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The more information you have, the more you will know. Ignorance grows best in the dark. This is how so many people stay in abusive relationships. Surviving Abusive is a daily thing and there is no timeframe to “get things right” as people often suggest. I always like to compare healing with a broken leg.
A Eight-Step Article
I hope dear friend!
That nothing bad happens to you. However, if you have gone through the following experience then you will understand. If you break your leg, I wouldn’t expect you to heal in 48 hours. Healing for this situation will take a matter of weeks if not months till the person recovers their ability to walk again. Healing is a process. Respect the process and don’t abandon your position. Things will get better with time, not because of its scientific nature of transgressing, but rather on your willingness to make good decisions with time. Time doesn’t heal wounds, it’s what you do with time. If for 20 years you sit every day on your sofa reminding yourself what a failure you are, then life will pass you by. It’s what you do with your time that will help you live a victorious life.
How You Know You Are Not Over It
I get so sad when I hear other survivors express how they have ‘already turned the page’ on the events and how they are striving in life. I don’t get sad because of what they say, but because of the pressure, they feel to say it. I question the authenticity of that statement based on the reaction they often portray after I ask them how did they get over it or further details of the abuse. When a person immediately shuts down and attempts to change the subject, that’s when you know they are not completely over it. Being healed means it is easier to be open about what happened. And of course, this is not a matter of staying stuck on the past, but one good sign of letting go is being able to verbalize how you felt and release all of your emotions in a healthy way. I notice that with many young girls, they tend to jump from relationship to relationship as if they will find fulfilment in another human being. We are all flawed in some way. Leaving an abusive relationship to enter a new one, with the hopes of healing what was done to you does not make sense for many reasons. Other than bringing in the baggage of your past into this new relationship, you are also stating that this person is your god. That you can’t live without them. This is false. Your joy does not lie with another person. I understand the pressure of wanting to have a boyfriend and being able to flaunt your relationship in the eyes of other girls, however, I can say to you as an “older sister” that it is not worth it. Now, assuming that most of the readers are young girls, I would like to communicate this to you: Healing is the path for good relationships. Here are some tips to get through difficult days. Because as we all know surviving abuse might be every day for us, because of the scenes that are replaying in our heads.
It is often the mistreatment we apply unto our feelings that hinders our capability of identifying what is good and what is bad. This suppression of emotions is a way we abuse ourselves unconsciously. Not because we want to, but because it has become second nature. We learned how to suppress emotions, because to our minds, their existence meant a scold or a slap in the face. I remember once how I was reprimanded for a foolish behaviour, and the abuser yelled at me to stop crying. Since that day, I feel immense guilt when I cry, but I have learned to allow myself to cry when I must. Don’t be afraid of your emotions. Don’t let them control you either.
Surviving abuse means to gain responsibility for putting up boundaries. But how can we construct boundaries without understanding the gravity of the things that happened? A good way of avoiding going through all of this event is by asking yourself questions. Imagine your best friend is asking you about the abuse. These questions are important because they help us analyze what happened and identify toxic tactics that the abuser used. Let’s be honest, we often say after an abusive relationship: “It wasn’t that bad.” Of course, because we didn’t understand at the time how serious was the situation.
“What were the red flags?” “How many months did I spend depressed and isolated from my friends?” “Was he or she consistent with their words?” “Did I often make excuses for the person’s behavior?” “Did I felt embarrassment in front of people while being with this person?” “How much time did I spent with this person?” “All the time? Did I have time for friends or family?” “Did he threatened to kill himself or herself when I tried to get out of the relationship?”
Knowledge is power
That was the motto of my alma mater growing up. And although it sounds quite epic, it really is. The more you talk with survivors, (that are not currently engaging with toxic relationships), the more you learn about your own story. The more you investigate how they got out of an abusive relationship, who helped them, how they are coping, the more hope you will feel. Remember that abuse is best friends in isolation. The times when we are our weakest and isolated is when we lose a sense of reality. We start talking, thinking, acting, and living life as the abuser because we have lost connection with our identities. A good way of gaining knowledge is by listening other people’s stories on YouTube. It’s more personal than reading a textbook if you ask me.
