Emotional abuse can also inflict deep wounds and scars that impact every area of your life, healthy relationships, and a positive sense of self. The scars may run so deep that you barely recognize yourself anymore.
The good news is healing is possible with proper support and a commitment to your own growth and self-care. If you’re ready to break free from the effects of emotional abuse, this blog post provides a compassionate roadmap for reclaiming your freedom and joy.
In this blog post, I’ll share the background on different forms emotional abuse can take, so you can identify what you’ve experienced. Recognizing abuse is the critical first step to overcoming it.
From there, I provide tips and exercises to help you rebuild your self-worth, set boundaries, release anger safely, communicate assertively, and more.
Whether the abuse happened recently or years ago, the guidance here can help you make sense of your pain, gain strength, and envision a better future.
You will emerge wiser and more aware of your needs. Although the process requires courage and patience, each small step compounds to creating profound transformation.
It’s possible to break free of toxicity and reclaim your freedom. You have immense resilience just waiting to be tapped into. I’m here to provide support and help you rediscover your inner wholeness. You deserve to live with joy, purpose, and healthy relationships. The steps outlined here will start you down that path.
The journey of healing from emotional abuse is heroic. As a survivor myself, I know the twists and turns intimately. With commitment to your growth and self-care, you can build the life you want. I believe in you. Now let’s get started.
1. Identifying Emotional Abuse — Learn How To Recognize Emotional Abuse In Its Many Forms.
Emotional abuse is a type of abuse that involves the use of words or actions to control, intimidate, or manipulate another person.
Emotional abuse can be subtle and hard to detect because it’s not always obvious when someone is being manipulated.
It can also be difficult to identify on your own if you’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship for some time, especially if it was gradual and incremental over time.
The following signs may indicate that you’re being emotionally abused:
- Your partner constantly undermines your self-confidence by putting down your accomplishments and telling them how they could have done better
- They criticize everything about you — from the way you look, dress, talk, and act; through constant nitpicking; trivializing issues; making unreasonable demands; name-calling, etc…
- They make promises but rarely keep them (or even worse break promises) which leaves us feeling disappointed/disappointed again after waiting for so long for something we really wanted such as going out together as friends/family members etc..
2. Breaking The Cycle — Steps To Leave An Abusive Relationship.
There are many reasons why people stay in abusive relationships, but it is important to remember that they are never your fault. You do not have to be alone and there are resources available to help you through this difficult time.
If you’re feeling like your life has become unmanageable, take some time out of your day and talk with someone who can help guide you toward making positive changes in your life.
If possible, try talking with someone close to you about what is going on for you right now so that they can support and encourage change if needed!
They may also be able to give suggestions on how best not only yourself but also others around them can help make things better moving forward as well (I’m looking at you, Mom).
3. Seeking Support — Find A Counselor, Support Group, Or Friend You Can Trust.
You need to find someone who will listen and validate your feelings, or at least acknowledge them as valid.
It’s important that this person be trustworthy and non-judgmental because they will be with you through this difficult time.
There are many ways to find a counselor or therapist:
- Ask friends and family members who they would recommend
- Search online for local counselors/therapists in your area, look on Yelp! (if there is one) or Google Reviews (if they’re available). Make sure they’re licensed professionals and not just people offering advice out of their homes!
4. Understanding Your Triggers — Pinpoint Situations/people That Re-traumatize You.
If you’re still struggling with your own triggers, it’s important to be aware of them so that you can avoid them or prepare yourself for when they arise.
For example, if someone says something that reminds you of an abuser, it may cause a flashback and bring back all the pain associated with being abused.
It’s also important to pay attention to what situations trigger certain emotions in order for us to know how best we can avoid those situations or manage our reactions when they do occur.
5. Practice Saying No And Setting Limits.
It is also one of the most difficult because it involves saying “no” to people who have treated you badly and setting limits on their behavior toward you.
If your abuser has been able to get away with anything they want for a long time — and especially if they’ve made it clear that they will punish you if you assert yourself — it’s likely that saying “no” or setting limits will be met with hostility and anger.
It’s important not only that we say no when we need to, but also how we say it: calmly and firmly (but not aggressively), without making excuses or blaming ourselves for being unable to give the other person what they want at this moment in time; making sure that our body language reflects confidence rather than fearfulness; being ready for possible consequences such as being yelled at or punished later on after saying no today…etcetera…
6. Speaking Up For Your Needs — Learn Assertive Communication Skills.
You are allowed to have needs, and you need to know how to communicate them in a healthy way. This means speaking up for yourself, saying “no” when you don’t want something or someone, asking for what you want, and clearly expressing your feelings without blaming or shaming others.
