Starting Over After Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is one of the most physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging experiences a person can have. Coming out of a relationship in which this kind of abuse was prevalent requires patience, support, and time to heal. Often, moving on seems easier said than done.
However, life, on the other side can be beyond rewarding, and starting over, while scary, can sometimes be the best thing. If you are starting over after domestic violence, here are some tips to reclaim your life.
Establish Safety Protocols
Escaping from domestic violence is sometimes easier said than done. In some instances, the perpetrator will let you go and move on. In other cases, they will continue to pursue the relationship.
The first step to moving on is establishing protocols to protect yourself. It might include alerting friends and family members to the change in your relationship status, filing any necessary protection orders, and navigating whatever resources are available to you to keep yourself safe.
Find Support Wherever You Can
Some opt for therapy, while others find they do best in a group setting, like a support group. Still, others opt to talk to people in their lives or others who have been through similar experiences.
Whatever works for you in terms of support, do it. There is no one way to move on with your life after escaping from domestic violence. Choose the option that best suits your situation and your life and commit to it. The emotional and mental trauma that can remain after domestic violence can be insidious, so support can help you to heal.
Give Yourself Choices
Domestic violence is often based on control. Victims typically have few, if any, choices on just about anything. So, as much as you can, give yourself options. Learn how to think independently of your trauma. It will also help you learn more about what you want out of life and what you like.
You may find delight in making even the smallest of choices, from what ice cream to eat at night to what shirt you want to wear in the morning. Celebrate the fact that you’ve reclaimed your life to the point where you can make decisions without fear of reprisal.
Figure Out What Brings You Joy – And Do It
If you have lived through domestic violence, chances are your former partner did whatever they could to stand between you and joy. Therefore, moving on means reclaiming your happiness. That starts by finding out what brings you joy and doing it!
Perhaps before the relationship you had a hobby or wanted to try something new – but your partner prevented you from pursuing those dreams.
Everything and anything is on the table.
Consider new ways to live your life out loud that you perhaps had not considered before and go for it. Moving on after such a traumatic experience means finding ways to bring yourself as much joy as you can find.
Perpetrators of domestic violence often invest a great deal of time in isolating those that they victimize. You may be reluctant to pick back up on those relationships, but one of the best ways to move on with your life is to take back that power.
If you were separated from your family members or friends, give them a call. Let them know as much or as little as you are comfortable sharing. Rebuilding relationships will provide you another outlet and also ensures that you have even more support as you move forward in your life.
You might be surprised to find how supportive they are when they find out more about your story. Don’t assume that the people in your life won’t be understanding; if they love you, they will be there for you.
Set boundaries as you rebuild relationships and make it clear that you are healing. Ask for space to do that and avoid relationships that might represent setbacks or cause you to feel worse about yourself. Re-connecting is an integral part of moving forward and learning more about what you will or won’t tolerate from any relationship, romantic or otherwise.
Cultivate a Positive Inner Voice
Chances are, while you were dealing with domestic violence, you either quieted your inner voice or suffered a great deal of negative self-talk. There is no greater time to change that than now. Moving on with your life means being much nicer to yourself.
Do all of the things you wished someone would do for you while you were in the relationship:
- Compliment yourself in the mirror every day.
- Wear your favorite clothing and tell yourself how pretty you look.
- Congratulate yourself on how well you are doing.
- Celebrate every single milestone, no matter how big or small.
- Be kind and gentle with yourself.
The more you cultivate a positive inner voice, the more capable you will be in creating a life worth living.
Take it Slow
Healing is not a linear path, and you may find that it takes time to move on with your life after the trauma of domestic violence. While there is an entire life waiting for you, there is no need to rush into it.
You have to learn to become comfortable with yourself again. It is especially true if you were in an abusive relationship for a lengthy period. It may be all you know, and it may take some time for you to learn how to live outside of that trauma again.
So, make a move today and contact one of our knowledgable professionals here at our Mental Health and Psychiatric Facility. We will be here waiting to assist you at Solara Mental Health Clinic.