|Written on 8/22/2008 by Evelyn Lim. Evelyn is a certified NLP practitioner and life coach. She wants to be rich, not only monetarily, but in life, love, health, etc. Visit her popular blog at Attraction Mind Map.||Photo Credit: Lachlan Hardy|
Emotional abuse may not leave scars, but it can cause pain for much longer than physical harm. Many women especially believe that just because they do not suffer from physical abuse by their spouse or partner, they are safe. However, it is not necessarily the case. The scars are mental and can cause a lot of grief and unhappiness. Although more women appear to suffer from emotional abuse, this does not mean that men do not experience mental torture either.
Emotional abuse happens when the other party erodes your sense of self esteem and literally, has a hold over your mind. Your sense of self worth shrinks so much that you no longer dare to challenge what is being said about you. You believe in the stories that are being told. Unfortunately, most of them are not true to begin with. Your partner spins a web of lies to control your behavior and for his or her own selfish motives. It is possible that he or she has an inferiority complex to begin with.
Perhaps, there comes a time when you decide that enough is enough. You refuse to be held hostage by your mental torture. And you want to move on. Fortunately, it is possible to overcome emotional abuse and regain the confidence and control that you may have lost to an abusive partner.
- Dissociate from the past
There is no point lamenting about what has happened in the past. It is over. Do not deny it either. Just accept that it has happened and that you are now on the road to emotional health. You may not have exercised control over your past but you can take charge over your own future from now on. Look at the past as lessons that point out what you no longer want for yourself.
Admittedly, it will take time to heal from the emotional trauma caused by an abuser, but gradually, you will discover an inner strength and resilience to build a bright future. A change in environment may be helpful for you to de-associate from your past.
- Build self-esteem
Abusers are constantly hacking away at your self-esteem. When you come out of an abusive relationship it is essential that you rebuild your sense of self-worth. You need to recognize that you can be strong and capable of independent thought.
Surrounding yourself with people who value you is an important part of the healing process. Form your own support group or join an online community that helps support its members to gain strength. It is vital that you remember what makes you a unique and valuable person.
- You hold the power
Emotional abusers do what they do to gain power over you. Consequently, you feel that you are being controlled and watched over every single movement that you make. You fear making decisions. In fact, you find it difficult to make one without consulting your partner. You lose confidence in your own abilities, incapable of rational thinking.
The important thing is to understand that you are the only person who has power over yourself. One reason why you have been subjected to emotional abuse is that you have handed your power over to your partner. In reality, no one can make you do anything if you do not let them. Realize that only you hold the power. Look for ways to empower yourself.
- You know what is right for you
You are the only person who knows what is best for you. An emotional abuser will want you to make decisions that are self serving for his or her interest. However, such a decision may not be in line with yours. As much as you care for a harmonious relationship, you need to take an alternate decision if your inner knowing tells you otherwise.
Hence, it is your job to take care of your own needs. It is not about being selfish, but about establishing certain boundaries. No one leads your life for you. Do what feels right. Trust your intuition.
- You can only control yourself
One reason that many women stay in abusive relationships is because they think they can help their partner change. A period in time will lapse and they would find that they remain stuck and with no signs of improvement in their partner.
The truth is that you cannot make anyone change, you can only control the way you react to them. Instead, focus on improving your own life. In doing this you will discover your own self worth. You can then decide whether or not your partner is compatible with your new lifestyle.
- Spend Time Setting boundaries and expectations
People often expect a speedy recovery after being in an abusive relationship. If they do not allow themselves enough time to heal they will often fall into another abusive relationship. It is clear to see that they have not learnt their lessons. They continue to attract the same kind of relationships that have them feeling needy.
Hence, it is important that you spend time setting boundaries and expectations for treatment in future relationships, before diving into a new one. Commit to a decision that you do not want to enter into any unhealthy liaisons any more. If you are clear in what you want, you are more likely to attract a loving and kind partner, unlike the one that you have been used to.
- Do what makes you feel good
Initially, you will feel free from coming out of an abusive relationship. However, you may start to experience insecurity because you do not know how to occupy your time. For this reason, it is important that you do not hang around by your phone, hoping that your partner will call and beg for forgiveness.
Instead, find things to do that makes you feel happy. Take a class or pick up a hobby. Try to recall what it is that you have always wanted to explore. With no one telling you what to do or holding you back, the possibilities are endless.
In conclusion, it is important to have a vision of who you would like to become once you have regained control of your life. If it helps, look for role models. No longer will you be controlled without your permission. Most definitely, do what it takes to gain a sense of self empowerment.
Do not be afraid to ask for assistance from others either. You need time to heal and getting some form of support is always a good idea. You have the choice to make things right. Your future is bright; do not let anyone take that away from you!