To mark the end of Teen Dating Violence Awareness month (February), I thought I’d close with a post on how to move on after leaving an abusive relationship.
It’s hard not to have a lot of anger after such an experience. You feel like you had no control over your life and you are afraid of letting someone treat you badly again. And it’s easy to believe that all relationships are bad and that you won’t be able to trust anyone again. Dealing with these emotions can be the most challenging part of moving on after an abusive relationship, particularly for a teenager who may not have previously had a relationship.
It’s hard, but it can be done with time.
One of the most important things to do is to give yourself time to heal. It can take years to process what you went through. Remember who you were before the relationship, and focus on the hobbies and activities that used to and still do make you happy. Spend more time with your friends and family, and anyone who you know you can trust. More likely than not, you probably weren’t able to focus on yourself while in the abusive relationship, and finally having that freedom again is an amazing feeling that brings endless possibilities.
Remind yourself that it wasn’t your fault. An abuser is someone who refuses to be accountable, who blames others instead. An extremely important part of the healing process is to love yourself enough to realize that you deserve better, and that you will get it. If it helps, make a list of all your positive qualities and focus on those if you ever start to feel down.
Perhaps most importantly, you have to realize that there are good people in the world. Great people. And that there are more good people than bad. You were just unlucky this time, but you won’t always be. As you learn how to trust again, you will realize that not all relationships are bad, and that they can bring a lot of happiness.
It is a process, but moving on is possible once you find your own happiness and are able to let go of the bitterness.