How To Recover From Emotional Trauma of Domestic Abuse

May 31, 2015 Kellie Jo Holly

People wondering how to recover from emotional trauma really want to know how long recovery will take. Unfortunately, there is no solid time frame for recovering from emotional trauma. But, if we can slow down a minute and understand how to recover from emotional trauma, then the how long will it take part will handle itself.

How To Recover From Emotional Trauma When It Is Ongoing

If you are currently in an abusive relationship, I don't want to say you're screwed in your recovery from domestic abuse. But you kind of are. Just a little. Although there are things you can do to recoup from the day's abuses, while living with your abuser, you are continually recouping. You can't get ahead of the emotional and psychological trauma and into recovery when you live with abuse. Yes, you can have great days living with an abuser (see Holiday Madness). But they don't last forever. And for the entirety of the great day you're waiting for the abuse to happen, so it may as well happen. And it eventually does.

Do you know how to recover from emotional trauma? Does anyone? Well, yeah, someone knows.Find out how to recover from emotional traumas. Read this.As you've probably noticed, when you feel good, your abuser hates it. Abusers do not like you to feel good because happy people are strong people. And strong people have enough self-esteem to leave the abuser's sorry butt. So, as long as you're living in abuse, complete recovery from emotional trauma is practically impossible and at the least, improbable.

Even so, you can recoup some of the mental health you lose each day from psychological trauma by doing things that are good for you. Try:

  • Making a visit to your doctor to check for depression or anxiety
  • Meditating (or using alternatives to meditation)
  • Educating yourself on all aspects of abuse
  • Detaching from your abuser
  • Calling a domestic violence hotline to vent
  • Filling out a domestic violence safety plan
  • Building a network of supportive friends (online too), family members, and local domestic violence programs that include support groups

How To Recover From Emotional Trauma When You've Left Your Abuser

There are phases of recovery emotional and psychological trauma victims travel through after getting rid of their abuser. Knowing the phases will help shorten your recovery time because when you know what to expect, you feel less anxiety. And if you're dealing with less anxiety, your recovery from domestic abuse will naturally take less time.

According to the Manitoba Trauma Information & Education Centre, the three stages of emotional trauma recovery are:

  1. Safety and Stabilization
  2. Remembrance and Mourning
  3. Reconnection and Integration

Safety And Stabilization

First, emotional trauma victims should work to regain their feelings of safety and mental stability. Easier said than done, but still doable. What will help you feel safer and mentally stronger? You know yourself best, but here are some suggestions:

  • Learn to accept and self-soothe during an emotional crisis as your emotions may bug-out on you at first.
  • Pay attention to what triggered your emotional instability so you can avoid or disarm the trigger in the future.
  • You might find it very hard to talk about the trauma, so work it out in different ways like meditation, yoga, drawing, writing, running. . . anything that lets your emotions come and go without words.
  • That said, get into talk therapy with a professional if at all possible. There's a lot of ground you can cover without speaking of the trauma directly.
  • Work to regain worthy connections with friends and family. Don't bother with relationships that diminish or discourage you in any way.

Remembrance and Mourning

Secondly, you've got to work through those memories and mourn the relationship (the relationship you thought it could become, not the relationship as it was in reality). In this phase, you will get to the point where you can discuss your feelings with a wide variety of people in your life. The point is to feel the emotion without allowing the emotion to trick you into feeling the past as if it were the present. Feeling past trauma as if it is happening now is a symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In this phase, you'll still cry or feel angry or miss the good times or any other emotion as you talk about the trauma. That's okay. No one worth spending time with expects you to be flippant about being traumatized.

If you feel your confidence in your safety or mental stability fading, regroup and slow down. Don't push yourself backward when you're trying to move forward. Ways to work through this period include:

  • Maintaining the feelings of safety and stability.
  • Talk talk talking.
  • Journaling, drawing, painting, arts and crafts, writing or any creative activity.
  • Including self-care like eating better, exercising more and paying attention to the thoughts going on in your head. Don't let your negative thoughts control you as much as possible (it's an on-going job).

Reconnection and Integration

This phase is all about releasing the trauma to the past and feeling good about the life you are creating for yourself. Your psychological trauma story no longer defines who you are; it is integrated into the story of you. Here are things you can do to aid the process of reconnection and integration after emotional trauma:

  • Everyone says to volunteer and I used to hate it. I was recovering from depression too, so volunteering wasn't really an answer. So if volunteering somewhere isn't a good fit for you, find a way to teach what you've learned from the whole mess. That is the way to grow.
  • Make yourself more available to meeting new people. Not lovers, but friends. You may find a lover, but if you find yourself feeling emotionally destabilized or wanting to connect with that person very quickly, then perhaps it is too soon to date.
  • Decide what you want in your new life, make a plan, and go for it.

