Hope After Verbal Abuse: 10 Things I Am Ready to Accept

May 25, 2019 Kristen Milstead

There is hope after verbal abuse, but what many people often fail to understand about leaving an abusive relationship is that it isn't the end of the pain. It’s only the beginning of a new kind of pain, as recovery begins and we start to fully recognize everything we've lost. We also begin to understand what we've gained. Gaining something, however, can be painful too at first because it means something has changed and that we can never go back to the way things once were.

There is a saying about change, that there are two types:  change that you initiate yourself and change that is imposed upon you. 

Abusive relationships cause us to change in ways we didn't ask for. However, I didn't see or recognize how I was changing or needed to change at first because just stabilizing myself from the trauma of what I went through was the first priority. I had hope after verbal abuse, but I was confused about how to get to a better place.

The turmoil of emotions that accompanied that trauma I endured throughout the relationship was often a crushing weight that threatened to engulf every other belief I held about the world. When the relationship ended, that weight fell, and the emotions pushed me into a new daze that became the most important thing in my life. Still, I suppressed all of the grief and fear about what it all meant as I started to process everything I had been through.

Only later, came the deeper wisdom about myself and the world.  These realizations come from a deeper place of healing that let me know I am moving to a more complete place of recovery -- living in the hope after verbal abuse. Much of it was knowledge I never would have been ready to accept until now. 

To Find Hope After Verbal Abuse You Must Accept Some Things

Ten Things I Am Ready to Accept in Recovery from Verbal Abuse

  1. I have a right to my emotions. It is perfecting understandable to have had overwhelming emotions while I was in the relationship, after it ended, and even now. Being able to let go of the secondary guilt I've been experiencing for having those emotions and accept them is a healthy part of my recovery. 
  2. Everything I've thought and felt has been normal. There was no such thing as “right” ways to feel and think and “wrong” ways to feel and think, as I was in an abnormal situation. 
  3. I have a right to define what happened to me.  When I tell my story, it's the only way I have been able to take that power back and reclaim control of my personhood because he had erased me for so long. I don't care what anyone thinks about it if they fail to take the time to understand abuse or to listen. For once, it isn't about him.  
  4. I don't need to defend myself. How I got there, why I stayed or went back, how long it takes me to heal, my dating life, my triggers and vulnerabilities, or anything else. I don't mind talking about it to people who are genuinely curious and want to educate themselves, but my life is not someone else's excuse to compare themselves and bolster the "just-world hypothesis" to make themselves feel artificially safer and excuse abusers.
  5. I'll never be the same, but I don't want to be. I know I’ll never be the innocent person I once was before I was in this relationship. Now I know that people like my ex-boyfriend exist, people who can hurt others indiscriminately without empathy. I grieved the loss of who I was, but at the same time, I am now a stronger person and someone who knows what to look for. I wouldn’t want to be the same and I'm okay with that.
  6. It wasn’t my fault.  I am not at fault for the abuse, my abuser was. End of story. Furthermore, there were things he did that were abusive that I was not willing to accept as abusive for a long time, such as the deeply-entrenched deceit and implanting the words of love while at the same time having multiple lives. 
  7. It's bigger than my ex-boyfriend and I understand this now. At this stage in my recovery, I have moved on from the relationship to an understanding of what else I needed to look at in my life. I never would have been able to see that at first, but now I am grateful for the opportunity to look at other things in my life that I need to heal and I've made a lot of progress in this area. I was traumatized way before I even got into this relationship, and I see that my ex-boyfriend knew just how to take advantage of that.
  8. It's okay to forgive myself. There’s a certain shame that feels imposed upon you in having been in an abusive relationship as if you should have known something or done something different. But if I could have I would have—and eventually, I did! I'm here now, healing, doing the best I can. I'm on this path and I didn't know what I didn't know, so why should I beat myself up over it? It holds me back from recovering fully. 
  9. I have to accept that more than one thing can be true at the same time. After the relationship ended, I found myself trying to solve logical puzzles and put things into categories so I could move on, but I realized that there were dialectical ways of viewing things that made much more sense. He could both love me and hurt me deeply at the same time. I can forgive him and it doesn't mean what he did was okay. There were situational factors that made that relationship possible and I also have personal trauma I need to work on. 
  10. There's a difference between good and evil. One of the most important understandings I made in coming to see two truths at the same time was in my understanding of "good and evil" when it comes to human behavior. I used to believe all people were inherently good. I've had to change my way of thinking about this because of what I experienced. What I believe now is that even though not everyone may have good intentions, to be human is to have mostly good intentions, because, without that, society could not exist. 

Are Abusers Evil?

In this video, I describe why I had such a problem with the concept of "good and evil" during my abusive relationship and even after it ended. 

APA Reference
Milstead, K. (2019, May 25). Hope After Verbal Abuse: 10 Things I Am Ready to Accept , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Kristen Milstead

Kristen is a survivor of narcissistic abuse. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and is the author of a toolkit, "Taking Your Life Back After a Relationship with a Narcissist," which is available for free on her website, Fairy Tale Shadows, a blog with the mission of promoting awareness about hidden abuse and empowering other survivors. Find Kristen on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on her website. 

June, 1 2019 at 4:19 pm

I think 6 is very important
After being married to a narcissist for a long time (30 + years) I began to realize that blame means nothing. It is not helpful. The right question is not who's at fault, but what is the next step forward. It is normal to fail it is normal to be wrong. It is it is wrong to ruin someones day because they are normal.

sunil dudia
May, 31 2019 at 10:13 pm

So in this video you accept that narcissists are EVIL and not just who do bad things ignorantly. That was the precise question I had asked earlier that how can they abuse someone who is emotionally so much attached to them and continues to do things and sacrifice for them and yet the narcissist demean and abuse very same people who take care of them unconditionally. They want to suck all your goodness and in return give nothing

June, 5 2019 at 9:37 pm

Hi Sunil: I don't think they necessarily plan the bad things they do or are even aware of why they do what they do. In other words, the evil doesn't come from calculating out their actions; I think the evil they do comes because they are so indifferent to our suffering and so focused on themselves. -Kristen

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