Karyn’s story – ‘living without fear is changing my life’

Karyn’s* life has transformed since she came to see us. It hasn’t been easy, but she has created a safer, more peaceful life for herself and her children.

“Just recently I think my nervous system has finally changed. The worry and fear, the default pattern of anxiety, it’s not the same. The potential to live without fear is changing my life. What’s allowed this change? I’ve removed myself from the harm of living with my ex-husband and I’ve been taught new skills by the team at ChangeAbility.

When I first took the huge step of ringing, Jeremy was great and worked to my timeframe – I could see someone the next morning. He also gave me his cell number. Kay gave me her cell too. I can’t tell you how much that took away the feeling of isolation – I really loved having those numbers. The following day I arrived in floods of tears, very worried that someone would see me enter the building.

Within minutes I could see these were the people with the skills to help me. On the first visit they talked me through the scenarios of an abusive relationship. Honestly it was like they knew exactly what was going on in my household – there are scenarios around violence that follow a pattern and these women knew all about them. Here was the plan I was wanting.

For nearly a year now, the team at ChangeAbility have been supporting me. Early on the police gave my ex-husband a safety order and I sought a protection order, which is still in place. This meant I was able to leave the family home and set up a new home for my children, still based in the area.

It was explained that in the past, women were often encouraged to leave the family home immediately and the resulting chaos, high stress and coping with kids often meant they ended up going back. Their new approach is to give women the skills while still in the relationship, taking longer, but hopefully once they were out they would stay out. This was a relief – I wasn’t ready to leave at that stage.

I have learnt so much about my parenting of my lovely boys through this past year – and my eldest boy has had counselling too. I am reminded that the children will respond accordingly if I create a peaceful home. I need to trust that they will be okay, that it will all be good if I can keep grounded. She also tells me that ‘love is hard to fight’ – that responding to my angry teenager with love is the best way.”


* Names have been changed to protect identities.