Triggers from the old relationship can easily creep up in the new relationship, even if the new man in your life isn't being abusive. The trauma from being in an abusive relationship can take a long time to heal from. Survivors need time to rebuild their self-esteem, confidence, and trust in themselves before diving into a new relationship. There is no right or wrong amount of time when it comes to healing from what you've been through. It's important that you got out safely, take time for yourself, and figure out the best way for you to move forward.
Take Time for Yourself After an abusive relationship, a person's confidence and self-worth are pretty low. It's important you take some time for yourself to process everything you've been through, build yourself back up and learn to trust yourself again. It can be a scary time after you leave your abuser. You may want to stock up on self-defense tools to help put your mind at ease.
Forgive Yourself I know some people are probably thinking, why would a "victim" need to forgive themselves. Well, being in an emotionally abusive relationship the abuser blames the victim for his actions constantly. He makes her feel guilty for his own abusive actions and assigns ownership of all the blame to her. Once she is out of the relationship, she beats herself up for staying in the relationship. She blames herself for not getting out sooner, she may even think that she deserved to be treated in the horrible ways she was treated.
Therapy One of the best things I did for myself while I was getting out of my abusive relationship (and after) was going to regular therapy. Not only did I put myself through therapy, but I also put my kids through it as well. I knew that the abuse they witnessed would have a lasting effect on them too and I wanted to make sure that my boys grew up not to be abusers as well. As for me, personally, I needed that validation that I indeed was not crazy. My abuser used the gaslighting technique regularly and I had fallen into the line of thinking that I was crazy.
Self Care While you're taking time for yourself after the abusive relationship it's important to get into the practice of putting yourself first. I get this may be difficult to fathom, especially if you have kids, but trust me on this. Every woman needs to put her needs first. I'm talking needs here, not wants, needs. Practicing self-care is not selfish. You must take care of yourself first to be able to take care of anyone else. Personally, it was very difficult for me to do this, but once my therapist instructed that I do it, I took the time for myself. So if you need permission to take care of yourself, you've totally got it, right here and right now. And while you're at it...
Date Yourself First This may seem a little silly, but hear me out. After being in an abusive relationship I felt like I was stripped of all my me-ness. I didn't recognize who I was anymore. Getting to know myself was the next step in my recovery process. I needed to get to know myself and trust myself again. Trusting yourself can seem like a huge leap after the fact. You put yourself in that situation to begin with so that can be a hard reality. However, you did get yourself out of it. You know how to survive, even if you think you don't. Building that trust back in yourself so you can self-heal, build confidence and grow that self-esteem takes time. But dating yourself can be the one thing you do to get yourself back on track more efficiently. Start with small dates. Like taking yourself out for coffee and just people watch. Try a new workout or go for a walk in a new area of town. Once you feel more comfortable with yourself, you can start to do bigger things, like a weekend retreat where you treat yourself to some serious self-care and self-love time.
Identify What You Want and What You Won't Tolerate Before getting into a new relationship, you need to know what you want as well as understand what you won't tolerate. Sign up now to get a free workbook to help you identify exactly what you want in a partner and how to list those non-negotiable things to help you set some. There's an excellent step by step process to follow to get absolutely clear on what you want and what you don't.
I personally did this and through this process, I got super focused on what I wanted in a partner and it helped me realize that I would never be with someone like my ex again. I shared this "list" with my current hubby and he qualified with flying colors! Make your own list using the workbook and then make sure to share this list in your next relationship.