(Un)comfortably Numb

“I feel dead inside,” I told a friend of mine, a fellow survivor, when she came to visit me post-abuse. “Please tell me this feeling will end.” “It will end,” she promised. I’m going to make the same promise to you. It will end. You just have to ride it out for a while. For…

The Different Forms of Financial Abu$e

If you summon up a connotation to the term “financial abuse,” chances are you’ll think of someone being deprived by and dependent upon a paternalistic other. It could be a parent, it could be a partner, but this is the person who holds the purse strings, and they make sure you know it. I’ve known…

Why You Were Chosen

Contrary to the fears survivors have of being chosen for being weak, or unlovable–after all, abuse wears down anyone’s self-esteem after a while–abusers choose you for one reason and one reason only: You had something they wanted. They don’t want to work very hard for things they want, so they do the next best thing:…

What is Coercive Control?

If you are anything like me, it might have taken you years to figure out you were in an abusive relationship because it didn’t involve physical violence. That is the most overt form of abuse, but even physical violence is part of a pattern of coercive control and typically not an isolated incident. As it…

Not Your Shame

When I began talking to my friends and fellow survivors about starting this website, I asked them what they thought what was most important for womxn to hear about abuse. And over and over they said: “Shame. Talk about shame.” It’s one of the reasons I find the whole “victim mentality” crap to be so…

How to find the right therapist

It never fails; in every social gathering in which I’m introduced to new people and I’m asked what I do, I then get pulled aside (sometimes more than once!) by a person who is “asking for a friend” how to find a therapist. And I give them the same spiel I’m going to write here….

Abuse is exhausting

That’s not intended as hyperbole, nor is it flippant. I can always tell a survivor who is either still in or has recently exited an abusive relationship, as she/they appear drained of life, alternating with a distinctive, hypervigilant look, like a frightened rabbit. When I treat clients who are still in these relationships, they universally…

You don’t have to forgive your abuser

Until recently when I heard narcissism expert Dr. Ramani Durvasula talk about she doesn’t like the concept of forgiveness in her podcast Sexual Disorientation, nearly everywhere else you turned there was a pernicious cultural dialogue that pushed forgiveness as the only way to heal. “The pressure to forgive comes from all kinds of sources: friends,…