If you have been taught that it is wrong or selfish to have needs then this will be difficult at first, but it is important that you learn these skills anyway because they will help protect against further abuse by allowing you more control over your life.
7. Managing Anger — Release Resentment In Healthy Ways.
It’s important to remember that the abuser has no right to take your anger out on you. They are the problem, not you. If they try to make you feel bad about being angry, remember that it’s not your fault and that their actions are wrong.
Emotional abuse is often accompanied by physical violence or threats of physical violence, so managing anger can be especially difficult for survivors who have been in abusive relationships before.
It may help if you remind yourself of this fact: The person abusing you does not deserve any control over how you feel! You always have a right to be angry at them — and even though it might make them angrier still (which is exactly what they want), stick up for yourself anyway!
8. Practicing Self-care — Make Time For Activities That Nourish You.
- Take care of your body.
- Get enough sleep, eat right, exercise regularly, and drink water (more about this here).
- Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself and encourage your growth as an individual.
9. Cultivating Self-compassion — Be Kind To Yourself On The Journey To Healing.
A lot of people who experience emotional abuse feel like they need to be perfect in order for their abuser to be happy with them. This is a lie, and it’s one that can keep you stuck in the cycle of abuse.
The truth is that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. You don’t have to try so hard to please your abuser or make him/her happy because you will never succeed at doing this anyway!
Instead, focus on being kind and compassionate towards yourself as you heal from emotional abuse — even if it feels difficult at first because it’s not what you’re used to doing (which means there are probably some old habits holding onto).
10. Embracing Vulnerability — Open Up Carefully To Rebuild Trust.
When you’re dealing with trauma, it can feel like you are stuck in the past. You may feel like your life is on hold and that things will never get better.
Healing from emotional abuse takes time, but it’s possible to move forward and create a new life for yourself — even if the old one feels lost forever.
One way to start the healing process is by opening up about what happened in your relationship and being vulnerable with other people whom you trust.
This may be scary at first because there’s always a risk that someone will judge or criticize you for sharing such personal information, but it’s important to take this step if you want to heal from emotional abuse.
11. Forgiving Your Abuser — How To Forgive Without Condoning Abuse.
It may feel like you are condoning their actions by forgiving them, but this is not true. To forgive someone does not mean you have to reconcile with them or forget what happened to you.
It simply means that you are ready to let go of the anger and resentment towards them so that healing can begin within yourself.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that abusers should get away with their crimes; rather, it’s an act of self-love and compassion towards yourself as well as others who have been hurt by your abuser’s actions (including other family members).
12. Accepting What You Can’t Control — Focus On Your Own Growth.
You can’t control your abuser or their behavior, but you can control how you respond to them and their actions. If you find yourself getting upset at something they have done or said (or not done), take a step back and ask yourself if there’s anything that can be changed about the situation.
If not, then let it go! Focus on healing from emotional abuse in other ways instead of wasting energy on someone who doesn’t care about your feelings or well-being.
13. Quieting Your Inner Critic — Challenge Negative Self-talk.
The inner critic is the voice in your head that tells you what a failure you are. It makes fun of the things that make you feel good about yourself, and it constantly reminds you of all the ways in which you should be doing better.
This part of our psyche can be an important source of motivation, but if it gets out of control — if we allow it to take over our lives — it can become destructive and paralyzing.
The key is learning how to recognize negative self-talk when it arises, then challenging its validity by asking questions like: “Is this really true?” “Can I think of examples where this happened?” If necessary, write down some positive affirmations (I am strong/beautiful/smart) or come up with an empowering mantra (I am loved).
14. Owning Your Worth — Stop Imposter Syndrome In Its Tracks.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably had moments where you feel like an imposter. You think, “I don’t deserve this or that,” and then feel guilty for having those thoughts at all.
But here’s the thing: if someone has made you feel unworthy of something — whether that be food or clothes or even your own body — it’s time to start owning your worth again!
The best way to do that is by surrounding yourself with people who make sure that they see exactly how amazing and valuable their friends are every day.
When I’m feeling down on myself because of some bullshit my ex told me (and trust me; there are always lies), one of my friends will text me something like “You did such a good job today!” Or maybe it’ll be another friend who tells me how much fun she had hanging out with us last night despite being tired from work early in the morning; either way works!