Recovering From Emotional Trauma's Time Frame

There is no time frame for moving through the phases except that it is rational to expect it someone who lived with long-term abuse for years to recover more slowly than it would for someone who experienced emotional abuse for a shorter time.

These phases make sense to me. I would say I'm between two and three because I still remember more often than I'd like, but I am working on reconnecting and integrating into this new life. How much time has passed for me? 5 years. I lived with my abuser for just under 18 years.

One more thing about my healing process. I think this last phase will be the longest. It might last the rest of my life, as long as the abusive relationship did or exactly one more minute. I don't know. But I'm okay with that. One step forward, two steps back; I'm okay with that, too.

I can give you only the time frame I know, which is my own. I would tell you how long it will take to recover if I could. Whatever you do, don't hurry the process. Be like Shrek and think of yourself as an onion - peel away layer after layer until you reconnect with the core of who you are.

You can also find Kellie on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2015, May 31). How To Recover From Emotional Trauma of Domestic Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

February, 13 2020 at 10:24 am

Thank you for this posting. Only together for 5 months and abusing me for 7. He knows all of my triggers. He threatens my children. Stalks me. Cries suicide. Cries that I've impacted his relationship with his children. I care about those things!
He still calls me 100 times a day although I can't prove it. I don't answer but he hits ever one of my soft spots on a text. As we get closer to a court date it gets worse. Just thanks for being there and hope you all are well.

June, 12 2019 at 8:41 am

I am a survivor of domestic violence which took place over a constant 12 year period. The abuser is till around even after incarceration through my children we have in common. Every time I see him, the trauma repeats itself. It has been since 2010 when we last spoke but again the physical abuse I endured was tremendous. Not to mention the mental abuse I still deal with.

May, 24 2019 at 2:22 am

Hi I am a survivor of multiple domestic violence relationships. After each one I wondered what I did wrong. Why did they hit me. What did I do to make him so angry. Each one I left and asking myself the same questions. The last was the worst and almost taking my life. Starting all over again with nothing and no where to go I found myself struggling more then ever. Crying uncontrollably and at odd times. Insomnia anxiety and so forth. I sought after help to only find shelters and police officers that only wanted to charge the individual instead of directing me for help I needed emotionally and mentally. So I plugged into fitness, it was the only thing that made me feel better inside and where I felt safe. My gym! Always someone there so I wasn’t alone. I would run for 3-4 hrs and lose complete track of time and Lost but, after I felt better. At times I would start crying and not understand why? I would pretend it was sweat and no one seemed to notice or care. That’s when I realized I needed more help something wasn’t right. Although I felt better I still wasn’t right. So I found a therapist And started counsling. I’m not one to talk about my issues but I was desperate. At that point I was diagnosed with PTSD. What? Post traumatic stress disorder. Made sense the more I thought about it. At first it was horrible!!! absolutely awful. So awful after the first few sessions I questioned my sanity and being. I Thought I was getting worse but, after each time it slowly got easier and I felt better. Took 8 months but, my last session wasn’t about me it was about leaving and how I was ok. sad to say goodbye to my trusted friend that helped me work threw my pain and anger.
I continued to work out and after each work out I felt better and better and before I even realized I looked and felt better then I ever have in my whole life. I am Still training, but I’m one test away from becoming a personal trainer full degree!
I realized that if I found peace and happiness threw fitness maybe I can help others. I don’t want to just help people lose weight but I want to develop a program to empower domestic violence survivors. Not victims but warriors. We did not ask for it or deserve any of it. We do not control others emotions or their physical responses. They make that choice and they have to live with them selfs. The only ones that matter are you. Because you can’t be there for anyone if your not there for you first. I’m a mother of a beautiful strong smart 14yr daughter and I train with her 3-5 days a week. We work threw our stressors and everyday life stress threw fitness. (Bonding time)
I’ve never been so proud and I’ve given her tools to use for the rest of her life. It wasn’t just me that went threw the pain. Right?
So i will get to my point, if you have any insight or help to help me on my journey I’d greatly appreciate it. Books/ links/ so forth
I’d love to help others find their inner strength and become healthier happier people. If I did it, I know I can help someone else. I firmly believe that hormonal response and psychological Issues are deeply connected that trigger effects in our lives that can help with recovery. If I can tune into that I can build something great. I’m so close but, now I’m reaching out. Thank you for reading my story and look forward to hearing from you.

