Rebuilding yourself after abuse takes time and it can seem scary once you’re free from such a relationship, but always remember that you’re not alone. You’re not weak, you’re strong for leaving such a hell. You may be broken, but you have this amazing ability to rebuild yourself all over again, from scratch. You have the chance to learn who you are now, you have the chance to learn to love yourself. If you have, or someone you care about has found yourself lost after leaving domestic abuse, these are the steps that can help you to get on track to rebuilding yourself. Remember, you got this.
1. Be patient with yourself
Imagine if it was your friend who got out of that relationship. You would be there for her, you wouldn’t tell her to, “Get over it already.” Do the same for you. Take your time; sorrow doesn’t have an expiration date and neither does healing. Take time to feel everything you need to feel, take time to be ready to move on.
2. Cut the abuser out
Most likely, he will do anything to lure you back to him. Make sure you cut him out of your life, and if your friends suggest that you should give him a second chance, ignore that advice. After all, you only have one life, so don’t waste it on an abuser, hoping he will change. They often don’t and chances that yours will are very small. Give yourself a chance to put some distance between your past and the future you want to achieve.
3. Rediscover yourself
Many things that are part of you, things you loved and enjoyed doing, you left because your abuser made you believe that you were bad at them. He had this need to control every part of your life, but now it’s time for you to take that control back into your hands. Explore your dreams that were shut down because of your relationship and re-experience the old ones. Take your time to see what you love, what you enjoy and what gets your engine revving. Find the things that can help you feel good about yourself, that can help you take things off of your mind. Find things that you and only you enjoy, because you are the one who matters now. No one else.
4. Surround yourself with people who build you up
Reach out to your friends and family when you’re low. Ask them how they feel about you, what they see when they see you. You will get the chance to hear positive and honest comments from people who truly love you. And once you decide to believe them, you will finally see yourself the way they see you—you will see this strong woman who stared into the eyes of abuse and got out even stronger, the woman who made life her bitch.
5. Speak your truth
Accepting the fact that you were in an abusive relationship is hard. But by sharing your story you have the opportunity to save someone else’s life. By speaking your truth, you have the opportunity to heal, because once you say it out loud, it’s no longer locked up in you, you’re no longer suffocating in that silence of abuse. Give yourself a chance to let that pain out and breathe in new life.
6. Put everything into your well-being
Take this opportunity of being alone to focus on yourself, to take all of that time you have and devote it to yourself. It’s time for you to please yourself only. Surround yourself with a positive community, read books on well-being, take your time. Pamper yourself with occasional spa days and massages. Binge-watch Netflix and get some rest. Rebuilding yourself is exhausting, so give yourself the best treatment possible, because you deserve it.
7. Forgive yourself
The most important tip of them of all is to forgive yourself. The abuse you endured is not your fault. You were not abused because you were unworthy, because you were not enough or because you were stupid. To abuse someone is simply a cruel decision of the abuser. It’s not your fault you decided to love him, to give him a chance. Surround yourself with positive people who will show you how amazing you are. Display positive messages all over your place: ‘You’re amazing. You are smart. You are strong.’—and trust them. You’re not to blame, you’re to be loved.