Experts say that on a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls made to domestic violence hotlines across the United States. For those that find the strength to break free from this toxic situation, their journey has just begun as they are now faced with the challenge of healing and moving on from their experience.
Whether you were the victim of physical, mental or emotional abuse, the impact that it has had on your life as a whole is profound. Moving past this towards healing and recovery isn’t going to be an easy process, and it certainly isn’t going to happen overnight. This is going to be a long process, but it is so incredibly worth it! You’re worth it!
Here are 7 important tips to help you recover and heal from an abusive relationship:
#1 – First and foremost, be kind to yourself.
If you have just left a toxic situation, you have had more than your share of negativity! Having spent the time leading up to this point listening to someone blame you, tear you down and destroy your confidence. Don’t allow yourself to continue. Pay careful attention to your self-talk and make an effort to ensure that it is positive and uplifting. Focus on all the great things that you have to offer this world, and, most importantly, learn to forgive yourself for the things you think you’ve done wrong in life.
#2 – Take this opportunity to really get to know yourself.
You have had a toxic individual influencing your view of yourself for some time now. This has likely had an impact on your self-confidence and your sense of identity. Breaking free means that this is your opportunity to re-establish who you are, even to create a new version of yourself. Spend some time reflecting on what makes you happy in this life, what you feel passionate about and what you connect with. Discover who you are as a strong, independent individual in this world.
#3 – Don’t try to distract yourself from the pain.
This is a recommendation that you will hear many people make – just fill the void with some form of distraction. While this may take your mind off your pain for a short period of time, distracting yourself only prevents you from actually dealing with the emotions that you are currently struggling with. A day will come that they will once again bubble to surface forcing you to deal with them. Rather than waiting to deal with it later, take the time to acknowledge and feel the pain early on. This will let you work through it and truly let it go, freeing yourself from the negativity.
#4 – Consider what you can learn from this experience.
This may be hard at first, especially because you are still caught up in the pain that you have experienced. However, every situation, regardless of whether it was good or bad, provides us with the opportunity to learn and grow. In this specific situation, is there something that you could have done differently? Did you learn something about yourself? Don’t treat this as an opportunity to tear yourself apart or overly criticize yourself, you aren’t at fault for what happened. It is, however, a chance to learn from your past.
#5 – Cut the toxic individual from your life entirely.
It may be tempting to try the ‘we can just be friends’ approach, after all this person was, at one point in time, an important part of your life, right? Don’t put yourself in that position. They lost all right to be part of your life the second that they started treating you with such disrespect. Cut all communication with this individual when the relationship ends, including not taking their calls or returning their text messages. If you were connected on social media, remove them there as well. Block them if you don’t trust that they won’t try to contact you down the road. You need a clean break.
#6 – Try to be patient with yourself, there is no time limit.
You aren’t just leaving a toxic relationship, you are also dealing with the grief that you feel from losing the relationship you originally thought you had before your ex revealed their true personality. You’re trying to rediscover yourself, free from their influence, and trying to let go of everything they said or made you feel… That’s a lot for anyone to deal with! Don’t try to rush the process, or it will only end up taking even longer. Be patient and take it one step at a time. You’ll get there when the time is right for you.
#7 – Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
There is such a negative stigma surrounding the idea of speaking with a counselor or a therapist, but it can be such an empowering step. If you are struggling to deal with the situation, reach out to a professional. This doesn’t have to be a long-term arrangement, even just a few short appointments with them may be enough to help you get back on your feet. If you find that it is helping, then keep it up! If not, there’s nothing wrong with walking away.
Image via Medium