When you Leave an Abusive Relationship!!!
Congratulate yourself! You may still feel helpless and overwhelmed. Be proud that you are doing something about improving your life. The biggest step is over, and you did it! You will be so busy trying to figure out how to start your life on a different path, that you may forget to appreciate your own strength. Celebrate!
The abuse that you endured was not your fault. There is never any justification for abuse. All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Be patient with yourself. Abusers chip away at their victims’ self-respect and self-image. It will take time to repair and rebuild the damage from the abuse, so be gentle with yourself, and don’t expect it to happen all at once.
Exercise the abusive comments.
Write down all the abuser’s criticisms that haunt you and cause you to keep undervaluing yourself.
Write down positive responses or refutations to those criticisms. Give examples of why those criticisms are untrue.
Write a list of statements that directly contradict the criticisms, to keep and remind yourself of your strengths.
Example: 1. “You’re lazy”,
2. “I renovated our home while also managing a successful business.”,
3. “I am a hard-worker, I am independent and I am successful in what I do”.
Seek counseling to help you process and deal with the whirlwind of emotions that leaving an abusive relationship produces. Talking with friends is helpful; however, it is important to have someone who is completely non-biased. Someone who has no emotional ties to you or your abuser. Many areas have abuse counseling or shelters available at little or no charge.
Collect positive ‘counterweights’. You may feel as if you were abused because you are unattractive, uninteresting or unworthy, but this is not true. You were abused because somebody cruel chose to treat you badly.
If your abuser made you feel unattractive, write a list of times when you received compliments about the way you dress or look.
If your abuser made you feel stupid, write a list of positive experiences when you succeeded because of your intellectual ability.
Whenever you find yourself feeling unworthy because of the false messages your abuser gave you, use your lists of positive memories to counteract your negative feelings. At this stage, you have to actively remind yourself that you do have lots of good qualities and you do deserve to be treated properly.
Do something that you enjoy; whether it’s a hot bath or favorite movie, it’s important to allow yourself little extras during this healing process. Especially indulge everything your abuser forbade. You really can put your favorite music on and dance to it while you clean up, laugh at your favorite comedian, and enjoy eating the foods your abuser hated. Reclaim those small joys in life, one by one, for yourself.
Rediscover your favorite things.
One by one, explore activities and interests that your abuser shut down by telling you that you were no good at them, it’s a stupid thing to do, etc. Chances are those are exactly the things that you shine in, that make you feel good about yourself. Even personal choices like what to eat, or how to arrange your clothes, are things you can indulge yourself in, and appreciate having them without fear or conflict. This is a time to have the peanut butter and banana sandwich, or watch that “dumb” genre of movie that you like so much.
As you become stronger, emotionally, your abuser will likely try to win you back. Limit, or completely restrict, contact with this individual regardless of how charming or sweet his or her actions seem to be. Healing from abuse is a very vulnerable time. It is natural for humans to need love, especially during times of transition. Surround yourself with friends, animals, or new experiences, as opposed to responding to any offers that may be made by the abuser.
Whatever you do to help the healing process move along, don’t go back. It only gets worse. You only get one life, do not chance losing it because you think that person will change.
It is better to be alone than abused.
You may feel angry at yourself for being tricked into the abusive relationship and ultimately trapped – learn to forgive yourself. You owe it to yourself!
Recovering from abuse is a painful process. It cannot be rushed, nor should it be minimized. Healing is worth the work, and there is a whole world waiting for you!