If recovering from anything - physical, mental, emotional or psychological - was easy, we (the guest author and I) wouldn't be sharing this article. Matter of fact, throwing a few words on a page is almost always an underestimation of the real situation at hand. Believe me. However, Justina Ikwu, our Guest Author has provided some pretty sane ways to cope in the aftermath of an emotionally abusive relationship. We hope this helps...a lot! See Part 1 and Part 2.
After being exposed to such an emotionally draining experience, pieces of you feel scattered across where you are coming from and where you are. For one to get out of that state of mind, a redefinition based on self-love and compassion need to be practiced. Research has indicated that an individual that has been exposed to abuse has a good chance of being abused in future relationships. In order to prevent a repeat of such a trauma, you must learn to stay on course and begin the process of healing physically and emotionally.
A Road to Discovery: Practical of Self-Redefinition
Phase 1: Initiating the Healing process
- Start by giving yourself a pat on the back for courageously walking out of an abusive relationship. Take pride in doing something towards the improvement of your life. This phase will lead to the exploration of different paths and begin the process of emotional healing.
- Take out the time to treat yourself to things that appeal to you. This gets the healing process started regardless of how small or little it might be. Enjoy the things you always craved but could not do because you were once forbade to do it.
- Avoid all contact with your abuser regardless of how charming or apologetic the actions and words seem to be.
- Post-abuse trauma such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem can be eased out with a decent amount of sleep, good diet, and exercise. These actions can improve and hasten the healing process.
- Seek support or therapy to help cope with the effect of the abusive environment. Talking and learning will bring to light various ways you were affected by your partner’s actions. This is an important step in your recovery phase because it provides a safe and accepting environment to help learn good coping skills.
Phase 2: Reclaiming Your Confidence
- You need to start realizing the abuse you suffered was not caused by your actions. We always have a choice to choose how to act, but we fail to be responsible for our actions. All people deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion because that is the humane thing to do. It is vital to detach the feelings of guilt you may be experiencing as a result of ending the relationship. Only then, can your healing continue.
- Indulge in mental exercises that help exorcise the abusive criticisms that haunt you. Do not try to rationalize them. No need to disagree or refute them. It is important to stop obsessing over the darkness and the content of emotional abuse that you lived through.
- Collect positive counterweights that help you understand that you were abused because somebody chose to treat you badly. Remind yourself of your great qualities that make you produce success and growth, and the positive vibes will counteract your negative feelings. At this stage, you have to actively remind yourself of your unique worth and potentials of becoming an actualized individual. This makes you always know that you take the love you think you deserve, hence you should always know you are worth of some good, selfless loving.
- When you are having a low moment, seek support from people who share your situation or someone who will listen and understand. Do not be ashamed of your experiences because you have no control over what life throws at you. Try to spend time socializing and feeling alive.
Phase 3: Finding Inner Peace
- You have to be patient when trying to recover your self-respect, self-esteem and self-image chipped away by the abuser. It takes time to rebuild and understand who you are, hence you have to be gentle with yourself, and don’t expect it to happen all at once. Set out time to get a clear head, access your feelings, and love yourself by yourself.
- Rediscover the things you love, the actions that keep you alive and make you feel good about yourself. Appreciate yourself without having fear of conflict or judgement.
- Start moving forward with your life by setting manageable short and intermediate goals in your life, and ensure you meet those goals regularly. It is important to keep focus on satisfying yourself and living your own life.
- Go out and gain new experiences. Start replacing your toxic memories of the past with happy and meaningful new memories. Create a good distance between you and your abusive relationship by spending time with new people, visiting new places.
- Develop trust in yourself and your decisions. Abusers can drag down your confidence and seek control over your life. You need to always remember that no one else is in charge of your life but you; hence you owe it to yourself to seek the best possible experience that will promote mental health and stability.
“….you grow as person. Physically, mentally and emotionally. My mother and father after the incident told me that I bloomed into a beautiful woman, once I finally walked away from him. My friends saw the hidden strength in me that they did not see before. Beautiful, strong woman. You just have to find the fire to walk into the sunshine babe….”
Guest Article by Justina Ikwu