Ending an abusive relationship can leave you feeling lost, alone, broken and unsure of the future. For a period of time your life was controlled by your partner. You may have lived in constant fear and made attempts to relentlessly please your partner. Healing after an abusive relationship is a process and below are a few tips to keep in mind. Also remember: Just because you had a relationship with domestic violence doesn’t automatically mean that it will happen in your next relationship. It’s never too late to pick up the pieces and rebuild your life.
1. Process your past pain:
I strongly recommend you going to therapy to address the pain you experienced. Abuse is traumatic and should be processed in a therapy setting. It is important that you learn to challenge some of the unhelpful thoughts that you may have acquired while in the relationship.
2. You are capable of love and deserve love:
Abusers often use tactics to make us feel that we are never good enough. That we are unlovable unless we are completely controlled by them and even then they aren’t satisfied. Remember that you are deserving of the same love you tried to give in your past relationship.
3. Don’t rush into another relationship:
Healing is a key component. Take the time to work on yourself first. Learn what you want and don’t want in a relationship. Create a list of what you want in your next relationship. I’ve seen so many women jump from one abusive relationship to another. Remember, it’s okay to be alone.
4. Strengthen your support system:
During the abusive relationship you may have grown apart from family members, friends, co-workers. I want to encourage you to increase your social circle with individuals that are healthy and supportive. Join an activity or a local church group where you can connect to other people.
5. If you have children, work towards strengthening your relationship with them:
Talk with them about their experience. You have been through a lot but so have they. Please make sure they are in therapy to process any of the abusive and target any self-blame they may have.
6. Make the most of your time:
Do the things that you couldn’t do when you were in the abusive relationship. Finally do the activities and hobbies you used to enjoy. Do things that are good for you! Exercise. Get enrolled in school. Meditate. Listen to music. Take a bath. Read a book.
7. Distance yourself from the abuser:
This can be very difficult if you have children with the abuser. Seek legal help to identify options. It is important to end connections on social media. In fact, feel free to disable your social media while you are building your life again.
8. Don’t go back:
In life we’re meant to grow and move forward. Don’t go backwards! Your abuser may make every attempt to pull you back into the relationship. Expect them to try to make you feel guilty or bad. Be brave and know that you deserve better. No one deserves abuse.
9. Consider the end of an abusive relationship “a blessing” and not “a curse.”:
Ending the relationships was one of the best things that could have happened to you. Living with abuse is torture and you deserve much more kindness and love.