So you recently realized you were in an emotionally abusive relationship and now you have no idea what to do or how to move forward. Well, Have no fear… Here are ten things for you to do to heal from the relationship and move on for good.
1- Know That It Was Not Your Fault
No one should ever abuse you. Period.
When you begin to do research online about emotional abuse you may find articles that point blame on the victim. These articles make an overgeneralized assumption that everyone who experienced emotional abuse is codependent. But for most of us who experienced emotional abuse, the abuse only started months or years into the relationship. As if a switch flipped and our partner became a different person. For some there were red flags in the beginning also, but for many there were none. The perpetrators of emotional abuse are usually brilliant manipulators and know exactly how to hide their behavior. They find ways to sneak it in, do it in a way that makes you think you’re the one at fault, and then gaslight you to make you question your own sanity. All the while exerting enough energy to keep the good moments actually good. Its enough to make a person think they’ve gone mad: and most victims of emotional abuse do think they’ve gone crazy. But You didn’t. and you’re not. You were a victim of emotional abuse.
2- Recognize The Signs of Emotional Abuse
When we love someone we have the unique ability to see all their good qualities and gloss over all their bad qualities. When you have noticed their abuse you may have just thought you picked up on character flaws or things they can easily change or grow out of. So its extremely important to realize what the signs of emotional abuse are so that you can no longer gloss over their actions or make excuses for them.
The thing about emotional abuse is that its often covert, insidious, and extremely subtle. It’s not like physical abuse. Emotional abuse can’t be seen by anyone. Most emotional abusers are so good at what they do that they make you question your own sanity so you have no idea that they are abusing you. They also are good at convincing everyone around you that they’re good for you. Your friends and family may love them and they may even tell you you’re making a mistake leaving them. You are not. All that shows is that Your partner, soon to be ex partner, or ex partner is so good at hooking their claws into people to get what they want.
Once you know what the signs are; you will notice and you may remember all the times they’ve ever been emotionally abusive towards you.
3- Do Some Research
Read every article you can on emotional abuse. Start tracking what happened in your relationship and write it all down. If you’re feeling strong and safe you can begin to do research into your own history. Maybe there is family history of emotional abuse or maybe you experienced emotional abuse as a child. Maybe there is a history of emotional abuse for them. Become an investigative reporter and take notes on what you experienced. I believe one of the reasons we fall into or stay for as long as we do in emotionally abusive relationships is because we don’t know the signs, no one talks about it, and most people have done zero research on it. So imagine how you can be in the future: if you know what the red flags look like you’ll be able to stop it before it even begins.
This is about reintegrating and gathering all the lost memories from dissociation. Before you get scared and think it’s your fault and you dissociated, please understand: this wasn’t a conscious choice of yours. You experienced trauma. Your brain did this for you to protect you. Now that you have decided to heal and move on from them; you can ask your body, your mind, or your soul to help you remember all the details of what happened.
5- Reach Out to Friends and Family
Do not suffer in silence alone. It’s important to get back into close contact with people you can trust or rebuild trust with. Your mind might feel like a warzone. You might feel completely misunderstood and confused. Your friends and family remember who you are outside of the relationship. You may feel like you are a shell or shadow of who you once were. Having people who have known you for years remind you of who you truly are is so valuable right now.
6- Find Support
There are support groups, free resources online, and plenty of therapists. Use google to find the support that is local to you. You owe it to yourself to find support that will make you feel understood and bring light to your experience.
7- Forgive Them
Maybe they knew what they were doing or maybe they didn’t. at this point it honestly doesn’t matter. They were abusive. They made that choice: consciously or unconsciously. They probably have been doing it their whole lives. They probably know nothing different. They may have learned it from their parents or primary care giver. They may have been emotionally abused themselves as a child. As much as you now want to feel guilty for them, pity them, and want to take care of them: you must refrain. They are still the adult who did what they did. No matter the innocent child living inside of them who is hurting. They are an adult. Its time for them to grow up and start taking responsibility. They made mistakes, and that doesn’t excuse their behavior, but if you hold on to the anger and pain only you will suffer. If you can see them as a person who made mistakes you can forgive them.
8- Forgive Yourself
Forgiving yourself is even more important than forgiving them. I know that right now part of you doesn’t want to forgive yourself out of fear that if you do you may fall into another abusive relationship. But shifting the blame towards yourself and holding on to false beliefs that you were the problem is what will make you believe that somehow you deserved the abuse and make you more susceptible to accepting it in the future. You must forgive yourself. Remember how it wasn’t your fault, understand how insidious emotional abuse is, how long it takes for the average person to realize they’re being abused, and that you are now taking the right steps towards your healing. Give yourself the time and space you need. Forgiveness comes in waves and it comes through your willingness to let go. Do it over and over again until one day it just clicks. Do not give up on forgiving yourself.
9- Cut The Ties
You need to move on but its not so easy right? Well, when leaving an emotionally abusive person or a manipulator it’s extremely hard to tell when they’re honest or when they’re lying to manipulate you. The back in forth in your mind is enough to make you feel crazy. I suggest: go no contact. It may feel hard at first. But try it out and watch as your energy returns to you. You may begin to see just how much energy they were taking from you and you didn’t even realize.
10- Love Yourself
I know this might seem like the hardest suggestion to do. You may even question how can you love yourself if you let someone do the awful things your partner did to you. But as I discussed in the first point: you simply didn’t know.
Think about this: You’ve loved them enough to forgive everyday the things they did to you. You found a way to love them anyway. You found a way to stay hopeful about who they could become. You found a way to stay positive about their character and believe they are inherently good. Why not do the same thing for yourself?
What did you do so wrong anyways? You loved. You forgave. You tried your best. There was nothing you could have done differently. You were enough the whole time. It was them that made the choice to abuse you and it wasn’t because of who you are. They have probably been abusive their whole lives. While you have probably been loving, caring, and giving your whole life. That’s exactly why they chose you, why they put on such a good act in the beginning, and why they started to devalue you once you started standing up for yourself.
They wanted to trap you, but if you’re reading this now you’ve already chosen freedom.
You made the right choice.
You did nothing wrong.
What you deserve, more than their love or anyone else’s’, is your own love.
There’s a reason they were attracted to you. Now its time for you to be attracted to you. Be your own bee to your own honey.
Take care of yourself and please know that you deserve a love that frees your soul.
You have all the power within you to come out of this relationship as a wiser and stronger person. Please know that you are not alone. You were not stupid or crazy. There was enough good to make you stay as long as you did. You didn’t know the full story. Now you do. You were conned, and it’s over now.
May you know your own strength and may you choose your freedom.