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Duck is my husband. He is the rock in my life. He keeps me tethered to the earth when my mind might otherwise let me float away. But there are some negative things in our relationship. Some negative things in our lives. Things that are starting to break me down. Break his hold on me. I’m starting to get lost in my head again .

When I was a teenager, I was in a severely abusive relationship. He emotionally, physically, and sexually ripped me apart. He destroyed my physical well-being, my sense of self, and my sense of personal safety. He took away my strength. He took away everything I had.

I got out of there. It took years of leaving and returning, but I finally escaped when I was 18 after a near-death experience at his hands. I don’t talk about the years of my life that he stole. I try not to remember them. I try not to think about the fear he put into me. The fear that I thought would never go away.

My Duck, my wonderful wonderful Duck, made me feel safe again. My Duck is teaching me that I have value in the world.

But my life isn’t letting me feel that anymore. Duck’s mother lives with us. She’s going senile. And as she loses her grip on reality, she’s getting mean. Really mean. She uses a tone of voice when she talks to us that is the same as the Abuser used. She calls me names. Makes me feel insignificant.

How do I keep my fragile sense of self from breaking when I’m surrounded by the same sounds as broke me in the first place?