Cleaning my house... - by Christy Smith

Published on 18 March 2022 at 01:29

Hello everyone! I just wanted to let you know I am still here. Writing on my blog, I found that “cleaning my house” mentally was the most amazing feeling I've had in a very long time. So I decided to literally clean my home. I am decluttering the crazy chaos that I needed to let go of in order to get my life, family, and son back on track. My home was not a priority. My home was clean (enough), but it quickly became as cluttered and chaotic as my mental state. I used all of my energy fighting for change to improve Mr. I's and our family's lives, so my home, including myself, was put on hold until later. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone to process and hopefully teach or assist someone else with similar experiences or understanding.

I have finally achieved the successful motherhood and family that I desired. As I previously mentioned, I had to revisit my trauma in order to continue writing about my child. I had triggers that I needed to deal with. I have spent the past year reprocessing the trauma, accepting it for what it was, and moving on.

Most people that know me, don't know about the events in my life that for a very long time, I didn't speak about. There was a lot of shame, regret, personal blame, and pain I carried. While fighting to save my son these last few years, in a way I also saved myself. I had no idea how much the trauma from a previous spouse had a hold on my life. I had to accept and work through the impact on myself, and my children's lives. If you have ever been in a situation with abuse or know someone who has, you would know that a controller creates a new version of you, slowly taking everything about you away, including your self-worth. There is blame you learn from your abuser. “You get this because you deserve it", or “This is your fault, if you hadn't done this, I wouldn't have done that”. The truth was, the control had been drilled into my mind so well, that I believed him. Unfortunately, this not only hurt me, but as I grew and learned more about bipolar disorder and other childhood disorders caused by trauma, I realized how it had also affected my children's lives. The abuse was not acceptable. I didn't ask to be treated that way. I had to forgive myself and accept that I did the best I could given the circumstances and the limited support I had (abusers always run your support team off). So, when I say I cleaned my house mentally, I mean I dug everything out of the drawers and cleared out all the cobwebs from everything I could not face previously. 

My then-spouse assaulted me several times, but on one occasion, I was 4 months pregnant and dangling from my neck in the hands of my abuser. I attempted to grab a chair below with my feet to stand on to breathe. Mr. I was my little trooper inside my belly that survived the attack. While attempting to flee, I developed placenta previa. I had ripped a significant portion of the lining that provided oxygen to my baby. My child, while still in my womb, felt my trauma that day, and sadly, this was not the end. 

I was a statistic of abuse. I believed that counseling could help to resolve these abusive issues. Similarly, I believed I was the source of many of the problems, and he always told me I deserved them. Not only that, but I was afraid to discuss the truth about what happened in my home during counseling. It's very scary and very isolating. I was controlled and limited in money.  I believed he was my only hope because "no one else could ever love you." The degrading put-downs had caused me to develop eating disorders. I carried a lot of shame from a failed marriage and developed a complex that drove me to fix everything. They say that the saddest people who are in such pain work harder to keep others from experiencing the same pain. I've become a fixer. 

I was hopeful that he would be able to control his unknown drug use and alcoholism. He claimed to be seeking assistance. I believed him. I was so brainwashed that I wasn't seeing clearly. I was in denial about how serious the situation was at the time. I recall a counselor once asking if I realized I was underestimating the gravity of the situation. Like most people caught in this cycle, it took time, self-esteem, and strength for me to realize I needed to get this person out of our lives. The truth is that our brains sometimes protect us in ways we do not understand, such as survival mode. Sadly, my children will carry that with them forever. I had to accept that. This was the hardest failure to get past in my life. I was constantly in survival mode.

Mr. I's night terrors and memories began at the age of eight, when he first developed memories. I still do not remember the day we married or divorced, but I do remember the last day my child was free of him and the moment that court date ended. 

Throughout my healing process, I discovered grace, resilience, self-confidence, and strength. I hope that my stories, no matter how vulnerable, can help another person who is in my shoes. 

I will take you on my journey through mental health, domestic abuse, and healing. My goal is to help others by sharing my knowledge, healing, and growing from life's experiences. It was time to clean the house.  Occasionally, it takes time to clean each room, one by one. Trauma's effects never go away; they simply lessen with healing and support.