15. Setting Relationship Standards — Know Your Nonnegotiables.
When you’re healing from emotional abuse, it can be difficult to know what kind of relationship you want. The truth is that all relationships are not created equal. Some people just aren’t meant to be together and some relationships may not be healthy for either party involved.
While this might sound like a harsh statement, it’s true — there are some things in life that we should never compromise on, even if it means being alone or having less-than-perfect circumstances in our lives. We must take care of ourselves first and foremost before trying to take care of others; otherwise, we will end up getting taken advantage of (or worse).
16. Developing Emotional Awareness — Become Attuned To Your Feelings.
Being able to identify your feelings and know what they mean is crucial to staying well and not falling back into unhealthy patterns with your abuser. While it’s easy enough to say that you feel sad or happy, there are many other subtle emotions that we don’t always recognize as being present within us.
For example: anger may manifest as irritability, frustration, or impatience; sadness may appear as boredom; anxiety might show up as restlessness; fear may come across as shyness or nervousness; shame may manifest itself as guilt for no apparent reason at all!
These are just a few examples of how an emotion might express itself physically before it gets recognized by our conscious minds (if ever).
17. Communicating Needs Assertively — Ask For What You Want And Need.
This means clearly expressing what you want, while also being mindful of the other person’s rights and feelings. You can do this by asking for what you want in a way that doesn’t blame or judge the other person. For example: “I would like more time with my family on Sunday afternoons.”
You may be used to express yourself in an aggressive or passive-aggressive manner (e.g., “Why don’t we ever spend time together anymore?”). These types of statements will only push others away from you because they make them feel guilty or wrong for not meeting your expectations — which makes it much harder for them in turn!
18. Managing Conflict — Have Difficult Talks Calmly.
When you’re in a relationship with someone who has emotionally abused you, it’s important to know how to handle conflict when it arises.
This can be a difficult task because of the stress that comes with trying to resolve problems between two people who are angry at each other and hurt by what is said or done by one another.
The best way to deal with conflict is by staying calm while discussing whatever issue comes up between the two of you.
This will help ensure that no matter how heated things get between the two of you during this time, neither one of you says anything too hurtful or damaging that could potentially ruin everything else going on between both parties right now (or forever).
19. Establishing Trust — Take Small Risks To Build Intimacy.
The first step toward building trust is taking small risks and being vulnerable with your partner. This can be as simple as sharing what you’re feeling, even if it’s scary or uncomfortable for you. We know that our partners aren’t mind readers, so we need to tell them how we feel in order for them to understand us better!
If your partner isn’t used to hearing these sorts of things from you, it might take some time for them to get used to this new way of communicating with each other — but if they truly care about being close to you (and vice versa), then they will want what’s best for both of y’all in the long run!
20. Healing From Gaslighting — Rebuild Your Perception Of Reality.
Gaslighting is the act of undermining another person’s sense of reality, and it can be extremely damaging to your ability to trust yourself and your perceptions.
If you’ve been gaslighted, it’s likely that you will need some time to rebuild your confidence in what is real and what isn’t before moving forward with healing from emotional abuse.
One way that people often do this is by talking with others who have gone through similar experiences — not just friends but also therapists and support groups can be helpful resources for this process.
Talking about what happened can help you identify patterns in how the abuser treated you and give insight into why those behaviors were used against them in particular ways (e.g., “I was always told that I was too sensitive”; “He always made fun of me when I got angry”).
21. Processing Guilt And Shame — Let Go Of False Culpability.
When you are dealing with emotional abuse, it’s likely that you will feel guilty and ashamed of yourself. This can be especially true if the abuser has made you feel like your entire worth is based on what they think of you, or how much they love or hate you.
You may feel that there’s something wrong with you because of their treatment towards you and wonder why someone would do this to another person when it seems so hurtful and unjustified! If this sounds familiar, I’m sure it does! But let me tell ya something: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!
22. Standing Up To Manipulation — Recognize And Defuse Coercion.
Manipulation is when someone uses psychological strategies to get what they want from you, often by making you feel guilty or bad about yourself. Coercion is any kind of force used against someone else (including threats) in order to make them do something they don’t want to do or agree with something they don’t agree with.
Manipulation can be very subtle and hard to spot; often it involves gaslighting — the practice of making someone feel crazy by denying facts or reality that are obvious even when there’s no reason why anyone should doubt them in the first place!
If you’re being manipulated or coerced into doing something against your will, remember this important fact: You have every right not just as an individual but also as a human being who deserves respect!
