Surviving abuse will be a process occurring over time. No person is able to terminate this process quickly. It can be an occasion for positive developments and growth if we maintain a self-awareness of ourselves at the beginning of this process and moving forward.
No person should say to you, “You ought to be over this by now!”
The Beginning of the Aftermath
At the beginning is disassociating from the abuser. This is essential and cannot be excused or avoided. Whether an intimate relationship or a workplace environment, the abuser must have no further contact with the survivor.
This disassociation is likely to be disruptive. It is likely to cause inconvenience and possibly financial disruption as well as social ruptures. We won’t be seeing the same people every day, perhaps; or maybe we will have to change a job. If that is necessary to end the abusive relationship, it cannot be avoided.
With this disruption, is the real risk that the survivor will take on blame and regret for the disassociation. If only the abusive relationship hadn’t ended! Surely there was some way…
This is false and wishful thinking. Survivors need the self-confidence to know that they are strong enough to adapt to the disruptions that come with ending an abusive situation. Abuse, again, is not the fault of the abused. It is a pattern of misbehavior by an abuser towards a subject person to manipulate and control them.
Persons supporting friends and relations in this situation should be firmly positive. It was necessary to end the abusive situation, and the disruption is temporary and surmountable. It will help your friends and relations to say so. Don’t assume they know it without saying so
During the Recovery
Survivors of abuse will be confronted with doubts about their ability to resume similar situations, associations, or intimate relationships, after abuse. Project Life Quality is entirely positive about the ability of survivors to exercise good judgment! It is necessary to remember your absolute self-worth.
You deserve not to be abused. You deserved to break away from abuse. You are capable of restoring emotional, social, workplace relationships to replace the abusive environment.
Project Life Quality urges you to explore the freedom from abuse for some individual growth. Perhaps you have never encouraged yourself to express yourself artistically, or undertaken a physical regimen of change.
Achievement of change, by itself, is empowering. As you undertake and achieve goals, you will come to believe (as we do!) that your judgment is sufficient for happiness.
Doubt and Depression
Doubts about options and opportunities can be recurring to survivors of abuse. A general distrust of self-worth and capabilities can be observed. The fact that these situations recur does not make them self-fulfilling prophesies.
It may be normal from time to time to doubt your judgment or capacity for enjoyment. Allow us to point out that such things can be countered with a change in perspective and some action.
Nobody ought to force you to overcome your emotions on a timetable. No person should say to you, “You ought to be over this by now!” You will process your situation day by day, and if you are having a bad day, it is no indication that you will not feel more open to opportunity even as shortly as in a day.
If you feel overwhelmed by emotions of doubt or depression, try to have the self-awareness to say, “Today I feel overcome.” Take a pause to consider whether you have felt this way continuously since the end of your abuse? Remember the times you did not feel this overwhelmed. Would it help to discuss the situation with a friend? Would taking on some task or chores, some small project, distract you from your feelings?
Sometimes we feel like nothing would help and nobody cares. This is never true.
Those of us witnessing a friend or relation escape an abusive relationship can take steps to make sure they know it is not true, that we do care and are available during the period after the end of abuse. We know that they did not deserve to be abused and are better off out of the abuse; it can do wonders for us to say so!
Project Life Quality wants you to take advantage of this period of self-criticism with some concrete self-improvement.
Is your diet properly balanced? Are you getting enough exercise? Have you challenged yourself to write poetry? How’s your emotional self-awareness?
Consider countering the blues with some action to begin a gradual process of self-improvement. Something that can be started right away and let you work slowly towards a goal you define for yourself.
You may have thought you aren’t good enough. That isn’t true. You deserve not to be abused. And you can make yourself even better, by your measures, if you are willing to try. Measure yourself by your goals, please, and take it gradually.
Let’s be direct: surviving abuse is going to make a difference in your life. You are going to have an experience with a bad situation and learn something about avoiding similar situations.
You are going to have gone through a period of disruption after the end of abuse. You will have applied your judgment to this situation and be stronger and wiser for having done so. You will handle smaller disruptions with more patience and grace.
You are going to have survived a period of doubting your abilities. You will come through that more aware of yourself and what you are capable of.
You will be in a position to make decisions and commitments, without hesitating because you were abused.
You will apply superior judgment, poise and insight to situations you encounter.
We hope, if you explore the opportunities with us, you will also be healthier, more expressive and more confident at the same time.
Christopher Andrew Balsz Jr.
PLQ Team Member