Abuse of any kind and magnitude is very traumatizing and can result in long-term or lifelong effects, especially if emotional healing does not occur. Abuse takes many forms – domestic violence involving physical aggression or assault (pushing, hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, beating up, or threats, sexual abuse); controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; emotional abuse, passive or covert abuse such as neglect and financial deprivation.
Please note that people are mostly abused by a close family member or an intimate partner in the privacy of their home. This is very common – not just in our communities, but around the world.
Statistically, it is the cause of 1 in 4 deaths each month, and both men and women are victims of this crime. All forms of abuse or personal violation create emotional wounds which we sometimes carry unconsciously with us from childhood through adulthood. One does not have to be hit physically to be hurt, and many victims don’t realize this until they reach a breaking point and begin to search for meaningful answers – and emotional healing.
Many people escape abusive relationships and get counseling or therapy as a form of intervention. While those are important approaches that can help victims, it should be noted that the counseling and therapy process can become a lifelong journey. This means the victim may stay in the same process for years, focusing on what went wrong with them and managing their symptoms. This is not the same as emotional healing, which focuses on what is right with them and helps them capitalize on the strengths of their authentic self, so they can move forward to create a new reality for themselves.
Many people are stuck in abusive relationships for different reasons. Sometimes it is financial dependence. They might have an unconscious need to fulfill an unmet expectation from their childhood, and/or self-medicate for what was missing or make up for what was done to them during their childhood. While this is a topic for another post, I will suggest here that it’s possible to begin your journey to emotional healing, even if you’re still stuck and looking to free yourself.
It is even more important to start this process when you are considering leaving your abusive partner because you consciously and strategically begin to plan how your life will unfold and how you will keep yourself safe from your abuser and break the cycle of attracting abusive people in your life. Up to 75% of victims who attempt to leave their abuser are killed. What it takes to succeed is a mindset shift – from that of a helpless victim of circumstances to that of a champion (not survivor) who creates a new reality for themselves. More on this later.
If you have experienced an emotional wound – especially from domestic violence – and are looking to begin the emotional healing of your heart, below are the stages you can expect to go through. Please remember that you are not alone. Many other people out there are hurting, too. All you need to do is turn on the news and be sucked into a world of pain. But you don’t have to subject yourself to it. Here is the way out.
The Journey to Emotional Healing
The Victim Stage
You may still be struggling quietly. You know your situation is not right, but you are trying to be strong, especially because you have a status to protect; you fear no one will believe you; you don’t want to feel guilty for breaking up the family; or you don’t want your kids to grow up in a broken home. Your family is dysfunctional, but you want it to work out. You sometimes fight back and try to stand up for yourself, but after those episodes, you feel emotionally exhausted and disempowered. You wish you had the courage to do something about it, but you depend on your partner financially. The kids cry when you try to leave, and your partner begs you to stay and promises to change if not he will kill himself when you leave.
He might have also threatened to find you and kill you if you ever leave him. Some promise to teach you a lesson if you dare and promise you will never see the kids again.
You have an emotional rollercoaster relationship.
You’re frustrated, unsatisfied and unfulfilled, but you’re trying hard to hang in there. You wish you could be in an emotionally honest relationship. Everything is happening to you – the kids are acting up at school. You feel powerless. You might have sought help from your church, but your pastor said God hates divorce, or other elders told you to pray harder, blamed you for not being submissive enough or blamed you for provoking your hot-tempered husband with “disrespectful behavior”. I feel for you!
The rock-bottom moment
Things got out of control, and the last episode was traumatic for you and the kids. You have had enough. This is it!
You have left or found shelter. Now you’re facing yourself in the middle of the night. You wonder how you let yourself be treated so poorly. You’re suffering from physical and emotional pain. You look at your wounds and the damage, and you break down. You may also be fighting a custody battle over the kids.
He has the money to hire lawyers to defend him in court and negotiate his case with the judge. He teams up with his lawyer to question your parenting skills and uses your emotional breakdowns as evidence to the court to prove that you are mentally unstable and therefore the kids will not be safe with you. He plays the part of the very loving parent in court and brainwashes the kids painting you as the evil parent just so he can alienate you from your kids. Your heart is heavy and you wonder when this pain will ever go away.
You decided that what doesn’t break you makes you stronger. You’re not broken, so you can pick up yourself and start rebuilding your life. You’re angry and struggle with bitterness and resentment towards your abuser. Things get really tough. Financially, you may be struggling. Life is so hard! Welcome to the beginning of your emotional healing.
