You may be abused once or twice due to an emotional outburst and yet your partner isn’t outrightly an abusive person. For instance, your partner may have slapped you once in a year and show traits of an abuser just twice but it doesn’t mean they are abusers. They may realize what they did was wrong and they change. Abusers are constantly on it, it is their character and even after a series of apologies they keep displaying these traits.
Previously we had looked at seven indications that you are in a toxic relationship and how to deal with it. There isn’t any difference between abusive friends or partner and a toxic partner as abuse in itself is also toxic. Abusive partners exhibit all the signs we had mentioned previously and may also include physical and sexual abuse. If you are experiencing any form of abuse especially sexual and physical abuse, do not hesitate to reach out to the nearest police station for assistance or other law enforcement agencies in your locality. If you want to handle it quietly, moving on is fine.
Many people move on from abusive relationships but they find it difficult to heal and deal with their past. You don’t have to wear your past like an ID. You used to be there but you have to move from there. We have listed a few tips that could help you move and heal faster from abusive relationships.
“Abusers are constantly on it, it is their character and even after a series of apologies they keep displaying these traits.”
1. DON’T BARGAIN WITH YOUR ABUSER
Every abuser is very insecure and afraid. They will do everything to make you stay including reminding you of how they “pulled you out of the gutter” and made you who you are today. When they discover you are up on the game, they would want to dialogue with you and pin you down emotionally. They will want to make you feel guilty for ever wanting to leave them alone and they may even shed tears. Don’t let any of those move you, stand firm and don’t have a deep talk with them at that moment. You don’t need their promises because they have been promising and failing. If they are abusing you physically, you aren’t supposed to be standing to hear them out at this time but if you aren’t being physically abused or it’s something you can still handle at the moment, you will need to call in a third party who your abuser in accountable to. It could mean calling the parents of your abuser, his or her religious leader or a person he confides in who also respects you. Your abuser may need help but you need to separate yourself from that abuse till he or she is fine.
“Every abuser is very insecure and afraid.”
2. CALL FOR HELP
If you are in an abusive relationship where you find it hard to move away, maybe because you have been grounded in the basement or threatened to be killed if you ever try to escape or tell anyone about it, still go ahead and call for help. Contact the nearest police station or ask a friend to help you get the police or any law enforcement agencies handling such cases in your locality. Many times, abused people especially women are afraid to speak up because they have been threatened with death.
When you stick to that relationship, your abuser is still killing you and so the better option is to go ahead and reach out for help. Some abusers may also play emotional tricks on you; they would beat you to pulp and still cry on their knees asking for forgiveness. It is okay to forgive them but do anything to get out of that place. You deserve so much better than someone who flexes his muscles on you at will. Truth is that the moment you reach out and receive help, you have weakened them and they can’t carry out their threats of killing you anymore but when you don’t call for help, you’ll obviously die in their hands one day.
“When you stick to that relationship, your abuser is still killing you and so the better option is to go ahead and reach out for help. “
3. ATTACK YOUR FEAR
An abuser isn’t planning to stop today or tomorrow. If you could be able to move on without calling for help or you have called for help finally, go ahead with a firm decision to put it all to an end. The reason many people don’t move on from abuse is that they are afraid. They are afraid of what their religious community would say, what their families would say, what the neighbours would feel or even the experiences they would expose the children to. There is nothing more problematic than being abused especially physically and sexually.
Certain people don’t move on because they have always depended on their abusive partner for support. This is just a strategy of the abuser; they make you depend so much on them that moving on become very difficult for you. If you allow that fear attack you, you’re still dancing to the tunes of your abuser. Save your life first and you’ll discover you can live without them. Your abuser wants to be in charge and so he or she may use emotional tricks, financial manipulations or even the kids to get you into staying but you must attack that fear now and take that step of moving away! If you can, seek the help of a lawyer or communicate to your family, religious leader or any concerned persons about your decisions. Take a strong stand against abuse and let no one manipulate you into going back.
Fear could make us less calculative when we allow it. Even in the midst of fear, don’t act without thinking. Take your time to put your plans in place and also see that you do not let your fears push you into any action. Act with your sense and not with your fears. Your fear is an indication that you’ve got a problem that must be solved but your fears cannot solve these problems and this is where you need will-power and determination. Explain to your children the situation and don’t be afraid even if they don’t understand everything at once.
