How To Move Past An Abusive Relationship

Trigger Warning: Emotional Abuse, Abusive Relationships

How does one even title such a tough topic? How do you even know that you had been abused to begin with? It took me about a year and a half to finally admit to myself and those around me that I had been abused in a previous relationship. 

Sometimes abuse isn’t physical, it’s emotional, verbal, + sexual. It’s when you are crying on the floor, having trouble breathing because your nose is so runny that air can’t come in or out, + the reason you are crying is because the person you love is angry with you for the third time that week ++ you just don’t understand why. You had done everything that they had asked but the one night you wanted to stay home and be with your friends, that’s the problem. That you had been texting them every detail of your day + night but missed one tiny detail ++ that sets off a full rage of anger. Do you see an issue with this? I didn’t for a long time. It wasn’t until my current boyfriend asked me why I apologized for not telling him I was hanging out with my friends, or that I was in class, or that I was at work, that I had realized that those types of conversations aren’t normal. 

When my ex and I had first broken up, it felt like I was hit by a train. He would tell me that if I talked to any other man the way I did him, he would have broken up with me months ago. I was completely under the impression that I deserved to be treated the way I was, but that was false. Thankfully, I had an amazing group of people to back me up and to be by my side when it ended. Though I will never know how to fully “move past” my abusive relationship, here are some tips that have helped me: 

1] Surround Yourself With Good People

I have no idea what I would have done had it not been for my friends at school + eventually my boyfriend now. You’ll know who the good people in your life are when they come. Normally they will be the ones who tell you it’s time to leave, + when you fall apart they help you pick up the pieces. 

2] Find Your Healthy Distractions

This one is a bit odd, but find those things that make you happy. Going MIA on my phone was the best because my ex hated that, he hated when he could not get ahold of me without a reason beforehand [I know toxic]. Go to the gym, take up a new hobby, join a new club that you’ve been wanting to, or start a CHAARG Chapter ; ) Being the founding ambassador for Millsersville CHAARG was my healthy distraction, putting all my energy into something that made me happy and I can be proud of at the end of the day. Last thing my ex ever said to me was, “I wish I had convinced you to never do CHAARG.”

3] Tell Someone

You are not alone. For so long I tried to move past this on my own, keep this information to myself. That if I didn’t think about it or talk about it, it would go away. Abuse can leave behind unseen scars; not wanting to open up to people, flinching when someone tries to touch you, the way someone speaks to you causes you to react in some way that in the past probably wouldn’t have. Telling someone there is a problem is the first step to healing. 

4] Seek Help

Your friends, though great for ranting and helping you get through the tough days, are not professionals. Talk to a counselor, go to therapy, + find a group who have gone through similar things. Going back to that last point in telling someone, it’s one thing to tell someone but another to do something about it. You can try to heal on your own but it will cause more harm in the long run. Get help! 

If you can take anything from this, please know you are not alone. People love you, people want to see you happy. If he/she/they are not making you happy, it’s time to go. It is easier said than done to leave + when you do it will hurt, but when you find that happy spark, then you’ll have done something that the other person couldn’t. You will have made you happy, strong, + powerful. 

Please note — If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. 

For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or  1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

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