Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
It depends on how you are feeling about what happened, if you have any present symptoms, and if you are having problems with your current relationships. The main thing to look for is whether or not you feel that you are able to move on after what you went through or do you still feel unresolved about what happened. Any symptoms such as continuing nightmares, feelings of anxiety, depression or problems in current relationships could all be symptoms of unresolved issues from the abuse.
You also can go back to therapy for an evaluation to see if you and your therapist feels there are still issues. To find a therapist, talk with your doctor. Or you can search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/.
There are also resources you can use at home to help you. Here are some to get you started:
Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence: A Workbook for Women- by Edward S. Kubany, Mari A. McCaig and Janet R. Laconsay
The Domestic Violence Sourcebook- by Dawn Bradley Berry
Finding Your Way Through Domestic Abuse: A Guide to Physical, Emotional, And Spiritual Healing by Connie Fourre
Encouragements for the Emotionally Abused Woman: Wisdom and Hope for Women at Any Stage of Emotional Abuse Recovery by Beverly Engel
You can find these books on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.
I hope this has helped you,
Thank you for the additional information. It helps.
There is nothing wrong with what you are feeling or going through. After the trauma of domestic abuse, many people experience PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or some symptoms of PTSD, which is what the nightmares are. Abuse can be equated with being at war. No one expects a soldier to come back from war without some emotional difficulties and no one who has been through the trauma of abuse should be expected to go through such an experience with emotional scars either.
I agree that therapy would benefit you and help you learn to cope with your symptoms. Rebuilding trust with men and talking through your feelings about the abuse would help you feel more in control and be able to change how you feel about relationships. Group therapy is good for support and some therapy, but individual therapy and self help can also be very effective. Also, educating yourself as much as you can will help you feel you are not alone and help you cope better with how you feel.
Can things pop up over time with domestic abuse survivors? I used to have nightmares only at certain times in my 20s. Now in my 30s I seem to have nightmares more often and these fears pop up. Is this normal?
Yes, very normal. After a trauma, symptoms can come and go, though less so as the person works on the issue and gains more insight and tools to use to help themselves. And there can be triggers that occur, even ones that the person is not aware of. This will also cause the symptoms to reoccur.
With more therapy and self help, you can get a handle on these symptoms. And the more support you can gain for yourself, the less likely you will experience these symptoms as strongly.