"In the event of an emergency put your oxygen mask on first, before belong others."
We hear this every time we board an airplane to go on a trip. It means that you have to help yourself first. If you are fiddling around with the safety devices, the ones that will save your life, you won't be able to get it on , YOU will become unconscious and YOU will NOT be able to help others. If you put yours on first, then you can help others with theirs. This applies not only to an airplane, but in ALL rescue situations. If you put yourself at risk, you are only adding to the body count. Why am I saying such harsh things when I'm talking about our children, our most precious things on earth? Because if we can not seek the help WE need then we will NEVER be able to help our children.
When in an abusive relationship (if it wasn't, then you are either in denial then, or you are NOT truly dealing with PA now) it is difficult to reach out and get help. Just like when you're in a car crash, you can't be outside of the car warning yourself, or guiding other cars from hitting you too. You're just along for the ride. And it is a rough one. Some are more insidious than others. Some take years to be fully recognizable, and with the cunning adroit of our former professional abusers, difficult to identify.
So you feel like HELL, but you don't know why. It got to the point that, as bad as it sounds, you hoped that your spouse would just not make it home tonight. It would be better for them to just disappear. The kids could still have decent memories of them, all of your friends and family could join in your relief and you wouldn't have to be the bad guy by leaving them. Alas, it never happens that way. You end up getting the courage to STOP the abuse, to end the madness, to save yourself. You may try to take the kids with you. You might have been successful at first. Then either your ex lies, plays victim, convinces your kids or the court to take the kids away from you. The kids, the one thing that kept you in the relationship. The one thing that kept you sane, the only thing that gave you joy in the horrible relationship. They know this. That is why they do it. To the emotionally stunted (underdeveloped) ex-spouse, YOU have HURT THEM!!!! In what kind of topsy turvy upside mad, mad world is this?!?!
You must retreat and tend to your wounds before the next battle. The first step in getting better from an abusive relationship is to acknowledge you were (are) in one. I'm sure within weeks of you escaping the hell that was your marriage, you are already beginning to feel different. Better. Freer. Then the guilt of not having your babies comes back and you feel rotten again. This up and down emotional roller coaster that YOU are putting yourself through is only hurting yourself. "Put your oxygen mask on first". It feels selfish but you have to save yourself first. YOU have to get better. Your psychopathic ex has attorneys, the courts and all of your former friends and family on their side. You have nothing. Maybe some friends and family left from years of being isolated. You MUST seek their help. And not in financial or legal help (although that would be nice too). You will need some social and emotional support. You will need some friends and family to help you. You need to find yourself again. For years you have been the abused slave to the manipulating and abusive psychopath and you didn't even know (maybe you did, but you went along with it didn't you?) But now you are out and you must rediscover your authentic self. You just get back to being who you were years ago (don't worry, it WILL be a better version, I promise you!)