Life after Abuse
Life after abuse
Leaving an abusive relationship is only half the battle.
There is still a healing journey ahead of you and it’s not linear. It’s messy and hard and painful, but it is worth it. Your trauma matters and so does your healing, so do whatever brings you peace of mind and solace. For me, it’s sharing my journey with you. Hoping that it reaches every person who needs to read these words right now.
You are never alone, and there is a whole community out there supporting every step you take.
To all of you who have survived or are currently in an abusive relationship, first and foremost you are loved and you matter. Take advice with a grain of salt from people who couldn’t possibly understand where you are or where you’ve been. You are strong, you are an incredible person, and this is not your fault. It doesn’t matter what you said, or did, or how any of this came about. No one ever has the right to abuse you.
Here are 7 Powerful ways to Overcome the Victim Mindset:
1 – Recognize Martyrdom in Yourself
Just like with Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 steps, the first thing you must do is admit you have a problem, which I believe almost all of us do. Pay attention to the damage it is causing, how bad you feel, and really see the destruction it may be causing to the relationships in your life. This acute recognition really is the first essential step. Many people live their entire lives completely unaware and unable to see this self-destructive characteristic in themselves.
2 – Forgive Others
The only one being hurt by the hate and anger we feel toward others is us. It creates suffering, damages important relationships, and it gets in the way of the joy and success we all hope to experience in life.
How do you forgive someone? I wish I had the silver bullet. There is no secret trick; it is simply essential that you find the grace in your heart to forgive. If not, it will eat you alive, and you’ll never have the control and freedom we all desire.
3 – Forgive Yourself
The goal is to let go of the damaging labels, and orient new energy toward the present. It is a powerful and transformative process for many.
Much of what gets in our way of taking action are excuses we make about ourselves, and preconceived notions of who we are. A big part of taking new action in our life is having new expectations… which requires forgiving ourselves for what has come before. Forgiving yourself removes the limiting thinking that can make action seem useless, and that’s vital to begin taking the purposeful actions that will positively impact your life.
4 – Meditate or Pray
Perhaps one of the quickest ways to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to create space in your life. Feeling like a victim is often an irrational instinct driven by fear. By meditating, we create space, build clarity and find perspective. It is the best way to realign and refocus our energy.
Meditation and prayer are ways to deeper connection and a sense of purpose in life.
5 – Manage your Mood
When you feel good, you do good. When you’re focused on what you have, you have more confidence and initiative in going after what you want.
A study by Dr. Martin Seligman showed that there are three proven methods of improving our emotions. The first is practicing mindfulness, which is touched on in the previous point (Meditate or Pray).
The other two methods are practicing gratitude and serving others. In you want to feel better, there is no better way than focusing on the good and positive things in your life. Serving others also energizes and empowers us. There may not be a more satisfying feeling than knowing you have the power to help another, and then to see that impact take place when you do so.
6 – Find a Victor’s Mantra
For many people, mantras work wonders. By recognizing that they’re acting the martyr, they’re then able to motivate and empower themselves through self-talk. The key is developing the mindfulness muscles required to catch and call yourself out at the moment you begin playing the victim.
“I am not a victim of my past, my future is not predetermined, my life is what I choose it to be from this moment moving forward.”
7 – Take Action
Action is the essential step in the realization of our potential and the fulfilment of our dreams. It gets us out of remorse for past actions and fear of the future. It puts us squarely in the present, which is the only place we have power and influence.
If you don’t know what to do, ask someone you trust or admire what they would do, and then go try to do it. It only takes a spark to start a fire and that spark is initiative and action.
The results of your life are a product of the thoughts you think, the decisions you make and the actions you take.
By realizing this and then living it, you eliminate any chance of becoming the victim, and put your life in the best possible hands: your own.
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