I was in an abusive relationship

-- Question for John --

I was in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage for 14 years. Been divorced for 2 years. I know that I’m co-dependent because of previous abuse. I dream of a loving caring man to be in mine and my childrens lives. I’m scared because of the past. Want to leave it behind, but I don’t know how! Don’t want to make the same mistakes again.

-- Answer from John --

I’m glad you know what your pattern is. That’s an important and big step for moving out of the pattern. And you certainly don’t want to waste years of your life with the same mistakes and pain. The awareness of all that is important. Knowledge is key.

Both mental knowledge and emotional knowledge.

What I’d seriously suggest is that you do need to know on an emotional level that you have grown beyond making the same mistakes and falling into the same pattern again. Certainly reading books that directly speak to co-dependency issues is an important part of this learning. Finding a good group that specializes in such issues and seems to fit your needs would be a major investment in your growth and health.

I’d also strongly recommend that you consider finding a good therapist and doing six to nine months of emotional growth work with her (pick an older woman, ideally) as a mentor. Finding a good one is important… only about one in five counselors are any good… so shop around and ask friends for recommendations if you know anyone who knows counselors.

There is no shame in going in for personal growth counseling. Especially if it prevents falling into the old pattern again.