articles from criminal injuries helpline
For more information about bringing a criminal injury claim
Talk to Criminal injuries Helpline
The time it takes to recover & overcome abuse can differ depending on the abuse forms, the relationship & more. This guide offers advice on time of recovery.
An emotionally or verbally abusive relationship can have life-changing, long-lasting effects on your physical and mental health. It is a lot harder to understand whether you are being emotionally abused as you are not being physically hurt; but emotional abuse can be just as serious as physical abuse. This type of abuse includes:
- Attempts to scare you;
- Attempts to isolate you; and
- Attempts to control you.
Emotional abuse may begin suddenly, or there can be a gradual build up. In some cases, the beginning of a relationship can be quite loving and caring in order to establish a solid, trusting base. The abuser then tends to slowly change their behaviour to manipulate you into thinking it is the “two of you against the world”.
Signs of an abusive relationship beginning include:
- Disrespectful remarks;
- Controlling where you go;
- Gas lighting.
Survivors can feel shocked, confused and embarrassed when this behaviour happens. Effects can include guilt and feeling ashamed, but survivors must remember that it is never your fault is someone else abuses you.
This type of abuse can also affect your mental health, causing depression, anxiety, and in some severe cases, PTSD. Your partner’s behaviour can leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, but there are ways to cope and receive help during and after an abusive relationship.
If you are in immediate danger, always call 999 and report this to the police. Officers will be dispatched to your location to help you to safety and help you out of the abusive relationship.
You can also reach out to a trusted friend or family member; this may be harder if the relationship has been going on for a significant amount of time, but if you identify the signs as soon as possible, you can ask for help in getting to safety.
You can also speak to domestic violence hotlines for advice on how to safely remove yourself from an abusive relationship, how to seek help via the police, and how to heal from emotional abuse.
How long does it take to get over domestic violence?
There is no timeline on a recovery; every journey is different. It could take you 2 months, 2 years, or 20 years to recover. There are some severe relationships that have such serious effects that survivors may never recover, but psychological help can assist in easing the pain and speed up the recovery process.
By working through your feelings, it can help to overcome your fears and help you feel like you’re back on track and back in control of your life. Help can be found through:
- You’re GP;
- Clinical psychologists;
- Counsellors; and
- Charities such as WomensAid
Narcissistic abuse is a form of emotional abuse from someone who suffers from narcissism or sociopathy. A narcissist is an extremely self-involved person, who ignores the needs of others that surround them and does not fully understand the effect that their behaviour have on people. The traits of a narcissist are:
- An exaggerated sense of self-importance;
- An excessive need for admiration;
- A lack of empathy;
- Exploitative relationships; and
- Chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom.
Individuals have the conscious or unconscious tendency to use words and language in order to manipulate, damage or control a person.
Narcissists like to disorientate their partners into becoming more susceptible to their demands; they tend to deny these behaviours when confronted by others and can often reverse the situation onto their partner, making them feel like it is their fault for the abuse.
This is gas lighting and tends to be used in copious amounts.
Effects of an abusive relationship come in short term and long term. Abusers make sure that it deliberately destroys your sense of self and mental health; this is a form of trauma and our bodies respond to trauma in various ways.
Lasting effects may include cognitive difficulties. This could be:
- Nightmares: the fear that you’ll never escape and your pain will never end;
- Suspiciousness: not trusting others around you; and
- Confusion: wondering why this happened, what caused the abuse and whether you are to blame.
How can you recover from and get over narcissistic abuse?
Survivors can suffer from behavioural issues, this is extremely common as abuse can alter perceptions and the way a person processes things. These can include:
- Withdrawal: isolating yourself from others around you, refusing to communicate with anyone;
- Antisocial acts: acting out can be a call for help, often what some survivors choose to do; and
- Increased alcohol consumption: choosing to ignore the issue and ‘numb the pain’.
Emotional problems are the most common long term effect of abuse. It can take some survivor’s years to recover from the emotional effects and this is often done by seeking medical treatment from your GP, counsellors or clinical psychologists. Common emotional problems are:
- Fear: that the abuser may return, that you cannot escape the cycle;
- Guilt: that you caused the abuse, you deserved it. This is often caused by gaslighting;
- Anxiety: always worried about your actions and what you’re doing, and what the circumstances will be; and
- Depression; there are intense feelings of loneliness and overwhelming feelings of sadness are completely normal after you have been isolated by your abuser for so long.
How long does it take to get over an abusive relationship?
This may seem impossible to begin with as everyone can seem threatening. The manipulation and isolation can be so severe that survivors may not understand how to integrate back into society, therefore spending their time isolating further.
Seeking help can help you heal from these traumas and set healthy new boundaries for future relationships; this is extremely important to do in your journey.
Step one on your journey to recovery is admitting that you are in an abusive relationship and that your partner is an abuser/narcissist. This important step can help you move onto rebuilding yourself and finding your identity.
Restoring a routine and establishing personal boundaries will protect your mental and physical well-being; you may need professional help to do this such as your GP or a clinical psychologist.
Regular communication with these professional can offer an insight and provide safe ways to improve or leave the relationship.
Read our other articles
Start My Claim
No win no fee = no risk to you
Complete this simple form to speak to an expert in confidence
Support is available to help you through the claim process