how to heal
If you want the confidence to live an independent life that is free from fear, it’s important that you complete a successful healing process after leaving an abusive relationship to repair the damage that’s been done to your sense of self-worth.
Being physically free from your abuser is just the first step. It can take much longer to feel emotionally free. But with the right support, you can do it.
The damage caused by domestic abuse can be deeply damaging and long-lasting. In fact, people who have escaped from abusive relationships often display similar symptoms to those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferers.
Upsetting memories, flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and depression can all continue to impact your quality of life long after the actual threat of abuse has gone.
Acknowledging the damage caused
It’s really important that you acknowledge the damage that’s been done so you can access the right support to heal. Don’t be afraid to admit the extent of the harm.
Your abuser might have convinced you that it was all in your head or that you were just as much to blame, but it wasn’t. You didn’t cause this. The only person responsible for abuse is the perpetrator. You didn’t go crazy. We believe you.
Acknowledgement includes your children too. Even if they weren’t subjected to the abuse themselves, there will be a healing process required in order to move on from domestic abuse.
Our recovery programmes help adults, children and young people as well as those who harm. Together we can help your whole family heal.
Without an effective healing process, you could find it hard to move on. You might have been with your abuser for your entire adult life. What now? It can be terrifying when that constant is removed – even if you now know you deserve better.
Effective healing will give you the confidence to believe in yourself – the confidence to live an independent life. With the right support, you’ll no longer feel lost and overwhelmed. You’ll feel liberated and proud and happy.
Effective healing will also help you to develop confidence in your own instincts, so you’re better equipped to spot the early warning signs in any future relationships. Try to work on your healing before starting a new relationship, so you’re ready to walk away if your spidey senses tell you to.
Remember, you deserve a loving, safe and respectful relationship. You deserve a partner who cherishes and appreciates you and whose actions reflect that. Don’t settle for anything less.
Being kind to yourself
Abuse is always the fault of the perpetrator, but we know that sadly many of the people we support blame themselves at some point – either for the abuse itself happening, or for not getting away sooner, or by shouldering some of the responsibility for the impact on the children. It was not your fault.
Part of the healing process after leaving an abusive relationship involves being kind to yourself. Accept that you weren’t to blame. Accept that doing things differently wouldn’t have stopped the abuse.
Abuse is about power and coercion, so if even if you’d been more loving… stayed quiet instead of shouting back… done as you were told… none of it would have made any difference to the person who wanted to control you. You are here now because you are courageous and determined – and because you know you’re worth more.