10 Ways to Heal From an Abusive Relationship

Inspiring 6

One in four women will be the victim of domestic abuse at some point in her life. It may involve someone she's dating. It may be at the hands of her husband or partner.

That's a staggering number, isn't it? Twenty-five percent of women. Shocking. And so sad.

But some are able to get out of violent relationships. What happens once the abuse stops and real life begins? How do you heal after an abusive relationship ends?

1) Step out of the shell of abuse and see the situation as it was. You were being abused. If you've been defending your partner and trying to tell yourself "it's not so bad," it's time to take off the blinders and assess the situation. It's real. It's hard. And it sucks. But you can get better.

2) Develop and maintain a support system. Tell trusted friends and family about what happened in your relationship. Tell them what you need from them, whether it's a sympathetic ear or someone to keep you from going back to your partner.

3) If friends and family are not a help to you, don't hesitate to seek a support group. Not only can you find strength in numbers, but it will allow you to connect with others who have been in your shoes. A support group for abused women (and men!) can be an excellent place to find and develop new coping mechanisms.

4) One of the hardest things to undo once the scars of the abuse have faded is to learn to love yourself. Abuse -- verbal, emotional, or physical -- slowly erodes your self-worth and self-esteem in ways you may not realize. Learn to slowly build your self-esteem back up. Make a list of your best attributes (ask a trusted friend or family member to help) and keep it with you at all times.

5) Remind yourself that you, YES, YOU, deserve better. You don't deserve someone who treats you badly, and if you take your partner back after he or she promises "never to hurt you again," remember that abuse doesn't simply stop -- it escalates.

6) Learn to talk encouragingly to yourself. You don't need someone else to tell you that you're awesome or doing a great job -- you must learn to tell yourself these things ... and believe them.

7) Love thyself. It may take a long time to heal and process the abuse you suffered. While you're in recovery, you must learn to love yourself, or risk ending up in another abusive relationship. Only once you see yourself as a being worthy of love will you be able to be in a healthy, positive relationship instead.

8) Seek professional help. There are therapists out there who specialize in treating victims of abuse. Don't hesitate to find one and meet regularly.

9) Write it out. Take some time every day to write out your feelings -- the good, the bad, the ugly. There are websites where domestic abuse victims can post their stories in order to gain strength and to see that they are not, in fact, alone.

10) Recovery takes time. It's a cold, hard fact. You won't be able to bounce back immediately from the abuse, but you will get better. And when you do, you'll finally find yourself whole again.

What are some other ideas for recovering from domestic abuse?


Image via exfordy/Flickr

breakups, commitment, dating


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mamio... mamiofthree1982

I totally agree with no.5, it only escalates. They will feed you lies and tales of how they will change and you go back because its normality to you and you're scared of the unknown.I lasted in a 13 year relationship where it almost ended in losing my life. Its been 2 1/2 yrs and I have forgiven him because he sought help after spending a year in jail but I will never forget. We will always have that bond because we had spent so many yrs together from such a young age as well as 3 kids. Its very sad when they're a great father but a lousy husband. Any woman who is going through an abusive relationship, there IS help, don't be afraid of the unknown and have a plan to leave safely. Involve as many services as you can, womens shelters have amazing group support and you don't nessessarily have to be residing in the shelter to access them. It will always be an ongoing battle of thoughts and the question "why?" but you will come to the understanding that there won't always be answers and you will learn to deal with that. Life is one of those things you just can't give up on, you have to learn to love yourself and move forward :)

nonmember avatar Helen

That "bond" is called a trauma bond. Sad. Been there. He "sought" help? For REAL??? Sure he did....

nonmember avatar Luciana

I have been separated and filed for divorce, I know he has been involved at least with two other women and for some reason I still want him and miss him terribly. How do I deal with this? How am I going to stop wanting him? I cant understand myself.

pupuk... pupukeawahine

Find something bigger and better than that relationship.  Start writing a book, take long walks every day and watch the pounds (and pain) slip away, go after that degree, move to a place you've always wanted to go to.  So something else that consumes your time, energy, and passion.  Make it about you, about the future.  You don't need him. 

nonmember avatar Liz

This entry has helped me tremendously. I was in a relationship with someone who at the time i had considered my best friend. We grew up together and naturally one thing lead to another and i was happy, ridicliously happy. Then we both moved across the country and all we had were each other. He was the hardest thing to let go of but its the best decision ive ever made. Its been almost 2 years now and hes still in jail. Living in such a small place i cant stop re living everything i need to learn how to accept it but i dont think its actually sunk in that is over now. But remember it DOES get better but it takes time.

nonmember avatar victim

right what aabout men rights? I think 1 of every 2 men is being abused these days.

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