How is it even possible to recover and heal from the wounds of past emotional abuse? I’ve asked myself this question many times over the years.
While you may no longer be in a psychologically abusive relationship anymore, it doesn’t mean the mental scars left behind have healed.
Although time may be a factor in helping you move on, time doesn’t make you forget the past. It doesn’t erase the pain inflicted. Nor does it change your thought patterns after someone control and manipulates you.
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Label it for what it is→ Abuse!
You can’t move forward in your life if you ignore or refuse to believe a past relationship was emotionally abusive. Denial is an ugly thing! It only inhibits your ability to heal your heart and your mind.
No matter what type of abuse you have suffered and survived, abuse is abuse!
Recognizing and accepting you were abused is the first step to healing after emotional abuse.
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6 Steps For Emotional Abuse Healing
If you’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship, you’ve probably been told at some point or another that YOU are the cause of your partner’s abusive behavior. After a while, you probably believe it because your partner manipulated you to believe the lies.
But that’s just what they are… Lies!
No one causes someone else to abuse them. Therefore, no one deserves abuse of any type! An abuser looks for any way to deny what they do to others and they never admit wrongdoing.
That’s not your fault! If your past partner is not abusing you currently, he/she will move on to abuse someone else. Why? Because they are an abuser at heart. He/she will continue to abuse others because it’s in their nature for whatever reason.
Honestly, the cause of the abuse had nothing to do with you! Your ex probably has his/her sights set on a new victim to emotionally abuse. He/she will continue to abuse other people and just like you were not the cause of the abuse, neither is their new partner. It sometimes comes down to the abuser’s own insecurities.
Do something you couldn’t do before
In your abusive relationship, you were restricted. Restricted is simply another word for control. You were not allowed to talk about certain topics, or talk to certain people, or even chase your dreams.
Now that you’re not in the emotionally abusive situation, it’s time to fly! Ask yourself: “What could I not do in the relationship that I want to do now?” or “What wasn’t I allowed to do?” Here’s the time to make a list and organize the list with what you want to do first and foremost.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with healing after emotional abuse right?
Well, although you’re out of the relationship, your thoughts and behavior have been manipulated and controlled to fit your (ex) abuser’s needs and wants. So, by complete one or all of the things you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t in the relationship…
You are regaining control over your own life! It’s no longer your abuser that control what you say and do, it’s you again. The way it’s supposed to be!
If something you couldn’t do before is something as simple as going out with friends to a bar, then do it!
Soon after my abusive relationship ended, I got a tattoo. Why? Because I’ve always wanted one and when I was with my ex, I was told that tattoos were “trashy” and he would leave me if I got one. So of course, I didn’t get one.
But after the relationship, I spread my wings and got my first tattoo.
Practice ongoing self-care
For months or years, your emotionally abusive partner told you your own needs, wants, thoughts, and dreams don’t matter. Now that it’s over, it can be hard to find who you were before the abuse. Self-care is a way of caring for your physical and mental health.
Self-care is not selfish. It’s a way of re-establishing and building your self-confidence and self-esteem. The more you do for yourself daily, the more you are putting yourself first.
Establishing a daily self-care routine is a great start to healing after emotional abuse. Here are some little ways to practice self-care each day!
- Give yourself a facial
- Take a bubble bath
- Write in a journal
- Practice yoga
- Start a relaxing hobby
Set limits and boundaries
This step is for preventing further abuse in the future. Unfortunately, people who have suffered abuse before are more susceptible to receiving abuse again from another partner. It’s the cycle of abuse and it’s hard to break!
Don’t worry, no one is blaming you! But you want to make sure to arm yourself with strong limits and boundaries with basically everyone in your life.
It may seem harsh, but that’s the reality now. There comes a point in your life where you have to say “No more” and end the cycle of abuse. However, how do you do this?
First off, you need to know the signs of emotional abuse. Yes, you may have lived through them, but you need to make sure you can recognize the very early signs of emotional abuse to stop it early on.
Second, you need to trust your gut feeling. When it feels like someone is trying to manipulate or control you in any way, make your boundaries clear to that person.
Here are some of my own boundaries and limits I have now in my life because of past emotional abuse:
-I don’t allow someone to raise their voice at me
-I won’t let someone talk down to me (Example: put-downs, rude jokes, etc.)
-I don’t let any pressure me into doing something I don’t want to do
These three boundaries are non-negotiable for me. Now, if I am ever yelled at by someone, I rudely interrupt them and say “No, do not yell at me. If you can’t lower your voice to work this argument out, then we are done with this conversation!”
Related Articles: 19 Signs You’re A Victim Of Gaslighting
If you’ve suffered from an abuser controlling any aspect of your life, then you’ve probably been alienated from friends and family you were once close with. This is probably one of the worst things an abuser can do. He/she eliminates any support system you have to keep in the relationship and hide how they treat you.
Even though you are healing after emotional abuse, it’s hard to regain the support system you once had. Some friends and family may not be so forgiving of you “ditching” them. But sometimes, loved ones will forgive you!
All you need to do is explain the situation and ask for forgiveness.
Now that the abusive relationship has ended it’s time to regain or find a new support system. This can even be in the form of an online support group for past emotional abuse. Sometimes, the most comforting thing to have in life is someone who understands exactly what you went through!
Emotional abuse leaves scars no one can see. They’re not visible to the rest of the world, therefore, society tends to ignore verbal abuse as “abuse” at all.
But it’s actually a devastating form of abuse that changes your life forever. This type of abuse systematically changes your thoughts and behaviors from the inside out.
Healing after emotional abuse can take years after the abuse stops. If you’re still struggling to heal your heart and mind, know that you’re not alone. I’m still bearing the scars of past emotional abuse over five years later after the abuse stopped.
Time helps make things a little better. But it certainly doesn’t heal the wounds inflicted by abuse.
If you’re struggling to find healing after emotional abuse, take it easy on yourself. In your own time, you will find a way to heal!