by ASHLEY MILLER – Livestrong.com
Mental abuse is a type of domestic violence. Being involved in a mentally abusive and controlling relationship can wreak havoc on many different parts of your life, including your self-esteem, relationships, career and overall psychological well-being. Give yourself credit for getting out of the relationship. Healing from a controlling, mentally abusive relationship takes time, effort, support and patience. If you’re thinking about ending an abusive relationship, but you’re not sure where to turn, you can get free, anonymous support and advice from the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Give yourself time to heal. Recovering from an abusive relationship doesn’t happen instantly. After you end the relationship, you’ll need time to put your life back together. You may have many things to think about, such as housing, employment, child care or other financial issues.
Seek support from trusted friends, relatives or a licensed counselor. Your self-esteem and overall confidence level may be severely damaged by the abuse you endured. According to Help Guide, it’s not uncommon to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. Reaching out for help can be difficult, but you’ll gain relief, validation and support by talking about your experience. You can also start work on rebuilding your self-esteem with proper counseling. Ask your primary care physician or a local mental health agency for a referral to a therapist specializing in domestic violence issues.
Develop a creative outlet. Expressing your feelings in a journal or through an art form such as music, painting or poetry can be cathartic. Doing so can help you get in touch with the hurt. It’s important to release these feelings to heal.
Resume a regular schedule when you feel ready. After ending a mentally abusive relationship, you feel like there’s no ground under your feet. Keeping a consistent daily routine will help you to re-establish a sense of normality. Don’t overeat or oversleep. Avoid escaping into an addiction such as alcohol or drug abuse.
Consider joining a support group for survivors of abuse. According to psychologist Richard Ray Gayton in his book “The Forgiving Place: Choosing Peace After Violent Trauma,” support groups offer a safe place for you to discuss your feelings with others who have been through a similar experience. Hearing the stories of others who have been abused can make you feel less alone, and receiving empathy and validation will help you during the recovery process.
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor’s degree in music.