Saturday

The Empty Feeling - Walking Around in a Fog, Confused

After a traumatic experience, whether in or out of a bedroom with an abuser, swollen eyes from crying, pain in one's body, and a sore throat from yelling will leave you emotionally, spiritually and physically tired.  An empty feeling arises within, you are numb to your mate and others.  You can't care about what other people are going through or what they think, because you have been through so much.  You have no emotional connection to an abuser, because you are all tapped out for a time.  You aren't really focused on your children--their lips move but you aren't listening.  You are simply existing until the next episode of abuse comes around again.

This empty feeling is strange.  It's as if someone cut off your five senses.  You don't really see clearly like you did prior to yet another explosive incident.  You don't hear as good when people talk.  Things don't have much of a taste as they did before.  Everything has an odor, but your nose plays tricks on you--what you think is one thing is something else.  You are touched, but are not in the moment.   

You aren't angry anymore, you have no energy to fight anyone or anything, and you just don't want to be bothered.  So calls go unanswered.  E-mails are ignored.  There is no web interaction; you just scroll, click, scroll.  You perform the minimum required on a job.  You are uninterested in going places or visiting with relatives.   

A relationship with an abusive mate is taxing on the mind, body and spirit.  Most outsiders don't care or recognize this fact.  So when people want you to call or come around them, you don't have enough capacity within you to entertain or be entertained by them.  When loved ones want you to help with yet another thing, you don't have the energy to do it.  You aren't a cold, lazy, mean, or crazy person, you just can't open yourself up to anyone when you feel empty.  Like a dessert, you can't provide water, because there is none to give.

Selfish, controlling people don't realize this.  All they are concerned about is, "What will you do for me?  How come you don't talk to me?  Why aren't you helping me?" The victim would love to share all the nasty details of his or her life with the pushy relative or friend, but would he or she even care?  Imagine the response, "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that...I didn't know.  My apologies, if you need anything I'm here."  But most selfish people say a lot, but do very little.  They don't want the drama.  This is why one in an abusive relationship must seek out professionals when he or she is ready to make a power move and not gossips, narcissists and co-dependents for assistance.  Chances are some loved ones have traits just like one's abuser, so why would one reach out to people that remind him or her of the abuser?

This emptiness one feels results in a myriad of negative emotions once it leaves (it will go away one day and you will feel somewhat okay because you can feel again).  However, sadness, moodiness, bitterness, resentment, guilt, shame, and other feelings will show up after the fog passes and those d*mn memories will come flooding forth.  You will be back in your reality again, but you know deep within what you must do to regain full consciousness (you still won't feel completely normal).  You will also have a strong desire to want to be happy again and live your life to the fullest.  But that just doesn't happen for victims who are with abusers who refuse to see and do something about their evil ways.  Letting go of one's abuser mentally, physically and spiritually won't be easy, but you can muster enough energy to do it.  Remember once you have your mind back and are motivated to do what's right for yourself and children, your feet will sure to follow.

Sometimes the best moments are when you feel empty, because they serve as a reminder of how low you really are in a messed up relationship.  When you are too tired to run from your issues, too beaten down to keep defending a cold-hearted manipulator to others, too overwhelmed to help relatives and friends, and too lost to be found, you will come to the realization sooner or later that you can't remain in darkness much longer.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of Socially Sweet, Privately Cruel Abusive Men and other books.

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