Asked in Abusive Relationships and Domestic ViolenceSelf-EsteemEmotions
How do you start over after an abusive relationship?
July 16, 2015 6:02PM
First thing to do is to Start. There is plenty of help out there and people who will help you see it through. Follow the advice, step by step, and don't rethink every decision. I found my way out and you can, too! A year or two out of the situation you will find yourself afloat and content.
You don't need to figure it all out ahead of time, just keep moving forward. You cannot fix the past, but you sure can affect your future.
The best book I found: The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans.
I can relate to all of this as I read everyone's story of abuse and not being treated well.
Let's just say to make this short and sweet - the first day that my so called love of my life laid a hand on me physically by punching me in the stomach not long after our son was born from a c-section, I knew that it was going to be downhill if I did not get out of this horrible situation.
After almost a year of feeling sorry for myself, putting myself down, thinking what did I do to deserve this etc, I woke up and started to do all the great things that are mentioned below.
I went to counseling and found out that I was codependent due to my childhood.
I found out that in order to live the life I want - I have to KNOW I DESERVE THE LIFE I WANT AND GET MY SELF ESTEEM UP AND CONFIDENCE BACK FOR MYSELF AND MY SON.
I started to find my spiritual side and found God. I find time for myself by working out and eating healthy. I spend quality time with my son. I work full time and have always had my head on straight with my career. I am building a future so I truly can rely on myself. I am going back to school to get a third degree to secure my future for myself and my son. I can tell you what helped me when I went through the rough patches as I know there will many upon the healing process for all of you STRONG WOMEN out there. One thing I can emphasize here is that if you dig deep enough - you will find that you are STRONG and can do anything you put your heart and soul into. You just have to have the courage and confidence to believe that you can change all of this but it really is up to you to do so. Some great books to read as you go through your journey of change/love of self:
Ditch That Jerk - Dealing with Men Who Control and Hurt Women. (I know - funny title but really is sincere with what the author has to say) Pamela Jayne, MA
Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men - Lundy Bancroft
In summary - I want to tell you STRONG WOMEN out there and yes - you are all STRONG WOMEN no matter what your situation - that you can make your lives a better, more confident and safe,happy place for YOU and YOUR CHILDREN.
God bless and hope you find peace in my suggestions! You can do it! :)
In the aftermath of abuse, finding a job is the least of your problem. The first - and most crucial - task is emotional healing.
How do you start over? How do you leave, take care of yourself and your kids? How do you abandon a life and a world you know well?
It is not easy. But you will die emotionally or be physically abused if you stay. Your children are not blind, and they are in as much pain as you are. You all need to be safe, and to experience new ways of solving problems and relating to others. Chances are that they are already showing signs of the trauma of your relationship.
So you have choice, and it is up to you to find a safe place. There is an awful lot of description of abuse, of how and why a narcissist works--but not so much on how to deal with it, how to get out and beyond.
One of the interesting things about an abuser is that he sees only his version, his world. If he is self-involved, and not watching you closely, you can get smart, and make plans to leave safely.
Make your life start to count. Find a social agency, a half-way house, talk to a divorce lawyer, get yourself informed. Find out what your legal rights are. Is there money or a chequing account in case you need to take some to survive for a while? Snoop around his life. Is he having an affair, or has he had one? Has he done anything that is a secret? Tax evasion?
Get the evidence. Put all your documents and those of your kids in one place. Get yourself your own credit card and start paying it off so you have some credit. Start your own bank account if you don't have one.
And just keep smiling and crying and doing what you have to, while working hard to make the transition as safe and successful as possible. If you are being physically abused, you do not have much time. If you can, document hospital or doctor visits, and just leave.
How do you start over? You just do.The most important thing is taking care of yourself. And if you have children, getting them out of a bad place.
The hardest thing I had to do was to stop blaming my husband, and look at how I contributed to the disease of the relationship. Why did I allow myself to be so humiliated? Why did I believe him when I knew he was lying? Why was I so in need of his approval and love when he treated me so badly? Why did I not deserve kindness and comfort?
That was the moment when I really started to 'start over'. My kids have seen me move from utter despair to the work in progress which I am now. We share a very different life now--and no one is in pain, we solve problems or at least find understanding, and I have found that there are doors opening that I never knew were there.
It is easy to blame your husband. All that does is make you his victim again. And it is easy to feel it is all your fault, because you have been told that for a long time. In a while you will be able to stand back and see who you were, what you want to change so it never happens again. A good therapist can really help here. And your kids will need someone to talk to as well.
I grieved. I thought the world was at an end. I was hysterical and depressed. I pleaded with him to come back. I was terrified of the world, embarassed, humiliated. It has been a long journey to disconnect the painful parts of myself which allowed me to be part of such a sad dance.
Take yourself off to a bookstore or the library for a day. Read things. Everything. The junky stuff, the psychiatric tomes, anything. Find something that makes sense to you.
