How to Overcome an Abusive Relationship
Abusive relationships are more common than we realize, and it's a shocking statistic. Usually, you never think that it could end up happening to you, until it does and you're left to deal with a situation that is nowhere close to being easy.
For me, a 2 year relationship took an immediate downfall. It happened out of no where. I trusted this guy, we were living together going to university, we had been prom dates, we had plans for the future. One night we got into an argument and it turned physical. It was only the beginning of what was two months of physical, emotional and mental abuse until I was able to get away from him. In retrospect, I wish I had pressed charges, because aside from word of mouth, he got away clean - and from what I can gather, is going about living his life without a hint of a guilty conscience.
None of us will ever expect our partner to abuse us, especially if you're in love. When it happens, it shatters your entire heart, wrenches your life plans. It has lasting effects, that should not be left without seeking help.
1. Don't keep it a secret It can be hard for you to fathom, and it will be equally so for those close to you. Tell someone immediately, whether it be your family or a friend. You may be scared, angry and unsure. Notify the authorities - this was my mistake for not doing so. The rationale: the last thing you want to do is call the police on the person you love, a million things run through your head. They didn't mean it, they were angry, they may have already apologized. Don't try to reason with yourself. As painful as it may be, domestic violence is a chargeable offense.
2. It is NOT your fault You may have been fighting, you may have said harsh things, you may have done something that made your partner angry -- but never, in no circumstances, is it okay for them to lay a hand on you, threaten you or berate you. No. Matter. What. They may say it's your fault, that you deserved it. Bullshit. Do not blame yourself, it leads to acceptance and allows for it to happen again.
3. Leave them No ands, ifs, or buts. I didn't do it quick enough. Get out of there, stay with a friend or family member or even stay in a hotel if you need to. The moment things take a turn for the worst, end it. It'll hurt, but you will only endure more pain the longer you try to keep it going.
4. Don't be alone Being alone only allows you time to dwell on the situation and become overwhelmed with the emotions you'll be feeling. Spend time with friends and family, talk to someone on the phone, tell people how you're feeling. Don't bottle up your feelings, it helps to talk about it.
5. Speak with a professional It can be easier to unload to a professional, a stranger who doesn't know you and won't judge. They're there simply to listen and offer advise, it's their job and they're good at it. I was able to speak to a guidance councillor at my university, and it helped me immensely. When I walked out, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest. If you don't want to do it alone, get a friend to come with you.
6. Keep yourself busy You know your favorite hobby? That movie that always makes you laugh? Or maybe that running trail you frequent? Keep yourself busy with doing things you enjoy. It helps keep your mind off of the negative and improves how you feel overall.
7. Avoid alcohol and binge-eating Drinking martinis and eating chocolate cake may seem like a good coping mechanism, but it's not. Alcohol only enhances the emotions you feel at the time, and you don't want to be anywhere near it when you're recovering from abuse. I learned this the hard way, it's a downward spiral that doesn't make anything better. As for attraction to unhealthy foods, it will only make you gain weight and feel worse about yourself.
8. Treat yourself Dress up, go out, even if you don't have an occasion. Remind yourself that you're beautiful. You don't need a man to tell you that.
9. Don't rush into a new relationship You will want some time for yourself, and take as long as you need. For me, it was several months before I could even handle the idea of giving someone a try. It's okay. You need time to heal. Your trust and heart were broken, and it's not going to be fine in a fortnight.
Recovering from an abusive relationship takes time. It has been over a year and a half since I got out of mine and sometimes I still have moments where I'm not feeling 100%. It's normal. You just can't get over something like that quickly, and don't listen to people who tell you to, either. It's hard to understand what it is like until you've experienced it, even if you've told your family and friends what's happened and how you feel. Time heals all wounds, but the time specifically isn't immediate. Do what you need to do, for you - and don't do it alone.