By Jenn Rockefeller
The healing journey following domestic violence can be a daunting one. Survivors often don’t know where to start or what to do. Some survivors think they will be healed when they leave their situations, but that’s only the first step. Healing takes considerable time and effort.
The importance of it all
Healing after a domestic violence situation often is not just physical. A large part of the healing journey centers on emotional and mental healing. It’s vital that we survivors take care of our emotional well-being.
Why? Because when we were in the midst of our abusive relationships, we were conditioned to put ourselves on the back burner and neglect ourselves, to neglect our mental and emotional well-being. But now that we are out of those relationships, we must make considerable effort to incorporate different healing methods into our daily routines. It’s time we take back our lives.
So what does healing do for a survivor? Healing allows us to reclaim our power. It gives us the opportunity to fit the pieces back together in such a way so that we are stronger than ever before. Healing allows us to define ourselves as survivors, not as victims. We can become a voice for those who have not spoken out yet. We can join forces with other survivors and form a bond that can transcend typical friendships.
First steps towards healing
Healing from a domestic violence situation can take on many forms and looks different for everyone. The following can be some first steps in your healing journey:
- Getting into therapy,
- Learning meditation or yoga,
- Taking on a new hobby,
- Reconnecting with friends,
- Incorporate self-care into your life,
- Finding a support group in your area and
- Setting healthy boundaries.
The above is just a brief list to help survivors get started. You may find additional ways to help you in your journey.
The journey is different for each of us
Every survivor has a different path in their healing journey. What may work for one person, may not work for another. While our situations may appear similar, the details are different, so it stands to reason that our healing journeys will also be different. Remember, healing from domestic violence will not be an overnight thing. It’s a process that has no timeline. The journey is not a sprint; rather, it is a marathon that needs tender care along the way.
If you are struggling in your healing journey, it’s okay. Sometimes, it’s one step forward and two steps back. But don’t think of it as failing in your healing journey; rather, think of it as gaining new insight and knowledge into your healing and recovery. Your struggles are not setting you back to the proverbial square one. It’s setting you up in order to propel you forward in your journey.
It’s also important for survivors to know that we shouldn’t compare our healing journeys to another’s. Each survivor’s healing journey is different. When you meet another survivor, that person may be new to the healing journey. That person may not be where you are in your journey. Likewise, you may meet a survivor who is much further along in their journey than you are. When this happens, do lean on those individuals for insight and encouragement. When you have fellow survivors in your corner in that way, you will know that it truly is possible to heal from abusive situations.
Remember, be patient and gentle with yourself during your healing journey. Healing is a process. You may want to keep a journal to look back on so that you have a way to keep track of how far you’ve come in your recovery. Celebrate little victories along the journey. Remember to take breaks and time for yourself. You CAN recover. You’ve got this!
If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, there is a community of survivors to help you on your healing journey. You can speak with an advocate on our hotline at (855) 287-1777 or visit our website.