Emotional and verbal abuse diminish self-esteem and erode the spirit.
The patterns of mind-games, put-downs, and chaos take control over all aspects of life. The result is feeling fearful, as if everything is our fault, that we can never do enough or be good enough.
Sometimes, it feels as if we are losing our minds and all sense of stability is lost.
Identifying emotional and verbal abuse is a massive challenge.
To admit to ourselves that we have been abused, a larger challenge. Taking action to resolve an abusive scenario can seem insurmountable. And after all that, healing and rediscovering the truth of oneself can seem impossible because by that point, a person has been left drained of all vitality, hope and faith.
Healing requires time, understanding, support and deep personal integrity.
1. There is nothing wrong with us.
When entering a relationship, the qualities of who the people we love are often over looked in an idyllic emotional maelstrom. There is no fault for being abused.
The abuser also needs to be set free of blame; only a hurt person hurts people and they could not help by be who they are. To have taken the steps to be free and create a new life for ourselves, we have demonstrated amazing qualities of heart and spirit.
To be able to take action and bring that out when in the midst of living hell reveals a rare quality of spirit that few people possess.
Each person is a unique and beautiful soul. When we begin to value and appreciate that in our own self, the talents and traits that we most appreciate blossom. To forgive oneself allows forgiveness of the other.
2. Seek support and receive the support with trust.
Because self-esteem is the first casualty of emotional and verbal trauma, being in the company of those who remember and recognize our authentic self gives powerful healing.
The longer the pain and negative emotions are bottled up, the more harm they do to us. Being able to talk with trusted family or friends about the experiences we have been through will open perceptions, allowing the intuition that guided us to take action to gain in strength.
In sharing feelings and stories, validation of the spirit that we are happens, and integration of the experiences begins to happen naturally.
The most difficult aspect of support is being able to receive what is being offered. Often times, trust has been diminished, and being able to receive love, affection, and genuine is hard. The sources of love and pure friendships are questioned because it is confusing to receive authentic support after having been undermined and demeaned.
Yet, receiving love is essential for it allows the wounds to heal.
3. Affirm your value and honor your self-esteem.
Take whatever actions that are necessary to bolster the relationship and trust you have within yourself.
Our hearts will guide us, and whatever the inclinations are, embrace them. Some people find solace in solitude, others in community. Some people find dance, art, writing, creativity, work or focusing on family to be supportive.
What works for one person may not work for another. And that is the point—this is the time to identify and affirm for ourselves what works for us and supports our authenticity. Part of affirming personal value is to set healthy boundaries, and to stick to them.
Affirming words, when spoken aloud, are healing.
4. Forgive yourself, patiently.
By recognizing and accepting personal responsibility for what was contributed to create an abusive environment, liberty is found.
Forgiveness is difficult, and while it is easy to rationalize and think of justification, the true feeling of forgiveness can be elusive. In my experience, the hardest person to forgive is ones own self.
For allowing somebody else to treat us poorly, for trusting and enabling demeaning behavior, and for letting them use and lead us astray.
This normally happens because of trust, innocence and intimacy. And to retain that sensitivity requires remaining open. While a person may become guarded to the outside world and other people, it only harms the self to shut down sensitivities.
Better to appreciate your heart and keep the sacred truth of who you are than to shut down completely.
Patience is required because a little bit heals at a time.
When we are fortunate a large shift can happen. But the fullness of heart and spirit returns in time. Similar to sculpting, different pieces of differing sizes fall at different times, until what remains is the statue. The pain falls away, and the self is revealed.
5. Laugh. A lot.
Laughter makes the heart brighten, and after coming from a tough scenario, laughing can be the furthest thing from us.
Being around people who make us laugh, watching funny movies, being around people who are happy, can help us realign to our inner self.
One of my favorite practices is to say HA, very loudly and emphatically. And to do that over and over, in a variety of ways, until the very ridiculousness of it turns into real laughter and humor.
Kind of like starting a car engine, the sound HA may sound empty at first, yet can ignite true mirth and uplift spirits.
6. Empower our willpower.
Depression, also called deep resting, is a normal part of healing from trauma and abuse.
To break free of the shadows requires an act of will that only comes from within. The strength to stand up with integrity of spirit comes from the heart, and happens only when ready.
Daily routine, exercise, cleanliness, selfless service and the fruits of labor can all be effective for building willpower. Learning to say no, breaking old habits and establishing new patterns, all develop willpower.
7. Remember love.
And this takes time, patience and gentleness with oneself that others may not give. The understanding we seek from others can only be communicated to them only after first having seen and recognized the understanding of oneself.
The breaking free of abusive patterns means to see with truth what was done to allow for such behavior, that enabled it for continuing.
To remain free is to remember the love, talent and dignity of the individual soul, the personal spirit that you are.
Assistant Editor: Jes Wright/Editior: Bryonie Wise
Photo Credit: JT Lewis/Pixoto