5 Lessons On The Path To Overcoming An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
I’ve put off writing about this subject for some time. There is just so much to say and to share that the idea of writing it all at once results in procrastination on my part. So I am starting here for now and letting the process of sharing happen much like the process of healing, gradually.
1) Accept you are grieving a death
Every death is a loss. We grieve the end of a relationship and within that the dreams we had for our life, our family, our life purpose. Even when in hindsight you saw it coming, it still feels like a knock on the door at 3am. No matter how toxic your relationship was or became, there was love and it is lost. You committed to it and built a temple of promises and dreams around it. You might fall to your knees, crumble and not believe you can go on. You will. Scarred and bruised, never the same again, yet more beautiful and more powerful than ever before. Trust me on this. You will amaze yourself.
2) Educate yourself
on what abuse is, what it looks like and how it happens. This is even more important for those who have experienced psychological/emotional abuse and when there are children involved because you will need to protect yourself and your children for some time to come. Psychological abuse is the bruise you can’t see but is equally as damaging. When you read the descriptions of the methods and tactics used by abusive people, this validation is empowering. You did not imagine it, you did not cause it and you did not deserve it.
Psychological abusers wear persona’s like interchangeable masks. They manipulate, lie, gas-light, deceive and take advantage of your empathetic and trusting nature. Abusive partners are dangerous, lethal even and once you have freed yourself from their control you have made their biggest fear come true. You left and now this very hurt and damaged person may pursue a path of blind vengence. You may have to stand your ground for some time as an outcast in a world still largely seduced by the charm and facade of the chameleon you once loved. Only your friends and family will know the truth and could never fall for the sophisticated lies they will surely tell. So hold them close and leave the rest to discover the truth for themselves.
3) Hate when it feels right and then let it go
You can’t skip the stages of grief, and anger is one of those stages. It’s a nice fantasy to imagine we can rise above these negative feelings but anger is natural, necessary and okay. Too much of well intentioned ‘self help’ material misses the mark by skipping over this not so attractive experience. The trick is to not be consumed by it. The only way to avoid living in bitterness is to allow that hate and anger, not to avoid it. Take yourself to a forest or field if you need and scream that anger out of you. Anger is a wild and forceful energy that demands you to listen. Feel it, express it in a constructive way and you will rise above it. When you feel yourself being sucked in by these feelings, bring yourself back with these words, “Now give all that energy to love”.
4) Choose your Narrative
You are not a victim. What happened to you does not define you. You have the power to choose the story you tell yourself. It is that story that will shape your future. Only you have that power and control. Will it be “I am a victim, he destroyed my life, she took everything from me”, or will it be “I experienced a toxic, abusive relationship and I found the strength to leave it. I learned from it and I grew. I am stronger now and free.”
5) Justice and Karma are not your Responsibility
You’ve heard the expression “to dig one’s own grave”. Hold on to that. Hold on to the knowledge that those who lack the strength to be better, ARE making their own karma with or without you. People who hurt others are living a life of far greater suffering than we can ever imagine. So do not waste your precious time and energy waiting for justice, it is not yours to deliver. All you can know for now is there will not be flowers on their grave, because when karma does make her way around, you’ll be too busy living your own life to even notice. You will have moved on to a better place.
Below are local links to helpful resources right here in Nanaimo. The people who give their time in these organisations are ready to help.
Here are some links to help you with Step 2.