Recovering from emotional abuse

The effects of emotional abuse stay with you long after you have left your abuser. Recovering from it can be difficult because it’s hard to identify it, talk about it or talk to someone who understands the effects of it. Even though the road to recovery is very hard, it is possible. Here’s how you can recover from emotional abuse: 

Understand the effects of it

You may not have even realised you were emotionally abused when you were in the situation and this is part of what makes healing from it hard. You can take a look here at the signs of emotional abuse in your relationship. Emotional abuse can leave you with stress and anxiety, health problems, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. If you go through any of these, it’s important for you to be able to recognise that it might be as a result of your abuse and that this means you might need counselling or treatment.

Forgive yourself

As a result of your abuse, you might feel guilt over staying in the relationship, thinking that you could have saved yourself. It’s important to forgive yourself and understand that you were under someone else’s control. Instead of focusing on what you ‘could have done’, be proud that you finally found the strength to leave. And even if it wasn’t you who decided to leave, be glad that you made the decision to take your life back – whether you decided a long time ago or just today.

Know that it’s not your fault

You might think that you did something wrong and that you deserved it. This is not the case. No one who is abused caused someone to abuse them – it is 100% the abusers fault. It might be hard to see that you were not the cause, but most people who abuse one person have abused others before. So if it wasn’t you, they would have found someone else to do it to. Remember that nobody deserves to be abused, including you. 

Surround yourself with people you trust 

Being emotionally abused will leave you with invisible scars that will make you feel insecure about yourself. This is why you should surround yourself with people who love you and who will remind you of your worth.

Find support 

Even though speaking about abuse is not easy, speaking up about your experience can help you heal faster. Speak to someone you trust at home, school or even in your community.

If you need to report abuse, or need help dealing with it, here are a few helplines: 

People Opposed to Women Abuse (POWA) helpline: 083 765 1235

National counselling line: 0861 322 322

Life Line: 011 728 1347

Toxic relationships can be a habit and many people who have been in abusive relationships before often find themselves in abusive relationships again. This is why it’s so important to understand abuse and heal from it. It takes time and a lot of strength, but you need to be able to believe in your strength and your ability to overcome the abuse so that you know how to recognise healthy  vs unhealthy relationships. You deserve a healthy, and fulfilling life. 

Remember, if you need someone to talk to, you can speak to me for advice or help here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).