Begin by making a little list of small things you can do for yourself which give you pleasure. Everyone tells you to do that. It takes time to actually do it like you mean it. Get your hair done, a massage. Take lots of baths. Get a friend to make you a list of funny movies to watch. Sit down and watch television with your kids.
Call your friends, tell them the truth. Ask for help. It is out there. And stay away from your abuser. Do not contact him, phone him or see him. YOu need time and space to figure things out. If you need to be in touch--use email. It allows you to communicate on your terms, and you can always rewrite and edit your messages.
I know this all sounds like things out of a self-help book--all I am trying to say is that there is no one way to start over except by leaving, really leaving it all behind, by taking responsibilty for yourself and your kids into your own hands and just making life work. You already know how hard it can hurt. Could it be any harder if it was just up to you?
The advice from anonymous was absolutely correct. Email is an excellent way to talk, but realize one thing that when you express your true feelings, he will lash out through email also. But that you can totally control and NOT read if it's too painful. You have a bit of control there. You have to tell them when they try to call that email is better for you and right now, that's all you can give.
I have just left an abuser (every man I have dated, married, etc has been this way). I am now hitting 37 and I still can't figure out why I keep picking them. There is some logic that I found which might explain some of why- it's as if I am trying to re-do my past and fix what went wrong with my dad and I's relationship. He was very abusive to my mom and very neglectful to us kids.
To give you a bit of history, I've been abused mentally and physically by men, my boys have been abused in every form possible- including sexual. One year we moved 13 times, just to get away from a particular abuser who was a stalker. I've stayed at three shelters, lived with many friends and now I find myself living with friends again.
I found out that I was grieving something that never really existed- this so called perfect life that I thought would last forever. Just like the books read, he is going to therapy NOW, trying to send me cards daily NOW- but he has not changed. He says he's sorry over and over, but it doesn't change the past.
I tried to express my anger and fear in a confident way, I got one of the most defensive emails I have ever read back from him. My stuff is still in the house, so I smoothed over things in an email back- only just until I get my stuff. Then he can go pound salt for all I care. This is the man that I thought was my soul mate, so kind and everything in the beginning until one day I started to realize he wasn't any better than the rest. He abused boys who have been through the most traumatic abuse ever and thought he was justified in doing it.
The thing that blows my mind is that I have been through 4 years of therapy and still I find one in the crowd that is abusive. Today I am totally numb to my feelings for him. I read as much books on the subject I can get my hands on, I talk to friends when I am lonely, I still cry and feel scared, but it's so much different than when I was there. I'm scared of starting over again. But, I remember two bad incidents for every one good incident there was. My kids have been troopers throughout. They know that I will love and protect them with all I have.
Don't worry about too much except for staying sane and being safe. Get help through the system, get counciling, read books and don't date for a long time. Don't think that you 'might' find a Mr. Perfect out there- it's true that they are out there, but they are looking for a confident put- together woman, not one who just came out of an abusive relationship. This might be hurtful words, but I've been down that path too many times to count thinking that I needed to find my soul mate.
The bad ones prey on us victims because at first they claim to think it's totally wrong to hit, yadda yadda yadda. It's as if we put out a signal to the bad ones and they find us no matter what because we get used to some form of abuse and think it's better than what we had before that.
Remember these words: A real man will love you unconditionally for all your faults and all that you are. He might even think that your faults are cute.
I have yet to find a real man who loves me that way and loves my boys unconditionally, but then again I am not totally put together. I am committed to me and my boys for now.
It ia always difficult leaving an abusive partner as they will always seem to manipulate and control you into thinking that they are truly sorry or that they are prpared to change. In my experience this is not so and have found out he treated people after me the same. ALways ensure you are safe. inform the police of the incidents that occur, telephone calls, stalking events emails txt messages. threats towards you, get dates and times. build a profile on this person. I say person as it isn't just men that abuse! Remember that you deserve better, love and respect is not the way an abusive partner treats you. be strong move on and enjoy your life as it should be. seek counselling, help others in the same situation. it has helped me . Possitive things come from negative situations a stronger and more reliant you. take care.
The only way an abusive man will stay away is to have absolutley no contact with him. Remember you don't owe him anything. Get your number changed, take different routes to work and stay away from him. Try having coffee with new men that will treat you kind, but avoid a relationship until your over him. Try new things and meeting new people. Take care of your appearance, pamper yourself. Most of all, realise that its over and move on. Life is too short and the world has too many men, too waste on heartache. Set your expectations high, if you don't, noone will. Good luck.
After ending yet another abusive relationship I am so fed up with myself. Okay I got divorced, it went through in Novemeber. Then I meet this even worse man who plays all sorts of headtrips going from extreme affection one day to totally ignoring me the next and telling me he feels nothing for me and that hes ending it cause he is using me then he goes to all sweet again. I finally got so sick of it I told him right off I mean I lowered myself to his level but I eneded it and finally got a backbone...anyhow...now I am in avoidance cause Im not sure if he will contact me after I called him all those names and I just want it to end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just started this new job with alot of men around and im pleased..............i guess i don't understand why that man played with my emotions.........time to let go.........................I also am confused cause I was way too good for him and he never realised that...he told me he wasnt "ready" to say nice things (compliments) to me.
