When you are in an abusive relationship, you are most often emotionally broken and drained of your self-confidence, not only half-empty but perhaps with only drops left before you lose the empowered woman that you once were. “Emotionally abused people often come to believe that they are stupid, inconsiderate or selfish because they have been accused of these things so often by their partner.” ― Beverly Engel, psychotherapist. However, there are coping strategies that can help you deal with the verbal and emotional abuse in marriage or any relationship. You can slowly learn to manage your partner’s manipulative behavior and soon regain your power over your life.
Here is a list of tips that have been used by abuse survivors and have been proven to be effective in healing and success.
- Start Your Statements With ‘I.’ In communicating with your partner, own what you say. Speak to your partner in a civil and decent manner, but do not in any way respond to threats, demands, and allegations. You can assert what you want to say, like, “I will not allow you to yell at me while I’m inside the car with you,” or, “I can’t take your rude behavior anymore, and I won’t tolerate it any longer.” You must let your abusive partner know that you know how to protect and take care of yourself. “It can be extremely difficult for a victim of domestic violence to acknowledge that abuse is taking place, especially when it’s not physical abuse but rather emotional or psychological,” says psychiatrist Toby D. Goldsmith, MD.
- Draw Your Boundaries. Just as your partner has his boundaries, you must have them too. Boundaries are what keep you safe and sane. It’s how you know that things have gone overboard when your partner (or any person for that matter) has crossed over the lines that you have drawn for your privacy. You may be responsible for keeping your partner or your family happy and healthy, but you must keep yourself safe and happy too. So if it feels like you’ve been drained of your energy, time, and effort for others, it’s time that you spread that list of boundaries and let them know you need your space as well.
- Don’t Make Excuses For Your Abusive Partner. Initially, you might make some kind of excuse for his behavior. “Perhaps if I will show him more love, he’ll change.” “Maybe I need to be a little more patient with him.” If your partner is an abuser, there is nothing you can do to change that unless he changes for himself. The best thing you can do for both of you is to break the cycle, end the usual sequence, and leave.
- Feed Your Soul With Good Things. Read your favorite books and listen to your favorite music. Go to the beach and contemplate about your life. Feed your soul with the good stuff to replace the negativity that you are getting from your abusive relationship. Find time to feel self-love and self-appreciation. Only then will you be able to have the strength to win over the abuse.
- Don’t Let The Abuse Rust You Out. When a faucet drips today and it can be fixed with a simple tape, that’s great. But if the damage of the faucet is so big that the drip keeps going on and on for a month or a year, this will soon rust the pipes and it will be impossible to keep the water from dripping or gushing out from the faucet. Your abusive partner can do this to you – rust you out by his continuing demands, ridicules, blames, and allegations. Leave while you can still be fixed. “Healing requires patience, understanding, safety, and validation,” says Sharie Stines, Psy.D.
You have the power to come out triumphant from your abusive relationship. Being a victim today doesn’t mean you’ll stay a victim for the rest of your life. Regain your power by first loving yourself, realizing the strength you have, and believing that you have the power to be happy.