Sometimes, when we think things are right, they’re really oh-so wrong. We’ve all had our fair share of bad relationships. However, there may come a time when one relationship’s damage just sticks, leaving you feeling hopeless and broken. There may have been abuse that you have or have not made mental amends with. You may, or may not, have come to the realization that you probably should’ve left this relationship some time ago. Whatever your current situation is, here are some great steps in the right direction to recovering from that damaging relationship.
Accept that you’re not okay.
Seek help immediately. A therapist or counsellor is best. Find out who accepts your insurance and specializes in “abuse”. An MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) is usually the way to go.
It’s okay to not be okay. I need you to know that and accept that before moving forward. We live in a perfectionistic mindset world where being a cyborg is best. But you, darling, are human. You have emotions. You have to learn to feel them, even when they don’t feel so great.
Stay off the dating scene.
It’s not forever. It’s just for now. You can’t realistically be focusing on someone else when there is so much to work on with just you. It’s tempting to re-enter the dating scene. Show that ex you are so over him and you’re having so much fun with this new guy, which, by the way, is totally see-through so spare yourself. Or it could be that, by dating someone else, you can focus on their needs instead of your needs. Let’s face it: dealing with our needs are much more painful than dealing with the needs of others.
Tap into your self-worth and restrain from jumping into another relationship. Think of it this way: You are being completely selfish, not selfless, by dating before you’re ready because you’re dragging in your drama and setting up camp. And if you just got out of a bad relationship, you are not ready.
Lean on your friends.
Friendssss. Emphasis on the plural part. We all may have that one friend who is the absolute best and who will love you through anything, but even they are just human. By leaning on multiple friends, you prevent “friend post-break-up burnout”. Symptoms include eye-rolling at the name of your ex and a monotone droll that sounds like, “Yeah, you’ve told me. I don’t know. Maybe. Sounds like it”. When you have several friends to turn to, you spare them information overload while still getting the satisfaction of talking it out.
If you find yourself to be a person that prefers not to talk about it, that’s cool, too. Just be sure you’re talking to a licensed counsellor instead. You don’t have to talk about it with friends, but you do have to talk about it. Friends are there because they love you. They’re the family you choose and who choose you back. They’ll still love you, even when you feel like you failed or you should’ve said something sooner. It’s never too late. Go chat.
Spend some time outdoors.
There are some things that only fresh air can cure. I have found, without failure, that the best medicine for a broken heart and spirit is the great outdoors. Go for a hike. Go for a run outside. Spend some time in the park. Get around the trees and wildlife.
The outdoors provide a reality that nothing else can and that is that this problem, this hardship, this pain, is not lasting. It will disappear. Everything disappears in time. What’s even better? Nature shows us that what once was makes way for what’s to come.
A few years ago, there were rampant fires that tore through most of the southern California coast. It destroyed beloved houses. It destroyed wildlife. It almost destroyed my family’s homes. It destroyed the places I used to love to go camping. But you know what I found once the ash settled and the fires were gone? A couple months after the settling, these beautiful flowers started to grow and they can only grow after a fire because they need the ash. You’re a flower and in time, you’ll grow from these ashes, too.
Make a list of what you love and starting doing them.
It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s needs in a relationship. You can keep a running tab of what they like and don’t like for days. But how about you? What are the things you used to do and love but don’t anymore? When I was getting out of a damaging relationship, my art and writing suffered. They were smothered by the relationship. I thought that’s what relationships just do to people’s creativity. That’s not what they just do. That’s the result of suppression. What have you been suppressing? Unleash it.