Many people think when we are abused and we have left the relationship everything is alright, you are safe, saved, alive. Those of us who have been through it know that’s not the end, there isn’t an “end” as such. It now becomes a case of finding out who you are. In many cases, we have lost our identity in the relationship. We need to find ourselves again.
What do we like? What did we like before the relationship? Did we have hobbies, like drawing, colouring? Did we ride our bikes and feel the fresh air? What music did we like before we chose “our song” with our partner? Did we even dress differently before the relationship, but we changed it to make our partner happy or because they demanded it of us?
Finding the courage to leave a relationship takes a lot of strength. To suddenly walk a different road, take a new path, a new journey, but when we do have to find the time to heal and discover ourselves.
We can go to therapy, there are so many choices of therapy out there today from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming, Psychotherapy and Counselling. There are also simple therapies we can do for ourselves too very cheaply, especially if we are living on a budget.
It is often termed as a distraction therapy, meaning it becomes repetitive. Colouring books are a great example, we sit and colour pictures, slowly our mind drifts from being anxious to concentrating on colouring the picture. You don’t need to go and purchase an expensive colouring book, pictures can be found free on the internet to download and print, all you need then is some inexpensive colouring pencils.
This is wonderful, it is very hard to become calm again. We experience the emotional tornado of leaving our partner, that seems to be normal to live on adrenaline but we cannot live in a hyper state for long periods of time, we would burn out. We can also experience panic attacks, which if you have had one, you know it’s incredibly difficult. We hyperventilate, can’t control our breathing, the next thing we know our chest hurts so bad and the world is starting to spin. If we can practice mindfulness when we feel calm, then when the panic attack starts to happen we can tap into a mindfulness exercise automatically after a period. It starts as simple as: breathe in counting to four, hold for the count of four and release for the count of four, all the while concentrating on your breath and nothing else. You can play background music, or ocean waves to help you, but trust me, it does work!
Write your heart out! Keep a notebook which you can carry with you. Every time something happens or you discover something new, write it down. You can encapsulate your emotions into words. You can scream and cry out onto the page, your page! It is amazing to look back on it after a year, you’ll be amazed at just how far you have come on your journey of healing! We sometimes think we are not getting very far, but by taking our baby steps at first, they slowly mount up and become an amazing journey of self-discovery!
Play music, music that we once loved and discover new happy music that makes us want to dance, smile and laugh like we hadn’t for a long time! We usually have a song that becomes “Our Song” in a relationship, we feel it defines what we have in feelings and emotions Songs and music are powerful, stirring memories and emotions. When I hear Alanis Morissette, it takes me back to my separation from my boyfriend, who became my stalker. The album became an anthem for strength. I remember belting out the tunes very badly, but it felt therapeutic giving me the strength to carry on another day. Find your new anthem, your new strength, sing loudly and out of tune. Let’s face it, how many times have we sang along to music in the car, thinking no-one can see or hear us? If they do? Who cares? This is about you regaining your strength, finding the new you.
When we talk about self-care, we are not talking about being selfish, we are talking about taking care of ourselves, long, warm bubble baths with delicious scents. Books of amazing, beautiful stories we can now read and have the courage to discover our fire within. The fire that someone tried extinguish, but it still burned, low and slow, the fire that gave you the courage to seek freedom.
In self-care we are finding ourselves again, finding our perfectly, imperfect soul. We no longer want to be the person who entered into the violent, abusive relationship, we want to be a new version of who we are, stronger, happier, courageous. To shine like the truly wonderful survivor that you are!
You do have the love within to find yourself again!
Do you have any tips to share?