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Rare Glimpse Into a Survivor’s Diary Shortly After Escape

Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020

By Veronica WrenPublished 26 days ago 3 min read
Photo by author: Veronica Wren

The following journal entry was written during a time that may resonate with anyone who’s escaped from an abusive or toxic situation.

It was just a few months after my five years with a violent narcissistic abuser finally ended. I was struggling as it was, as this also happened to coincide with a pretty major decision to change careers. As my luck would have it, my dog also unexpectedly requiring major surgery during this period (don’t worry, she’s ok!).

I was applying for jobs all over the country, trying to get as far from him as possible. Hypervigilance due to trauma only intensified the urge to flee. Sleep was a distant memory, insomnia and nightmares constant companions.

Meanwhile, my abuser was pulling out all the stops: forcing me to be the one to move out of our shared house, refusing to sell or move out even though he couldn’t afford it, stealing sentimental items from me so he could parse them out months later as excuses to see me, racking up credit card debt in my name, and calling drunk in the middle of the night threatening self-harm.

Any last bit of control he could exert over me to ensure my continued silence.

It warms my heart to look back on that time and see my past self doing her best to have self-compassion and hope, despite her bleak circumstances. It’s been a long road.

Guided Journal Prompt: How Can I Be Kinder to Myself?

This year has been one for the books. A year of chronic loss.

I could focus on all that was taken from me in this short time: a home, a long-term boyfriend (who sucked), tuition reimbursement, my dog’s health, my sweet Alex Trebek…

But I don’t want to frame it that way anymore. I don’t think I can tolerate it.

Yesterday, [my baby sister] told me she was proud of how I’ve persevered through this year, and damnit… I am, too.

Just a few months ago, I escaped an abusive relationship with a toxic, gaslighting, cheating, controlling, racist, violent, gun-obsessed, narcissistic alcoholic.

It took the chaos of a global pandemic for me to finally see through his manipulation and choose my own safety and future over his mental health issues. I may never fully understand how I got so entangled in the first place, but I will never again allow someone to suffocate me for a chance at “fixing” them.

On That Adjacent Note: Law Enforcement

I entered this field with the naive hope of making a positive change in the world. After what I’ve witnessed and endured these past five years, I think it’s long past time that I reassess the effectiveness of that plan.

I’ve done many things I’m proud of and helped people where I could. I’ve also had to stifle concerns about so many things I saw that were wrong, including mistreatment of myself and others.

I’m sick of feeling complicit with this broken system.

Even in my current community-focused position, I fear that those I build trust with will end up being put in danger because of it. My well-founded worry is that in their next interaction with an officer, they’ll be too relaxed, too friendly, when in reality they’re right to be afraid.

It’s about time I learned that even with the best of intentions, if there’s a fire you’re trying to douse, you can’t put it out from inside the house (#Ham4Ham). That goes for both my toxic relationship and this toxic career.

Maybe losing my tuition reimbursement was the best thing that could’ve happened, because it freed me from being forced to stay in law enforcement any longer.

Finding Kindness and Self-Compassion

So, how can I be kinder to myself?

By taking control of my freedom.

Freedom from abuse.



Incompetent, crooked supervisors.

Freedom from being told speaking my mind is dangerous.

Freedom to fall in love with someone compassionate and kind, to celebrate the recovery of my sweet baby dog, to move away from this place, anywhere I want.

I’ll cook what I want, do work I’m actually proud of, climb scary things, wear my hair down, forget to keep my legs perfectly shaven, and learn not to apologize for it quite so much.

I’ll recognize that I deserve these things.

Raise a glass. 🥃

I’m Glad You’re Here

Want to support an abuse survivor while gaining insights on recovery? Join me on Instagram and Pinterest!

Trauma sucks. Recovery shouldn’t. Subscribe to receive your FREE digital copy of my new guided journal, “Empower and Heal: 90 Days of Transformational Prompts for Trauma Recovery, Self-Discovery, and Growth”, delivered straight to your inbox!

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About the Creator

Veronica Wren

Trauma sucks. Recovery shouldn't. Subscribe here for your FREE exclusive guided journal

❤️‍🩹 ❤️‍🩹

Domestic Abuse & CPTSD Recovery Coach

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