. It’s about learning how to be kind and compassionate with yourself. It’s about mothering yourself in the way you were not mothered as a child in order to fulfill the things which had previously been missing from your life. Healing is about trusting yourself knowing that you are human and you will make mistakes. Healing is about forgiving yourself first before you can forgive the other people in your life who have either wronged you, disappointed you or disappeared. Most of all, healing is about continuing to live your life, day in and day out, without ever giving up. Whether you are living from hour to hour, day to day or week to week, the important thing is that you continue on.

Being in Harm’s Way Can be Tempting

When I found out that my ex-abuser was getting married couple of years ago, I had incredibly high anxiety because I wanted to reach out to this woman and warn her of what she was getting herself into. The truth is that people don’t change unless they want to, and my ex didn’t seem to have any problem being addicted to sex, porn, rape, and prostituting out his own wife for financial gain. I wrote a letter to this woman and ended publishing it on my other, less conspicuous blog. I didn’t send it to her. But Lord, did I want to. In the end, she wouldn’t have listened to me or believed me and I would have been putting myself in harm’s way. The point of my healing is to do everything I can in order not to be harmed. Reason won over but it was very hard. Can you see now why I’ve had depression and PTSD?

Give Yourself Permission to Walk Away

The thing is though, you never need to justify yourself. You never have to answer anyone’s questions if you don’t want to. If someone asks something that is intrusive, you either tell them that and decline to answer or simply walk away. Only, walking away isn’t always simple. I used to not know that I had the right to walk away and that my “no” could be respected and honoured. There is a reason why you can’t just simply take a woman away from her abuser. You see, I was psychologically tied to this person and I would have gone right back to him. It was only after four years of therapy that I had the courage to leave him, and even then, I thought I still loved him. I used to defend him, as I had for years, covering up the sexual abuse to the outside world. I was an expert actress for which I could have won an award. Even now, it takes someone reminding me that I am allowed to walk away from a situation if it feels uncomfortable. I can’t just do it. I have to give myself permission.

It’s Going to be Difficult

So give yourself permission, permission to live. Permission to not feel guilty. Permission to feel your feelings when you are ready to do so. Give yourself permission to breathe and permission to take a break, whether it’s taking a 15-minute walk or taking six months off of work on disability in order to recover from that which afflicts you. Trauma and mental illness are serious. Those who have never experienced a depressive or manic episode or clinical anxiety, they don’t fully understand. They can’t understand, apart from those who work in the mental health industry. I didn’t work for three years. I couldn’t work. I was constantly in and out of the hospital for suicide attempts and suicidal ideation. No employer would have kept me employed. Yet here I am, six years later after having left my abuser. And I am strong, damn strong. I know that I can face anything which comes my way because nothing will be worse or harder than what I have already been through.

Things Will Get Better

Things get better, they always do, even if you don’t believe it now. If today was a shitty day, then tomorrow has to be better. If last year you were so clinically depressed that you felt like you couldn’t get out of bed, and this year you are actually doing things with your life on the weekends, then that is winning. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. You are your own hero. No one else can lift you up like you can, or like you will be able to do in time. You know yourself best and you don’t want to let anyone else dictate your life. You learn to trust your mental health care providers and how to work with them, not against them. You take your medications as prescribed and you give yourself a break because none of us is perfect.

You Are an Overcomer

You do all of these things and then you realize something. That you are better off than you were before. And you’re alive. You’ve made it this far and you’re still alive. Which means the best has yet to come. The best part about it is that you have time unless you have a terminal illness. Yes, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow (very unlikely) but for your age, you are young, and you have years ahead of you. Those years won’t always be filled with struggle and hardship. There is a light at the end of the tunnel because I have seen it. You are not the light, but the tunnel itself. You facilitate your own healing and you are steadfast and strong. You wake up each morning, and with that, you have triumphed. You have beaten the odds of your mental illness. You are living proof that survival is possible, and that it is the first step to healing. You are not just a survivor, you are an overcomer because you continue to fight to make it through each day. You can give yourself credit now because it’s true: you are your own hero.

From Wanting Revenge to Healing, to Overcoming Your Mental Illness

Anjuli Nunn

Anjuli Nunn identifies as a writer and is based out of San Diego, California. She is a mental health advocate. When she is not composing poetry, she likes to study psychology and philosophy. She also enjoys spending time with her mixed breed 12-pound dog named Samuel, whom she rescued in 2017.


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APA Reference
Nunn, A. (2018). From Wanting Revenge to Healing, to Overcoming Your Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-recovery/2018/08/from-wanting-revenge-to-healing-to-overcoming-your-mental-illness/

 

Last updated: 19 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Aug 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.