April, 28 2018 at 8:11 pm

I've been with my abuser for 17 years (married for 15), and I'm a stay-home mother of 3. For the first 7 years, it was mainly emotional or verbal abuse. I felt like I wasn't good enough, and that I could never do anything right. Which made me strive to be "as good as him". Occasionally, there were incidents of physical abuse. We'd be arguing, and he'd punch me once in the shoulder, or throw something at me. I would fall silent, cower, or leave to go to a hotel for the night. But I would always end up coming back, because I had no money of my own, and no other place to go. At about the 7 year mark is when I began fighting back, emotionally and physically. I was withdrawn, and during the occasions of a physical attack, I would strike him back, or throw something back at him. This would inevitably end in him overpowering me, and holding me down until I submitted. I knew I was becoming just like him, and it made me hate myself even more, and drove me deeper into depression. Over the years, I have taken my 3 kids to a hotel numerous times, but again...I always end up having to come back. Every time I tell myself "THAT was the final straw", but it seems that it never is. He's done the anger management, and counseling, and we've done counseling together. But, he maintains his view is that he isn't "beating me", and I'm not a "battered housewife", and that "I'm well taken care of". When he apologizes the next day, he minimizes his own fault, and downplays his actions. And, although I don't have black eyes or broken bones as a result, there is severe emotional damage that is only escalated by the continuation of our "cycle". I haven't said "I love you" to him in years, and every day when he says it to me, I just feel angry. We had a physical altercation last night, where he slapped me, and that escalated into a physical brawl between us that ended with a mark on his neck, and him throwing me onto the floor, sobbing. Like I said, we have 3 children, and I have no money and no place to escape. I've considered going to a woman's shelter with my children, but I don't know as if that would improve my situation. The way I see it, I am in a no-win situation. My resume has a 15 year gap, so I'd be lucky to get a minimum wage job, which would put my children and I in poverty, no doubt. I keep telling myself that if I can just make it until the youngest is in high school, then I could get out. For the past few years, I've focused on developing coping skills to manage, but I would guess that there is a lot of truth to the statement that "If you're still in an abusive relationship, you're recovery is kind of screwed." The only positive takeaway is that in the past couple years, I do feel stronger and more confident. I know that I am better than his insults and accusations, and I don't believe them anymore. There's just nothing I can do to stop them from coming my way. I don't exactly know why I decided to comment, perhaps I just wanted to vent and/or reach out to others who have gone through, or are going through the same thing. On day-afters like today, it's easy to feel helpless and hopeless.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 8 2018 at 12:48 am

I just read ur story and it was exactly my situation. We haven't been together for many years only four we have 2 partner is extremely aggressive when he drinks he will lash out calling me horrible nasty names accusing me of sleeping with ppl guys and girls...I have no real close friends....I was in anot her horrible relationship when I was 21 to 24 he was extremely abusive tried stabbing me with a screwdriver over 100 took me four years to get over that damage...but because my now bf is the same way I'm reliving the nightmares and flashbacks from that past relationship and this one...I have no where to go and no money...I find I'm crying more and more and feeling less hopeleness everyday...I just thought I would reach out back cause I definitely feel alone in this situation

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 22 2019 at 1:32 pm

Im going through/went through almost the exact thing as you. Only difference is halfway through I found my own place to look after my baby girl and he was mooching off of me for a few years. I finally tossed him on his ass again for the second time recently but this time I am not mourning him the way I did and the trauma doesn’t circulate my head but is continually I lash out in anger by yelling and slamming doors and find that the toxic behaviour I became accustom to had rubbed off on me. I begin to fear becoming like my abuser but most of that anger is just pain I’ve suppressed. Even after acknowledging/searching/attempts to self heal. I found it to still be a very lonely road. If I think about it tho. Peace from toxicity takes practice and willpower. I waited patiently too for an opportunity to jump at freedom and though with basically full custody and my own place. All I can suggest is, if your waiting around be smart about it. Plan your exit route. Set yourself up in the shadows, because this person will underestimate you and there lies your opportunity/chance to plot your freedom. Do online courses. Apply to subsidy housing. Provide evidence of the abuse. Make this loser pay for underestimating you. It doesn’t mean you have to come at him. Just use his incorrect beliefs about you to your advantage. Peace be with you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 1 2019 at 8:08 am

I’m just seeing this post a year later but I remember being in that situation five years ago. One day things were particularly bad and I realized that if I didn’t get out I was going to die either by his hands or by getting cancer.
I started taking community college classes to get prerequisite classes for nursing school. I took a huge leap of faith. I had been raising kids too and felt worthless on the job front, but I got a job as a waitress and went on food stamps. I became a LNA and worked at a hospital when I was in nursing school. I got scholarships and took out student loans. I made it! I’m now a RN and have a financially stable situation for my children and myself. It’s been a painful, but amazing journey.
Now I just need to keep working on healing from the damage I allowed him to do to me. I think healing from emotional damage is a lot like healing from nerve damage. You have to take away the source of injury, but even after it’s gone, it takes a long time to get the feeling back. It’s important to be patient with yourself and be open to healing, loving energy in your life, which is hard after you’ve become shut down and controlled by someone.
I wish you all the best and want to remind you to trust your intuition to guide you on your path.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 23 2020 at 3:17 am

