The 7 recovery stages of abuse with Brie Robertson

Nov 25, 2021
The 7 stages of abuse with Brie Robertson

I am so happy that you are here today because today we have a special episode and I say we, because I am not going to be the only one. I have a special guest. It's Brie Robertson, she is known on TikTok as from_the_ashes 10. 

I was looking at TikTok one day and I found her. Immediately fell in love with her content. So, I reached out to her because there was one TikTok that actually hit home and I was like, I want her to share this with the people that listen to my podcast because there's a lot of people talking about narcissistic abuse, emotional abuse and psychological abuse, but everybody has a different story. Everybody has a different point of view and because I want to help as many women as possible. 

It's possible to find a better life after abuse. A lot of people have done it and if other people have done it, it means that you can do it too. You might not be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and Brie's story will help you understand how true this is. Well, here we have Brie and I just want her to share a little bit of her story with you.

This is her story 

Hi, my name is Brie. I was in a domestic abuse relationship for, 17 years. We met when I was a kid, I was 16 and I spent 17 years in hell.  

When did you realize that it was abuse? 

Think I knew it was abuse on some level in my brain, always. Even though it's weird how your brain plays tricks on you. You can simultaneously think that you are in an abusive relationship and not think that you are in an abusive relationship.  

Well, it wasn't just one thing. I wouldn't say, like I, after I had my, my daughter I was Googling his behavior and it came up you know, narcissism. And I was like, oh, this clicks perfect. So, I went to him with it and yeah, he convinced me that I was the narcissist and I spent a long time in therapy thinking it was me. Then I went and, you know, I mean, you do that for 10 years and you're not getting any better. You start going, okay. Like what else is there? I started noticing how other men treat their girlfriends or wives. And they realized that something was off between us. 

I read a book called Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. It was about like her unbrainwashing. Our stories are completely different. Hers was her origin family, but I realized that our thought process was the same and then maybe I was in some type of brainwashing. Yeah. Which I, which I do believe I was.  

Brie's case is different than mine as, I had no idea about narcissism or anything like that. I found that a couple of years after I actually left him when I started finding all these new vocabulary words, they were all so new to me and I was like, wow. And it is a fact that he always kept calling me crazy. That was like the thing that actually make me look into this. And when I founded it, it all clicked for me. At some point at the beginning, I knew he was the problem. You keep hearing it so often that it sinks in and it starts to make you believe that it is them who's telling the truth. I can actually relate to you.

How long have you been out of your relationship, Brie? 

I been out for a year and a half. I still got a lot of healing to do, but I can't believe like I forgot what happiness was. You know, now I'm just like happy. I still have bad days for sure. I have really bad days, but generally, it's like, I feel happy is my base.  

What would you say is the first thing that you did that really made you feel happy after you left? 

Ooh, I mean, I did lots of things. I do lots of small things, like get takeout on a weekend or like not to the table with free for dinner because I didn't have to, I could sit in her, the TV and it didn't have to be so formal. There're little things like that. Going on dates was a whole new experience for me. Still is. Those were the little things, but one thing I did last month is I just went to Mexico. I was like, you know what, I'm going to go to Mexico. And I did.  

Thursday night I called my best, one of my best friends. Who's a travel agent. And I said, where can you get me for Friday? And she got me on a plane to Mexico.  

My car broke down and I always relied on him for my car to get fixed, but instead, like I figured out what was wrong with it and I gave it a boost and you know, it just felt, oh, it just feels good. We don't have to rely on a person anymore. Right? 

It's so it's so sounds so silly though. I still have to develop some strategies as to Noticing the signs and dating. I'm starting to notice the signs in friendship. I was at a party recently and I was talking to one of the guys and I just looked right at him and I was like, don't Gaslight me. And he was like, what do you mean? I'm like this, this, and this is gaslighting. And I don't appreciate it. Then I walked away. But that was like, kind of nice. 

I experienced both physical and emotional abuse and manipulation and whatnot. And I have to say that's worse, that part is way worse than the hitting part. And people say, well, if you get hit, at least people think it's abuse, but that's not true. People just doubt you. They just have to come up with another reason, not to believe you.  

With physical abuse, there's also emotional and psychological abuse within it 

Yes, yes. And the emotional abuse leads to you questioning your reality. Right? And that's the scariest thing. I think that's the scariest thing I've ever experienced being like, is this real? Is my life real? That's kind of why now when people say stuff to me on Tik TOK, it's like, I don't think you understand.  

 The 7 recovery stages of abuse  

1. Feeling of lost. I spent 17 years of my life, feeling lost, broken, scared, and especially confused. I honestly believed I was going crazy. This stemmed from the persistent manipulation techniques that I was experiencing. I remember doing anything in everything to avoid arguments and still, I would find myself in an argument. This had led to being on edge more and suppressing emotions, eventually I noticed an erosion of self.

2. The Ah-ha moment as coined by Oprah Winfrey. This is when you come across some information on either narcissism or abuse and you start to piece things together. I believe I was about six years in when I began Googling the ex's behavior. I was getting desperate. I remember really struggling after we had our daughter. I brought it up to him and he ended up convincing me that I was the narcissist. Since, you know, everyone has some traits of narcissism, it's human behavior and I am self-reflective I spent 10 years in therapy trying to work on "narcissism". It wasn't for nothing because it did plant a seed that helped me be able to identify the ex as a narcissist, eventually. 

3. Denial. This is when you are desperately looking for excuses for your partner's behavior. You know you don't want your partner to be this monster that you're reading about. I believe denial did play a part as to why I was in therapy for those 10 years. During that time, I actually remember one of my close friends asking me if the ex was still volatile. I was so confused as to what she meant by that. I mean, the brain does funny things to protect us, and I guess I wasn't ready to face the music. 

