There’s no shame in surviving abuse

Woman leaning on arm

If you’re a survivor of abuse and you feel guilty or ashamed of your story, you’re not alone. We have a message for you: it wasn’t your fault, and you don’t need to feel ashamed. In fact, you have a lot to be proud of!

Your mind and body worked overtime to keep you safe.

In an abusive situation, your mind and body have to work extra hard to stay afloat, often doing things like blocking out traumatic events or developing habits that help you cope. It’s pretty cool that your body knew what it needed to do to protect you from a bad situation. When you think about it, you’re kind of like a superhero.

You opened up your heart.

The only thing you’re guilty of is offering your love and support to your partner. No one can find fault with that. Plus, this experience has helped you figure out what you do and don’t want in future partners.

You have a unique understanding of how you should be treated.

Now that you’ve been through an unhealthy relationship, you know what red flags to watch out for. You know what it feels like to be mistreated, and you know exactly what you don’t want. Armed with your sharp new insights, you are in a prime position to turn away anyone who doesn’t treat you right in the future.

You are not dumb, abusers just know how to manipulate.

It’s common for abuse survivors to feel like they should have seen it coming. The truth is though, abusers don’t start out abusive. If your date called you fat the first time you went out, you probably wouldn’t agree to a second date, would you? Abusers know this, so they charm you at first, and then use tricky manipulation techniques to get you to stay.

You know your worth.

You know that you matter, and that you deserve to be treated with respect. And if you don’t already know it, we’re betting you at least have a hunch, or you wouldn’t have found this blog. Maybe you’ve left your abuser, or you’ve just begun to suspect that you deserve better. This realization is worth its weight in gold.

Others can benefit from your story.

The hard truth is that many people are actively going through what you did. Whether you choose to share your story openly, or only with a select few, your experience and listening ear can provide a great comfort to others. Even just hearing, “I understand, I believe you, I’ve been there too,” can make a world of difference for someone who is struggling.

In short, you’re amazing.

So whether you’ve left an abusive relationship, or you’re realizing that you are currently in one, know that you’re a tough cookie! You’re a survivor and you’re doing what you can to take care of yourself. That takes so much courage. You are not alone, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. If you’d like to chat with us, our helpful advocates are here to support you 24/7 at 425-746-1940 or 800-827-8840.

How to Spot Emotional Abuse

Woman staring out a window

Have you ever gotten a haircut that you really loved, only to have your partner tell you it makes you look bad? Or proudly shown your partner a project you worked really hard on, only to have them harshly criticize it? If so, you may have experienced emotional abuse.

Emotional Abuse is Domestic Violence

When it comes to abusive relationships, people tend to think mostly of physical abuse like hitting or pushing. Since emotional abuse doesn’t leave bruises, it can be especially tough to spot. It’s important to identify emotional abuse because in many cases, it can lead to physical abuse as well. Continue reading “How to Spot Emotional Abuse”

How to keep arguments healthy

A couple having an argument

Every couple argues.

While it’s probably not your favorite way to spend an afternoon, knowing how to keep your arguments healthy will go a long way in protecting your relationships as well as your mental well-being.

How do you know if your arguments are healthy?

Pay attention to the way you feel after an argument. Did it feel like a positive experience, leading to a good compromise? Or did you feel exhausted, attacked, or disrespected?

To help make your future disputes positive, we made a quick list of dos and don’ts. This is a two-way street. For a relationship to thrive, both partners need to be respectful in arguments. Continue reading “How to keep arguments healthy”

How do I know if my partner is gaslighting me?

The phrase “gaslight” comes from the movie Gas Light” a 1938 mystery thriller about a woman whose husband slowly manipulates her into believing that she is going crazy by flickering the gaslights.

Have you ever had a disagreement with your partner that left you questioning your sanity?

Perhaps you had proof that your partner did something, but they still lied to your face about it.

Or maybe they got angry about a text they found in your phone. When you got upset that they violated your privacy, they said you had no right to be angry, and expected you to defend yourself anyway.

If these situations ring true for you, you may have experienced one of the most subtle forms of abuse: gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of mental and emotional abuse that aims to make you question your reality. It’s a tactic many abusers use to gain power by confusing, guilting, and manipulating their partners.

Continue reading “How do I know if my partner is gaslighting me?”