Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk

Dark memories coming back to me

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 29 April 2016
I have read the recent reader's problem about the Helen and Rob storyline in the Archers. I myself was a victim of domestic abuse ten years ago, yet why is it when following their continuing story, that I feel so tearful and almost a sense of panic overcomes me. As the story progresses it's bringing back those dark memories. I too was in prison, for finally standing up for myself and attacking my husband, and like Helen was separated from my child. I keep thinking that if only I had recognised the signs, and acted sooner by leaving him, I would have never experienced such an ordeal. I have no-one to speak to about my past, as I feel nobody would understand. Do you think counselling would possibly help me, even though my trauma was such a long time ago? I appreciate it would be much simpler to turn the radio off, but for whatever reason I feel addicted to the storyline and am wanting a happy ending.

Patricia Marie says...

Thank you for entrusting me with your heartrending story. I am so sorry for what you have had to endure. Being a victim of domestic violence is devastating in itself, yet to be sentenced to prison and to have been apart from your child under such shocking circumstances is utterly unthinkable. It is no wonder you are feeling as you do whilst listening to The Archer's current riveting storyline, but you are not alone, as this powerful drama continues to touch so many people in the real world. Yes, you could turn the radio off to stop it affecting you, but somehow, if the show's writers had not portrayed domestic violence as being so horrific, it would undermine many of the actual victims suffering abuse.

Please don't blame yourself for not leaving your husband sooner. There are a myriad reasons it can be untenable to leave an abusive partner – fear of retaliation, having young children and nowhere to go, worrying others will disbelieve you, and often victims convince themselves that their abuser's behaviour will improve. The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal. It is never too late to seek professional help. Many years after victims have escaped their abuser, it's not uncommon for them to develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as flashbacks, nightmares, tearfulness and panic attacks. As you are displaying these signs, I feel that therapy would be of great benefit, to explore any emotions that may have been repressed, and allow you to move forward and leave the past very much behind. Women's Aid can provide both individual and group counselling, where you would be able to meet other sufferers of domestic violence, and feel very much understood. You could also draw comfort from the group, as members who start off as strangers, can, after sharing each other's experiences, become a valuable and trusted source of support.

I would like to offer you my best wishes for a happy ever after, and one that we are all wanting for Helen too.

Women's Aid 24 hour helpline on 0800 2000 247 www.womensaid.org.uk
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