Life After Abuse: What No-one Tells You

It’s easy to assume that the end of an abusive relationship means the end of the problems caused by abuse. This may happen for a few people, but it’s not true for everyone!

Life After Abuse: What No-one Tells You. "Your old life doesn't just snap back into place immediately. You changed, and others changed along with you. - Thomas Fiffer, The Good Men Project

Your old life doesn’t just snap back into place immediately. You changed, and others changed along with you. – Thomas Fiffer

The lingering effects of abuse, and the extent of the damage that it is caused may only become apparent some time later. You will also find that coping with the abuse has changed your way of interacting with others, lowered your self-esteem and distanced you from those close to you (or, those who were close to you but no longer are.

If this sounds overwhelming and depressing then remember that recovering is both possible, and worthwhile. You can begin to have the good life you deserve. You might find it helpful to read the excellent article below – and to share it with those close to you, to help them understand that possible reactions after the end of the abuse – and what can be done to help.

    The Unspoken Secrets about Life After Abuse by Thomas Fiffer (The Good Men Project)

Related Links

It’s my fault, it’s always my fault: Self-Blame (
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (
Denial: A psychological defense against trauma (
If the Abuse is Ongoing (
Being male and a survivor (
The Misconcepts of Misandry (hatred against men) (
Signs of being in a pscyhologically abusive relationship (

Complex PTSD as an official diagnosis

Complex PTSD is planned to be included in the ICD-11 diagnostic manual produced by the World Health Organization, and planned for release in 2017. The ICD is an alternative diagnostic manual to the American DSM manual – but unlike the DSM it includes both physical and mental disorders, and will be available in multiple ‘official’ languages too.

The Complex PTSD description has recently been updated to include the causes of Complex PTSD, including child abuse.

Did you know... The World Health Organization now recognizes that child abuse, and prolonged domestic violence can cause Complex PTSD - which has a more pervasive effect on life, and more symptoms, than 'simple' PTSD. Source: ICD-11 draft description, 29 May 2016

Causes of Complex PTSD in the World Health Organization’s ICD-11 diagnostic manual now include child abuse, and prolonged domestic violence.

Not many people realize that the current ICD-10 has an equivalent diagnosis called Enduring Personality Change After Catastrophic Event, which is classed as in the ‘other personality disorders’ section. Complex PTSD will, of course, be in the same category as PTSD in the ICD-11, since it is not a personality disorder (and can exist alongside a personality disorder).

The description of Complex PTSD may change in the future, find the most recent description at

Related Links

If the Abuse is Ongoing

Breaking the chains of abuse – parallels between domestic violence and ritual abuse.

The strong attachment bonds, psychological and emotional abuse, often combined with trauma bonding, can be understood and undone. Healing is possible.

If you think about studies on domestic violence, you will recall that the abused person often returns to the abuser, perhaps because they are too afraid not to, perhaps because they hope against hope that this time it will be different. The abuser may turn regretful and apologetic and things may be better for a short period of time. But the abuse inevitably returns, and often is more violent. The sweet talk is the carrot, the stick is the threat of dire consequences for disobedience. It’s the same with cults. - Jean

This article may be triggering.

Ritual Abuse

There is a blog entry on Labor Day at

I haven’t ever blogged about this, at least that I can remember. The closest I have come is writing about how to handle harassing phone calls, which, after all, are cues to show up for more abuse.

I wonder why. I think it is because it breaks my heart that some of us think we have escaped, but haven’t. When a friend has unexplained bruises or little burns in strange places, I get really upset. Or when they start remembering recent abuse, perhaps after a long stretch of safety.

I’d like to believe that each and every one of us has broken with our perpetrators, worked through all the cues and programming, and disarmed all the triggers once and for all. That would mean we never could be hurt in this way again, we never could be abducted and reprogrammed…

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50 Shades of Grey is like Twilight – Domestic Abuse is normalized

The mass marketing campaign that follows the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy seems unaware that it promotes non-consensual physical and sexual activity.

50 Shades of Grey is not portraying Safe, Sane and Consensual kink (BDSM) within a relationship… for instance Ana says “No” to sex, and Christian then rapes her. Some bloggers have also pointed out the undertones of pedophilia, despite Ana’s reported age of 21.

50 shades of abuse romanticized poster

50 shades of abuse romanticized from

The level of emotional abuse and manipulative behavior includes stalking, isolation from others, and harassment,  paralleling criticism of the Twilight Saga, which ironically was written by a woman with very conservate views on relationships.

