As a coach that specializes in abusive relationship recovery, one of the messages I get most frequently is one asking a version of the question “Where do I start?!” I totally understand this initial panic of wanting to heal but honestly not knowing what to do to start the process. This is where I floundered for years as I tried and failed several different things to get myself out of the funk I was stuck in.
So I decided it was high time to put my top tips in one place so then you no longer have to worry. This is certainly not an extensive list but it will most certainly get you started on the right track. I can’t wait to see you grow!
Get the self talk straight
I am obsessed with self-talk. Now I know a lot of people roll their eyes when they read this but I’m going to need you to stick with me. I go pretty deep on this subject in episode 3 of the Confidence from the Ground Up podcast if you want to understand this a little more.
But here’s the long and short of it – you can rewire your brain based on how you talk to yourself. Not on a ‘woo woo’ level – but an actual, biological standpoint.
So its time to pay more attention to how you talk to yourself. I start my clients out by, of course, calling them out when they talk badly about themselves. But the first assignment they get is to add positive self-talk with affirmations.
The affirmations I start them off with, and the affirmations that I’m in love with, are:
I am strong.
I am capable.
I am intelligent.
I am worthy.
Start saying these to yourself, out loud, while making eye contact with yourself in the mirror. Do this every morning and every night. Make it a habit. Stick with them even when it feels like nothing is happening. The more consistent you get with this, the more your brain will believe this is the truth. Your brain will begin to accept the fact that you ARE strong, that you ARE capable, that you ARE intelligent, that you ARE worthy.
I’m telling you, this is life-changing. If you do nothing else, do this with consistency and you’ll see massive results.
Taking care of yourself vs. Self Care
So often in abusive relationships, we forget how to take care of ourselves. Yes, there’s self-care, too, which is important. But it is just as important to learn the difference between the bare minimum of taking care of yourself and self-care. Taking care of yourself means giving yourself the basic necessities that you would give a child.
That means showering regularly, eating food that makes you feel good, moving your body, drinking water, wearing clean clothes. It seems pretty elementary but really, this step to recovery will get you miles ahead if you start this right now.
We tend to forget about ourselves, whether you’re recovering from abuse or not. But it’s especially so when we’ve conditioned by our abuser to think that we’re not worth taking care of. So giving yourself the minimum essentials will help you to feel so much more like yourself. It will give you a sense of autonomy and control, which is the thing we crave.
Getting the self-care down is just as important once you start taking care of yourself in general. When I say self-care, I don’t mean just going to the spa or taking a four hour bubble bath. If those things are your jam, great! Do them! And if you can, do them often! But self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant.
Self-care can be taking 10 minutes to yourself to read that book you bought last year. It can be listening to a podcast while you do dishes. It could be having a dance party in the middle of the day just because you feel like it.
Learn how to set boundaries
This topic can’t possibly be covered in full here. I’ve done two full podcast episodes on it and I still don’t feel like I’ve covered it extensively.
Boundaries are crucial. This includes boundaries with others as well as boundaries for yourself. You need to set them and stick to them.
This is much easier said than done, especially for those of us who are in abuse recovery. But it is an important skill to learn. But going about it can seem overwhelming.
Start by setting boundaries with yourself. That means telling yourself that you’re not going to allow yourself to go beyond whatever boundary you set. This could be setting a boundary for taking work calls after a certain time. This could be setting a boundary where you delete and block his number. It could be setting a boundary where you tell your kids that you need just 10 minutes of quiet, so you teach your kids how to give that to you.
Whatever it is, set that boundary and stick to it. Start with 21 days. Then 30 days. Then 60 days. The more you keep your boundary, the stronger your boundary muscle will become. This means that you’ll be able to start setting more boundaries which will only help you go farther on your journey.
Remember those podcast episodes I mentioned? Giving them a listen will probably help, too. Find them here!
These three tips are the biggest things that have helped me propel my journey forward. Getting your self-talk right, taking care of yourself AND providing self-care and learning to set solid boundaries will change your life in ways you’d never expect. If you can commit yourself to these three things and do nothing else, you’ll see a dramatic amount of change.
I know you can do it. You’ve got this. And please know that you’re never alone. My DMs are always open. You can find me on Instagram @karleigh.lynne. I’m always here for you.
You are strong.
You are capable.
You are intelligent.
You are so WORTHY!
Never forget that.
Have you ever been in an abusive relationship? Did this resonate with you? Girl, my heart goes out to you. You deserve to live the life you so desperately want. Worthy. Is a group coaching program for women recovering from abusive relationships. Whether you got out last week or 10 years ago, this program is for you. Jump on the waitlist to be the first to know when it opens again. I only allow 10 women in each program, so by getting on the waitlist you’ll know before anyone else. Click here to get on there. I can’t wait to see you find freedom!