Domestic violence rates show an 8.1% increase in the United States during the pandemic, likely fueled by factors such as unemployment, financial insecurity, and stress surrounding child care. While we often think of domestic abuse occurring between spouses, it can also be present in sibling and parent/child relationships; this abuse can be physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual. The pain from being involved in an abusive relationship can last for a long time, but healing is possible. Here, we’re discussing seven ways to cope after an abusive relationship.
Cut All Contact
When someone is engaged in an abusive relationship, it takes an average of 10 attempts before they leave the relationship for good. It helps if you recognize some of the signs of emotional abuse and domestic violence:
– Putting you down
– Stopping you from seeing family and friends
– Controlling your money
– Threats of violence
– Reading your mail and texts
– Destroying your belongings
– Unwanted physical and sexual contact
Of course, there are many more aspects to abuse, but these are the most common. If you are subjected to any of these, it is helpful to leave as soon as possible and cut all contact with your abuser. You can change your phone number and stay with your family. And if you need your belongings, you can arrange a date and time for someone to collect them. If necessary, the police are happy to assist you.
Learn to Relax
Self-care is a human right, and it starts with looking after yourself – this is a great first step in relieving the psychological trauma of escaping an abusive situation. Drugs and alcohol may seem like an easy fix, but these substances will only harm, not help. Instead, you can try natural remedies like aromatherapy, cannabinoids from Simply CBD, and biofeedback techniques to help you relax and manage your stress.
Focus Your Goals
When you leave an abusive relationship, it can be challenging to shift your focus toward positive change in your life. PTSD, anxiety, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders are common side effects of exposure to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and these issues will negatively impact your life. Fortunately, help is always available – reaching out to a physician, therapist, or charitable organization can help put you back on track, as well as focus your goals on your promising future.
Talk to Friends and Family
Doctors and therapists can only help you so much when trying to get your life back together. They will let you talk, and they will listen. However, it isn’t uncommon for abuse survivors to hold back certain things they aren’t comfortable speaking about with a stranger. If you are lucky enough to have close friends and family, you can talk to them about what happened. It is well-documented that talking about your problems and negative emotions with someone you trust helps reduce emotional, psychological, and even physical ailments.
Plan a New Beginning
As you move forward from an abusive relationship, you can think about how you can make a new beginning. Some people feel safest moving to the opposite side of the country, or even another country entirely. However, you might have family roots and children to consider, and that’s okay too. Starting over again means you can be what you always wanted and make positive changes toward that goal. This may look like going back to school or finding a satisfying job to support yourself and your kids. Now that you are free, the sky’s the limit.
Release Your Inner Feelings
Talking it out and taking it slow are excellent coping mechanisms following abuse. Everyone deals with trauma in their own way, and while some surround themselves with love and warmth, others shut themselves away. No matter how you approach the situation, there are always feelings and thoughts you cannot express in words and gestures, and they need to come out. The creative release is proven highly therapeutic for millions of survivors worldwide. Painting, sculpting, poetry, and music are all healthy ways to release anger, sadness, and rage.
Understand Healing Takes Time
As you escape from a domestic violence situation, you need to understand that positive change doesn’t happen overnight. Like many others before you, leaving an unpleasant relationship means essentially rebuilding your life again. It’s possible you were in an abusive situation for years or decades, and throughout it all, you had little-to-no control over your own life. Therefore, something as trivial as opening a bank account can be emotionally overwhelming and logistically challenging. Healing will take time, and you will surely experience difficulties ahead – but the result is worth it.