Getting out of a toxic relationship is always a difficult process that requires a lot of effort at all stages. We are going to tell you how to regain yourself and bounce back after breaking up with an abuser.
Abusive relationships are those in which the partner violates the personal boundaries of the other, humiliates him, and allows cruelty in communication and actions in order to suppress the will of the victim. In such a relationship, the victim and the aggressor do not change places – one partner always acts as the aggressor, and the victim, for some reason, cannot leave this union.
At the same time, this kind of relationship can develop not only in a couple – a similar model can be observed within the family, for example, between parents and children, but one thing remains unchanged – a traumatic experience that haunts the victim even after breaking up with the abuser.
What methods does the abuser use?
- Accusations (the abuser is trying to make his partner guilty of all the difficulties and failures);
- “Emotional swings” that reinforce the connection between the aggressor and the victim;
- Total control – the abuser controls every step of his victim;
- Biased criticism;
- Limitations (financial, physical, emotional);
- Gaslighting is a belief in inadequacy;
- Pronounced controlling or unhealthy jealousy;
- Physical abuse or extremely aggressive behavior.
Of course, getting out of such a relationship is an extremely difficult process, but recovery after a break with an abuser will be no less resource demanding procedure. We will talk about five main steps that will help you get back to normal life and not repeat the previous mistakes.
Recognize and accept the situation
As a rule, a sense of self-preservation and willpower, as well as the support of others, helps to get out of such relationships. The person understands that healthy relationships should not be built in this way. The fact that he is in real physical and psychological danger in the current union forces the person to accept the situation and start taking action.
However, after a breakup with an abuser, many people may experience guilt, regret, even pity for the aggressor, as well as a lack of those emotions that they used to have during favorable periods, which can lead to a return to a toxic relationship. It is important to accept the fact that such a person cannot be “healed” – do not forget about the real problems that destroyed your relationship.
Let go of the past
This point is inextricably linked to the previous one. Coming out of a relationship that is destructive to health and psyche, a person often experiences depression. As a result, they have relapses – they yearn for these illusions, emotional upheavals, adrenaline.
That is why it is important to try to let go of the past, get rid of emotions (both positive and negative), anger, and resentment towards the abuser and tune in to a new chapter in life.
At the same time, we are not talking about forgetting grievances and re-establishing contact with the aggressor – it is important to reconsider our values and focus on not making the abuser (and the experiences associated with this person) the center of our life.
Work through trauma
You can do this together with a psychologist who will help you explore the root of the problem and save you from it. This can also be independent work on yourself.
You need to understand that starting a new relationship immediately after a breakup is not a panacea. In such a situation, you can again find yourself in the maelstrom of the same problems, if you do not understand the underlying causes of what happened and work through your traumas. Therefore, focus on yourself and your needs at this moment in time.
Take care of yourself
Allow yourself something you previously did not allow due to the restrictions and prohibitions emanating from the abuser – engage in self-development, improve self-esteem, master a new hobby, spend time (and money) only on yourself, get a pet, communicate more with friends and family.
This approach involves investing resources in oneself and will help to let go of the past and accumulate strength and energy for a new life.
Don’t be afraid of new relationships
When you work through the mistakes, go through the previous steps, and are ready to start a new relationship, do not be afraid of it. Of course, this is not so easy to do. Doubts and fears may overcome you, but a healthy union built on mutual respect and trust can not only put an end to a painful issue but also give you new emotions and sensations.