It is common for survivors of abuse to experience a mix of emotions and feelings about their life after abuse, and often the most difficult thing knows where to start. It can be difficult to know how you can rebuild your life after domestic violence when you’re feeling so overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.
You may not know where to start on rebuilding your life after there has been an assault in your home, or if it happened while you were alone, or on a date. You may not know how to go about rebuilding your life after abuse if it was an ongoing issue in your household. You may even be struggling with knowing how you can rebuild your life long after the violence has ceased.
This is something that I want to express to you. That you must take the time to heal from the abuse. The feeling of being lonely, sad, depressed, and anxious is still there. It is like you just can not get rid of those feelings. I know because I have been their sis, and it is frustrating to still feel that way even though the abuse has stopped.
I want to walk you through the things I did to help heal and rebuild after domestic violence has been in your life. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s dive into this.
- Understand Domestic Violence
- Discover Yourself and Your Story
- Know What Your Self-Care Needs to Look Like
- Set Up Your Boundaries
- Reach Out to Support Groups
- Plan Your Personal Development for Growth Personally and Professionally
- Have Some Self Compassion for Yourself
- Be Around People That Help You Feel Good
- Seek Help from A Professional Life Coach
- Make Appointments with a Therapist
- You Have to Stay Away from What You Thought Was Love
- You Have to Forgive Yourself
- Love Yourself Again
Understand Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, or other abusive behavior that occurs as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.
It can happen in any relationship- married or not. Domestic violence can happen between adults aged 18 years or older who are intimate partners living together in the same household or adults who have been romantic partners at some point in their lives.
The most important thing to remember about domestic violence is that it is never the victim’s fault. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or ability.
Even though physical violence often accompanies domestic violence, psychological abuse can also be an issue. Psychological abuse is a form of mental cruelty that can cause just as much pain as physical violence. Acts of psychological abuse include humiliation, threats, name-calling, and criticism. The effects of such abuse can be long-lasting and may even result in post-traumatic stress disorder.
This is an important part of rebuilding your life after domestic violence. Learn what it is how and the dynamics of domestic abuse. Then look at how your situation was and try to understand what happened to you.
This step could be very emotional and trigger many feelings for you. When doing this have a safe person around you to support you while you go through this difficult time in your life. I had a therapist, coach, and other women that I would process around. This really helped me with the process and people were there to remind me that I was safe now.
Discover Yourself and Your Story
You want to do this, so you can see how you got into this situation. This is not blaming yourself for the abuse, but it is trying to figure out what got you hooked into the abusive relationship. Was it because you were desperate to be with someone, so you wouldn’t be alone? So, you ignored the red flags leading up to the abuse. It could be that you had no idea what the red flags were to look for.
The other reason could be drug abuse with both partners using or just one partner using. In a relationship with addiction, being active is a toxic relationship. There is no way the relationship can be healthy.
I say this from experience. I have been in several relationships where addiction played a big factor in the relationship. There would be mental, physical, and emotional abuse. Sometimes it would go both ways and I would be the abuser. Many times, I would be the victim of the abuse.
When I discovered my story and why I stayed in those relationships, it made sense to me. The drugs were more important to me than my well-being. I learned that part of it was my fault because I choose to stay even when the abuse would get physical because of the need to use.
Knowing that helped me change my life around and change the way I lived. I no longer stay in unhealthy relationships, and I no longer use any type of substance.
So, please find your story and find out why you got hooked on that relationship. It could be that you didn’t know the toxic signs to look out for, but figure it out, so you don’t keep going back to the same type of relationship.
Know What Your Self-Care Needs to Look Like
First, let me tell you that self-care is not selfish at all. In fact, it is very much needed while you are recovering and rebuilding from an abusive relationship. While in the relationship, I’m sure that you were not able to care for yourself or take time just for yourself to do what made you feel good.
