Regaining Your Strength After Leaving Domestic Violence: How to Build Yourself Up and Move Forward
Leaving an abusive relationship can be one of the most difficult things a person ever does. It takes strength and courage to break the patterns and walk away. Many people find themselves returning to past relationships or recreating the same dynamics in new relationships. Or, they may worry that they won’t be able to rebuild their lives after leaving an abusive relationship. This is not true! You can regain your strength and move forward. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for rebuilding yourself after leaving domestic violence and how counseling can help.
Leaving an Abusive Partner is Challenging
Before we get into this blog, I want to encourage you to take a moment to applaud yourself. You did something that is very challenging. It was scary and heart wrenching, but you did it, and you deserve credit for that!
However, I know that you might not feel that great. Many people who leave abusive relationships struggle with isolation, depression, and PTSD or trauma afterwards. People are quick to recognize the challenges that arise from abusive relationships, but they rarely talk about the challenges that can come after leaving.
I want you to know that it is normal to feel like you are struggling after leaving an abusive relationship. It doesn’t make you weak that this happened to you. And while it probably doesn’t feel like it now, you truly are not alone in your experience.
It’s Common to Return to Abusive Relationships
One of the especially challenging things about leaving an abusive relationship is that it can be very easy to go back. There are a number of reasons why that is. Abusers are often very manipulative and use a variety of tactics to keep their partners from leaving. They may promise to change or threaten harm against you or themselves if you try to leave. And if you have been in an abusive relationship for a long time, it can be really hard to imagine your life without them.
You are Not Weak for Returning to an Abusive Partner
If you have gone back to an abusive partner after leaving them, please know that you are not weak. Incredibly strong women find themselves returning to their abusive partner. This does not reflect your strength or your abilities. It is a very common response to trauma.
Stay Connected with Others if You do Return
However, it’s important to build a support system through this time. Isolation is a tactic many abusers use to make it more difficult to leave them. Make sure to stay connected with friends or family so that you don’t become isolated. If you see a therapist, continue therapy even if you do return your abusive partner. Or if you haven’t started therapy, consider reaching out to one. We’ll talk more about this at end of this blog too.
Tips for Rebuilding Your Life After Domestic Violence
You may feel like you are stuck in this cycle, but I want you to know that there is hope. You can break the cycle and move on with your life. If you are struggling after leaving an abusive relationship, here are a few pieces of advice I have for you.
Tip #1) Start by Looking Inward
When you are working on rebuilding your life after leaving an abusive relationship, it can be helpful to start by looking inward. One of the challenges of being in an abusive relationship is that you often lose yourself. You might not even know who you are without your abuser. So, a first step in rebuilding your life is getting to know yourself again.
Try new things, find your own hobbies, and reconnect with the things that you used to love. It’s okay if you don’t know what those things are yet. Just take some time exploring and be patient with yourself.
Tip #2) Be Mindful of the People You Surround Yourself With
For many survivors of abuse, it’s common to start new relationships that recreate the same dynamics as your previous abusive relationship. This is because trauma can change the way we relate to other people. It’s important to be mindful of the people you surround yourself with, especially in new relationships.
If you find yourself developing a relationship with someone new, ask yourself: Do they make you feel good about yourself? Do they support you and your independence? Do they respect your boundaries? If the answer to any of those questions is no, that might be a red flag.
You may want to consider working with a therapist who can help you work through the trauma of your past relationship and create healthy relationships moving forward.
Tip #3) Consider Working With a Therapist
Many survivors of domestic violence struggle with trauma. And trauma can be extremely difficult to work through on your own. Working with a counselor can help you process your trauma so you can begin to heal. They can help you rebuild your life by supporting you as you learn more about yourself outside of your relationships.
I know that rebuilding your life after leaving an abusive relationship can be incredibly challenging. But I also know that it is possible. You are strong, and you can do this! Take things one day at a time, reach out for help when you need it, and be patient with yourself as you heal. You deserve to live a life that is free from violence. And I believe that you can get there.
Begin Online Therapy for Domestic Violence in North Carolina and Florida
- Submit a contact form on my website
- Learn more about my services and how counseling can help you
- Gain support and empowerment as you rebuild your life after domestic violence
Other Services Offered with Michele Seeley LCMHC
As a therapist I know that many survivors of domestic violence experience mental health challenges. You may be experiencing anxiety or depression after leaving an abusive partner. Or, you may be struggling with your self esteem or navigating the life transitions that arise after walking away from an abusive relationship. I also offer individual relationship counseling for those who want to understand their relationship patterns or create healthier relationships in the future. While my therapy practice is based in North Carolina, I also offer online therapy to those who live in Florida as well. If you have questions about my services, please don’t hesitate to reach out.