Returning to My Past to Find My Future

I went back to the domestic violence shelter where I used to live.


Photo by Dmitrii Vaccinium on Unsplash

Sometimes we need to go back to where we came from to remember who we really are. To see what we are made of and what got us to where we are now.

I returned to the domestic violence shelter where I lived for most of a year to answer some questions about myself and my future.

I sought advice from the women who work there as I did many times while I lived there. I knew they would have some insight into how I could help other survivors as a trauma recovery coach. I also knew they had watched me go from the dirt under a doormat to an independent woman and would know if I could move forward with my plans or not.

Going back was a turning point for me. A door closed on my past and a door opened into my future. I am fully a survivor and ready to move into the role of guide for others who are pursuing their own healing.

Here are some of the observations I made in the days after my visit:

  1. On the way home I realized how hard I was fighting to survive during the time I lived at the shelter. Living an hour away from my kids, seeing them only once a week, and making the long drive back to the shelter every Sunday after visiting them broke my heart over and over. I would heal a little during the week and then my heart would be raw again when I had to leave my children.
  2. I remembered the anxiety and feeling physically ill every time I got to within 30 minutes of home. It was the fear of seeing him(my soon-to-be ex-husband) and not knowing what he would do.
  3. I needed counseling, experts at the shelter to teach me how to stay safe, friends to encourage me, and Al-Anon.
  4. Walking into the shelter as a woman four and a half years out and on the other side of the situation was surreal. I no longer felt like that lost woman who was shaking in her boots and looking for anyone anywhere to help her. I am now a grown-up woman who stands in strength and competence.
  5. I needed the reminder that I’ve been talking about helping others since I was at the shelter. I was already trying to help others while I lived there.



Julia Freeman, Trauma Recovery Coach

I believe survivors of narcissistic abuse and domestic violence deserve to live in freedom and peace.