Breaking away from an abusive relationship is a battle in itself. It takes courage, strength, support, and at least one key moment of clarity. For many victims, however, the break is only a small part of the struggle. The effects abusive relationships have on an individual can be long-lasting. It’s not even very common to see the subtle and diverse aspects of abuse. In verbally and emotionally abusive relationships, the abuser seeks to assume full control over their partner. Even after the relationship, survivors often feel as though they continue to face the abuse and the trauma.
Like many learning moments in our life, it is through exposure and experience that we build a sense of who we are as people, how we relate to the world, and how we understand the world around us. For folks who have faced abusive relationships, it is only reasonable that in exiting the relationship, and re-entering the world, they see everything around them (and themselves) through this damaged, abused lens. Their perspective is highly reflective of all they recently endured.
So, how can we help our loved ones and ourselves after leaving an abusive relationship? This is not a checklist; you won’t find magically appearing results. In order to find strength, and build self-worth, it takes confronting all that we fear and working hard to overcome our battles.
Abusers will often chastise and demean their victims. They will place irrational blame and induce irrational guilt. The words that people use to insult and demean are difficult to ignore. They poke and prod at us, and often wear us down until we begin to believe them.
Reframing abusers words (whether it is a memory of an experience, or an ongoing relationship), helps us truly understand the true intent of their words and actions, protecting us from the facade of insult.
For example, blaming the victim for their abusers bad day or misfortune is hardly the truth. Rather, victims should understand the intent of such accusations: this person wants to manipulate me and make me believe that I am responsible for all that affects her/him.
Fear will undoubtedly work its way into every aspect of your thought process as a result of an abusive relationship. It could be fear of facing the abuser, fear of entering another abusive relationship, or even fear of yourself and strength.
These fears must be faced and they must be addressed. Without addressing these fears, they will take hold of your mind. They will inform your actions and inform how you understand yourself. If the fear is valid, then try to understand it.
For example: “What if I see my abuser in the street?” Then you can recall all the realizations you came to, and remind yourself of what you were put through. You will be able to walk away, turn around, and if need be, calmly tell the person you do not want to see them. You will exercise your strength.
This is about practice and convincing your heart and mind of all that you are worth. Whether abusive relationships last 3 months or 20 years, the effect is deep and too powerful if we ignore its effects.
Building self-worth is about unlearning all that you believe to have learned about yourself during the relationship. It is about forgiving yourself. Dr. Peter Levine, founder and developer of , explains that there is often a lot of self-blame with victims. They blame themselves for having entered an abusive situation, or responsible for their abusers’ actions. A big step in healing and moving on from abusive relationships, is full self-forgiveness and self-acceptance.
You are not responsible for the abuse (psychological, verbal, financial, sexual, or physical) you have endured. You are responsible only for yourself and for working hard to heal and move forward.
TECHNIQUES AND TOOLS
At the upcoming World Wide Transformational Summit, many of our speakers are outstanding healers and advocates of techniques that greatly provide change and support for those who wish to heal.
Techniques like , help realize the above points of change needed to overcome the traumas of abuse. For example, it operates on the framework of self-acceptance and self-love so that you can lower your anxieties, diminish self-hate and self-blame, and work towards total empowerment and strength. It helps you untie all your skewed associations, and unlearn all your distorted self-perceptions.
To find strength and power, you must work hard. Daily struggles are a guarantee, but so is self-acceptance and a stronger, more beautiful you.
link back to recently written article about somatic experiencing
link about to recent article about how to do EFT