It doesn’t matter if somebody has more power than you do; all people deserve respect regardless of status or wealth because everyone has intrinsic value regardless of external factors such as race/ethnicity/gender identity/sexual orientation etcetera…
23. Cultivating Self-trust — Rely On Your Inner Wisdom.
The foundation of self-trust is to know that you are inherently good, worthwhile, and lovable. You were born with everything you need inside of yourself. You have the capacity for compassion and empathy because those qualities live within each one of us as human beings.
The question then becomes: How can I tap into this place within myself? It’s not always easy but it is possible! Here are some ways:
Meditate daily — This helps me stay focused on my own needs instead of worrying about what other people think or want from me all the time (which leads back to feeling like my needs aren’t important).
Meditation also helps me calm down when I’m upset so I don’t react impulsively without thinking things through first; instead, I try talking through my feelings with someone supportive before making any rash decisions based on anger/hatred/resentment, etc., which ultimately leads back into feeling more confident about standing up for myself when necessary because now I know exactly what went wrong last time so hopefully won’t make same mistakes again!
24. Practicing Mindfulness — Manage Anxiety Through Meditation.
Mindfulness and meditation are two of the most effective ways to manage anxiety. Mindfulness is a technique that teaches you to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment so that you can let them go instead of getting caught up in them.
Meditation has many benefits, including reduced stress levels, better sleep quality, and increased focus on tasks at hand.
There are many different types of mindfulness practices including:
Body scan meditation — this involves focusing on one part of your body at a time while taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth (or vice versa if you prefer).
Focus on feeling each part being touched by air as it passes over it until all parts have been covered before moving onto another area such as feet or hands etc. Do this for 10 minutes each day until it becomes second nature!
25. Setting Healthy Boundaries — Protect Your Time And Energy.
If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, it’s likely that your boundaries have been violated many times by the person who is abusing you. You may feel like they don’t respect your wishes or needs and they don’t care about how their behavior affects others around them.
This can leave you feeling powerless to stand up for yourself or set healthy boundaries in your relationship with them.
Setting healthy boundaries is an important part of healing from emotional abuse because it allows us to take back control over our lives so that we can start making choices that meet our needs instead of those of others (or even ourselves!).
Healthy boundaries help us protect our time and energy from being drained by those who would rather use us than appreciate us for who we are as individuals with dignity and value in this world!
26. Developing Coping Skills — Manage Stress And Regulate Emotions.
Learning to manage stress and regulate emotions are essential steps in your healing process, especially if you’ve experienced abuse or trauma.
There are many different ways to do this: meditation, yoga, exercise, and even massage can all help you relax and feel more centered.
If you’re interested in learning more about these techniques check out our resources page or search online for “coping skills” (or something similar) for more information on this topic!
27. Embracing Self-love — Treat Yourself With Kindness And Care.
The most important step in healing from emotional abuse is to love yourself unconditionally. The next time you feel like you can’t do anything right, or that someone else’s opinion matters more than yours, remember this: YOU ARE ENOUGH!
You deserve to be happy and treated well by others; no one has the right to make you feel less than what you are. It’s okay if it doesn’t come naturally at first; self-love can take time but with practice, it becomes easier over time so don’t give up on yourself!
28. Building Self-Esteem — Create A Positive Self-narrative.
If you are constantly telling yourself that you are worthless, or that the world is out to get you, then it’s going to be much harder for your brain and body to recover from the trauma of being abused by someone who was supposed to love and care for you.
In order to rebuild your self-esteem after being hurt by another person, it’s important that we start with building up our sense of worthiness.
This means taking time each day (or every few days) just for ourselves and doing things that make us feel good about ourselves — whether it’s taking a relaxing bath or eating something delicious!
29. Finding Safe Community — Connect With Other Survivors.
Find a support group or therapist who supports the healing process for abuse survivors, as well as their loved ones. This can be an important part of your journey toward healing from emotional abuse, especially if you feel alone and isolated in your experience.
Look online for local meetings or groups that focus on issues like domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, as well as those that deal specifically with childhood trauma or adult children of alcoholics/drug addicts (ACOA).
You can also search online for blogs written by people who have been through similar experiences as yours — they may not be able to offer direct counseling advice but they can provide insight into what it’s like being an emotional abuse survivor today!
