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Overcoming domestic violence experience can be one of the toughest challenges that a person can undergo. There are many ways to get through this trying time and regain your sense of self. Here are just a few ways survivors can process post-abuse grief.

Understand That You Are Being Lied To

Perhaps one of the most significant difficulties that survivors of domestic violence experience in the aftermath of an abusive relationship is unwarranted shame. However, when you think about it, this shouldn’t be so surprising: When they aren’t using violence or threats of violence, abusers use shame to control their victims.

Domestic abusers are adept at psychological manipulation and often gaslight and victim-blame the people they abuse. These tactics often work; many domestic violence victims often feel guilty for leaving their abuser or blame themselves for the abuse that occurred. They may even doubt what their eyes and ears tell them about the situation.

Accept Your Feelings

First, it is okay to feel confused; in fact, you will feel ambivalent about certain situations for some time to come. That is a normal response to the experience of abuse. Accepting your feelings, as usual, is a significant first step towards recovery. Your emotions are your emotions. Even if they are overpowering, it is okay to feel them. It’s a good thing to let go of troubling feelings!

Understand That You Had No Control Over the Situation

As many psychologists realize, domestic violence perpetrators are driven by a need to control surrounding people. They thrive on taking away control from others. Many domestic violence victims stay too long with their abusers to “fix” their partners’ errant behavior. However, this response to abusive behavior does not work. Even after we’ve left an abusive partner, however, we go on telling ourselves that we could have changed them with enough time. We may even blame ourselves for their shortcomings.

Many domestic violence victims blame themselves for the reason they’re abused, you cannot change the deliberate acts by another person. When those realize that it’s not their fault, it becomes easier to move on and heal from their ordeal.