“…they make you depend so much on them that moving on become very difficult for you”
4. STOP BLAMING YOURSELF
You may be blaming yourself for opening up to an abuser or for not being good enough. Whatever your mind is telling you that makes you feel the problem is from you, get rid of it. Blaming yourself will leave you bitter and depressed. Meeting someone you thought was an angel isn’t your fault, sometimes we may never know how good people are until we get to meet them. Don’t blame yourself for not seeing the red flags or for ignoring it when you saw it.
Most abusers just like every other toxic person will always make you feel you are the reason they abused you, they will always cook up convincing theories on how you brought out the monster in them but no matter what they say, you are not responsible for your abuse! They are the guilty ones and not you. They are the ones who have a serious problem and not you! Now, what is very important is that you re-plan your life and create a beautiful future for yourself.
“Most abusers just like every other toxic person will always make you feel you are the reason they abused you”
5. MASTER THE ART OF FORGIVENESS
It is not natural to forgive people of years, months or longer periods of hurts and abuse but if you must do better and live freely, you must empty yourself of the hurts! The only way to empty yourself of this hurt is to forgive your abuser. If you really want to move forward, you must empty yourself of the past. Why carry the baggage of the past? It will definitely weigh you down. To forgive doesn’t mean giving people the chance to hurt you again, it doesn’t even mean removing serious cases from the court like the issue of who takes care of the kids but it means that as much as you express total disapproval of the abuse, you also let go of the past. It won’t be easy but it is possible. When we forgive, we aren’t just making it easier for the abuser; we are making it easier for ourselves. You are carrying enough weight, why add the past to it?
“If you really want to move forward, you must empty yourself of the past.”
6. DON’T USE YOUR PAST AS AN EXCUSE
It is true that the past may have played certain roles but you’ve got to take responsibility for yourself. Many people keep bringing up their past as an excuse for their failures and certain limitations. You were a victim but you aren’t a victim anymore. Don’t say you didn’t have time for your kids because you’ve been going through trauma, don’t say you haven’t achieved something because you were abused. Don’t carry your abuse like a badge because many people who were victims of abuse moved on and did so fine. Your own case can’t be different. When you always have to bring up your past, it means you have not moved on, it means you have not forgiven yourself or your abuser. You can never skip that forgiveness part and still hope to do better. You must either drop the past and hold on to the future or hold on to the past and deny yourself the future.
“You were a victim but you aren’t a victim anymore.”
7. LEARN FROM YOUR PAST
The only thing you should pick from the past is the lessons. There are blessings that come with past experiences whether they are beautiful or ugly. The lessons may be helpful to you in choosing a life partner, in being able to stand strong and avoid certain red flags. The past can also be used in helping others. This is the only business you have with the past, to turn it into your favour as you live the best of your life.
“The only thing you should pick from the past is the lessons.”
8. BOOST YOUR SELF-ESTEEM
There is no need to pretend like abuse doesn’t affect our self-esteem. One of the greatest ways to move on and build yourself above abuse is to take time and boost your self-esteem. Don’t start criticizing yourself for every failure, stay positive and ensure you associate with people who encourage you. Get encouraging verses of the Bible that talks about your greatness and post them where you could find them. When you feel down, you can remind yourself that you are created in God’s image and likeness! Don’t entertain regrets and negativities. Live like you never had an ugly past, don’t hide your feelings but let your feelings be overcome by the positive future you see.
Don’t live your life to prove any point to your abuser; don’t try impressing them on the social media or try announcing your success just to get at them. You’ve ended with them and you must remove them from the equation. When you have to prove a point to them, it means you are still seeking their validation and it is not a good way of boosting self-esteem.
“When you feel down, you can remind yourself that you are created in God’s image and likeness!”
9. TELL YOUR STORY
Don’t be afraid to share your story, you aren’t telling your story to defend yourself but to pour out your heart and also help others who are going through the same situation. You may have to write it down on your diary, blog about it or share it with a community of people who care to listen. Sometimes, it is in the moment of telling our stories that we get more encouragement from people. Many times too, your story is helping someone else heal.
You are not defined by your past, you are not defined by the criticisms and judgemental words of your abusers and you are worth more than anyone else known. Don’t let that abuse hinder you and never believe that love doesn’t happen just because someone treated you unfairly. Take your time to heal but also take your time to love again, this time around, with more caution. Understand that your feeling and confidence can be determined by you and not anyone else.
“You are not defined by your past, you are not defined by the criticisms and judgemental words of your abusers and you are worth more than anyone else known.”
Just in case you are willing to share your story, contact us here and we’d like to support you too!
God bless you
~ George O.N