30. Exploring Healthy Relationships — Learn Positive Relationship Skills.
Here are a few steps you can take to help heal your relationship with yourself:
Sleep is crucial for our physical and mental health, and it’s especially important for those who have experienced emotional abuse in their lives. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increased risk of depression and anxiety disorders, which are common among those who have been abused by loved ones.
Exercise regularly (at least 3 times per week).
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels, boost self-esteem and confidence, improve moods through endorphin release (the “runner’s high”), and increase energy levels throughout the day — all things that will help with healing from emotional abuse!
If you don’t know where to start when it comes time for physical activity consider signing up for classes such as Zumba or Yoga where there will be others around at similar fitness levels as yours so they can encourage each other; this type of support system is important when recovering from an abusive relationship because no one wants everyone else knowing how bad off they really feel inside…and if someone does come along asking questions about why exactly we look so run down all the time? Well then maybe just don’t tell them anything at all…
31. Planning A Fulfilling Life — Pursue Dreams For Yourself.
The emotional abuser is a manipulator, so he will try to make you feel like your dreams are stupid or pointless. You may have given up on them because of this, but it’s important that you don’t give up completely on yourself and what you want out of life.
If there are any hobbies or activities that bring joy into your life, then pursue them! If there’s something else entirely that would bring more meaning into your existence (like volunteering), then go for it!
It’s easy to forget about taking care of ourselves when we’re busy helping other people with their issues or problems; however, this is not sustainable in the long run because eventually our own needs will become too great and overwhelm us completely until they become unmanageable — leading back towards depression/anxiety disorders etcetera.
It doesn’t matter how much effort goes into helping others if we aren’t able to survive ourselves afterward due to having no energy left over after all those years spent trying everything possible before giving up hope entirely…
32. Ongoing Healing Work — Make Processing The Abuse A Lifelong Journey.
It’s important to remember that healing from emotional abuse is not a one-time event. It’s something you will continue to work on throughout your life, even after the relationship has ended.
It’s also important not to blame yourself if you don’t feel like your healing process is going well or fast enough. Your journey is unique and no two people will heal at exactly the same rate or in exactly the same way.
When it comes to processing past experiences of emotional abuse, there are many different techniques and strategies out there that can help you make sense of what happened and how it affected your life now — and moving forward into future relationships with others who may treat us differently than those who have hurt us before!
One thing I’ve found helpful when working through issues related specifically to my ex-partner (as opposed to just general healing), was journaling about what happened during our relationship together so I could look back later on the down the road should anything come up again — especially if we ever run into each other again unexpectedly somewhere down line (which has happened several times already).
33. Thriving After Abuse — Envision The Meaningful Life You Deserve.
When you’re in the middle of an abusive relationship, it can be hard to imagine a life without them. You may feel like your abuser is all you have, and that if they were gone, your world would be dark and empty. But this isn’t true! You deserve so much better than what happened to you.
There are many people out there who will treat their partners with love and respect — and if they don’t know how to do that yet (for example because they’ve never been taught), then it’s up to us as individuals who have experienced abuse ourselves as well as our friends and family members who care about us deeply enough not only understand what went wrong but also help them learn how better treat those around them in future relationships so everyone gets what they need from each other instead of being stuck living with unsatisfying interactions all day long!
The journey of healing from emotional abuse requires tremendous courage, patience, and compassion. There will be ups and downs, steps forward, and moments of backsliding. But with a commitment to your growth and self-care, it is possible to reclaim your freedom and joy. Have hope that you can create the life you want and deserve.
While the pain you’ve endured may feel all-consuming right now, it does not define your future. You have immense resilience and inner resources just waiting to be tapped into. Follow the steps outlined here at a pace that feels right for you. Surround yourself with supportive people you can trust. Know that you are worthy of love exactly as you are.
The strategies in this blog post are not a quick fix, but rather tools to support the profound transformation that is possible after abuse. Each day is a chance to practice asserting your boundaries, validating your needs, and dismantling old narratives. Growth and integration happen slowly, through repetition. Over time, the positive changes compound.
Healing requires connecting to your deepest wisdom and needs. It is not about returning to who you were before the abuse but moving toward a new wholeness and integration. You will emerge wiser, more compassionate, and clearer about your values. This will enable you to build the fulfilling life you deserve.
Your journey is a heroic one, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. There will be moments of joy, freedom, and triumph if you stay the course. You have so much to offer the world from the place of healing and empowerment on the other side of this. May you find the strength, community, and self-compassion to take whatever steps you need toward the abundant, vibrant life that is ready to open up to you now. You can do this.