Emotional abuse is not uncommon in this day and age, and no one is immune. People go through all kinds of emotional abuse and only the brave ones are strong enough to walk away. However, the mental and emotional effects of abuse don’t end the day you decide to walk away from a relationship. They can continue to have an impact long after you’ve left. The best way to find healing from emotionally abusive relationships is by understanding abuse and conquering it. Here’s how to do so.
Accept the Situation
Denial is a defense mechanism that helps us to get through many tough situations in life. It helps us to avoid emotional and physical pain, conflict, shame, or fear. Denial might be appropriate if it helps us to cope with painful emotions, such as grief over the loss of a dear one, especially if the death was sudden.
But it is not supportive when it makes us deny problems out of fear or when it makes us ignore feelings that prevent our lives from improving.
For you to start healing, you must accept that you were emotionally abused. Denial can have a damaging impact on you and result in post-traumatic stress disorder. Face the truth so you can find help and embark on the journey to healing.
Enlist the Help of a Professional
In this world of instant messaging, fast food, and quick search, most people look for quick fixes. Some of the popular relationship questions on Google include “How to get over heartbreak fast,” “How to fix a broken relationship quickly,” and “How to heal a broken heart fast.”
While overcoming something painful fast is good, it is much easier said than done. Healing from emotional abuse is sometimes more difficult. You may keep thinking about the bad times you had with your abuser. Truth be told, you usually can’t learn how to mend a broken heart quickly.
While every recovery process is unique, it is important to seek the help of a professional. She/He will review your situation and help you to sort out any emotional baggage you have. He will help you know how to fix a broken heart and how to get over heartbreak.
A professional counselor can also help you to create a strategy to cope with a life free of abuse. Healing is not an easy journey; it is often difficult and filled with emotional landmines. Many times you can’t make it on your own; you need the help and guidance of a professional to navigate painful and difficult situations.
Forgive and Move On
When healing from emotionally abusive relationships, victims must think about forgiving their abusers. While this is a hard thing to do, it can be more difficult if your abuser has never asked for your forgiveness. Forgiving someone is not excusing or denying abuse, it means you are ready to move on.
A word of caution: don’t forgive when you aren’t ready as this can hamper your healing. In other words, be really authentic with your feelings. If you are in a position where you have really let it go, then let it go. But do not pretend that everything is okay if it truly isn’t.
One way you will know is that you are free of the trauma is when you can think about the situation or the person and be neutral. You are free of any heavy feeling in your heart or anger or some other emotion. At this point you can be pretty sure that the healing within yourself has occurred.
You may have to postpone forgiveness until true healing takes place, and this is ok. Some victims can let it go after expressing their anger, others forgive after they feel justice has been served, while others forgive after their abusers ask for forgiveness. Everyone’s process is different. Forgive when you are ready so as to free yourself from resentment and to find peace.
Ultimately, we learn that others are always doing the best they can, and our process of healing is truly with ourselves.
Set Personal Limits
You must set limits because they will help you to protect yourself in a healthy and functional way. Setting boundaries is a vital thing for abuse victims. Boundaries are rules you set for yourself that cannot be disobeyed without consequences.
People who are mentally healthy have many individual boundaries that shield them from negative words and actions. These boundaries prevent them from being manipulated or getting entangled with emotionally needy people.
Personal limits help you to become responsible for your actions, words, and feelings. They help you to celebrate your uniqueness. You can get close to others when it is right, and keep your distance when you feel you may be harmed. Setting limits will help you to avoid getting into an emotionally abusive relationship in the future.
Form Healthy Relationships
After experiencing emotional abuse, it can be hard to trust again. You know the ugly side of relationships all too well. Abuse changes your outlook on relationships and you may have a hard time trusting people who are affectionate, caring, and loving because you fear they might become abusive down the road. Many abusers portray the same behaviors in the beginning and it can be hard to interpret these behaviors in a healthy relationship.
It is crucial to create healthy relationships as you heal. Reach out to family and friends for support and join support groups managed by professional counselors. These can be great sources of healing. Be committed to building healthy relationships. According to Harvard Health, good relationships lead to better overall health.
One way to support healthy relationships is to be very conscious of the words that you and the other person use with each other from the beginning.
If there is attack or blame or victimization in your conversations more than rarely, take that as a red flag. The reason is when someone blames and feels victimized, they will start to take their own personal discomforts out on the other. Anger, resentment, verbal and emotional attack can become quite prevalent very quickly.
Also be aware of someone who angers very quickly or seems to be often irritated at the smallest things. Those are signs that there is a deep, seething anger or rage underneath and these emotions will eventually come up to the surface and be projected out on others.
This does not mean that both of you will always be in a good humor and oh so sweet. It is not about denying the emotions. It is ALWAYS about how an individual deals with the emotions that they are feeling.
From the beginning of a relationship or even after you have been in it for a while. Be sure to bring it up without any blame or attack at them rather, say something like “I notice that there is a lot of irritation in your voice or anger that shows up quite easily. Is there something going on that you would like to speak about?”
Pay close attention to how they respond and how you feel with the response. Do they seem sincere? Do you feel safe with them? These are little clues that will help you stay aware and conscious.
Always speak your truth about whether you are feeling safe and communicate openly. If the other person is not open to that kind of conversation you may want to reconsider going any deeper into this particular relationship.
One thing most abuse victims tend to do is blame themselves. Refrain from doing this!
There is no value in blaming yourself. In addition, don’t let your past define you as you are now a new person. Choose to be happy and to savor every moment. While you may feel low at times, remember that healing doesn’t happen overnight. You will have good days and bad days, but the low moments shouldn’t distract you from your goal.
As you go through the healing process, remind yourself how strong, capable, and exceptional you are. Every day devoid of emotional abuse is another day to regain a piece of yourself that you lost. In the end, the pieces will come together to form a complete new person.
One of the best decisions you will ever make is to walk away from an emotionally abusive relationship.
Learn how to identify emotional abuse so you can escape before things get worse. If you’ve just gotten out of a bad relationship, look to these tips on healing from emotionally abusive relationships.
I also recommend that you investigate books on effective and safe communication so that you’ll know better how to be with someone that is showing signs of abuse.
It will also help you know yourself better. So you do not repeat your same patterns.
It is ABSOLUTELY possible. Make it your mission and it will be so!
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Author: Esateys Stuchiner
Esateys (pronounced Ee sáh teez) is an International Life Transformational Speaker, Author, Master Facilitator, Life Coach and Expert in the Human condition. She is a Nationally and Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. For over 30 years, she has practiced, taught and lectured extensively in the allopathic and alternative medicine field.
Esateys is known for her groundbreaking work in the areas of personal empowerment and health restoration using mindset and inner connection as the catalyst for all change.
Esateys describes herself as the ‘Architect of the New You’ and has dedicated her life and professional career to helping her clients create “New Beginnings” by facilitating self empowerment, economic freedom and restored health.
For more information, go to esateys.com.