The Different Phases of Healing from Abuse
Naturally, every victim of verbal abuse has a unique story. While some circumstances may be similar, each person's healing journey from abuse will take its own path and timeline. For myself, it took many years before I was ready to face my past and deal with it to begin healing. As I continue my journey, I have met and spent time with many other abuse survivors who were at different phases of their healing.
The Phases of Healing
As I researched the healing process and talked to my therapist, it is evident that although each stage can be vital, not all victims will go through every phase. My understanding is that some of these common stages of healing from abuse can include:
- The emergency stage: This is when a sudden turmoil in your existing life as you begin to heal from your past.
- The remembering phase: Some victims may block traumatic memories, and they will come later through healing.
- The believing-your-memories phase: Believing your memories will help you move forward.
- The breaking-your-silence phase: Many victims will begin to tell their stories as part of their healing.
- The understanding-and-trusting-yourself stage: Understanding the abuse is not your fault and trusting your own choices now will help you stay away from abusive situations further.
- The anger stage: Anger is a common emotion after sustaining and recognizing abuse.
- The grieving stage: Grief can happen when you realize the loss of a relationship that you never had in the first place.
- The confrontation-and-forgiveness phase: This phase may not be for every victim of verbal abuse, as some individuals will not confront or forgive their abuser.
- The moving forward phase: As a victim moves forward, they can begin to seek better relationships and stabilize their life without dismissing or ignoring their past.
My Healing Journey from Abuse
My healing journey does not include all of these phases, but that does not mean I am not getting better or cannot move forward.
Unfortunately, my life was in the emergency stage for months. This period of my life was when I decided to try and seek full-time, therapeutic help and began my healing journey. Part of this turmoil came from me beginning to remember traumatic events from my childhood that I previously blocked out.
I found that believing my memories became challenging as I began to break the silence and speak out with my story. Unfortunately, many individuals close to me and the abuser began to victim-shame me, disputing my claims and disregarding my memories. Because of prevalent victim-blaming and denial, many individuals refuse to tell their stories and try to heal without speaking out.
Although I understand that the abuse was not my fault, I still struggle sometimes with trusting my choices. For years, my underlying anger has been a driving force of my survival, making it a natural emotion that I am still learning how to move away from.
Unfortunately, I am not at the point to confront my abusers, and I am not confident I will ever be. Thankfully, I am not letting it keep me from moving forward with my life. At this point, forgiveness is not an act that I can whole-heartedly agree to. Part of my reasons come from my own history and the dismissal of me as a person, so I may never come to forgive my abusers. But I am okay with that choice.
Take Your Time and Forge Your Own Healing from Abuse
Remember that you do not need to move through each phase as you heal from verbal abuse. Additionally, you may go through a stage more than once as you move forward. There is no right or wrong way to recover from abuse. Your healing journey is unique, and be sure to take as much time as you need to work through each phase you are in.
Wozny, C. (2022, May 19). The Different Phases of Healing from Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2022/5/the-different-phases-of-healing-from-abuse
Author: Cheryl Wozny
Hello Lizanne, I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog here at HealthyPlace. Thank you for your kind words and input. It is comforting to know that others have their own healing journey they are navigating. Be well.
I love this so much. Yes, some will skip certain phases and some will go through the same ones more than once. We are each unique and that is very important to remember.