Get out slowly and plan it well. Get access to the bank cards. Plan how to take as much cash as you can. Got the house in your name? If not, get your name on the freakin house. Talk to a lawyer. Usually, the first consult isn’t very expensive. Plan to change the locks. As soon as he assaults you, go to the police. If you’re scared, don’t charge him, just report it. Build up a bank of reports. Start seeing a free DV counsellir. Tell your doctor. Get it all on the record. Then when it’s all there on paper you can leave. Prepare all the divorce paperwork and change the locks get the VRO and go. Yes, you will need to upskill and work. That’s a definite. But you will save yourself.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Barbara. Gartin
November, 7 2021 at 11:54 am

I am going thru the same stuff! I have been married for 37 years and my husband found out he had a 40 yr old bastard kid. He turned on me like a snake and started abusing me mentally and then physically
I am 72 yrs old I can't do this. This shock and horror throws me into MPE. It's the shock of DNA these companies are selling and ruining lives and people like me are left to suffer forever. Therapist are just now recognizing this effect on people.

April, 3 2018 at 9:07 pm

I am 54 and was abused as a child. Kicked out of home a week into being 16 yrs old. From there I lived on own then moved to a new country. I met and got engaged at 21. He abused me as with his ex . I managed to leave at 22. I entered another relationship at 24 and it was very abusive. I was controlled by him. He took my wages keep tabs on me and my kilometres driven. He hung my dog. Kicked and threw my cat and me. Every day I am reminded of it as one of the beatings envolved a kick to the calf muscle where it internally bleed 20cm. Every day it gives be grief along with the sore hips and dislocated fingers. He kept me from visiting my father in hospital and he died 2 days later. I never got to say goodbye. I managed to get away the bext month keaving everything but me and my child. I was on own for a while and my sister thiught she had found me a good man. She was wrong. He abused me my boys and took everything we owned. My you gest son got hooked on heavy drugs and walked out of uni. His abuse verbally and physically caused my eldest son to leave abd I have not heard from him in 4 years. I rode the train with my son abd he is now clean. For me I have attended a womans refuge course on domestic violence and recommend it to all people who are victims of abuse. I have had goes at counselling while in the abusive relationships but yiu end up back where you started. Now I am free from all the abuse I gave returned to counseling. 2 sessions in. But what the course taught me was it wasn't my fault. I was an easy target as I have very little self esteem thanks to my mithers abuse from 0 to 16. Never give up. Let the tears fall. The hurt is squashed inside so tight tgat each hard out cry from nowhere nake me a little lighter and a littke more free

March, 22 2018 at 5:04 pm

I am reading a great book called, "Why Does He DO That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men" by Lundy Bancroft and it is very insightful. I would recommend it for everyone!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 25 2019 at 11:27 am

THANK YOU. I read this comment and am reading now. It’s like getting out of mental prison.

March, 4 2018 at 11:18 am

i just want to know when i can stop crying... i left in 2010 and have cried ever since.... i cry because of the hurt of the verbal abuse and i find i think about it still feels as fresh sometimes as it did in 2010..was involved with verbal abuser who was incarcerated. from 1993 to 2010.... had just enough self esteem left to make decision to leave... just want to know when the crying will stop

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 4 2018 at 12:19 pm

Rosemary, thanks for reading and thanks for reaching out! Okay, so that will be different for everyone. Have you received any counseling or therapy? Also, have you tried to move on as in trying to build new relationships, healthy relationships in your life? Sometimes it can be difficult to move on from something painful but beginning to make newer, happier memories, and fill your life with positive encounters and feelings of mutual love and care, even just solid friendships if not romantic relationships can be extremely fulfilling and help you to move on. I think going through the trauma and grief of abusive relationships and a relationship ending can be similar to the grief of a loved one passing away -- you never really get over it per se but you do begin to find acceptance and it gets less painful with time. It will always be there and it will always matter, but it at one point just becomes a piece of your puzzle, rather than something that controls your happiness. I hope that helped. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime. Thanks! -Emily

March, 4 2018 at 8:39 pm

thanks for responding.. to better clarify...i was not dependent on the abuser,nor did he live with me.. i did not have any kids from him nor did we share any finances... meaning there was no need at all for me to remain in the situation... we were not married.. we knew each other from childhood and at first, as described, things seemed to be going well, but after abuser began to display all the sign of abuse and did have abuse in his childhood (dad was abuser), that i finally was able to break free..not after going thru trauma i must say. what i think i grieve is the time that i spent with this guy... time i could have spent really for fillling my own goals, dreams or ideas...i am 58 years old.. college educated .. masters level. presently a new retiree.. what i believe i grieve is the time spent with this abuser could have been spent doing other more beneficial things for myself and i do believe my life would have taken a different direction.. im independent and somewhat financially secure.. there are many things i could have done or explored and i feel as though i have missed out on a life that i could have created instead of assisting someone create theirs at my expense.. i cried because i feel so used and all because i was a loyal dedicated woman and to have those qualities be abused is sometimes incredulous.. so i believe i cry for the lost time and what could have been for me..... i;m in a better place today and much aware of verbal abuse and stronger for it.. still sometimes the thought of what could have been or what i could have been or did haunts me... but i rather be out and cry, then in and still cryiing... i know one day the crying will stop.. its just a matter of me accepting that which i could not change....

