I am broken and I don’t know how to start the recovery process.

The image I have of myself is: I am lying in the fetal position with my wounds open for everyone to see. I am helpless, hopeless and I can’t get up.

This is what my abusive marriage has done to me. My ex wore me down in the 18 years we were together and the 2 and 1/2 years of us no longer being a family.

When we first separated, I thought I would feel relief and start feeling happy. Friends, lawyers, and therapists gave me hope. I clung to it, like a life raft. But each time, hope was just out of reach. Now, I tell them to stop because each time they offer good news, it doesn’t happen. They still keep doing it and it hurts every time.

The only person who has kept their promises is my ex, every threat has come true. Every single one.

I don’t have anyone that can help me. I haven’t had a break from being a mom since November 2017 and my life has been one of constant survival for over a decade with not a lot of good memories to look back on. The few ones that I have don’t involve my ex.

I am not in danger of committing suicide, as I would never do that to my children. A friend from elementary school attempted it a few years ago when she couldn’t see a way out. She went missing and was found a few days later in a parking lot. She was still high on the pills she took. Her two teen daughters and her mother were frantic. She ended up being committed to a psychiatric ward for a month afterwards.

I remember thinking that it was a selfish act to do that to her children and how they must worry all the time now about her if they can’t reach her or if she is late coming home. But, I know that feeling of pure hopelessness and wanting to stop that pain.

I don’t think a day has gone by in the past four months where I haven’t cried. Sometimes it’s been for just a few minutes, other times it’s for hours a day. I try to hide it from the kids, but occasionally my son sees it and I blame it on my constant shoulder pain or I say I am sad that we have to sell the house.

I am distraught because I have finally faced the reality that I wasted the last eighteen years of my life living a fantasy and other than my kids and possessions, I have nothing to show for it. I also had an abusive childhood that left me primed and ready for my ex.

I need time to heal and to learn how to reparent myself, but I am finding it very hard when I don’t have any time without my kids to really grieve. Instead I sit on the couch and hours go by in minutes and instead of reading, exercising or committing acts or self-care, I am stuck ruminating and frozen. I have isolated myself from my social circle. I briefly touched on why with two friends but with the pandemic they too are caught up in their own anxiety. This gives me perfect cover to dwell in my own mental health issues.

I can’t pass my children off to my mom for a few days, because not only is she in denial about my upbringing, but she is a passive aggressive person who wouldn’t understand why I need time alone. Plus my kids tell me how she treats them like they are years younger than they are. I have seen this with my own eyes.

I just started trauma therapy and I am concerned if I tell the therapist just how bad I am hurting, she may think that I am in danger of hurting myself. I don’t want to take the chance of my kids being taken away from me. I am their stable influence and they just got emotionally regulated again. Their emotions tend to go up and down depending on how their dad treats them and I don’t want to take a chance wrecking that. I want them to be able to count on me.

I also can’t ask my ex to take them for a few days, because if he knows I want something he will never do it. Plus, he is the reason I am so messed up. Right now, he is in Jasper with his girlfriend. My therapist was going to try to get him to take the kids on a trip, but this is the only time he could have taken them before he started working again. He never asked to take the kids, so he is out as an option as well.

I have never been this sad for this long. I hope this is part of the normal process and not something more concerning. I have never been on anti-depressants and am not sure if it’s something I should look into. I will try to run this by my therapist when I see her again, hopefully without alarming her.

I am going to try to start a routine because I think having all this free unscheduled time might be part of the problem, in addition to constantly looking into narcissistic abuse. I might be circling the drain too much by focusing on the abuse I suffered rather than solutions. I don’t know what to do, but what I am doing isn’t working.

Former stay at home mom, starting a new life. Lives in Canada and loves reading, podcasts and learning.