If you are in a controlling or abusive relationship you may find that you are having to suppress or hid your feelings on regular basis. This might because you are scared, but perhaps can’t show the children, or you are angry but can’t show this as you fear further repercussions, or you are sad for your relationship but don’t want to admit things aren’t great. By suppressing feelings it will mean that over time you will get out of touch with those feelings and what they actually are trying to tell us. It can also be very scary to actually get back in touch with them as you are maybe fearing what it will do to you, that perhaps you would never recover.
At a very basic level remember that they are just feelings. There are there to serve us well in our day to day living and they mean to support us, not generally to do us harm. Some feelings may stay for a very long while and it is key that you seek support from professionals if you are having difficulty dealing with these and regularly become overwhelmed. But know that you are not alone. Many, many people are in the same or similar situation, and are able to work their way through this, with encouragement and support of family and friends or professional experts.
When a relationship isn’t as we first thought, or it is coming to an end, or ended most people will experience some form of sadness and grief. Something once beautiful, that you put your heart and sole into has not worked out. It may be causing you, or your children harm. It is highly likely to be going against all your core values, that someone who is supposed to be dependable, loving and the father/mother of your children, could act in this way. Just like after any loss, including the death of a loved one, you will want to grieve and come to terms with what has happened.
Managing grief is a roller-coaster ride of emotions. There is a ‘grief model’, created by Kübler-Ross which explains the flow of emotions and reactions. You may find having knowledge of this is helpful but you should also recognise that everyone experiences things differently so no one person go through exactly the same.
There will be times when it feels like one step forward and two or three steps back. And times when you feel you are really getting somewhere and then you experience a setback that feels like you haven’t got anywhere at all. Time, as they say, is a great healer, and you can take whatever time it takes you to get through this. You may never get over it, but the feelings and emotions will generally ease with the passage of time. Talk about these feelings to friends and family or professionals if you need to. Holding them back, or denying them will not help with your mental health, and potentially your physical health, over a longer period of time.