Coping, Healing & Recovering
Healing & Recovery from Abuse & Violence can be challenging for survivors. This guide assures you are not alone & offers advice on overcoming trauma.
Narcissistic traits can appear in a wide range of people – it is a psychological condition in which people have an amplified need for attention and appreciation.
This can often lead to the person believing they are more important than everyone else.
Narcissists are often extremely charming, well liked and usually successful which makes the thought of this person being abusive harder to believe.
There are many warning signs to spot if you believe you or someone else could be at risk.
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The 3 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse
- Violence: Even though many narcissistically abusive relationships can start with emotional abuse, this does often lead to physical violence. This can include pushing, hitting, kicking and even sexual violence.
- Gaslighting: One of the most common traits in an abusive relationships. This is a tactic used by narcissists which is an attempt to make you question your perception of reality, memory or opinions. This is also is a way for a narcissist to morph a person into who they want them to be by controlling their thoughts and emotions.
- Affection: As well as the emotional and sometimes physical abuse, narcissists tend to use an overwhelming amount of affection in an attempt to trap the victim into believing that this is part of being in love. By using this tactic, the victim may end up believing that this behaviour is normal in a loving relationship and will associate this with being in love.
There are a few significant differences between emotional and narcissistic abuse, however the effects are both just as damaging. It is helpful to know the signs of narcissistic and emotional abuse and reach out for help as soon if you believe you could be in danger.
How to Heal from Emotional Abuse or Narcissistic Abuse
Healing from narcissistic abuse, or any abusive relationship can be difficult, however it is possible. There are many steps you can take to slowly recover from the lasting effects of an abusive relationship.
Although the reality of an abusive relationship is hurtful and can have extremely damaging effects, it is important to recognise the abuse which you have experienced.
This is usually the first step towards recovery.
Finding yourself again
It is a common method within abusive relationships to strip the victims of their identities in order to gain control of them and their actions.
This can take form in many different ways, such as changing the victim’s appearance, restricting them from seeing friends/family or prevent them from participating in activities and hobbies.
It is an important step to begin participating in the things which you once enjoyed before the abuse. This can include surrounding yourself with friends and family.
Wellness and Self care
Taking extra care of yourself during difficult times can have a massive impact on your recovery journey.
Different methods of self-care can include exercise, dance, meditation or any activity or hobby which you are passionate about and can be used as a channel to release negative emotions.
When healing from an abusive relationship, it is easy to blame yourself. It is important to realise that it was not your fault, and you are not alone.
How to get over an Abusive Friendship?
As well as relationships, friendships can also be abusive.
Abusive friendships can have an extremely detrimental effect on an individual and their mental health. It is very important to completely cut contact with the abuser which would also include removing them from social media.
Abusive friendships don’t necessarily mean that they are physically abusive but may involve being psychologically abused and controlled.
Although letting go of the friendship may be difficult, it is important to understand that their behaviour isn’t right and that you do not deserve nor need to tolerate the way you are being treated.
Cutting out contact suddenly can be very hard so it may be easier to withdraw slowly by becoming less available This may help avoid any confrontation.
Finding new friends would be a great start in regards to healing from abusive friendships and realising that not everyone is the same.
Having supportive friends is important in life but sometimes you just need to be your own best friend and learn to put yourself and your feelings first.
How to get over an Emotionally Abusive Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Spouse or Partner?
Partners can also expose you to emotional abuse which may seem impossible to get away from.
Many victims don’t realise that they are being abused so it is important to know what signs to look out for.
Emotional abuse can be in the form of controlling and isolating you away from your family and friends.
Name-calling is a common sign of emotional abuse in relationships as well as patronising behaviour.
You can be made to feel like everything is always your fault.
Identifying that you are in an abusive relationship is a big step when it comes to getting over it.
When in an abusive relationship, you may not necessarily spot the red flags yourself. Friends and family often notice abusive behaviour before you do.
Although people raising this may feel as though they are just trying to get between you and your partner, it is crucial that you listen to their concerns and look out for the points they have raised.
Emotional abuse can have a big impact on your self-confidence and how you feel about yourself and so understanding that you were not the problem plays a huge part in overcoming emotional abuse.
Speaking to the abuser and explaining how they make you feel may help them understand that their actions are wrong. If your partner can’t recognise that their actions are wrong, you need to place yourself first and leave.
How to Recover from Child Abuse?
