Divorce is a hard thing to do. But when you’re leaving or divorcing an emotionally abusive partner or a narcissist, things will be way harder.
This is why you will need to build resilience.
Here are a few ways to build your resilience.
- Address your fears and other painful emotions.
It’s important that you acknowledge your emotions so they don’t get the better of you.
It’s OK to be afraid, to be sad and to be angry.
Let your emotions exist and don’t suppress them.
However, please don’t show your rollercoaster emotions to your abusive ex, because they will use them against you. They will see them as a weakness.
But emotions addressed in a healthy way, however painful they may be, can keep you sane.
- Rein in unuseful thoughts.
This is a hard one, as you will be thinking about the future and about the past.
These thoughts will likely be spiced with emotions, such as fear, anxiety, anger, frustration.
This can lead to loops of overthinking that will not get you anywhere.
Put a stop to these thoughts that in all honesty will not change a damn thing and which will only get you further down, overwhelmed and confused. Or worse.
- Focus on yourself.
Even though you may be tempted to focus on the games and manipulation of your abusive ex, try not to go there. Because you need to focus on you. On why you have to do what you’re doing. On staying safe and sane. On protecting yourself and your kids if you have them.
Focusing on the motives and actions of your abusive ex will only deplete your energy. And you need all the energy you can muster.
So stay with yourself. Work on your own issues. Don’t let your abusive ex distract you and suck you in.
Focusing on yourself will take away most of the control your abusive ex wants to hold over you. It will also make it easier for you to see through any manipulation that may be going on.
- Practice self-care. A lot.
This is really important. I cannot emphasize this enough.
Taking good care of yourself — physically, emotionally and psychologically— is imperative.
Why? Because most probably you’ll be exhausted in all three ways mentioned above. And the energy you do have left will be drained soon enough by the abusive ex’s manipulative games and shenanigans.
So, create a self-care practice for yourself. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Build this self- care practice like a muscle.
Some easy things to do, that don’t take too much time, but that will calm you, are for instance: taking a few deep breaths, walking, journaling, sipping a hot drink, resting and sleeping, reading, meditating, listening to music, binge-watching a tv show — preferably comedy so you can have a good laugh despite your situation, meeting up with a friend.
- Practice and create boundaries.
When you’re in a toxic or abusive relationship, you probably have no or weak boundaries. Because you were not allowed to have them or they would be broken on a daily basis.
Starting to become aware of what you don’t want and what you do need, can help you create boundaries.
Setting boundaries and upholding them will take a lot of practice. As Randi Buckley says “boundaries are like a muscle.” And this is true. At first, it will be hard to even know what your boundaries are, but as you start to figure them out, you’ll see that you will need to put them into practice. And you notice that often your boundaries will be trampled. By you or someone else. Be OK with that and try to do better next time. As you learn to flex that muscle, you’ll get better at respecting your own boundaries and that will result in others also starting to respect them.
- Have a support system.
Having people around that you can trust 100% is another way to build your resilience.
When you have a bad day, knowing that there is someone who you can talk to or just sit with, will make you feel safe. Knowing that you can reach out will keep you sane. And a supportive tribe will help get you through these hard times.
- Be decisive. Stand in your power.
Stick with your decisions. You know this relationship is toxic to you and your kids ( if you have them). So honour yourself and your kids by sticking to the decisions you have made. Going backwards and forwards and changing your mind every time your ex tries to get his/her way is not going to help anyone. Plus it is painful and confusing and you’ll regret it later.
- Be flexible and adaptive.
Even though you need to be decisive, it’s also necessary that you adapt and stay flexible.
You’ll be presented with situations that are beyond your control. Or that you never expected. Things will not work out the way you want or envisioned. That’s when you need to adapt and be flexible. Because if you remain forceful and stubborn in those situations, it will work against you. Those unforeseen issues and situations need to be addressed with an open mind and attitude. It will resolve issues easier and less painfully, plus it will throw your abusive ex off of his/her manipulative tactics and control.
- Work on yourself.
Seek help with a therapist, counsellor or coach who specialises in toxic and abusive relationships. If you can’t afford that, seek out a group or online community. Listen to a podcast relating to the issues. Being heard and understood is so important, and will make the journey less lonely.
- Educate yourself.
The more you know about toxic persons and relationships, how they operate, what their signs and tell-tales are, the better equipped you’ll be to get through this. And the easier it will be to start healing.
You can find books, websites, online forums and communities. There is a lot of information out there to help you better understand and spot what is happening.
- Get the right lawyer.
Do some investigating and make sure your lawyer knows how to deal with abusive relationships/partners. That he understands how narcissists and manipulative personalities operate. Because divorcing a narcissist and abusive person is not the same as going through a “normal” divorce.
All these things will make you stronger. They will make you feel more supported. And they will help you rebuild your self-esteem. Your self-worth. Your confidence. Your courage.
And you’ll need a lot of courage to see this through.
If you are dealing with an abusive or toxic relationship, check out my website https://christelvangelder.com/
If you need a coach by your side, maybe Instant Coach is the solution for you.
If you want to start healing after a toxic/abusive relationship, check out this free guide to start the process.
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