How many of the overt and covert signs of domestic violence and emotional abuse can you spot from 50 Shades? What counts as criminal activity where you live?

Read 50 shades of grey Warning Signs & The Cycle of Abuse.

Related links

Safety and Privacy Tips for survivors of abuse: Facebook and social networking

Tips for Improving Safety and Privacy on Social Networking

1. Review and limit your public information

Do you need to put your location in? Who would use it?
Should your date or birth be private?
Should your previous jobs and education be removed, if you only want to talk in support groups or keep track the news then you don’t need to include these.
Do your photos show private  information to the world, such as your new car’s license plate, the outside of your house or what your children look like? If you moved house years ago perhaps these can be deleted now.

2. Review your “friends list” or “followers”

Consider un-friending or blocking anyone whose posts are disturbing… perhaps an old friend is posting “jokes” which make you uncomfortable, or maybe you accepted a friend request from someone with the same name as someone you knew and they turned out to be someone different. Remember you can usually still exchange messages with those on your friends list, especially if you are in the same groups or communities.
Some people have a lot of friends who they rarely connect with – how about asking people to comment if they want to stay on your friends list? Those reading your posts will be able to reply, and you will have a good idea who doesn’t really read your messages anyway.

3. Does your name give out more information that it needs to?

Some people add their professional titles to their name but don’t use the account for work, or include initials or nicknames to make themselves easier to find. If you’ve already connected with those you know personally then maybe it’s time to change this setting, and go back to being one of thousands with the same name.

4. Check your privacy settings

Privacy and security options change regularly. Look for the settings and see how they are set right now. It’s not a good idea for all your messages or posts to be “public” and if you are using facebook look for  “Who can see my stuff?” then Limit the audience for posts I’ve shared.

5. Choose a “strong” password or turn on “notifications”

Try your password here to check how easy it is for a hacker to access your account. Think about whether your password is saved on any mobile devices, and if the risk of theft (or loss) would give another person access too your information.

6. Difficult dates – a time to avoid social networking and email?

Trauma survivors often have particular dates when they are more likely to be vulnerable and more easily triggered, or when abusive people are likely to try to get in touch. Some examples might be around national holidays or Christmas, your birthday, or the anniversary of a major trauma. Give yourself permission to avoid things that may trigger you at this time, or simply avoid the computer altogether.

7. Ritual abuse survivors: an extra consideration

Abusive groups and abusive people are known to use social networking to “trigger” survivors. If you may have been subject to ritual abuse and have DID then the information you share online could be used to target specific identities in order to get you back in touch with your original abusers. Be very, very careful about what you share and do not be afraid to delete things shared in the past to prevent people building up a “picture” of your DID system. If you are sharing something about yourself, ask yourself WHY you are sharing, and IF you can be more vague and limit the details.
For example – talking about your emotions or how to handle triggers generally could avoid you describing a specific situation and a specific trigger.

8. Boundaries – setting and keeping boundaries are part of healthy relationships

You can decide how much to tell someone, you do not need to share the same amount of detail back to someone that they have shared with you. If you feel under pressure to tell someone detailed information you can “step back” and explain you don’t feel comfortable sharing those details right now. If you feel another person is sharing too much with you then you can suggest both of you share less detail, and explain why. It is not helpful if you accidentally trigger each other.

If you have dissociative identity disorder see if you can agree boundaries with the other identities – especially the younger ones – and consider what information is best shared in person, or by telephone rather than electronically. With DID sometimes an alter may try to keep secrets by punishing another alter for telling too much, for example self harming your body, so there are internal safety concerns as well. Safer places to share delicate information may be in your own journal, during therapy or in the form of art work rather than writing.

quote from Safe Passage to Healing

Facebook Privacy and Safety Guide

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) are a member of Facebook’s Safety Advisory Board, and have produced this guide to address privacy on Facebook and also provides safety tips and options in the event that someone is misusing the site to harass, monitor, threaten, or stalk. Many of the points in the booklet are relevant to twitter, google plus, tumblr, instagram or other social networking websites.

The guide is aimed at helping survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking control their safety and privacy to help prevent misuse of facebook by abusers, stalkers, and perpetrators to stalk and harass.

Download, read or print the NNEDV Facebook privacy and safety guide