Move away from town that triggers me?

Not open for further replies.


New Here
I live in a town where my abusive ex husband still lives. I escaped our marriage nine years ago and left all of the business we built together etc. to him. (It has since gone bankrupt). Over Nine years ago I moved out while he was out of town with the support of my therapist. To protect my mostly grown children (and for my safety) I never fully explained why I left to most people in this town. I lived the farthest away in the school district that I could accross town always behind gates. Now, I’m mostly thriving and have become a very successful real estate agent in the general large metro area… I’ve avoided a lot of business in the heart of the town that I have bad memories in and that is the me thing holding me back. I’m very happily remarried and have moved back across town (to be with my new husband) to where many bad memories trigger me. Also, and maybe most importantly, my daughter was attacked and raped in high school by someone in this same area. She disassociated from the memory until two years ago. Her attacker is a very visable person in my area and industry. I will have to potentially deal with him in the future. And he has already passively aggressively messed with me professionally before I Knew of the attack on my daughter. I get triggered by this very prominent and powerful person. Sadly, My beautiful daughter now struggles with debilitating PTSD and inherited BPD (quiet in her case) from her father and lives in this area in a condo that I pay for while she recovers (DBT/ART therapy) . Once she gets better, she will probably move away. I would really like to leave this place as well… I feel like my soul and true personality is being sucked out by fear and anger. There are many triggers that bring up horrible memories. I have been diagnosed with C-PTSD and have continued off and on therapy. I have been taking EMDR recently to relieve the continuing anxiety since my daughter has gotten worse. I can’t help but wonder if I moved away with my new husband to start fresh if I wouldn’t get even better. That way I wouldn’t always be looking over my shoulder for these two narcissistic bullies and wouldn’t be getting as triggered with waves of despair and sadness. I want to be the true me. And thrive in my industry without limits. Yet, I’m stuck here with daily reminders of past and current pain. There would be many repercussions if I told the truth about my former marriage and the attack on my daughter… I’ve asked her but she does not want to press charges against this individual.
I know I can be successful in my industry anywhere with hard work.

Is it futile to think that if I move away (with my new husband) from these memories and these extremely hurtful people that I can start fresh mentally? Will it be a wasted effort or will getting away from these triggers and abusive people free my tormented soul so I can continue to recover and thrive? Although we do have some support of family and long time friends here, my husband would most likely be okay an eventual move.


Is it futile to think that if I move away (with my new husband) from these memories and these extremely hurtful people that I can start fresh mentally? Will it be a wasted effort or will getting away from these triggers and abusive people free my tormented soul so I can continue to recover and thrive?
I'm probably not the best person to answer this because I've been thinking about picking up and moving across country, but...

I do think that getting some distance between you and those who were hurtful is helpful, but we really can't get away from what abusers have done to the essence of us. Does that make sense? I mean, the memories might be muted for awhile, but they never really go away. I think if we are managing our thoughts and feelings well in the midst of the abusive environment, leaving would be fine, but if we still have difficult thoughts and feelings, then moving with the hope or expectation that everything will be better is just fooling ourselves.
I did move away from the area that was triggering me, and I'll try to be as honest as I can here, but I can only speak from my experience.

Yes, I did feel better mentally, but it took a while. Its not an instant thing to go from almost constantly being triggered by the place you live in, to living in a town with few triggers. They will always be there to some extent. Ptsd is like that, you can never fully escape, but you can distance. It just takes a while. And the distance doesn't always remain as far away as you'd like. You have to allow yourself time to recover.

I think a lot of people move away and then struggle because they expect everything to stop straight away, it doesn't. You will have the stress of moving on top of the ptsd, and moving is a huge stress. If you are going to move, plan it at your pace, not anyone else's. Also don't look at the initial move as a permanent thing, you may find that a few years, or months down the line, you'd like to try somewhere new. Keep that option open, it may take a while to find a place you can almost settle.

I hope this helps.


I agree with both whiteraven and notsurewheretoturn. I moved almost 10 years ago to get away from abusers for both my children and I. I found comfort in not having to worry about running into people. That had been a huge fear before I left so moving made things better. The pain was still there. It still took a lot of work to get to a good place. I need to go back to the city because of family and I rented out my house.

For a few years it was very triggering to go back ( would mess me up for a few days before and a day or 2 after). I got over that and had several years of being okay with being there. I did find it made it easier to just live my life without the constant triggers. I still had moments of struggle though. A recent triggering event at the house has brought everything back for me. I currently feel as broken as I did the day I left. I know that this will pass though. I am selling the house because it has gotten to be too much for my mental health. I don't see family often so I don't want reasons to go back if I don't have to.


I agree with @whiteraven and @notsurewheretoturn I left the community where the majority of my trauma occurred and I rarely go back, only then to visit family or for funerals. It is tough and I am fortunate that my dad doesn't actually live in town so when I do visit I have the solitude of being in the country but I was back there for 6 weeks this past summer and that was rough. And it won't be like you move and things are just fixed it doesn't work that way, but for me being away from there did help.
Not open for further replies.