Sheila, a domestic violence survivor, came to counseling following the arrest of her long-time abuser. She was unsure at the time whether she wanted to end the relationship or not. Through the course of counseling she discovered the freedom to disclose much of the abuse for the first time, acknowledge the severity of the abuse, and the fact that it was not all due to the abuser’s substance abuse. During this time, she has been able to identify the healthy and unhealthy aspects of the relationship and assign responsibility where it belongs - with the abuser.
She has gained a sense of freedom, of choice and has chosen to end the relationship. She went to the jail and told the abuser this as well, for her own sense of closure. She has begun to work through the physical, mental and emotional effects of the abuse and to repair the relationships with others that had severed due to the control and isolation. She has been able to sort through many other unhealthy relationships by learning to set appropriate boundaries without feeling guilty about doing so. She has also been able to focus on effective parenting of her children and help them to cope with the effects that the abuser’s behavior and substance abuse had on them as well. She has found herself smiling and feeling happy again for the first time in a long time.