If you have experienced emotional abuse then undoubtedly you are familiar with the struggles associated with it: feelings of powerlessness, hurt, fear, anger and rage. These feelings are part of the cycle of abuse.
Interestingly abusers often experience these emotions, generally dealing with a history of abuse. They learned from their own families of origin that abuse is an acceptable form of behavior. People who have experienced a history of abuse often look for partners they can dominate, reenacting this pattern of behavior.
That is, we tend to seek out people to treat us the way we feel we deserve to be treated. Sometimes we choose partners that reflect back to us the way we visualize ourselves. If we devalue ourselves then it makes sense, at least unconsciously, to choose a partner who echoes that sentiment.
So how do we break this cycle? How can we find the courage to build our sense of self worth and recognize our personal gifts, strengths and inner beauty?
Here are some strategies to break the cycle of abuse. It takes time and practice to internalize these methods. You will feel a greater sense of personal empowerment when you stay focused on implementing behaviors that authentically support you and your sense of well-being. You are worth it!
Strategies for Overcoming Emotional Abuse
- Avoid contact with your abuser when possible. There might be an ongoing fantasy that the behavior of the abuser can and will change. This is rarely the case. Generally it is best to stay away from whoever it is that is trying to dominate you. If you must spend time together, imagine yourself in a protective cocoon or bubble to avoid listening to the negative messages.
- Take care of your physical and psychological needs. Make them high priority. Eating healthy food, exercising regularly, relaxing or meditating all help improve your feelings of self-worth. The mind-body connection, plays a powerful role in overcoming a difficult past.
- Surround yourself with friends and family that you trust and that support you. Pay attention to the people in your life that really care about your well-being and happiness. These are the people that will help you to retrain your brain to think more positively and lovingly towards yourself.
- Enlist the help of a psychologist, counselor or religious leader who understands the issues surrounding abuse. Getting the help of an unbiased professional lends insight and perspective into understanding the situation. They are also armed with additional resources that might be of value in your situation.
- Make a practice of doing something every day that supports you and your dreams. Create a list of activities that make you feel good. Choose something(s) each day that honors you and brings you feelings of fulfillment.
- Keep a journal. Write down all your thoughts and feelings. This journal can be your vehicle for expressing your pain, sadness, disappointment, anger, etc. It can also serve as a vehicle for channeling your creative energy as in writing poetry, songs, stories, dreams, doodles and reflections. It is also good to keep a separate journal that is devoted expressly for keeping a daily record of whatever you feel grateful for. Gratitude journals have been shown to change the brain in a such a way that we experience happiness and other positive emotions more regularly.
What do you recommend for overcoming the pain from emotional abuse? Please share any thoughts you have regarding this compelling subject.