4. The Seesaw stage. You are constantly moving around, from grief to depression to rage. You're trying to wrap your head around what you're dealing with. 

5. Knowing what you have to do. I knew what I had to do after a night. When the ex strangled me and I fought back. I ended up pinned to the ground and he called our daughter downstairs and told her to call the police on me. He said I was attacking him and when I saw her sad little face, I just knew what I had to do. That was it, I knew he would never change at that point. 

6. Break free. Now, this sounds fantastic and you think it's going to be wonderful. This is when you can make your own life abuser-free. I always thought I would get to the other side and I would be free and happy, but the aftermath of the abuse was so much more painful than I expected, from things like PTSD, panic attacks, nightmares, stalking, post-separation abuse, manipulating our child, etc. 

I honestly didn't think I would get through it. I still experience these things, but I now have a little bit more coping mechanisms that are healthy and I put my mental health first so that really does help when you're in this type of situation.  

7. Thriving. You know, when I look back at old pictures of myself, I absolutely do not recognize that person. I still have bad days, but I am a hundred times the woman I was. I know my value. I know what I will and won't put up with. I value things that are important to me. 

I put more value into my friends because I have legit the best friends and family. I have confidence. I have self-esteem and self-worth. I've traveled more this year than ever and we're in a flipping pandemic. I put my energy into being the best mom I can be, and I measure it by my relationship with my daughter and how she's doing rather than how clean the kitchen is. 

I just hope that if there's anyone out there that is going through it or they think they're going through it, to reach out. When I started telling my story, that's when I got the most support. Women are out there more than you think. People go through it more than, you know, and you would be so surprised to know the people around you that have been through the same thing as you as what you're going through now. 

There're so many people going through it. You need to get educated on it.  You need to understand what is going on so you can manage it and move on from there. And leave, seriously leave. 

I mean, it's going to suck at first. It's really going to suck at first, but then it gets better and then it gets so much better. The hardest thing is putting that foot out the door. Once you put that foot out the door, everything else is just a little bit easier. 

I do think the trauma bonding right after that, I wasn't expecting that I was expecting to get on the other side and then it would be all rainbows and, but, and I would like party and I'd have my freedom, but the PTSD for me anyway, that came after. It really made me want to go back, but I'm so glad that I Just put my head down and got through it because eventually for me, it got better. 

Rakel, was it like that for you too?

I had to stay there for about five months after I realized that I was done, that it was toxic, and I didn't want to be there anymore. I totally fell out of love for him and I stuck it in for five more months while I try to figure out how I was leaving because my whole family, my whole support system was in Puerto Rico. 

I had no one here. I had to figure it out by myself. I wasn't quite working yet. My income wasn't steady. I had to keep quiet for five months. I think that I was using the gray rock method up to some point without even knowing what it was. I think that by the time I left, I was already over the trauma bond, one day, I just developed this and it's a very strong word, but I just hated him. I hated him so bad and it was at that moment where he was trying to promise everything that I had been asking for the past 14 years, but it was too little too late. And at that point I was sure I wasn't going to go back. But I kept going back for 14 years. It did take me, like they say seven to eight times.  

Brie, the reason why I wanted to have you on my podcast is because I do love everything that you post on TikTok and part of the things that you've posted have also helped me understand things I didn't know. One of the first TikTokers that I saw was you and Lisa, when I went on.  

I thought that people didn't know what they were going through, and I wanted to help so many women learn to identify that they are in a toxic relationship, but this was way bigger than what I ever thought. I thought I was actually jumping into help women, but I was also being helped as well. 

Brie: Isn't it funny where you find, find it TikTok? I would have thought it was like a teenager's app for dancing, but it was so much bigger than that.  

Rakel: Looking to help women with my story and everything. And then also letting people know about the podcast. And I found women that were actually helping me understand more of the things that I wasn't aware that I needed to know. Even creating my own podcast has helped me with my own healing. 

Brie: Yes, it would. Yeah. I mean, I love it. I love that. We're all talking about it now. I like that. We're talking about it. We're figuring it out. We're connecting with each other. 

Rakel: I didn't know what I went through. I know there's a lot of women out there like that. Why is he being mean? What they don't know it's that this is abuse  

Brie: or you get to a certain point where you're like, you're just like, you have no idea that all of this stuff happened and was building over years and years. And you're just like, how did I become this person? Right. You wake up one day. You're like this isn't who I am. I'm still learning. I'm like, there's another one. Yup. Yup. It's. crazy Yeah, I'll be like, oh, I got this down, pat. I got this down pat. And then I'll read another book and I'm like, oh my God. At first it's all he was doing, just digesting all this stuff.  

Rakel: because I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know it was abuse. I didn't realize my relationship was an abusive one. I wanted to help other women, but I didn't realize it was so much bigger. It was so much deeper. Everything had a name; everything had an explanation.  


Well, there you go. Follow from_the_ashes10 and start learning different things that she's also putting out there, .

There's a lot of content out there for you to know and understand what is going on. Also, there is the Break Away Journal that I have created within the past months. It is taken a while, but it's available at a 21% discount, use code BYE21 through December 31,2021

You can get it here so you can understand what you went through and how you can move from where you are to find yourself in a better place.  

I hope that the seven recovery stages of abuse will help you understand that you are not alone. That you're not the only one. It does get better and that you can start your process whenever you feel ready. I hope that you wake up, realize what's going on. Learn from it, get better, leave and move on to the life that you so deserve. 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

The Break Away Journal is now available!

You need to understand what you went through to heal. This journal explains the most common experiences and provides prompts to get you moving in the right direction.

Get it now 21% off for a limited time! Use code BYE21

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