Childhood abuse is unfortunately very common alongside neglect.
When it comes to this type of abuse, it may help to revisit the painful memories as a starting point.
Understanding what happened and coming to terms with it is a great way of starting the healing process.
Disclosure is the key to recovery. You can’t go back and change what happened but you can shape the future for yourself.
It is important to know that you are not alone in this and realise that many people have gone through similar experiences.
Trauma will remain with you until you deal with it.
Childhood abuse comes in many different forms which include, emotional, physical or sexual abuse.
Children will often grow up feeling anger and shame which may lead to symptoms such as depression or PTSD.
Alternatively, some victims may turn to drug or alcohol abuse in order to numb the past trauma which may lead to long term health issues.
It is essential that you speak out and seek help in order to overcome trauma.
How to Heal from Mental Abuse?
It is important when healing from mental abuse that you do not do it alone.
You can receive support from many different places including your family and friends, school, your workplace or from medical professionals such as councillors.
Surrounding yourself with people who care about you allows you to speak about the abuse.
Many victims are scared to speak about their experiences, but find that once they open up to their loved ones they feel as though a weight has been lifted off their shoulders.
One way some victims get over emotional abuse is by writing all the information down on a piece of paper. This is more suited to people who struggle to voice their concerns and the experiences they have been through. It allows you to express your emotions and feelings without having to say them verbally.
A large part of healing from emotional abuse is understanding that their behaviour is not your fault. It is easy for victims to blame themselves. The abuser is to blame for all emotional abuse it is never the victim’s fault.
A way to heal from mental abuse is finding something that will make you happy again. This can be a hobby such as painting or jogging, or relaxing and having a bath.
How to Recover from Emotional Abuse?
One way to recover from emotional abuse is telling your story to others. This will spread the word and make more people aware that emotional abuse is just as hurtful as physical abuse, the only difference is that the scars are hidden inside.
This is a coping mechanism for many victims and allows them to tell their story.
Victims sometimes struggle to feel like themselves after emotional abuse. There are many different platforms to find yourself again:
- Through physical movement e.g. playing sports, jogging, yoga or dancing.
- Through making or listening to music
- Through art, whether that be creating art or going to galleries to look at sculptures and paintings
- Through meeting friends for meals in restaurants
Some victims have lost many of their friends and family due to the abuser isolating them.
The activities listed above are ideal ways to expand your friends group and be introduced to new people.
You can also contact your friends and family, who you were close with before the abuse, and they are usually understanding to your situation.
Remember these are people who love you.
How to Get over Sexual Abuse?
Recovering from sexual abuse takes time and everyone’s recovery is different.
Many of the techniques to recover from abuse are similar regardless of whether the abuse is mental, physical or sexual.
It is important to not isolate yourself and confide in a trustworthy person. They will help you realise that the abuse was not your fault and you had no control over what happened to you.
Do not pressure yourself to have sex again. It may take some time to recover from the abuse and the thought of having sexual relations with another person may scare you. Do not pressure yourself to have sex before you are ready. If you have a romantic partner, they should be understanding of your boundaries and will be willing to wait until you are ready.
You do not have to give details of the abuse to anyone. If you do not feel comfortable speaking about your experience, then you don’t have to. Only speak to people you feel comfortable speaking to, and only tell them what you would like them to know. Nobody should pressure you to speak about the abuse.
You should understand that you are not alone.
Many different people have experienced similar abuse to yourself and understand how you are feeling.
There are many helplines and help groups you can contacts to speak to people who understand exactly what you are going through.
How to talk to Therapists About Abuse?
One way that will make speaking to the therapist easier is having a diary or journal containing your feelings and the topics you would like to talk about.
Most victims feel more at ease with this because it ensures that all issues are spoken about and nothing is forgotten. It also allows you to not think about the abuse as deeply and won’t take you back to your dark place.
Even writing one word will make you remember something that you would like to speak with your therapist about.
It is sometimes easier to speak about abuse for victims if they practice telling their story by themselves or with a loved one. This takes the pressure away when you are speaking to the therapist directly.
Lastly, practicing ways to make yourself calm will help you speak to a therapist.
If you become anxious when speaking to new people it may be difficult to tell a personal story.
Practice breathing methods and ways that make you calm will make the experience easier.
Remember that your first session with a therapist will be daunting however the sessions become easier once you have had your initial conversation.