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How to Trust Yourself After Being in an Abusive Relationship

by
author image C. Giles
C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."
How to Trust Yourself After Being in an Abusive Relationship
A woman smiling on a nature trail with friends. Photo Credit Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Coming out of an abusive relationship may be a huge relief, but it may also lead to feelings of loss, insecurity and confusion. You are likely to have spent such a long time acting in a restrained way in order to avoid criticism, negativity, and emotional or physical abuse, that you have lost sight of who you really are. In order to trust yourself, you need to get to know yourself again.

Enjoy the Process

It's time to turn your negative past experiences into a positive future. The process of regaining trust in yourself can be enjoyable, reveals psychologist Steven Stosny in the article "Emotional Abuse: Recovering the Core Self," for Psychology Today. View it as getting to know an old friend you've lost touch with, advises Stosny. Use positive affirmations to retrain your mind to think positively about yourself, suggests clinical psychologist Kathleen Young in the article "Learning to Love Yourself After Trauma," on DrKathleenYoung.com. Keep saying the words until you believe them. For example, to regain trust in yourself, you may adopt "I am an intelligent woman," as your mantra.

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Love Yourself

According to psychotherapist Cynthia Wall, trust in yourself will only come from a starting point of love and care, writes Margarita Tartakovsky in the article "3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust," for PsychCentral. When you were in an abusive relationship, you were not treated in a caring, loving manner, which may have taught you to feel unlovable. Learn to give yourself the love that you did not get from your abusive partner, advises Young. For starters, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Work out what makes you feel good about yourself, from treating yourself to a bunch of flowers, to taking a long work in the park. Set yourself achievable goals, and congratulate yourself when you accomplish them.

Be Patient

Trusting yourself is not about being perfect. You are human, you will not always know the right thing to do, and you may make mistakes. Part of self-trust is having faith in yourself that you will overcome obstacles and survive setbacks. Instead of beating yourself up for making mistakes, simply tell yourself, "You've messed up. It's no big deal. How can I sort this out?" Stay away from individuals who don't want you to be happy or successful, recommends Wall. Surround yourself with positive people, but become your own best friend. Make promises to yourself, and keep them, for example, to take a yoga class every week, or make an appointment with your therapist.

Identify your Needs

As a survivor of an abusive relationship, you will be all too familiar with what an unhealthy relationship is, and you may doubt your ability to find lasting love with the right kind of man. Take your time to work out what you want from a partner, and promise yourself you won't settle for anything less. According to the HelpGuide.org article "How to Find Lasting Love," a healthy relationship is based on a deep, loving, honest, trusting connection. Focus on loving yourself rather than worrying about finding love with someone else, and when a healthy relationship comes your way you'll be in the right place to grab it with both hands.

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