How to break up with an abuser: step 5, recover

Updated: Jan 17

How do you recover when you feel broken?

How do you shine when you feel withered?

In my four-step method to thrive post emotional abuse, you Realise, Escape, Recover and Empower yourself. Following a break up we may numb ourselves watching TV while eating all sorts of bad food, going on Tinder to find a casual hookup, doing drugs, partying and drinking more… you get the gist. Anything that can temporarily soothe our pain.

Sounds familiar? We’ve all been there. But to recover, you first need to understand, and then you need to move on.

The way we evolved is by learning through our mistakes. We hardly do this though when it comes to human relationships. We think that the next person will be just right for us, our ex was the one to blame for everything, and we do zero self-work. Yet, how come I chose someone who abused me? How come I allowed this to happen for so long? How come I was so attracted to them?

Regardless of how manipulative someone was, we too must shoulder some of the responsibility.

Sure, in the beginning you may need to understand that you were gaslit, manipulated, lied to, played. And to realise that, you will learn about specific types of people and behaviours.

But there’s a point where this curiosity about the other person has got to stop, before it becomes an obsession.

Imagine you’re at home with your partner. You have a fight and they turn your kitchen into smashed bottles and plates, before leaving you. In the beginning you’ll be shocked, hurt. You may reach out to people around you who will hear you, offer you a hug, tell you that your partner’s behaviour was terrible. What do you do then?

You don’t spend day after day talking about what happened, obsessing about what they said, what they did, what led to this, and whether there were signs. All that while your kitchen is in ruins, and you can’t cook so you end up using Deliveroo every day. You got to pick up the broken pieces and get things in order.

And by getting things in order in your house, I mean yourself.

There’s a current trend of obsessing about the abuser; they may be a narcissist, or just a toxic person. There’s YouTube accounts with thousands of views that are analysing every type of their behaviour, inventing new terms that are not backed up by professionals in any way, labelling people and performing a witch hunt.

There’s a distinction between understanding what happened so you can learn from that, and between obsessing over the abuser. Obsessing keeps you attached to them, and there’s no way you will heal and thrive if your focus is still on them and not on you.

This is just a repetition of how you ended up in this situation, by not focusing on yourself. You are again prioritising someone else and not yourself, in a very deep way.

Once you Realise, you then Rebuild. There’s a few ways you can do self-work. You can read relevant books, go to therapy, and certainly you need to be mindful. By mindful, I mean taking a pause to observe your body, your emotions, your thoughts. Note, why did you get angry? Why did your pulse increase? Could this resentment you feel be the effect of saying yes when you mean no?

Some of the areas I explored - and still explore - through my Rebuild phase are boundaries, what being a compliant person or enmeshed in a relationship means, and that I am an empath, and even though there’s nothing wrong with being very sensitive, building a sense of strength is necessary to traverse the trials and tribulations that come with being alive.

But each and everyone has a unique path to explore. And that’s the beauty of it. It is your own story, and your own voice, and your own body to begin exploring. So hop on a beautiful adventure that will unravel what makes you so uniquely you.

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