Recovering from an abusive relationship is no small task. You have to relearn how to like yourself, how to love yourself, and how to trust again.
Your pain is valid. Your suffering and struggles are valid. You are not exaggerating. It’s not “all in your head”. You struggle for a reason. And it is NORMAL to struggle for years after being in an abusive relationship.
Abusive people come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have two things in common: they are manipulative and they strip away your sense of value and worth.
Ask yourself these questions if you’ve ever been in a relationship with a toxic person, and want to know if you’re still binding yourself to their abuse in some way.
- Do you still listen to all their lies?
Maybe you are in contact with this person…maybe you don’t really have much of a choice (like a spouse you share custody with). But whether you see them or not, you do not have to listen to their lies. Just hold up your hands and call them out every time. “Whoa! That’s a lie right there. Not gonna listen to that.” #nottodaysatan
Guaranteed, they will be shocked and you will feel amazing for standing up for yourself.
And if you haven’t seen this person in years but still hear their lies inside your head…do the same thing.
Say it a hundred thousand times until you believe it.
2. Do you make life choices to spite them?
You know the classic teenager who rebels against their parents because they are angry and want to punish their parents for all the horrible things they’ve ever done to them? Yeah. Adults do this too.
There’s nothing wrong with changing your life or moving across the country or starting a business or finally running that half marathon…just make sure you are doing it for YOU and not to spite THEM.
They, whoever they are, don’t get a say in your life anymore. You are free of them. Free!
Get the tattoo or pierce your nose or go hike the Italian countryside. But do it for YOU.
You yourself are enough to live for. Joy and healing are enough to live for.
3. Do you want revenge for all the pain they’ve caused you?
This is definitely something I’ve wrestled with. I am learning there is a difference between wanting revenge and wanting justice.
For a long time, I didn’t understand the difference and I just walked around with guilt over the overwhelming feelings that would rise up in me. But here’s the thing…that feeling inside of us that rises up to protest and end injustice, it is a good thing!
Revenge inflicts harm. Justice enforces a standard. Revenge is self-seeking. Justice seeks to end suffering.
If you find yourself longing for justice…good. If you find yourself seeking revenge…stop. Revenge will only ever harm you because it’s roots are bad. Revenge cannot bring about anything good…that is not the nature of revenge.
4. Are you jealous?
Are you? Are you jealous that you gave them an ultimatum and they chose to stop loving you? Do you find yourself starting to despise the new boyfriend or girlfriend? The golden child who can do no wrong? The sibling who gets all the affection you wish you had?
There is no easy answer for this. Except…you are a strong and brave warrior! You stood up for yourself. You said, “No more!” And maybe you are the first person to do this, and it feels strange and lonely…good for you! You are a leader! You are a world changer! Lift your head high because you are doing hard and holy things.
You don’t need to be jealous over someone who refused to love you. Refused to respect you or treat you with common decency.
And if you find yourself being envious of other relationships you wish you had…learn to do the hard thing…celebrate with that person!
Oh! Lindsey has an amazing mom who invests in her? Laura has a boy friend who respects her and delights in her and challenges her to be a better person? Kate has a husband who adores and supports her? Daniel has a wife who thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread?
That just means those relationships are out there! Learn from these people.
And also…step into this role for someone else. Be the mom, friend, family to the broken soul, the lost soul. Welcome someone new into your home. When you do this, you’ll end up healing both of you.
5. What are you doing to mend the wounds?
You have been wounded. Now what?
You can decide to change everything for yourself and mend those wounds.
There are so many options out there. Have you ever been to Celebrate Recovery? AA? Have you ever been to consistent therapy…like for a year? or three?
There are books and blogs and resources out there for you to heal and change your life. But no one can do it for you. This is 100% on you. This is 100% your choice!
So…what are you gonna do?
I can’t answer that question for you. But I can tell you what I did…I read a thousand blog posts and a dozen books. I talked and talked and talked to friends who love me and just listened to me. I found an amazing therapist. I started writing. I started a business. I dyed my hair pink. I went outside a lot. And I’m currently contemplating wildflower tattoos. Oh! And I cried like buckets and buckets of tears.
There is no recipe for healing deep wounds. You get to go and make your own recipe.
It is hard. For sure. But you’ll never regret healing.