That it was self-care is. It’s finding ways to connect with yourself and to care for yourself in a way that is relaxing and enjoyable for you. There are many ways you can do this. Here are a few ideas.
- Read your Favorite book
- Take a hot bath
- Call a friend
- Call a family member
- Say affirmations
- Make up your own affirmations
- Take a shower
- Fix nails or hair for the day
- Relax and do nothing
- Alone time
- Listen to a guided meditation
- Talk to your higher power
When you think about self-care, you need to make a routine for yourself. You can plan your time during the morning or at night, those two tend to work the best. If you need to, you can also plan it during the day while the kids are napping, just make sure you schedule that just your time.
There will be times that you feel overwhelmed, and you just don’t think you could add one more thing to your routine, that is when you need self-care the most. It lets you take the break you require from to overwhelm.
Just remember that self-care is not selfish it is a must for rebuilding your life.
Set Up Your Boundaries
You want to make sure you are setting healthy boundaries with people in your life. This includes everyone in your life family and friends. When you have good healthy boundaries, it shows that you respect yourself.
Boundaries could be that you say “no” to someone even though they are begging or bugging you about it. One thing I want you to know and remember is that no is a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain yourself or why you said no. Just say it and go on with your life. Don’t feel guilty for saying no. You can’t take everything on yourself.
You can set boundaries for your mental, physical, and emotional health with people. Make sure you let the boundary be known and that you do not accept it being crossed. If someone wants to repeatedly want to break this boundary, then they are someone you don’t need in your life right now. You need people that will respect you as you explore setting up new boundaries.
Reach Out to Support Groups
While you are healing from domestic violence, it is best to find a support group. There are many support groups available. You can call the domestic violence helpline and ask them for a list of support groups in your area.
A great group will welcome you with open arms and be a great support system for you. You can share your experiences with women that have been through the exact same thing and understand why you feel the way you feel. There is no judgment made or shitty comments made to you about just getting over it. They actually listen and give support.
The support group that I was part of would listen to me when I talked about my experience and helped me process some trauma. Not every group is like this, but I joined one that was. They wouldn’t let me stay in victim mode. That doesn’t mean that they were aggressive or anything like that. They still were very sympathetic and understanding. They gave me space and room to talk and process. That is what I needed the most was someone that would just listen to me.
If you go to a group, and you don’t like it, and it doesn’t feel right, then find a new group. There is one out there that you will feel right at home with and wonder how you ever made it through life without these people. It is the best feeling in the world and one that helped me in my healing process.
Plan Your Personal Development for Growth Personally and Professionally
Your personal development plan is a plan that you make and follow on what you plan to do to grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and physically. This doesn’t have to be a big project to complete. You pick some activities that you are willing to do to grow as a person.
Some examples would be
- Reading a self-help book, such as a book about healing from abuse
- Take online courses there are different subjects you can pick from
- Learn a new skill, this is your chance to learn something you have been wanting to do
- Set goals they don’t have to be big goals, start with something small that you know you can achieve.
I have a post that explains how you write out a personal development plan. Having a plan will help you heal, as you can make your plan around what you need and what you want to do to heal.
I had a plan that included tasks I needed to complete during the day. I was depressed and felt lost that I had to plan what I was going to do during the day with my time. I wrote everything down in time blocks, that way I would give myself some extra time in case I needed it. To take a shower, I would give myself an hour. That way, if I decided to shave or to do a conditioner treatment to my hair, I had the time. That was part of my self-care as well.
Have Some Self Compassion for Yourself
This is something that I want you to always remember. That you have been through a lot, and you are trying to heal right now. Have compassion for yourself and give yourself the time and space to heal. Don’t think that you should be further along than you are or compare yourself to others.
You have been through a traumatic time in your life, and beating yourself up will only make it harder on yourself. We as women tend to give compassion out to others with no problem, but when it comes to ourselves, we struggle to show this. Show compassion for yourself as you would to your best friend.
