One Day at a Time: Healing After Abuse

How to Heal After Abuse

It breaks my heart to know you’re dealing with the effects of abuse. You probably feel a lot of difficult emotions. Maybe you struggle with hating yourself. Maybe you’re having trouble reclaiming stability in your mental health.

Whatever you’re feeling, it’s safe and helpful to acknowledge it. Understanding your feelings helps you sort through them, find meaning, and reclaim your hope.

Sometimes, no matter what you try, or how determined you are, it’s going to feel as though you will never heal or find happiness after abuse.
When you feel this way, it’s important to remember that healing from any painful experience is not like flipping a switch. It doesn’t happen at one moment in time. It’s a lifelong journey you take one day at a time.

If you’re not sure where to start on the path to healing after abuse, reminding yourself of these truths once a day may be helpful.

Abuse Is Never Your Fault

Blaming yourself for abuse is natural. After all, the person who abused you probably spent a lot of time and effort to convince you that their cruelty and rage sprang from something you said.

But the truth is this: abuse is never, ever your fault. Abusive behavior is only the responsibility of the person who abused you, and they are the only one who has to answer for or justify what they’ve done. Remind yourself of this fact as often as you need to as you work toward healing each day.

Abusive Words Are Not True

One of the most toxic things about abusive relationships is how true abusive words feel to the person victimized by abuse. When you remember what you were told about yourself, chances are you have to fight not to believe those things. That’s because you were manipulated by your abuser, who lied to you in order to continue their harmful behaviors.

Reminding yourself abusive words are not true is an important step toward healing. But it will likely take more than just your efforts to retrain your brain.

Support groups, counseling, and mentoring can be very helpful in post-abuse recovery. People who are specially trained to help others heal after abuse know which techniques are more effective, and what works best when healing from the various types of abuse.

People Find Hope After Abuse

One thing you will notice as you hear stories from other abuse survivors is this: very often, people find hope and rediscover purpose as they recover from abuse. And it may not be through a major breakthrough or life transformation. Reconnecting with feelings of peace, hope, love, and gratitude may start as simply as:

  • Developing a healthy self-care routine that nourishes your mind, body and spirit
  • Spending time in places where you feel at peace spiritually or closer to God
  • Enjoying nature, a hobby, or a favorite book
  • Visiting beloved friends and family

Whatever efforts you make, I believe you will rebuild a sense of meaning and hope in your life, especially with people in your corner to help you through it.

You Can Get Support Right Away

If there is a silver lining for you to find today, it’s this. You can get support right away to begin healing from abuse. Talk to a HopeCoach at TheHopeLine if you’re not sure where to start. We can help connect you with resources in your area, suggest healthy coping habits, and provide encouragement. We are proud of you for seeking healing, and we believe you will find hope and happiness again.

Knowing when to leave an unhealthy relationship can be hard. It comes down to safety and self-care. Find out if you should leave or stay. 

Visit Our Partner Resources for Assistance: 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7)
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) 24/7

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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