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alba Almonte
March, 18 2018 at 9:18 pm

Rosemary, it sounds like you have a lot of resentment and regret toward yourself about having "wasted time" in this relationship. You are correct when you say that "it's just a matter of accepting that which I could not change". Let this, your own quote, be your mantra going forward. Don't hate yourself for making that mistake. You did what you thought was accurate for that particular time in your life. The blessing is that you have learned so much about yourself and that type of relationship. You learned it was not good, but you also learned how to make better choices after that relationship. Instead, focus on what you do have now. You are long gone from that relationship, and it can't hurt you anymore. Don't let the memories hurt you like this. It really is a conscious choice. Anytime you find yourself back in those memories, and you feel yourself beginning to cry, say to yourself "stop, stop it right now!". You're not avoiding the trauma and emotions by doing this, rather, you are taking control of it so that I doesn't control you. And I agree with another person's comments, definitely seek professional help, if you haven't already. I just came out of an abusive relationship. I had already been going to therapy for months prior, but now that it's finally over, I've continued. I need therapy. It helps keep me sane. It helps process the severe incident that ended our relationship so that I don't go crazy. Yes, friends, family, or any other loved one can listen to our story and pain. But, they can't offer the unbiased advice, tools, and knowledge that therapists can offer to help appropriately deal with these situations. Try it, if you haven't yet. But remember... Be open, honest primarily with yourself. It's only then, that you can begin healing for real. The bad memories will always be there, but by taking control over them you won't fell so pained as you do now. Good luck!

March, 1 2018 at 5:58 pm

Abused by my dad, abused by my brother, abused by a boy at school, abused and raped by men at 16 and every year since...abused by male therapist I saught to recover from previous abuse...and I can't do anything about it. I'm stuck in silence with a gag order from my therapist...and I wake up everyday with the horror and injustice and trauma--there's no way out, there's no hope. This really is a Patriarchy...but women in Mental Health act like everything's fine...or there's some way to get help...but in reality, there's not...

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 3 2018 at 4:00 pm

Hi Emily, what you've described is horrendous individual and systemic abuse. I was compelled to respond because there really is hope - a new trauma recovery approach that is changing the meaning of recovery. Please don't lose hope - look up TRTP - The Richards Trauma Process. Judith Richards is the creator and I am also a Practitioner, it's not a traditional talk therapy and it will truly give you your power back. It can be done by Skype or zoom, usually 4-5 sessions. Sounds too good to be true, I know but I encourage you to find out more. It changed my life and is doing that for so many others. Sending you the biggest encouragement I can - you're amazing to have survived that - you deserve to live and thrive.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 3 2018 at 5:44 pm

Emily, I'm so sorry for everything you have suffered. Everything is not fine, not at all. That is without a doubt unacceptable. Have you attempted to contact authorities? I honestly haven't felt much hope for justice until recently because women are finally able to speak up and be heard, at least more so than before anyway. I think you should contact authorities. Please hang in there and if you need anything continue to reach out. Here is a link for some women's resources like shelters, advocates, counseling, etc. I would utilize those.
How and When To Report Abuse
Hotline Numbers

Charlotte Prior
January, 23 2018 at 11:18 am

I’m not coping. I have 3 children age 8 6 3
I was sexually assaulted by my ex wife partner who abused me for 7 years.
I’ve forgotten who I am!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 26 2018 at 11:58 am

Charlotte, I'm so sorry to hear about everything you've been dealing with. You certainly have your hands full with your three babies! Are you able to or have you considered seeking therapy? Sometimes troubles like the ones you've dealt with are too much a burden to bear on our own. I know for me and countless others, therapy has really helped to get us through some of the worst times of our life. Hang in there Charlotte. Please continue reaching out to us here on HealthyPlace as well. Thanks, Emily

November, 10 2017 at 1:18 pm

"But you kind of are." Thank you for the compassion and hope. Sheesh. I'm struggling, and that wasn't helpful. Not that anyone owes me anything...just FYI. I pray you or your editors delete this article.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 12 2017 at 11:18 am

Sometimes you need to hear things that are harsh. I lived with my abuser for 5 years and wish I had read this article sooner. I hope you're doing ok x

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 17 2018 at 8:28 am

Kind words of support must sometimes be paired with hard words of reality. It is very easy to enable a person stuck in something toxic by being *too* nice about it all of the time. There is a balance needed and I think the OP captured that balance.

