Reclaiming The Best Parts


After leaving an abusive marriage, Tricia Connor Jackson rebuilt her life and found happiness.

Ileft my husband in May 2020, in the heart of COVID-19. I had stayed in an emotionally abusive marriage for nine years and finally had enough. Not another night longer.

So, I packed up all my stuff—which wasn’t much because he owned everything—and drove cross-country to Palm Springs, California. I bought a house (with a big mortgage), got a job, and started over.

It sounds like the happy ending of a movie. But, of course, life is considerably more complicated.

Embracing My Pain

What looked like a new beginning from the outside, in reality was actually a very traumatic time. Even though I was finally free from the abuse, there was so much to unpack. My self-esteem had been hammered relentlessly for nearly a decade. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t make the relationship work. And, as horrible as it was, I was still heartbroken.

It’s true; you can love someone abusive. It’s not right; it just is what it is. I loved this man and thought (hoped) my life would look a certain way. Leaving and starting a new life meant acknowledging that the life I’d imagined would never be.

Today, I’m happier than ever and so thankful I’m not in that situation anymore, but at the time, it felt devastating.

As painful as it was, I was adamant about not wanting to go on medication. I felt it was important not to numb myself through the healing process because if I did that, I might start questioning why I left that abusive relationship in the first place. You hear of so many people who come away from abusive relationships only to go back to that person.

I didn’t want to do that; I wanted to remember every painful moment so I would never return.

Getting To A Better Place

Still, I knew I needed help. There were so many emotions swirling through my brain: anxiety, fear, embarrassment, heartbreak, the stress of starting over… it all took a toll.

I had always been a very athletic person and taken care of myself, but back then there were many days when I would stay in bed. I knew I should get up and run or go to the gym, but I didn’t. I stopped reading. I wasn’t eating right and I didn’t want to cook anymore. Sleep was hard to come by.

I felt depleted. I needed to give my body and mind the right nutritional support to begin the healing process... A friend suggested I try AshwaMag. Five months had passed since I walked out of my abusive marriage, and I couldn’t figure out how to get myself back again. I wasn’t willing to try anything, but I was willing to try a supplement. A natural one, backed by clinical studies.

So, I took my friend’s advice and I noticed a difference almost immediately. I must have really needed it.

There were drastic improvements in my sleep. It’s incredible how something so simple can trickle into other aspects of your life. Sleeping better meant I suddenly had more energy to work out.

For me, running is therapeutic. It’s a quiet moment in the day when I can listen to good music, just focus on moving forward on the treadmill - not thinking about anything except what I choose to think about. I’m removed from social media and to-do lists when I run. And running hard feels great afterward. It helps me sleep better.

I also noticed that when a stressful situation came up, that might typically send me into a downward spiral, I wasn’t spiraling. I wasn’t going to that place where I felt anxious or had negative thoughts. I could face it and stay calm and collected.

Eventually, I started feeling like myself again. The more I recognized my old self, the easier it was to rebuild my life.

Remaining Challenges

It took time, but I’m so, so happy now. I’m sleeping better, I’m back to running five days a week, and I’m finally in a healthy relationship. I even reinvented my career: I’m a commercial actress and model (at age 64!), and I split my time between L.A. and Spokane.

It’s hard to believe I’m where I am today, considering where I was just a few short years ago. Still, there are certain areas where I continue to struggle.

Cooking, for one. It can be challenging at times because it triggers so many painful memories. A lot of the abuse came around mealtime for some reason. There were many expectations around meals, whether buying the food, putting it away, preparing it, or serving it… if anything wasn’t up to par, it would set off a barrage of verbal abuse.

It took being in a healthy, supportive relationship to rediscover the joy of cooking. My boyfriend is a masterful cook (I’m average at best), and we cook together every night when we're both home.

Yes, things like being in the kitchen are still somewhat of a trigger for me, but when you’re with a person who makes you feel comfortable—who isn’t watching over your shoulder to see that you’re doing everything according to their expectations—it gives you the strength to continue on.

Reading was another occasion that seemed to invite insults. It made my ex upset to see me reading because it took attention away from him. So, I’m still working on getting my reading back to the level it was before my marriage.

I’ve gotten to the point where I can sit on the sofa and read for a bit, but I haven’t completely rebounded. It’s going to take more time for me to truly enjoy reading again. To feel free again.

Deciding To Win

You never know the extent of what you’re suffering until you’re far enough on the outside. Now, nearly four years of healing later, I have a bird’s eye view of where I was, and everything I went through.

At some point, most every person who is abused asks themselves why they put up with it for as long as they did. I know I certainly asked myself that question many times. The answer, which came to me over time, is I didn’t want to fail. I had introduced this man to my children and grandchildren, quit my corporate executive job and made him my life. I didn’t want to give up. I kept hoping things would get better.

Of course, they didn’t.

I’m a lot smarter now. When I began the healing process, I decided I didn’t want to reclaim all of who I used to be—I didn’t want to be the person who overlooked red flags in a relationship. Why would I want that person back? The person who stayed in an abusive situation. That’s not the strongest version of myself.

I held onto loving parts of me. I could have lost everything emotionally and closed myself off from other people. When you leave an abusive relationship, it’s tempting to choose to be alone—to protect yourself from getting hurt again. But if you do that, your abuser wins.

I wasn’t going to let that happen. I decided to win.