Surviving emotional abuse is something I didn’t know how to deal with at the very beginning, but after some sessions with my therapist I found out that I’m not the only one going through this. So many women out there are struggling with this issue, not even knowing what to expect from life after surviving this kind of violence.
With the focus on that, I want to present you 6 ways in which you can invest your time and energy into yourself to feel much better. It will be a long and challenging journey to get back to being yourself again, but it doesn’t matter. Your focus should now be on healing yourself and here is how to do so:
1. Surround yourself with friends and family
Have a support group! Everyone needs someone to rely on from time to time. If you surround yourself with the right people, your journey to self-recovery will be a bit easier. You can’t ask them to give you all the answers but they can provide you with just the amount of attention you need to talk and feel safe. It’s important to remember that no one except yourself is going to give you the answers you need. At least once every two days, go out with your friends, have coffee or go on a picnic.
Have fun! Soon you’ll see that it gets better because you’ll be aware of the fact of how wonderful life actually is. Of course, there will be times when you won’t feel like going anywhere or leaving your house. You must have one person, a best friend or a sister, who will be more than happy to stay inside the house with you, to watch movies and listen to talking about your emotions and your experiences.
2. Dedicate more attention to your body
Exercise releases endorphins which interact with receptors of pain in your brain. Endorphins are also the cause of the ‘euphoria’ people feel after they have been on a run. That feeling, known as a ‘runner’s high’, can be accompanied by a positive feeling and an energizing outlook on life. Also, after every workout you will be proud of yourself for getting out of bed and going outside. If you can, join some friends on a nice hiking trip! It’ll be much fun, I can promise you this.
3. Breathe and 5-4-3-2-1
For abuse survivors who struggle with PTSD or complex PTSD, breathing exercises are crucial to make them feel calm and relaxed. Meditation is my go-to tip, because it’s being calm for a moment or two and it makes you sit down and relax, while focusing on your breath only. But, if you’re not the type of person who likes to meditate, or the idea of meditation is too awkward because sitting silently in one spot is uncomfortable for you, I have an alternative for you. There is an exercise for you, when you become anxious and need to calm down, and it’s the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise. Take a deep breath and focus on your surroundings. Say out loud 5 things you see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. After this, you’ll feel at ease. Do this as many times a day as you need to.
4. Realize that it wasn’t your fault
Have a little chat with yourself about the whole situation, as much as it might hurt, but go through everything that happened to you throughout the relationship. Can you see it now? You did so much to make it all work and to try to heal both of you. You thought that you could change him, but nothing can change an abuser. It’s that simple. Every time you get nostalgic and come to think that if you had done something different then it would’ve worked out, just remember that you tried. Nothing will ever be good enough for these people. It’s not your fault and it never will be.
5. Don’t start a new relationship until you have realized that you have completely healed
This is very important, because if you don’t heal properly you might become an abuser to someone. By seeking too much attention and with not getting it, you might start to tell your new partner how they don’t put in enough effort into the relationship, etc. Take your time. You can’t heal overnight and you can’t expect someone to heal you. No one can do that for you. The good thing is that now you know what an abuser looks like and how they behave so you won’t fall into that trap ever again.
6. Be aware of the fact that you’re stronger now
Dear, you survived emotional abuse. Do you know how strong you must be to do that? To not fall into the trap, to not think that it’s the only love you deserve, is a powerful thing and you did it! You survived and moved on! So give yourself some credit for that. You are a lot smarter than you were before and you won’t fall for the same thing ever again. You came out of this a winner! Now? You can conquer the world!