I am 25 years old with two children. My husband is not a big time hitter. He just plays mind games. It is like he looks at woman as an object for sex and slavery. He made me feel crazy and mean. He would never satisfy my emotional needs... like communication, friendship etc... he would always make sure and take care of himself and everything he wanted but when it came to me he did not have a soft place for me. He is loving if we have sex... when we don't he rarely spoke to me. He always picked the movies, he always manipulated his way into getting what he wanted. In short, he is a taker and I am a giver and it was just all screwy. I know he is bad for me. I think I keep hoping it will be better or think about the positive things... there are some. I think he enjoys seeing me in pain and he wants me to gravel over him. I simply don't want to do it.
He knows all the buttons to push and all the things to do to make me feel worthless. The more worthless I feel the more I want him to approve of me and love me. The more I want him to approve of me the more he kicks me down and hurts me... Finally I get strong and am assertive and walk away... then he comes back and seems sweet and like he is honest and cares for me... Once I care for him it is a weekness, then he treats me disrespectfully again and then I want him to care for me and again goes the cycle. I think this is one form or cycle of mental and verbal abuse. NOTE to this author: You are absolutely right that it is abuse--just doesn't show on the outside. And, the cycle is very typical--keeps you guessing, huh? Take your kids and run for the future. Your kids will pick up this "disease" and your leaving is the best way to avoid that. Get help and advice...and take it forward.
Start over? He/she abused you... you can't start over. Just distance yourself, and have good will in your heart for them (if you can).
The first and most important thing is to end all contact. I mean to have absolutley no contact with the person. Any form of communication on their part will be to entice, manipulate, control and degrade you into coming back. These types are cruel. Once an abuser sees you getting stronger they will resort to all sorts of tactics to regain control. DONT FALL FOR IT! The first while will be an emotional rollarcaoster. Its best to really nuture yourself. If you can afford it buy some new clothes or even a thrift shop outfit. Do a facial, haircut. Take care of yourself. Go for walks, cry, listen to music. Do writing in a journal. Surround yourself with positive. Write down the facts of your situation as well as your feelings. He will never change, he will never treat me well. In time the pain lessens and you move on.
I can really relate to the personal humiliation as an emotionally abused and physically abused person in a relationship that has lasted to long. First you have to move from victim to victor! This takes you to love yourself and surrounding yourself with positive people who are supportive of you as a person. Don't be quite it happend you can not blame yourself but embrace yourself, read articles about signs of abuse (both emotional/physical) so that you can see the actions of the abuser for what they are and separate your heart from your mind so that you can see the truth! Its always been there. Secondly cut off all contact with the person. This can be difficult but it protects you from the manipulative ways of the abuser who will play on your "heart strings" to attempt to control you again. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Reconnect with friends you may have isolated yourself from and tell your story the more you get it out of you the better you will feel this can be in a journal or through art. Like all others that have commented, he will never change no matter how much you have or would have given. Time will heal your wounds move from victim to victor!!!!
There's a lot of good advice here. Yes, cut off all contact if possible. Sever all emotional ties, and then cauterize them in fire or ice. The book the Verbally Abusive Relationship, I'd highly recommend that one too. I'd recommend reading it a couple times in a row. Cognitive therapy, to train your mind and emotion patterns away. If you have a social deficit, I found How to Win Friends and Influence people very beneficial to learning social skills, charm, etc, and to gain confidence. Religion, I utilize both the Christian faith and practice Buddhist mindfulness. I found group therapy for DV very soothing.
Speaking from personal experience, during a vulnerable time of very poor health, hospitalizations, and heavily medicated for a condition eventually resolved by surgery, fell into my first and only abusive relationship, with what turned out to be a psychotic sociopath, malignant narcissist. These things happen, read Job a lot. Ended up in a confidential dv shelter, he would imprison, suffocate, strangle, rape, etc ... and verbal abuse of course. The PTSD eventually resolved.
I hugely recommend plans. Day, week, month, year, 5 year, 10 year plans. Take the time to make these plans, even if it takes a half day, heck a couple days. List what you need. Education, health, career, money, social skills, divorce, whatever, and make a plan with time frame how to get what you need. Need to re-establish job history by working minimum wage jobs a couple years? Put it in there. Need to get major surgery? Put it in there.
Whatever you need to do, figure out a way, and make a plan. I can't over-recommend careful planning and thinking ahead. It is just as important in the post abusive relationship phase. Allow yourself the time to recognize issues and make plans to remedy issues.
I can't give the answer to being able to be emotionally intimate again. Been 4 years free for me, much much happier now. Some days I'm just surprised how nice life is. Got my kids I love to death, they the lodestone. Everybody else I'm nice and friendly to, but ... except for toughies and war vets who been there done that too, it still hard to get close to people. Aside that, I've been able to plan and accomplish to get all the other ducks lined up in a row.