At times, you may not even know that you are thinking negative thoughts and putting yourself down. I know that I didn’t always catch it when I did this. It wasn’t until I got some help did I learn that I was putting myself down daily. I would think that I should be feeling happier and better because I was getting help and in a support group. I would think that I just wasn’t good enough to get the job I really wanted or to have people that would want to be my friend. There are so many other thoughts that I would have.
The way that I was taught to deal with this was to turn it around and say the opposite, such as I think I am good enough to get the job I really want or have those people as friends. That I am right where I should be with my emotions and my happy level. See if you can turn some negative thoughts around that you think about yourself.
This is a great skill to have while you are healing from the abuse. This is something that you can do for yourself, and nobody can take it away from you. Be more compassionate with yourself and see how good it feels.
Be Around People That Help You Feel Good
There are people that will be by your side while you go through your healing process, and those people are the best ones to be around. They will listen, give you your space, and lift you up as you heal. Don’t waste your time with people that are always negative and bringing you down.
Look for people that will lift you up. The best place to find these people are in the support groups. That is where I made many of my friends at. To this day, we still check on each other.
Seek Help from A Professional Life Coach
Another support person you can have while you heal is a professional life coach. They will guide you in your healing process. A life coach will listen to you with no judgment and with compassion. This could also be another tool in your toolbox for healing. You will set goals for your healing and the steps to reach that goal.
Find a life coach that you click with and can be open with. This may take some time, but it is so worth it. I had a mentor which is like a life coach, and she was the best. She would build me up and help let me process through feelings with her and talk about what I was going through on a daily. She would help me learn new life skills and a new way to live my life positively. To this day, I still talk with her.
I’m a certified woman’s empowerment coach and would love to help you in your journey of healing. I have been on my journey for six years now. I know what it’s like to feel lost and alone after leaving an abusive relationship. I know that the healing process doesn’t happen overnight and that there is a process to healing.
When you schedule your call, we would talk for an hour about where you are at in the healing process and find the steps in your healing process. This call is free as a thank you for reading my post. I would love to meet you and walk this journey with you.
Make Appointments with a Therapist
This is an important step. A life coach and a therapist are two very different things. A therapist helps you with your past, and a coach helps you with your present and future. Having a therapist is something you need to have in your healing toolbox.
I remember when I first started working with a therapist. I didn’t trust her at all and really didn’t want to be there. However, I was part of a program that required we did therapy one hour a week. I gave this woman hell at first. I wouldn’t really talk about anything important or about my past abuse. I literally just sat there and would talk about surface things about my day.
Something thought one day told me to give her a chance, so I did. I talked and cried for an hour as I told her about my past relationships and what had happened to me during that time. I was of course a bit nervous because I still had trust issues. However, that was the best thing I did, was get real and honest with her. It was amazing how great I felt to get out of my mind and out in the open.
My life started to change, and my scary thoughts didn’t seem so scary anymore, bringing them out to the light. The burden didn’t feel so heavy to carry around. I felt a sense of freedom. Once I opened and started to trust her, the reward from that felt amazing. Give it a try and find a therapist and don’t be like me, try to honestly and openly talk to the therapist.
The last thing I have to say is if you think that you would be more comfortable with a female therapist, then speak up and say so. I know that at first, I would only talk to female therapists. I sure as the hell didn’t trust any man to be my therapist. Although after being in therapy for a couple of years I had a male therapist, and he was the best. That took time, though, for me to do. The important thing to remember is to find one you are comfortable with.
You Have to Stay Away from What You Thought Was Love
This is a huge step in healing. You must stay away from people that are toxic to you and who you think to love you but only hurt you over and over. Your idea of love is twisted and messed up right now. The person that was supposed to love you and care for you hurt you repeatedly. I know that my idea of love was twisted and messed up.
You must stop going back to the same toxic relationship and let that relationship go and stay away from it. No matter what they say to you, stay strong and keep moving forward. I know from experience that nothing good comes from going back. Sure, you will have a honeymoon phase for a while, but that does end, and the abuse will start back up.