You’re always in a rush to meet datelines and due dates. You work like mad but just can’t seem to catch up. You’re attracting the same type of abusive people, hoping that they can at least help you pay the bills. Your kids are going crazy, and your daughter is beginning to be attracted to low-quality men (or gets pregnant by one). Their school performance is poor and they hardly participate in any extracurricular activities. There is no structure in your life or your home.
You’re unhappy. You’re tired, exhausted, irritable, unconsciously bitter and live in scarcity and fear of being hurt again. You freeze your emotions or close your heart. You may begin to use alcohol and drugs to numb your pain and cope with the hardships. You may be in a different relationship, yet you’re struggling with giving or receiving true love. Many people struggle through the rest of their life at this stage, but if you are reading this post, my hope for you is to rise beyond this point and create more meaning in your life by accepting your personal invitation into the next stage.
Awakening into Enlightenment
Some other traumatic event happens – maybe a diagnosis or the death of a loved one – and you realize how much time has passed. You watch life pass you by. You’re unconsciously writing your legacy, and you are not satisfied with it. You wonder if this really is all there is to life. Your childhood dreams have been forgotten because you settled for mediocrity. If you don’t do anything about it now, you’ll come to the end of your life with regrets and your dreams will die with you.
You watch your kids struggle with the same issues you struggled with, and you’re not happy about it. You begin to search for answers and meaning in your life.
You realize that there’s more to you than the story of your wounds. You awaken to the possibility that you can reclaim your personal power and direct how the rest of your life story will unfold. You’re not the pain of your past, and you don’t need to continue to use your mistakes to define who you truly are. You see the possibility of using lessons from your wounds to serve a purpose and to contribute to humanity, even if it’s just to contribute to the lives of your kids. You know you were made for something, and you want to serve that purpose so you can live a full, happy life – the life of your dreams.
You now understand that what has happened to you, and all your struggles were meant to help you grow and transform into a greater expression of you. You possess the wisdom to share your unique gifts and talents with humanity. You understand that to escape from living in survival mode, you need to let go of the baggage that’s been weighing you down and embrace a greater version of yourself.
Transformative Emotional Healing
You prepare your mind and clear your doubts so you can be ready to fully engage in your journey to emotional healing. You review the stories of your wounds. You review how you got wounded the very first time.
What happened next, and how it had impacted your life? Do you notice how you’ve been coping with your wounds or tried to escape them, and dismiss the reality of their impact in your life?
You realize that you cannot keep going down this road. You need to change the path your life is following. You engage in an emotional detox to forgive yourself and everyone who hurt you. You realize that you were not their only victim. In fact, the saying “hurting people hurt” now has a deeper meaning for you. They were hurtful because they were also unconsciously hurting and have been struggling with their own emotional pain from wounds from their own childhood. They are victims of still other victims. You understand that holding them in your heart is only keeping you miserable, and you begin to willingly release them from your heart. Your heart begins to feel lighter. You begin to feel compassion for yourself and for others. You understand that they, too, need help and healing, but it is not your responsibility to provide that or to bring them back into your life.
You cleanse yourself from all negative programming from your ancestors and clean up the energy that attracts negative patterns in your life. You even rewrite your birth story; instead of you being born into struggle, unwanted and unloved, you entered a world that was nurturing and loving, welcoming and accepting. You plant new seeds of love joy, happiness, kindness, and friendliness in the garden of your heart. As this love grows, you begin to radiate it from inside out. Not only do you feel love, you now only attract people who share the same values you do.
Self-Awareness & Mastery
You’ve begun your emotional healing. You now feel like your younger self. You are happy, loving, energetic, kind – everything you were before your first wound. There is joy in your heart. But you have questions, such as: who am I, and what is my purpose on earth? You engage in self-search to find meaningful answers to redefine yourself. You discover unique talents you had forgotten, and your strengths and weaknesses. You realize that capitalizing on your strengths makes you feel empowered, raises your self-esteem and helps you boldly and beautifully begin to express your authentic self. You now see yourself as unstoppable. You have limitless possibilities to live the life of your dreams on your own terms, and use lessons from your wounds and your unique talents to contribute to humanity.
Manifestation & Contribution
You learn how to structure your life, your gifts, and talents, and how to monetize them, so you can contribute to your life, your family, your community and humanity at large.
You are living life on your own terms. You have abundance in every area of your life. You’re emotional healing continues. You have meaningful relationships, and spend more time doing the things you always loved to do. You simply feel blessed and fulfilled.
Visualizing the possibility of you living free of emotional pain is very important. Not only does it feel good – it really is possible to experience Emotional Healing and create a new reality for yourself.
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I hope this serves you.