November, 2 2017 at 4:58 am

"I don't want to say you're screwed but you kind of are" - this article is meant for domestic abuse victims/survivors?! What an extremely irresponsible and insensitive way to address people that are already questioning their self- worth and whether they will ever get better. You should not be writing for

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 11 2019 at 3:31 pm

I think what it's saying makes sense how can you get better if you're still in the relationship. You can never become your true self until you get out.

October, 7 2017 at 10:11 pm

I have been out of the 20+year abusive relationship for 4 years now. He still injects himself in my life through our kids. I carefully allow some of this to an extent because I fear what will happen if I don't "feed the beast." I still have not been able to feel emotion for the trauma. I cut it effortlessly. I do not understand what healthy lines drawn look like in terms of abusive behavior. So I question everything and take it all personal. I'm hypervigilant 24/7, even when I should be sleeping. I'm constantly engaged in battle to keep my power when no one is really trying to take it. I instantly turn on my offensive stance and immediately cut emotion, and I'm completely aware of it when I'm doing all of the above. I find myself lost in formulating a sentence to respond to important questions or conversation with my boyfriend because any response I come up with is a defense and cannot find anything else beyond defense to respond. So I don't respond at all. Well no response that is also not too vulnerable. So I literally can't speak. It makes me feel ill. I avoid approaching conflict at all cost, including people I know. I'm utterly lost in this new world of mine. It's at times unbearable and feels hopeless. I do not trust anyone and the monster still lurks. I never feel safe and do not believe anyone cam or will protect me. I don't know how much longer I can last in this. I do not and never will want him back. I have no love for him, he repulses me. I know exactly what he's thinking when he looks at me and I know what his words truly mean. He refers to me as ex-wife. Not my name. He compares all current women to me, out loud and directly to them. Makes it blatantly obvious he's still very much obsessed with me. It makes my skin crawl. He makes my skin crawl. So I hold no loving feelings for him. I don't want him anywhere near me, let alone back intimately. I just don't know anything else other than what I had to be to survive in the relationship. I'm still living every day as if I'm still there. And searching for a new way of life when you didn't know another one even existed is like walking in pitch darkness. What am I supposed to even be looking for?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 10 2017 at 9:49 am

I have found great peace in not communicating with my offender aka ex-husband, not communicating period. Find another way to communicate about the children. Take your power back by forming a boundary that does not allow any contact with you in anyway. If you think it is not a possibility make it one. The manipulation of my ex worked only when he knew I had to communicate because of the children. I stopped that and he lost all control. Once he realizes he can't manipulate you in anyway the power is in your hands. Your new way of life is freedom. Freedom from walking on egg shells and isolation. I have date night with myself where I go to dinner and movies and I tell myself I am free. I can eat where I want and watch a movie I want. It's all about me. Your free and you may be unhappy at times alone but you aren't. There are people like me that lived in abuse everyday for 23 years and I am free. I can do as I please now and my children are free also. The darkness is temporary. Everyday is a new day and it brings you further to a lightness where you are the light. You have the power within you. Remember how you made it through every abuse he inflicted, you got up everyday and did it all over again. Why, because you possess an inner strength probably more powerful than the normal person. Remember that strength, it is not a weakness, it is power you don't even realize you possess. Your resiliant. Don't forget that. Tell yourself "I am strong and I am free because I was strong!" I set myself free.

October, 3 2017 at 7:23 am

In my case I was severly physically and emotionally abused for the last 2 years pretty much monthly physically and almost daily on and off .. I am a male which is unusual but I grew up in a normal middle class family nad have never laid my hands on a woman in my life or been in any fights .. for 13 years this person abused me it was confusing to be a man.. in this situation there are little or no resources for support as its usually male on female in DV situations.. often the person would call the police on me.. I did have a drinking problem that added to the toxicity of the the situation, but I would go through long periods with no or very moderate drinking.. Its so confusing now im morning as I have left and we separated again, the constant barrading and emotional abuse was more damaging than anything as I look back we had a seemingly normal and happy loving home.. some bi-polar manic depression played a part in my abusers actions although she takes depression medicine nothing for the psychotic episodes.. that would occur we would be happy loving and on cloud nine one day and then the next morning would be dark and filled with anxiety and anger usually directed toward me.. blamming me blaming my drinking (even when sober) it began to just become too much.. All I can say is I had no idea.. that I was being emotionally abused as well as physically abused is obvious.. hit with car, baseball bat,frying pans bit in the face.. police called on me almost evicted constantly shamed in public in front of neighbors verbally abused at every effort .. to try to mend the situation. my buisness suffered and came to ahalt my quality of life was dimished in to that of the stay at home dad babysitter .. maid.. as this person did not maintain much around the house we both contributed financially. This happens to men more than people think and most men are ashamed to admint that there being dominated by and aggressive Abusive personality type... it wasnt until I started educating my self on Abuse in all forms and factors that I realized the physical abuse is painful but just the tip of the iceberg... I stayed only because we have children which I had to watch all the time taking a segway to her personal endevours.. Im a good person.. a strong person but no one is strong enough to endure this type of treatment.. I have left im on my way to recovery I get to see my kids thankfully that is going well.. but starting from the ground up again is the biggest challenge being alone and hurt.. with nothing.. is so difficult - I meditate do yoga swim .. bike paint draw read and work allot.. but I have lost my .. inspiration and im looking to go to some group.. but as I said the resources for men are almost nill ... if any other men have expierenced this get counseling unfortunetely I was trying but she would not go or make any effort.. no I will be in therapy for sometime im sure trying to rehash what just happend if I will ever be able to figure that out.. I think moving on and giving some time to make new friends and love again .. hopefully.. its benn a terrible journey of suffering I wish I would have gotten out sooner.. that is all I can say dont stay for anything.. your only hurting yourself more if you do Domestic Violence abuse needs more awareness is all I can say.. one love

