Ask Cindy: I Still Feel Trapped

I recently got divorced after being married for 4 years to a very verbally abusive man.  He ignored my children and grandchildren during our marriage and limited my contact with them. I could do nothing right in his eyes, I didn’t clean the house to his satisfaction, didn’t cook right and he even complained about our lovemaking. I am struggling with forgiving myself for putting my family and me through so much hell. Sometimes, I still feel trapped, what do I do? ~ Dena in Florida

This is very common amongst women who suffered from verbal abuse. During the abuse, you were led to believe that something was wrong with you and that EVERYTHING was your fault. Even though on a logical level you know this is not true, sometimes you still beat yourself up for all the mistakes you made.

I am sure that the relationship did not start off that way. When you met your ex, he was probably very loving and charming. Once you were drawn in and began to see his true colors, he had a way of twisting your feelings to believe that it was all your fault.

Let me ask you, what type of advice would you give to your daughter if she were in this situation? You would probably love her through it. I doubt that your family blames you for anything. (And if they do, it’s their problem NOT YOURS.) It may help to sit down with your family and explain your feelings and let them tell you theirs. I’m sure it will be a lot different than what you were expecting. They were probably concerned about you during your marriage and are thankful that you are now out of it. Ask them how they felt during your marriage and if they learned anything of value.

You feel trapped because you are living in the past - remembering everything that happened, mulling it over in your mind over and over. When you catch yourself thinking of the past, try to concentrate on what is happening RIGHT NOW. What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel? (such as the chair your sitting on or the warmth of the sun.) Enjoy the moment at hand. Breathe in and out. Concentrate on your breathing and realize that ALL is well with the NOW.

Here are some affirmations to state to yourself many times through out the day:

 ”I choose to forgive myself for the past”

“I choose to love myself for the beautiful person I am”

“I choose to create a wonderful future for myself”

“I choose to live in the present moment”

 Write then down on a 3 by 5 card and put them all over your home where you see them often. Say the words with feeling. Imagine how great you feel with these thoughts.

Love Yourself, Be gentle with yourself. Have a verbal conversation with yourself. State that you did the best you could with the person you were back then. You are a different person than you were then. You love yourself and have learned from the past. Every experience that you have had has helped you grow and become the person you are right now, and that is pretty special.

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  1. I am not divorced however I have other issues from the past I am working on with myself, this is great advice even for my issues.

  2. Hi Cindy,
    I truly love your message and mission…providing such loving support and giving women the tools to build their new life upon. You are helping them to love themselves and to begin living a joyful and fulfilled life. We are very similar in guiding women to develop their happiness within, their strength, their courage, their self-esteem….to love and like themselves.

    We should chat to see how we can help and support each other. Please send me an email or message on FB if you agree. I am from the UBC, so nice to visit your blog and to meet you. Please come visit me:


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