Why did you leave?


Fly away

Why did you leave? Why did you leave that last relationship? Why did you leave that last job? Why did you leave home? Can you pin down the reasons? Not really. They are like birds. Those reasons fly away – like you did.

Stages of release

If we look back (and the 361 recovery programme helps us to do this) we can see the signs. We may well think that there was a final straw. A comment that just went too far. A betrayal. An empty fridge or an empty bank balance. In some ways, yes that final thing did push us to leave. But the answers lie further back in our story. There are stages of leaving. It is a process.

Car Crash

Why is it so important that we look back? Shouldn’t we just get on with it? Move on? This is a bit like being involved in a crash and failing to go to hospital, dragging our bleeding leg around at parties and being surprised when people either move away (‘Baggage! Run!) or jump on (Prey!) If we go for the quick fix (jumping into a new relationship without grieving it) we will find ourselves in the same place in between 2 and 5 years’ time. That’s why it is worth pausing and getting help with that leg.

The 361 recovery programme has been designed with this question in mind.

Why did you leave?

It’s very easy to blame the other person. I did. We have all done this. If this other person is a monster, a Beast, then we are Beauty. We can get sympathy as a victim from friends. We can hook up with other victims and trade stories about ex’s in return for wine and sex on the sofa. This works. It’s a circle of behaviour I was in for 20 years off and on. Believe me, it works. Ultimately though it begins to drain us. And our conversation is always focused on them. What they did. And why we think they did it. Looking back, I have noticed that this is all I used to talk about. The focus was not on me for a reason. I didn’t want to face my part in all of this.

I had a supporting role in my own life. The abusers were the stars.

There is another way. Instead of finding a new ‘One’ when you have left the last ‘One’ why not step out of that circle and find a different ‘One’. You?

Why did you leave?

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that this is the question we need to ask ourselves.

Within the answer is the key to our recovery. The seeds.

I have always been really intrigued by this question. Why do we make such big changes in one moment and then have to live with them for the rest of our lives? I can vividly remember telling my dangerous husband I was leaving. I felt chilled. I felt like I was watching someone else speak. there was a curious film like quality to it (as there is to all of our Big moments.) And what I most feared came true. Years of losing it all. Everything. TO gain my freedom. Why did I leave? This question haunted me at first. Alice why on earth did you leave? You idiot!

I had money, a huge house, high social status in a rich area and a top job at a private school. Why on earth did you leave? You idiot! It’s only now – 5 years on – that I can begin to put it into words. Why?

I was beginning to betray myself.

I’ve since learnt that abusers systematically work on you until you betray all of your core values. The 361 recovery programmes begins with an exercise where you discover and openly claim your core values. Think for a moment. What are yours? Kindness? Family? Faith? Friendship? Making money? Trust? Looking after the planet? Hard Work? Education? Travel? Whatever they are, realise that the abuser you love spends the first year carefully cataloguing them. whilst pouring the wine. For his own purposes. He then begins to create situations where you betray them. Then he reminds you of this betrayal in arguments. (More late in the 361 recovery programme on Betrayal.) Why did I leave? I was beginning to betray my core values.

And believe me, once you have betrayed yourself, you are completely broken. How can you defend yourself? You have sold yourself out. And that’s why you stay. (More on ‘Why did you stay?’ late in 361.)

So that’s why I left…..i think. Even now it’s a bit more complicated than that so I will go on asking myself and sharing what I learn about abusers work with Goddesse Education at http://www.goddesse.co.uk. The good news is, when you leave you begin to find strength to be yourself. That will never happen when your best friend who sleeps next to you is secretly against everything you stand for. Your core values. Breaking them down, breaks you down. Find the one. The 361.

Alice Smith 2019

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Published by 361one

when I write I am a king. Listen to more at 361 live podcast

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