September, 27 2017 at 3:59 am

I have been separated from my abuser for a few months now. I have been in and ouy of his house due to childcare. The thing is theyre so sweet but it came to a point where i flicked back into past memories and thought i need to find oyher people to fill my time as his times are wishy washy. Anyway i ended up flicking back into the past as i have not yey recovered from yhe trauma. I was thinking maybe he could give me closure but iy backfired and the abuse started again. He humiliated me in front of the neighbours. Im so greatful im not living there, the landlord is his promiscuous besy griend with a family. So the humiliation is his because i am not going back there, i swore to myself. I dont need him to heal, i recognize i need to stay away and heal myself. I was abused just today, and i am not even living with him. I am safe now and recovering.

September, 24 2017 at 9:46 pm

I'm still scared and paranoid about him turning up at my new house I've blocked all his numbers changed mine but he never stops his been in jail for over a year the police put a 2 yr restraining order n him after20 people rang up after witnessing him bashing me now I'm just scared he'll urn up 1day he distroyed my life I don't want anyone o go through he physical and emotional abuse i did its maded me a different person hopefully such stronger

September, 23 2017 at 12:14 pm

Thank you Kellie for this encouraging and comforting article. I'm just beginning my integration/reconnecting phase and It was nice to recognize the phases I went through too to get here. Congratulations on the progress you've made and how much better you've made your life too :) I feel super proud of all of us, whatever stage we're at. Especially people in the still-figuring-out that it's abuse stage, that is an epically confusing one. Go us!! -Kelly with a Y :)

Ana Cruz
September, 17 2017 at 1:00 am

I realize I "chose" a woman of low caliber who never truly realized how to love her bipolar self. SMH

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 18 2017 at 6:23 am

You just abused that person by calling names

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Ana Cruz
September, 18 2017 at 9:54 pm

Too bad nomy, It's not name calling when it's the truth. Try again.

Donna G
September, 14 2017 at 3:09 am

I'm not an expert but I've been self analyzing myself for quit some time. I believe that when females stay with their abuser and consistently chose men of that low caliber are only choosing them because they have never learned to truly love them selves and realize their worth. The key to recover is to never give up no matter what! It's taken me to the ripe old age of 50 to to finally start realizing my self worth. To love yourself to the degree of love we give to our abusers seems to be easier than giving it to ourselves. Please realize that you deserve that level of love and that love is within yourself. It's there and all you have to do is realize that. Every single day in my mind I still feel in a sense that I don't deserve to be happy and I continuously ridicule myself in my mind. But through all those negative thoughts I equally will tell myself what an awesome person I am. You can hear and hear from everyone but until we can start to realize it our selves I continue and I will do so for as long as it takes to realize my self worth. I pictured in my mind being being confident and some days aren't so good but other days are! Just never give up on you! Every one is different coping. I try to do things just for myself to give me energy and clear my head. I ride my bike .. walk.. any kind of physical activity I believe is the best medicine. Start focusing on you and every single day tell your self how awesome you are and picture your happiness in your mind and what you truly want in your life and that positive thought will pay off I promise you. Don't depend on a pill.. pills only distract the pain they don't cure it. Only you have the power to do that!
Love and peace
The Thrifty Hippie ✌️

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 1 2017 at 5:22 am

Wow. Something about your comment really struck me. Not to mention that it was posted on my birthday. Thank you for sharing your words. When I read "don't give up on you." I begin to cry. Because truth is, I want to fight for me, but I'm so tired. I've realized I've dated certain men because I didn't know my self worth and I accepted emotional abuse from them. Until I got tired. But the last most traumatic one was a few years ago. And it was physical assault. My body is still tense from the surprise attack. And I find myself still trying to recover emotionally. I'm gonna try my best though, even though I don't feel strong at all right now.

