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Healing and Recovering from Domestic Abuse

Here at Dactari, we work on the basis that it is possible to recover your mental health after domestic abuse if the right support is in provided. The blog below is a personal reflection from one of our counsellors based on her own recovery from domestic abuse.

Moving towards life rather than existing…….

Often when we have been through an experience of abuse we can lose our sense of self. Our self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth have all taken a pummelling and we end up confused about what has happened, why it happened the way it did, and generally feel at a loss not knowing what to do or how to help ourselves out of it.

Knowing that you are not alone and that there are people who understand what you are going through can help enormously with feelings of isolation. The stigma associated with admitting to being a victim of abuse can really sting, and any feelings of shame or blame, or self-recrimination because of the abuse are complex for us to understand. Yet, understanding this is a by-product of the abuse, and that it can be worked through offers us hope, not just for recovery, but also for healing and growth.

We can achieve this firstly by understanding how abusers exert power and control, and how the abuse impacted on us as a result. At the same time, we are educating ourselves and raising our own personal awareness of abusive behaviours within our own relationships. This knowledge also gives us the power to identify red flags in other’s behaviours from then on, safeguarding us from getting involved with abusive partners in the future -.

Sometimes, as we explore the abuse, we recognise that it brings up memories from the past which we work through so that we understand how our past can inform our present when we are not aware of it. We then also know that we can change our future responses, when we understand why we are the way we are. As we work through painful memories, it is very important for us to take a gentle, kind and compassionate approach towards ourselves and be patient with ourselves as we learn to rebuild our life, and build the skills we need for managing our thoughts and emotions in many different situations. Just allowing ourselves a little compassionate consideration as we recover, helps to rebuild our self-confidence and self-esteem.

There are many factors associated with abuse, and so we aim to help people understand the most relevant aspects to their experience. We might at times do this from a counselling perspective, with reference to theory and helpful exercises, but often we will use personal reflections that we hope will be relatable – with the intention that you can gain insights about your own experiences that will help you today and in the future.

To your recovery, strength, success and well-being.

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