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Guest post by Nicole Bissett
I remember telling my new friend Harry I was never going to get married again, or deal with the aggravation of a relationship. I meant it, too. Harry and I had met in a support group, ironically, on what would have been my tenth wedding anniversary. I had purposed in my heart to make the best of that day.
Our relationship began with occasional phone conversations, mainly to support each other through the loss of our spouses. I didn’t think of him in terms of anything more than a new friend. In fact, I never believed I’d be able to feel anything beyond friendship for anyone ever again. So it surprised me when I started to develop an attraction for him. I didn’t think he could return the feelings, because he was suffering from his own post-marital wounds. Besides, he was actually getting to know me, and, as I had been brainwashed to believe, to really know me would be to run from me. So I could hardly believe it when he invited me to church on Christmas Eve. I realized that even if nothing came of this, it was nice to know I could feel something in my heart again.
Harry did need time to heal from the loss of his marriage, but to my delight, he was attracted to me, too. Through the following year of phone conversations and coffee/dinner dates, Harry and I developed a strong foundation of friendship. He was also very respectful of my son, which, of course, was vital to me.
When I started to realize I could love this man, I began writing down what my expectations were for a relationship at the urging of a friend of mine who was a life coach. In hindsight, this list was quite amusing. It started out with things I didn’t want, rather than things I wanted; things like “I want my phone calls private, and not taped, I want my emails private.” As I grew in my recovery, I could laugh at that list. I mean, let’s aim for the sky! How about “I want a man who won’t duct tape me to the bed and beat me.” All kidding aside, though, so much of my life had been violated that I had to figure out what I did want from a list of things I didn’t want.
Harry and I are headed for the altar of marriage, but not without caution. We’re in pre-marital counseling together with our pastor. No marriage is without its trials, but it was important for me to know how my partner handled them. Fortunately, we’ve been together long enough now that we’ve endured some painful and difficult times together. The important thing is that we endure them together.
Now, November 6, the date of what would have been my tenth wedding anniversary, has a whole new meaning. I no longer think of it as the anniversary, but the day I met my future husband. What a way to replace a trauma memory!
Today, my identity is not in the surviving of the abuse, but in the conquering. I’ve also been able to overcome other fears in my life, like a 35-year fear of dogs. I was able to do this through a simple NLP visualization technique.
Whenever I face challenges, or a choice to take a risk, I think of what I’ve already been able to overcome with the help of my Lord, some NLP techniques, and, of course, a great support team. I appreciate and enjoy life more now than I ever have, and live relatively free of depression. I look forward to waking up in the morning, and enjoying what life has to offer, not despite what I’ve been through, but because of it.
The ideas contained in this post solely represent the perspective of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak’ contact Michele.
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