Divorce is in itself a painful process to deal with. However, matters adopt an even more challenging tune when its divorce after an abusive marriage. This is because while the marriage ends with the divorce, effects of the emotional abuse don’t leave overnight.
If anything, these persist over time, impacting your self-esteem and confidence. What’s more, unlike physical abuse, the scars of emotional and psychological abuse are not set on display. Consequently, your struggle may not even be immediately clear to others.
However, that does not mean that you are not strong enough to deal with the implications of an abusive marriage. You’ve survived the separation proceedings, and you can survive with the aftermath too.
Here are six ways to help you through the impacts of an emotionally abusive marriage after a divorce:
1. Change your mindset: It is not going to be easy:
In the US, the divorce rate for every one thousand married women is 16.9. Majority of these women expect to quickly get over things so that they can move on with their life. However, that is easier said than done.
Research notes that survivors of an abusive marriage encounter the emotional effects of fear, anger, and grief in the long haul. This means that divorce is not the final step that bids adieu to your horrors. Instead, you still have a battle to fight.
It is important to know this so that you mold your mindset into understanding that your life will not be a bright sunny day in the post-divorce stages. If anything, you will continue to notice ups and down, and your recovery will take time.
2. Take the time to heal:
Closely related to the first point above is the step to give yourself the time to heal. As hard as we may wish, no spell can fix us quickly after a broken marriage. On top of that, don’t expect the recovery process to be a smooth ride.
Some days, you will feel that you have almost healed and you’re at the greener side of things. Other days may not be so bright though. Therefore, be prepared for both the good and bad days.
3. Forgive yourself:
Regardless of what your ex-husband might have led you to believe, you are not the one at fault. So, don’t let his voice play in your mind or his words pollute your thinking after you have separated.
Your mind may also play deceiving tricks on you, holding you accountable for something that you are not to be blamed for. On top of that, the loss of social status and financial security that come with an intact marriage can also play tricks on your mind.
However, you can’t fully recover unless you forgive yourself. A Toronto-based psychiatrist, Marcia Sirota, elaborates in this regard. She highlights, “Instead of beating yourself up for having stayed with your abusive partner, you’ll need to forgive yourself and look at the choices you made with honesty and compassion, letting go of any self-blame, guilt or shame.”
4. De-stress and keep yourself engaged:
Everybody deals differently with stress and anxiety. What’s important, however, is that you pay attention to finding healthy ways for funneling out the shock and stress. Outbursts of anger or yelling on others will only aggravate matters.
Therefore, see what works best for you. For instance, an old hobby or exercise may help lessen the stress. Alternatively, meditation can help alleviate stress. Evidence confirms that dedicating only ten minutes to a simple technique can assist in handling stress, relaxing better, and decreasing anxiety.
The key is to keep busy because crying over spilled milk is not a recommended way to cope with things. At the same time, turning to drink heavily or taking drugs will also not help. Therefore, resort to helpful activities that keep your mind engaged and also help prevent the physical effects of stress.
5. Find creative outlets for the trauma:
Finding creative outlets for all that you’ve been through also helps reduce stress and keeps you engaged. Negative emotions can have lasting impacts. It is always tough to beat them, however, it is not impossible.
Discover what helps you the most. For instance, creating art or writing help people significantly. A study concludes that making art can help trim stress among seventy-five percent of the individuals. Similarly, mounting research also praises the stress-relieving role that penning down your emotions plays.
6. Spend more time with the people who love you:
Another excellent way to sail smoothly through the emotional turmoil is by spending an increasing amount of time with people who love you. These folks will help remind you of how wonderful you are, therefore, making it easy to love yourself again.
Moreover, you can also discuss your feelings with them. Such a group of supportive people is also helpful in removing all the traces of your ex-partner from your life. However, it is crucial to identify supportive people before you spend time with them.
If you end up in the company of toxic people, recovery will shift into tougher gears than easier ones. For example, friends who chose to support your ex. Also, keep away from locations such as restaurants that you may have visited with your ex.
Although spending time with such people and in such locations may not seem like a bad idea at first, but it has psychological repercussions that surface later on. In fact, research notes that revisiting places that you once frequented with your husband can lead you back to him irrespective of how abusive the marriage was.
Wrap up thoughts:
Divorce after an emotionally abusive marriage comes in the company of anger, fear, negative thoughts, and a lot of sadness. While it’s always tough to deal with the trauma, you can always start by giving yourself the time to heal to make it back to life.
Not to mention, you need to accept that the road to recovery is dotted with struggles and instability. If you’re still worried about coming out of an abusive marriage, then it best to seek professional help such as from AbdelHadi & Associates, P. C.