If you’re a survivor of abuse and you feel guilty or ashamed, 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.