How to Overcome and Live with Past Abuse
Abuse, whether it is physical, emotional or sexual, can leave deep scars on the mental health of the victim. Although they might have escaped the abuse now, there are still lingering memories and self-deprecating thoughts even years later that leave them with issues like depression and anxiety. Just walking out of the house or trusting friends and family can be something terrifying for an abuse survivor and make daily life a struggle.
If you are an abuse victim and are having a hard time moving on your past, then please read on. As an experienced counsellor, I have brought together the top tips on how to overcome and live with past abuse in this blog.
Place the Blame Where it Belongs
Often victims of abuse tend to blame themselves for what happened and think they deserve the lasting trauma. Their minds will find a moment in their life where they said or did something and call that the inciting incident. Over the years, the association of moments like this with their abuse becomes so ingrained in the victim’s mind that it’s hard for them to place blame elsewhere.
However, if you have suffered from any form of abuse in the past and are seeking to move on and live a happy life, then you need to redirect your blame. Understanding your abusers are solely responsible for their actions and your pain can make it easier for you to let go of the trauma and distance yourself from negative memories. Actively reprimand yourself if you catch yourself self-blaming. While you might not like to think of your abusers, it is a necessary evil at the start of this journey to remove the blame from yourself and place it on them. Once you lose all self-blame, living a normal and happy life can be much easier.
Raise Your Standards
Whether it was physical abuse in a relationship, emotional abuse in a friendship or psychological abuse from your family, when overcoming your abuse, you need to raise your standards or else you can find yourself back in a similar position. Look back and acknowledge the personality traits of your abuser which lured you in and recognise how they manipulated you. Knowing this will help you keep an eye out for it in the future, so you know when to get out that situation quickly.
You need to understand that you deserve so much better than the treatment you have been having. If your family are abusing you, then you deserve to leave them behind and find a new group of people who will treat you with more kindness and care than them. This is the same for romantic relationships and friendships as these social interactions are essential for good mental health and abuse can lead to deep depression and anxiety issues. By raising your standards, it makes it easier to recognise when someone is going to use you or even abuse you again as you have a new level of respect for yourself and know how you should be treated.
Stand Up For Yourself
As well as raising your standards you may need to learn to stand up for yourself more. Not everyone in the world will take no for an answer or care about your feelings when they try to manipulate you through abuse. Psychological or emotional abuse, for example, can infect the workplace as one worker tries to get ahead of another by abusing them out of pure jealousy or anger. In a situation like this, rather than letting this person abuse you as you have done in the past, harness the new strength you have and address the situation head-on. Each incident may require different responses but the central message of standing up for yourself is the same. If you truly want to overcome your past abuse and learn to live a better life you need to find your inner strength.
Seek Out Support
Often, overcoming past abuse can be a painful and challenging experience, and not everyone can do it on their own. You can seek out support from friends and family you feel safe sharing your story with and allow them to help you build yourself a better life. By being open and honest, they can assist in you recognising new standards, shifting the blame to the abuser and understanding your worth.
However, not everyone has a support system around them like this, and sometimes these people can be the abusers themselves. Attending therapy allows you to talk about the impact of the abuse with a trained expert who understands how to handle sensitive cases like this as well help support and guide your recovery. Most of what you say in therapy will be confidential, and the elements which are not will be explained to you, so you shouldn’t let shame or fear prevent you from taking the first step and seeking a session with a counsellor. With experience guiding your sessions, you can find advice and conversations that lead to real progress and help put the past abuse behind you.
Don’t let the actions and words of your abusers haunt you years after you have escaped them. By following these tips and seeking out support, you can learn to move on from the past and live a happy and meaningful life despite the abuse. If you want to learn more about my therapy services, then contact me today.