Usually, the person has not changed, even though they say that they have. I will not say always because some will go to therapy and change. However, that is not typically the case. There have been women that getaway to just go back and be killed from the rage of their partner. I don’t say this to scare you, I just want you to know what has happened to others. I’m not saying this will or will not happen to you.
Toxic people have no place in your new life. While you heal you don’t need the toxic people in your life. It will stop you from healing because they will only bring you down. They won’t be supportive of your healing and what you are trying to build in life.
You Have to Forgive Yourself
Forgiving yourself can be hard. This one will trip many people up. They just are not able to forgive themselves for staying and allowing the abuse to happen to them or to their children.
This is an important step in your healing journey. You can’t blame yourself for what happened and for putting yourself down for staying so long in the relationship. Remember that you were trying to survive and live. That you did the best you could with the environment you lived in.
If you went back to them one time or several times and the same thing happens, you need to forgive yourself for going back. Don’t beat yourself up over that decision. I know that I went back to a man that was abusing me. I left him and was living away from him. Then one day he sweet-talked me into coming back, so off I went right back into the relationship, and nothing had changed. He was still abusive, and I was still getting hurt. I felt so stupid for going back and knew that it would happen. I couldn’t let it go that I had done that. I carried that burden with me for years until I learned to forgive myself and learn how to let that pain go.
When you are constantly beating yourself up or putting yourself down for the decisions you made, it is hard to heal and keep moving forward because that is holding you back. Learn to forgive yourself and let that go.
I did that by saying to myself okay I went back I knew he was abusive, and I still went back, that is on me. That was a decision I made, and it wasn’t the right one, but I still made that decision. I thought he loved me and that he had changed. That it would be different this time. I wrote myself a letter about it and then burned that letter, and as I burned it, I let that stuff go. I no longer let it hold me back or put myself down for that decision. I accepted it and moved on. Yeah, I did it, nope wasn’t a good decision, but I’m okay and safe now.
Love Yourself Again
If there is anything that I could tell you in this post this is the biggest one, I would want you to remember, and that is to love yourself. I know that you are probably thinking yeah right that isn’t going to happen. I’m worthless or I’m stupid. Let me tell you something you are worth it and you are smart. This is part of the healing process that a lot of us get caught up in and have a hard time with.
We struggle with this because for years we have been put down and called names. We started to believe what they were saying. We started to accept that what they said was who we were. What they said just wasn’t true. I will say it again it wasn’t true.
You are a beautiful and strong female. You have the right to be happy and live a happy life. You are so worthy of love. There is no doubt in my mind that you deserve to be happy in this life. Please take the steps necessary and learn to love yourself.
To do this, you have to stop the negative self-talk you say to yourself. You need to tell yourself that you are worthy of love, even if you don’t believe it. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Write yourself a love letter. That exercise was one I did in a program, and it really helped. Keep the letter and any time you are feeling bad and hard on yourself, read that letter.
There is a lot of information I threw at you in this post, and I know that it may feel overwhelming. Remember that you don’t have to figure it all out in one day. That healing from the abuse will take some time it’s a process. There is no quick fix.
You have been through a lot and you need to build up a toolbox of tools to help you through the healing process. Use these ideas as tools for healing. I know that rebuilding your life may seem scary, but I promise it is so worth it. It is the best feeling in the world to know that you can rebuild the life you want. To follow your heart and soul in life. To be able to feel good about yourself again. Work through the pain and give yourself the gift of healing and rebuilding.
I hope you have a blessed rest of the day.
Don’t forget to schedule your free call today. I would love to meet you and help you on your healing journey today.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used in place of professional advice, medical treatment, or professional care in any way. This article is not intended to be and should not be a substitute for professional care, advice, or treatment. Please consult with your physician or healthcare provider before changing any health regimen. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent diseases of any kind.