By Lynda King
Ending an abusive relationship can be incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, the struggle rarely ends there. Coping with life after the relationship has ended is often almost as difficult as if you were still in the relationship. While abuse can sometimes result in physical scars left behind, it always leads to emotional scarring.
Moving past the damage done by an abusive relationship can take a very long time. Victims are often left with emotional problems that can affect every facet of their lives. While you may no longer be suffering from physical abuse after you leave an abusive relationship, the emotional abuse continues.
In order to regain control of your life, there are several coping mechanisms that you can implement to get your power back after leaving an abusive relationship.
One of the most important things you can do after getting out of an abusive situation is to seek counseling. A professional with experience in counseling domestic abuse victims can help you face your pain and move past it.
Both individual and group counseling can be beneficial, with the latter giving you a chance to connect with others who are in your same situation. Meeting other people going through the same thing can help remind you that you are not alone.
Build Back Your Sense of Safety
Simply ending the relationship is often not enough to build back your sense of safety. In fact, the fear of retaliation is one of the things that keep people in abusive relationships for so long. There is often a strong fear that an abusive partner will come after a victim once they have left. Sadly, that fear is not completely unfounded. However, there are many ways to protect yourself and relieve that fear.
Simply cutting off contact with your ex may be enough to make you feel safe again. However, more drastic measures such as a restraining order or moving might be more effective. You can get a domestic violence legal guide along with personal guidance at a domestic violence survivors organization.
Get Life Back to Ordinary
Developing a steady routine in your new life can help you build back your comfort level. A routine can be incredibly soothing. Reconnecting with friends and family, whom you may have been cut off from by your abusive partner, can also help to put your life back on track.
It can be difficult to remember what normal feels like if you were in an abusive relationship for a long time. Rebuilding normalcy in your life can be incredibly beneficial for your mental health.
Let Yourself Grieve
Unfortunately, many people will not understand what you are going through. It is important to surround yourself with enough people who realize what you have been through, along with people who are willing to try to understand. Even though the relationship you were in was an abusive one, that doesn’t mean that you didn’t love your ex-partner.
One of the reasons that it is difficult for many people to leave an abusive relationship is because they love their abusive partner. Some abusers are constantly horrible to their partners. Many, though, are simply very drastic in every aspect of their relationship. When they are not being abusive, they can be intensely loving and make the abuse victim feel like they are the most important person in the world.
This kind of abusive relationship often leads to the victim feeling like the abuse is their fault. They see that their partner can be so amazing at times and feel like when they are abusive, it must be because they have driven them to it. This dynamic is incredibly toxic and helps to trap victims in an abusive cycle.
With this type of abusive relationship, you will need to grieve its ending just like any other healthier relationship. While you have escaped the abuse, you have also left behind the feeling of being loved that was in the spaces between.
Find an Outlet for Your Pain
It can be very helpful to focus your pain on something productive. All forms of art can be a great way to express yourself through creativity and let out your feelings in a healthy manner. Exercise can also be a great choice to release pent-up emotions. It is important to find a healthy conduit through which you can let your pain flow out. Keeping it bottled up will hurt you more and more the longer you go without releasing it.
Then, when you finally do let it out, it will likely be in a very unhealthy manner that will cause you even more harm. By finding a healthy outlet for releasing your feelings, you take control of them. You can regain your power and get back to living an abuse-free life.
While she had a solid education in law, Lynda King wanted more than a job as a lawyer. She knew that people needed information and a better understanding of everyday legal matters, so she began writing articles and guidelines to educate individuals and businesses. Now, Lynda is collaborating with Farzad & Ochoa Family Law Attorneys, being proud that her knowledge and writing talent are helping everyone every day.