Anonymous asked this question on 4/10/2000:
My girlfriend has thrown me down stairs. Hit my arms and legs. Choked me. Called me everyname in the book. Took complete control over my life. The relationship is over but I have a hard time thinking about ever getting involved with anyone else ever. Is there actually counceling for lesbians getting through this hard time in life? My self esteem is at an all time low.
rainbowlady gave this response on 4/10/2000:
The same resources that are available to hetersexual women are available to lesbians. That means that you can call shelters for abused women and file restraining orders and protection from abuse orders if the need is there. And there are counselling services for survivors of abuse. There are a LOT of support groups online for abuse survivors, and even some for gay abuse survivors, although there's not as many as for survivors in general. I'd suggest going to someplace like www.delphi.com and searching for lesbian survivor groups. You can also check out www.onelist.com and look for an email list for lesbian survivors.
Your self esteem will be at an all time low: that's normal for a survivor. But the only one who can change that is you, and you've made the hardest step already: realizing that you don't deserve to be abused. There will be major trust issues in your next relationship and that too is normal. And your next partner will have to know that up front because as someone who loves a survivor, it's not an easy thing to live with a survivor. There are many trust issues and many "triggers" that cause them to relive the abuse and to feel as if your partner is doing the same things your former abuser used to do. This is called transference: and it's something that many survivors do without realizing it. They also tend to expect the worst: if there's several explanations for why your partner is not home from work yet, you'll think the worst. This too is normal for many survivors.
The best thing you can do is to educate yourself about the long term effects of abuse on the survivor. There are literally thousands of pages dedicated to abuse and its effects, and it would probably help you to read them, just so you realize that what you're feeling IS normal and that you're NOT alone. By validating your feelings and your experiences, maybe you can stop blaming yourself and start the process of healing.
Love and Light, Rainbowlady
Anonymous asked this follow-up question on 4/10/2000:
Thank you for your input. That really gave me hope. I understand what you mean about transference. I am going to search for books on surviving abuse and it might help me get through this. I called a gay abuse line and they are pointing me in the right direction. Thanks for your support and kind words. you have helped me more than you know.
rainbowlady gave this response on 4/11/2000:
Thank you for being strong enough to get out of an abusive relationship and talk about it. The more its talked about, the less those who are survivors will feel alone and isolated and the easier their healing will be. And as someone who loves a survivor, you've helped me too, because it will make her journey that much easier.
Best of luck to you!
If you need to talk, you can email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love and Light, Rainbowlady
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