Adapt Or Die

Entry by: TheRobinBull

11th August 2017
I spent more than ten years in a relationship where I knew that if I didn’t adapt to his ways, I would die. Even after he left, I was expected to obey. In July 2012, I believed I had only one way out – suicide. Over the phone, he screamed that he would ruin me emotionally and financially. I planned to end my life. I called my older cousin to talk to her one last time. She knew something wasn’t right. She made me swear I wouldn’t do anything until she got there. She left work and drove three hours.

Ultimately, I received a permanent victim’s protective order and a divorce. I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. Despite the fact that I tried to move on with life, I felt like I was spinning my wheels. I had to adapt to a normal life…otherwise, I would die. Maybe I wouldn’t die by my own hands, but I’d be dead inside.

Therapy. Court. More therapy. Starting a business. Dealing with threats. Dealing with violations of the protective order. Living in fear. Starting a healthy relationship. I had to learn to adapt or I would die.

Therapy taught me how to adapt to life and deal with C-PTSD in healthy ways that didn’t involve self-harm.

Starting a business enabled me to support myself since he did whatever he could to get me fired when I taught and worked in law firms (it is legal in most states for domestic violence survivors to be fired because of their involvement as a victim or survivor if they have to miss work or even if the other party constantly harasses them on the job).

Getting the right legal support was key to the court system for the VPO and for the divorce.

Eventually, I remarried. I adapted to a good life. Do I still look over my shoulder? Yes. Do I still have C-PTSD? Yes. Will I let anything kill the good life I’ve created? No. I’ve learned how to adapt.

Adaptation is key to survival. That includes recovery from trauma. In order to adapt, we undergo a daily process. Each day that I wake up, I have an active decision to make. Some days that decision is harder to make than others. And that decision is how I want to live during the day. Sometimes, I have to adapt moment by moment. Yet, it continues and will always continue to be an active decision.

I made my decision to adapt. It's not an easy road, but it sure beats dying. It sure beats letting anyone else control my life.