How to Heal & Recover from Domestic Violence

This post is a part of our guide series to support anyone who may be experiencing domestic violence or has questions on what they should do:

What is Domestic Violence?
Who Commits Domestic Violence and Why?
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Domestic Violence?
How to Handle & Deal with Domestic Violence
How to Escape (or Help Someone Else Escape) Domestic Violence
How to Heal and Recover from Domestic Violence
What Impacts Does Domestic Violence Have on Victims and Their Family/Friends?
How to report Domestic Violence (and Who to Report it to)
How is Domestic Violence Proven in Court?
Punishment and Sentencing for Violent Domestic Abuse
How can Domestic Violence be Prevented?
What Effects Does Domestic Violence Have on Wider Society?
Domestic Violence Data & Statistics
Domestic Violence Helplines, Support & Further Reading

Recognising that you did experience abuse is an important step towards recovery, no one has the right to abuse you.

This guide aims to help survivors of domestic violence understand how to heal and recover from their experience. Know that there is support out there to help channel your experience into a positive transformation, one in which you are priority, safe and free from harm.

Can I heal from Domestic violence?

Physically freeing yourself from an abusive relationship is a step towards recovery, however mentally freeing yourself can take time, but with the right support you can heal from this experience.

Focus on how you are feeling and what you need for yourself, be loving and supportive to yourself. Reach out to friends and family and don’t feel bad for treating yourself to something nice.  Learn to discover yourself and things that interest you and make you feel happy, this could mean taking up a new hobby such as swimming or walks in the park.

You may feel you need professional help such as counselling, there are plenty of organisations who provide this service free of charge. Alternatively you may wish to arrange this with your GP.

How long does it take to recover from domestic violence and abuse?

It’s very important to bear in mind that every survivor’s journey to healing is different, no matter if the abuse lasted for a few months or decades, it’s not an overnight process. Abuse can have a lifelong impact but the severity of its affects can be lessened by getting help.

What should I do to help recover immediately after escaping domestic violence?

Coping with the end of an abusive relationship can be difficult, however it is important to connect with people who can offer you love and support after going through this ordeal. They will be able to help you to reconnect you with positive thoughts, your talents, strengths skills and abilities.

You may even set new goals for yourself, turning your negative experience into positive ones. If however, you feel the grief of the abusive relationship is overwhelming and affects with your day to day living, you may want to consider consulting with a health professional.

What should I do to help heal longer term?

You may find it helpful to speak to someone independent such as a counsellor or psychotherapist. These people are trained in helping you to understand what you have been through and can offer further support and guidance.

Be kind to yourself and know that it was not your fault. Remember there are plenty of people and organisations out there that are willing to help and support you through this.

What should I do if I’m still attached to my abuser or miss them?

It can be difficult to let go of someone you love or just the fear of starting a new life all over again.

When this happens, just remind yourself of your reasons for leaving in the first place. You must not forget the pain and suffering you have been through as part of this relationship.

There is a strong likelihood that the abuser will abuse you again. Remember domestic violence often involves a pattern, whereby the abuser engages in violence, promises to change, but returns to their former violent ways.

You need to understand you cannot change the abuser, you can however change and direct your own path, embrace this power of independence and freedom.

What should I do to if I have a trauma reaction to something I see/think/feel/experience?

Give yourself and your needs priority, eat well, get enough sleep and engage in some exercise activities that help release endorphins in your brain. Endorphins are responsible for regulating your mood, often making you feel happier and more relaxed.

Reaching out and talking to someone is really important. If you find you are unable to speak to friends and family because you fear them being judgemental, then consider someone independent, this may be a counsellor or psychotherapist.

Some therapies teach you desensitisation techniques making it easier to navigate the trauma.

What should I do to help with PTSD caused by domestic violence?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can cause long term mental health problems if it is left untreated.

Trying to contain your distressing feelings is not healthy, now is the time to share these with trained professionals so you can try to recover from this experience. Remember these professionals are there to help, not to judge you.

Treatment plans often involve cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which can help you manage the trauma of your experience, however treatments may vary depending on the circumstances.

We understand how difficult it is to see someone you know or love experiencing abuse, sometimes trying to help a victim is not easy. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and the first step that you should take is to talk to someone. No one should have to deal with abuse alone.

Here at the Criminal Injuries Helpline, we help victims of violent crime and abuse recover compensation. You may want to help the victim gain some justice, get in touch with us today to see if the victim would qualify.

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