I recently read an article titled, "You Can Get PTSD by Staying in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship." I was automatically reminded of a past relationship in 2006-2007 that messed ... me ... up. I won't get into it but long story short, my ex was very selfish and always made me look like the bad guy in our relationship. My healthy desires were made to look like unreasonable demands. Any attempt to get closer to him was met with anger and ridicule. That relationship lasted only 9 months, but the damage lasted years.
I thought I was perfectly fine once I woke up without any desire to get back together with him. It took about 4 months to get over him. However, I was so much more afraid to love again than I realized. I ran for the hills every time I found myself feeling the same butterflies for someone new that I used to feel for my ex. My ex practically stomped all over my butterflies and massacred them. Let me correct myself: he kept a few butterflies alive, barely - just enough for me to be willing to have sex - then he'd kill the remaining survivors - one by one. Eventually, I allowed myself to love again and be loved. I figured I was fully over the abuse since I reached the milestone of marriage.
But now I'm realizing that there's still residue from the abuse. He did a number on my confidence and self-esteem. I've found myself dealing with anxiety more and more. I've found myself hesitant to fully explore my feelings, because I'd feel guilty for the way I felt in certain situations. And I know that it's tougher for me to trust my spiritual discernment because I find it hard to validate what I sense. I'm not implying that feelings always equal discernment. But for some people (like me) discernment is first realized through our feelings. Like all of the sudden I feel uneasy, no matter how good the situation looks on paper. As illogical as it seems, I can't seem to fully trust certain people. So I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I wouldn't be quick to say that all of these feelings are from the Holy Spirit. But I will say that I haven't allowed myself to fully explore my feelings because I'm quicker to discount them than I am to face them. Tonight I declare that this abuse will not prevent me from being used by God to my fullest potential. I can't let my past win.