Life After Abuse

after abuse leaps of faithLife after abuse can be one of the most frightening and most liberating experiences of your life.

For many of us, leaving abuse is truly a leap of faith. No one knows what heart aches & challenges, successes and joys you will find “on the other side.” But one thing is certain: your choices after abuse will change you more quickly than your abuser was able to brainwash you. In essence, life after abuse requires you to brainwash yourself.

It is important that you treat yourself right during your recovery from abuse. Continuing to abuse yourself mentally, emotionally, or physically will continue your life of chaos and pain. But when you know what to do – the tricks and tips of recovery that work for you – life after abuse can be magical!

Life After Abuse: Greatest Fears

After abuse, when we look into the mirror, we think we see someone we do not know anymore. We tend to think the abuser fundamentally changed us at our core. We worry that we’ll never be “that girl” who gave her heart away so freely ever again.

I think of the effects of abuse differently. During our abusive relationship, our abuser imagined us to be someone different. In the spirit of love and cooperation, we tried very hard to add the abuser’s version of us to us; we hid ourselves, we didn’t execute ourselves.

Evidence that we did not succeed in changing ourselves is proof that we did not change who we were. If we had changed who we were, our relationship should have worked out – there would be nothing for the abuser to complain about. But no. We left our abusive relationships fighting and kicking the whole way (some more quietly than others).

The good news is that you are STILL you! You are no longer a figure of someone’s imagination. You no longer must hide under your abuser’s version of “the perfect spouse” to protect yourself. You didn’t go anywhere! You were only hiding.

Goals for Recovery In Your Life After Abuse

The main goals of life after abuse and recovery are

  • to shed the fake personality of your abuser’s “dream woman”
  • to separate your thoughts and emotions from your abuser’s brainwashing
  • to uncover the beautiful, shining spirit that is still inside of you
  • to live life after abuse with greater wisdom, vision, and resourcefulness than ever

In this section of Verbal Abuse Journals, we’ll talk about how to heal from abuse and topics related to life after abuse. Please comment on the posts. Your comments help me see what you need to heal.

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  1. Chris bartley says:

    I think it is very hard to find yourself again. I’ve been divorced 13 years and whenever life gets out of control I accept the responsibility and hear him in my head. My 2 kids and I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I’ve misunderstood a lot of people’s motives in communicating in new relationships.

  2. I have read that victims of DV have the potential to become “the worst” abusers. I’m not sure about this. If someone with childhood trauma can heal, couldn’t an adult accomplish this more readily? Or is it harder to accept and adapt as an adult victim? I have been dating a man that was subjected to 24 years (essentially his entire adult life) of constant verbal (constant yelling and berating), emotional (conditioning thru untrue accusations, suicide threats), and physical abuse (pushing, punching, heavy objects thrown, blocking exit) from a woman that, as he says, has “got me on weight and reach”. In the beginning, I noticed many behaviors that are generally associated with victims. Recently, after returning to live with his abuser (who naturally intensified her manipulations to prevent another “escape”), he has begun to exhibit a couple of abusive behaviors and he is back to instantly taking on a blank, eerie, almost Borg-like (“resistance is futile”) facial expression and look in his eyes when he thinks he is in trouble for not being back home yet. I don’t know what else to do besides continue to be his friend, support and encourage his belief and trust in himself. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I related to this very strongly. Do you know of any resource that might connect me with someone for mutual support. It would be nice to have someone, or a group of women, to connect with who understand.

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