The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
There are few things—if any—more difficult to experience in life than abuse. It can happen at any point in life, even in infancy or in retirement homes.
Unfortunately, one of the most challenging aspects of abuse is that it tends to leave trauma that lasts for years, if not for life. That said, it won’t necessarily last forever and it can be worked on.
What Is Abuse?
Let’s start by defining abuse.
Abuse has many different forms, but it generally involves the serious mistreatment of an individual. Certain types of abuse include emotional abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, among other forms.
What to Do When Facing Abuse
To be perfectly clear, abuse is never acceptable. It inflicts trauma and pain that can last a lifetime and is never deserved or merited.
If you are currently facing abuse, know that there’s help out there for you. The first step is to get yourself someplace safe. You can go to local authorities, a friend or relative’s house—anywhere works as long as you will be safe.
The next step is to contact local authorities or an abuse hotline so that you can receive advice for your situation and stay safe.
Once you know that you are safe and have gotten into a better daily living situation, it is recommended to seek counseling from a licensed therapist. They will help you process and overcome your trauma.
And if you would like more guidance on the topic of abuse, you can consult the free online resources available through BetterHelp.
Now, let’s look at a few ways that you can work on surmounting the abuse and subsequent trauma that you’ve experienced.
Abuse wears a person down both physically and mentally. If you are facing or have faced abuse, you may have forgotten how to take proper care of yourself.
This makes self-care all the more important as you work on rebuilding your confidence and your self-worth. So, try to focus on healthy self-care methods such as eating healthily, listening to your favorite music, talking with friends, exercising, engaging with your favorite hobbies, etc.
If you are facing abuse or have faced abuse, it is vital to establish distance between yourself and the abuser. Nowadays, that means not only physically but also online. You may need to block their number, their social media, etc. If they continue to harass you, there are measures you can take to protect yourself.
Establishing clear boundaries will help you feel in control and give you the time and space that you need to properly heal. Make sure that you don’t give in with any boundaries you set—after all, you set them for good reason.
Nurture Your Support System
Abuse can make you feel like the loneliest person on the planet. This is a dark and dangerous place to stay, however. Finding and nurturing a support system is vital to ensure that you have a healthy recovery and can start to look forward to a normal life again.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of people are in your support system so long as they have your best interests at heart. These could be religious leaders, family members, friends, therapists, etc. So long as you surround yourself with kind people, you’ll be able to work on trusting again, which is vital for recovering from trauma.
Explore Therapy Options
If you feel like you aren’t making very much progress with your trauma, don’t worry! It takes time, and you will get there eventually.
Something that can dramatically help with this process, however, is a consultation with a licensed counselor. You can even find one who specializes in cases of abuse, and they will know how to help you work through your specific trauma.
Abuse is never acceptable. And you shouldn’t accept what has happened to you as something that must necessarily weigh you down for the rest of your life. You can make progress, and you will make progress with time and effort. Just take things slowly, and you will get there.