Love shouldn’t hurt – ever

Is this your wake-up call?
Are you living in an intimate partner relationship that is abusive in some way? Have you considered leaving but fear has kept you there? How many times have you considered your relationship and thought “this isn’t working” or “something is not right” or “things have to change”? Could that be your inner voice trying to rescue you? Could it be a “wake-up call”?

What will it take to wake you up enough to seek change? More stress, a major blow-up, being emotionally degraded one more day, not being allowed to see your friends or family, bruises, abrasions or being strangled? You don’t need more stress, abuse, or a major crisis to wake up. And no one really needs to remind you because you already know. Your inner voice has been trying to tell you, but in case it’s been difficult to find time and space to listen to yourself through the turmoil, maybe you’ll really think about it today.

Do any of these situations sound familiar: Do you ever put yourself first or do you always have to take a back seat? Have you become someone you don’t even recognize? Are you chasing someone else’s dreams? Are you living day-by-day on automatic, not engaged with life? Are you numbing yourself with alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, or other distractions? Do you just feel worn out and beat up with life?

Hearing your wake-up call is not the hard part, but answering the call is. Deciding to answer the call instead of disregarding it is hard. Maybe you feel it is easier to just keep going in the wrong direction and not rock the boat. Maybe you have been so beaten down you don’t think you deserve better. Maybe they have you thinking you will never find anyone to love you. But you know in your heart that if you don’t find a way out of the abusive cycle you’re in, things will get worse.

Marc and Angel Chernoff share the great advice below:
• “Sometimes it takes a broken heart to shake you awake and help you see that you are worth so much more than you were settling for.
• One of the hardest lessons to learn: You cannot change other people. Every interaction, rejection, and heartbreaking lesson is an opportunity to change yourself only.
• Someday you’re going look back on this time in your life as such an important time of grieving and growing. You will see that you were in mourning and your heart was breaking, but your life was evolving in positive ways that were impossible to see at the time.
• Remind yourself right now, some chapters in our lives have to close without closure. There’s no use in totally losing yourself by trying to hold on to what’s not meant to stay.”

“Unfortunately, you don’t get to decide if or when you might get hurt in this world, but you do have some control over whom and what hurts you.  After all, who we ultimately become depends, in part, on whom and what we let into our lives.  So don’t just settle for relationships and situations that have proven to be unworthy.  Exercise your right to choose differently. Be the hero of your life, not the victim.  You may not control all the circumstances that happen to you, but you can decide not to be continuously reduced by the same ones.”

Crisis Services of North Alabama offers free and confidential services to victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. You may reach a crisis counselor at our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000 or you may call our Jackson County office for an in person appointment at 256.574.5826. You don’t have to walk alone.

-Teresia Smith

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