- Be nice to yourself
- Make friends
- Take your time before getting into another relationship
- Reassure your children that both you and they are safe. Get them help if needed
If you had an abusive relationship in your marriage where the partner refused to address the issue and are now divorced, congratulate yourself. You have taken a big step in the right direction. Unfortunately many people remain trapped in abusive relationships and are made to feel that it is their fault that such abuse is going on.
Steps to Recovery after an Abusive Relationship
Be nice to yourselfYou have been through a lot and your self esteem is probably very low. Recognize that you are a worthwhile person and be gentle with yourself. Find some things to do that you might enjoy. Often these are things you were not allowed to do during the marriage.
Make friendsOften abused people become isolated usually because of their very controlling spouse. Its time to regain the pleasure of having friends and build up a support network. Join clubs or activities to meet new people.
Take your timeYou may feel the need to have someone else around or to direct you. As humans we often fall back to the familiar no matter how bad it is for us. Take a time out from relationships. Get back your self esteem and allow the wounds to heal
Self examinationWhen you are ready, you may wish to look at your life and think about where you would like it to go. You can do this yourself or with a therapist or spiritual advisor. Look for relationship patterns and find ways to break them. Get help where and when you need it.
Reassure your childrenYour children may have witnessed this abusive relationship. They need to be comforted and reassured that they are safe. If they show abnormal behavior, you may want to check with a professional to see if they need help to deal with this. If they themselves were abused also, do get help for them.
Dealing with your ex after abuse
You may still have to deal with your ex after getting out of an abusive marriage depending on the courts and the situation. If you do, then avoid being alone with your ex. Do as much communication as you can through someone else, phone or email. If you feel uncomfortable about something you are being asked to do by your ex, agree to look it over or think about it.
Take the time to think it through later when you can think more clearly and bounce it off a friend or professional to get an independent perspective. Do not fall into the habit of agreeing to everything.
If your ex continues to be abusive after divorce
Tell your lawyer what's going on. Get a restraining order and notify the police if you feel in danger. Get to a safe place if you are in immediate danger. Always carry your cell phone and keep it charged. Tell people where you are going, how long you will be there and when you will be back. Check in with someone using your cell phone regularly.
Plan ahead what you will do based on possible situations you could end up in. Plans could include panic alarms (many car keys now have this), having a safe place to go with a change of clothes, having important numbers on speed dial and other personal safety and security arrangements.