Feelings are a crucial part of being human. Without feelings, we would be a shell with no person inside. Those of us who were violated, learned to turn off our feelings in order to survive. If we had felt the full range of emotions at that time, it may have been too much for us. Perhaps, we would not have been able to do all of the things we needed to do like take care of our children and go to work. However, to fully heal, we must connect with our feelings and by doing so, reconnect with ourselves.
You will know when you have come to yourself when you feel anger. You will become angry at your abuser and decide you have had enough! Anger is very motivating for violated women. We learned to repress anger in order to please, diminish ourselves, and survive. However, we are now aware of our value. We know we deserve respect and care just because we are here on the earth. We do not have to do anything to be treated well. Good treatment is our birthright. Once I became angry, I was able to make a plan, and get myself and my children to safety.
As we heal from the effects of domestic violence, it is necessary to feel the pain of the past. Many of us need professional help to fully recover. Never hesitate to reach out for help. The pain needs to be felt so it can then leave your body. Do the work required to free yourself completely.
As you live in safety, develop the habit of paying attention to your feelings. Learn to identify the full range of human feelings. I did not know the precise words for many feelings. I found a list similar to the following very helpful. http://www.psychpage.com/learning/library/assess/feelings.html
Teach your children words for feelings. Encourage them to express how they are feeling. Let them feel whatever they are feeling. Tell them you have felt that way too. Here is a list of feeling words for children.
Talk opening about feelings with your children. Let them see you do something even though you may be afraid or unsure of the outcome. Also, let them see you confident and dynamic. We can all take pride in being fully human- which includes our feelings!
Remember never give up. You were meant to thrive!