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My mother says this to me all the time when I need something: “He or she that looks will find.” If you search for survivor communities, trust me there’s a ton of them. You will find them. You are not alone.
Do not underestimate the power community. I would suggest anyone who is serious about healing and not holding on to their past as a victim to engage with us. Project Life Quality is here for YOU. This initiative was not created out of pure boredom or to decorate the world wide web with meaningless words. We care about you, and the tools we bring you is for your own good. Social media is a great way to communicate without feeling judged or embarrassed. If you have Facebook or Instagram I encourage you to become part of the family. Don’t forget to follow us at @projectlifequality. There are also other groups in social media about this topic that will be more than glad to welcome you with open arms.
Communication can help you listen to yourself as you narrate what was done to you. At the beginning of my healing, I would turn on my camera and just talk to it as I narrated what was done and the issues that followed that. Now, this might not be useful for some people. It did help me a lot because I would notice the way I talked and my mentality as a person. I discovered that I had a mentality of a slave. A slave of abuse and not of a person who was free. I deleted the videos and do that anymore because it served its purpose at one time, but what I learned is that I was not happy based on my tone and that I had to renew my mind with truth. May I suggest a certified therapist might be the best option for some? If you don’t feel comfortable with the counsellor after the first visit, don’t get discouraged keep looking until you find one that understands you. I’ve done my share of counselling sessions for years since I was 14. I’m taking a break from it due to schoolwork, but will continue to see one in the future. Remember mental health is not a bad word. People go to different specialists to help them with different body parts. There’s podiatrists, neurologists, cardiologists, urologists etc. The brain is also part of the body. Don’t forget that!
Maintaining good health requires consistency. If you want a healthy body, you don’t go to a gym twice and expect mind-blowing results, afterwards do you? It is a continuous labour, to maintain a healthy mind. I would suggest journaling daily, decorate your room with positive affirmations, and surround yourself with things that fill you with hope and laughter. Exercising laughter and wonder every day is part of your healing. Yes, cry if you have to, but don’t forget to laugh. Consistency is not about doing logical inventories of your emotions every single day. That would be kind of weird. You are a person, not a robot. Remind yourself every day that even though you are not where you want to be, at least you are not where you used to be. I’ve literally had to practice what I preach on this because I tend to be a melancholic person. For me, it works to listen to a specific playlist all day long or to see specific movies, or go to a certain coffee shop. A movie that always makes me laugh is White Chicks. Find things that remind you of how beautiful you are. What works for you?
Surviving abuse is difficult. The replaying of scenes is a tedious thing to go through. Not only did you go through that terrible experience, but now your mind insists on reminding you ever so often. When the sudden chain of memories come rushing towards you out of nowhere, do not panic. In fact, before that even happens you need to decide. You see a friend, feelings are good and wonderful to experience but they cannot control your life. Neither do memories. They are strong, powerful, overwhelming, breathtaking, and infuriating at times, but do not let them take over you. Make a decision. In fact, today can be your D Day. Decide beyond your feelings that you will not let that memory or feeling of hopelessness to dictate how your future will be. There will be times when your friends won’t pick up the phone, your accountability partner is busy, or everyone else has something going on. There will be times when you will be alone, and you have to make the decision way before you encounter a bad day to remain hopeful. You are stronger than fragments of repeated thoughts, even if they’re not a production of your imagination. You are a survivor. Not a victim.
I hope these tips will encourage to walk in freedom every day. There will be hard days as well all know, but if many people have been abused and now have healthy families why can’t you? The cycle can stop with you. Healing is surviving abuse. Until the next time!
Photo by Christer Olsen on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA
PLQ Survivor and Member