7 Ways You Can Heal From Emotional Abuse

  • Acknowledge the Abuse

Sometimes one of the hardest parts of healing from emotional abuse is to acknowledge that it even happened. It’s not healthy to ignore negative emotions and pretending like it didn’t happen won’t help you move on. Instead, it’s important to recognize the signs, understand there are multiple forms of emotional abuse and remember that you don’t have to accept this treatment. 

  • Find A Support System

A support system is a group of trusted individuals that provide a safe and comfortable environment where you feel encouraged to express yourself without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. Whether this includes friends, family members, colleagues, or mental health care professionals, these people can help to provide feedback or a positive and healthy outlet to talk about your concerns and frustrations or ask questions. Medically-reviewed articles from the online therapy resource BetterHelp can help you better understand how discussing your emotional abuse and working with a professional can improve your healing process.

  • Practice Self-Care

Starting new habits can be a positive way to heal from difficult or traumatic situations. As such, putting together an effective self-care routine serves two purposes: healthy coping mechanisms and personal support. While it’s important to have encouragement from others, it’s just as crucial to be there for yourself. 

The emotional abuse may have caused you to see yourself or your interests. Developing a self-care routine can help to put control back in your hands and boost your confidence through successfully completing tasks and taking care of your well-being. You have the ability to start small, finding tasks that make you comfortable and are easier to repeat regularly. Then you can decide what processes to add, remove, or modify to continue improving the routine to favour your personal goals. 

  • Establish Boundaries – And Enforce Them

As you begin to heal from emotional abuse, you’ll need to protect your boundaries and enforce personal rules. Learning to express your discomfort with someone’s behaviour or a topic can be difficult, especially for those that have had that ability essentially taken away from them by an abuser. Therefore, you can start with any area that you’re comfortable with. Practice discussing boundaries with your support system and mental health care professionals so you can get feedback on how to communicate. They can also help to reassure you about your needs and expectations to validate your feelings. 

  • Challenge Negative Thoughts

One of the areas to conquer in order to heal from emotional abuse is your inner voice. This is how you respond to your thoughts, behaviour, etc. If you’re self-critical and find yourself thinking negatively, take a moment to consider the source of these opinions. If you were to say it to someone else, would it sound harsh or rude? Are the expectations unrealistic or unhealthy? Challenge these thoughts to determine if you actually believe them or if you’ve been led to believe this is how you should see yourself. 

When you find something negative, consider the reality of the situation and be sure to encourage yourself with responses like “At least I’m trying”, “Progress takes time”, or “I’m still growing.” Allow yourself to develop at your own pace and confront harsh thoughts with realistic expectations. 

  • Ask for Reassurance

Sometimes, you may not understand where a line should be drawn or if your bar is set too low. This can be because of childhood trauma, different ideals established in your early home life, or regular gaslighting from others. When you have a quality support system and individuals around you that encourage your healthy lifestyle and coping mechanisms, you have an opportunity. You can turn to others to ask for reassurance in any aspect of your life – their thoughts on your routine changes, whether or not they would be comfortable in a scenario, and how to communicate more effectively. 

  • Prioritize Yourself

Lastly, it’s important to remember to put yourself first. Healing not only takes time but there will also be mistakes made and the occasional roadblock encountered. During these challenges, it’s crucial to allow yourself some breathing room. Take breaks, time to yourself, and put things on hold if you feel overwhelmed. This could mean reducing your self-care routine at times, turning down social events, or asking your support system for some extra time and care. 

You are a growing, developing person that is learning how to move past a difficult time in your life. That requires patience and understanding, primarily from yourself. Take note of things that don’t work, and how you can improve, and don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance.

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

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