Healing After Leaving an Abusive Relationship
How to Get Through Bad Days After Escaping Psychological Abuse
"How am I going to make it through this day?" This page is full of ideas and distractions for getting through the very difficult days after escaping abuse and/or being abandoned by a spouse.
When first getting my children and myself out of an abusive situation at home, I really wondered if I would ever be okay again. I was not wanting to harm myself, but some days I felt so devastated and hit with so much sorrow. Each morning brought another long day to face with my world in shambles. It was very hard.
On days like this, we try to do things, but it can feel forced. People say life will get easier in time. But time can seem to go by very slowly. Trauma can feel a lot like the death of a loved one; It is heavy, difficult to bear. Just getting through the day can be a challenge.
In the beginning, I needed to make a list of things I could do to distract myself, to make it through the days, to keep existing. This page holds my list. It helped me remember. Maybe it will help you or someone you know. I hope so.
Please make it through this day, and the next one. I care.
(photo by Janienne Jennrich)
National Domestic Violence Hotline
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Trained advocates are available to take your calls through their toll free, 24/7 hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
In the USA:
If you or someone you know is in an emotional distress
or suicidal crisis, please call the Lifeline
at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
This video helps me keep breathing sometimes. In it, Ingrid Michaelson sings Keep Breathing live. It's calming, encouraging and meaningful.
Keep functioning. - Things to do...when it is hard to do anything at all.
- For word people: Crossword puzzles, online word games, word searches
- For number people: Sudoku and other number puzzles
- Pray or meditate
- Take a hot bath or shower
- Do small loads of laundry
- Call someone you trust
- Watch non-threatening TV, movies or YouTube videos.. Some pretty safe choices: Winnie the Pooh (always sweet), classic black and white TV shows (Gilligan's Island, Burns and Allen, Lawrence Welk), and Survivor (I like this because I can watch one after another for several hours online).
- Read something soothing (again, Winnie the Pooh is a safe choice)
- Vacuum, dust, or take out trash (at least the house will be cleaner later)
- Listen to free podcasts (meditation, talk shows, music, foreign language)
- Doodle, draw, color, or write
- Knit or crochet something simple
- Play a simple board game with someone
- Start putting together a jigsaw puzzle
- Drink hot chocolate or tea
- Pet your dog or cat
- Sort socks, count change, or do another repetitive chore
- Sit on a park bench and watch birds or children
- Take photos of flowers
Below is the song Be O.K. by Ingrid Michaelson. It's very dear to my heart. The song is soft, sweet and mildly uplifting. Sometimes "okay" is all we can expect. It okay just to be okay in a time of healing.
Try to Notice Beauty.
For a written journal:
- Choose any journal or notebook.
- Find a pen or sharpen some pencils.
- Place them where you will see them.
- Write anything, anytime. This is just for you.
For an artistic journal:
- Get a blank page journal or just some loose blank paper
- Gather some art supplies (colored pencils, watercolors, whatever you have)
- Simply start drawing, painting, gluing, collaging. There are no rules.
- If you need ideas, there are lots and lots of videos on YouTube. Search words like "art journal," "junk journal" or "how to draw..."
I find art journalling to be very healing. Sometimes I do serious pages and sometimes I do nonsense pages. It helps me get out of my own head full of worries, gives me inspiration, and helps ground me. I hope it helps you as well.
Start a journal, even if you don't write in it today.
Do you ever write in a journal or diary?
Or Listen to Music
Music can be very soothing, uplifting, and even energizing. You can find good music on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, or Pandora online.
Below you can hear - "Don't Give Up" by Josh Groban.
it will get better.
Don't give up.
Read More of My Story of Recognizing and Escaping Abuse
- I Did Not See I Was Being Abused by My Husband for Over 20 Years
A personal true account of the gaslighting and psychological abuse of my kids and myself. #NoMore #domesticviolence #dv