Jenny Wood Shangraw
September, 5 2017 at 3:12 am

Still with my husband after 45 years due to financial reasons (I am physically disabled), but am on the road to recovery by finding several great therapists. The first to help me understand the abusive narcissist and the second via EMDR therapy to heal. What helped me most? Realizing that the abuser found me because I am sweet, kind, considerate, caring, and giving. He is the taker. He chose me for that reason. Once I understood that, instead of me being verbally abused and my feelings or thoughts dismissed, I put a strong barrier around me and became emotionally unattached from him. As a co-dependent, I also got rid of one-way-street people in my life. He changed in how he treats me. If I weren't married to him for so long, I would have left him. So remember, the abuser found you because you are such a wonderful person. There are many books to help you understand the abuser, find a good therapist (I went through 4 before I found the right ones), watch or listen to YouTube videos on how to free yourself from the abuser and heal. Big hugs to all.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 11 2017 at 12:11 am

Hi Jenny,
Thank you for your comment -- you are an inspiration to us all :)

August, 29 2017 at 8:33 pm

Report or not report....why do people become judgemental to the victim. In my case? Second time was August 20th. I was pulled out of his truck by my hair and fell on my shoulder....the abuse continued for off and on 30 minutes and I had a black eye and swollen black and blue chin. A bruised head from pulling my hair so hard, actually, my extensions...and I finally got free....left. Drove 2 hours home in pain. Next day w no medical insurance and in so much pain....I went to an urgent care facility private practice, only to find out my right shoulder blade is broken. Single Mom. Loss of wages and the world crashing down on me....why do I feel as if its my fault or shane in reporting it. I just rang it to go away altogether....
Confused. Sad. Depressed. Alone. Lying to everyone how it happened.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 1 2017 at 5:56 am

Omg, it's so hard not to feel like it's you fault. But we will get past that & im trying to figure out how, myself. I am looking for people to talk to as we speak. Stay strong.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 16 2017 at 10:56 am

Please go seek professional help. Confide in a clergy member. Talk to someone. You don't have to do this by yourself and it is not your fault. No one, absolutely no one is entitled to treat another person the way you've been treated. There is no excuse. Keeping the lie in darkness (telling others a fake story how it happened to hide your shame) will give this thing more power. Get it into the light and you'll see how it's power over you diminishes. Be careful and only go to professionals who’ve handled this type of situation. They’ll lead you and protect you. God bless.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 8 2017 at 4:29 pm

It's not your fault. At all. Sadly, police need better training. The victim abused does it the blame. This is wrong. Very. Take pictures of the abuse. Make a video shine a light on your story. Sending you my love. If I could send you more I would. Lies will end up killing u inside fester like a wound. Get it out. Shine that light.
After 17yrs of hiding, blaming myself, seeking help thinking it was me discovered it wasn't. Few understand there's nothing "simple" about assault, domestic abuse at all. Abusers often still hunt others down. Living with them you at least know where they are. [Which I'm not suggesting to take that route] moving to another country all I could think of in mine to escape. Get well. Not realistic for many.
Don't blame yourself at all. Ever. Not ok what happened to you.

August, 20 2017 at 10:00 pm

My husband was abused by his father. Even now, almost 20 years after the abuse ended, he still deals with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Sometimes it seems like he expects me to be abusive, to get angry, or to leave him. I love him and I want to help him heal. What can I do?

August, 20 2017 at 3:58 am

I have just left a financial, physical, emotionally abusive relationship of ten years( yesterday). I own my home and have a great paying job but because of the abuse I am facing foreclosure and repossession of my car. The feeling that I'm experiencing now are ranges of emotions. It is so helpful to read these articles and see others who experience or are experience the same thing. My self esteem needs to be rebuilt. I have to discover who I am. It seems like none of my family or friends truly understand but I should not expect them to. I have hope that I will grow stronger. I made the choice to leave and never go back. It was a daily nightmare! I wish the best for all of you! We are in this together. Every morning when you open your eyes you have survived!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 25 2017 at 6:44 pm

Thank you for sharing your story it has helped me. I have been in very similar situation and feel very vulnerable but safely away from my abuser now.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 30 2017 at 4:28 am

Thank you for your reply. I wish you the best.

August, 13 2017 at 10:26 am

I am in a physically abusive relationship. Right now I have a black eye, bruised ribs, I was kicked in the chest he held me against my will. He mentally traumatized me and I'm still scared. He made threats of killing my mom my son and other family members . I just don't understand why I can't leave him alone! He was drink that night, I know that isn't an excuse. He keeps apologizing over and over. I just don't understand why I am staying, I know once a hitter always a hitter.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Nancy Paul
August, 15 2017 at 11:33 am

I just left an abuser... Please just leave. Don't think... Just run. Trust me... You'll be okay. It is hard... You can do it... Pray for strength.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 21 2017 at 9:12 pm

You deserve so much better, you deserve love and that is not love. Please take care❤️❤️

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