Law 1: Individuality
Let’s face it. After experiencing living in an abusive relationship, you most likely don’t know who you are or what you want. You were probably told many times over the past few years who you are, what you should be and do and what you shouldn’t be and do.
I highly recommend staying out of serious relationships for at least a year. I know it’s hard. I know you long for that companionship and you may even have kids and would love for them to have a positive influence in their life, all of that will come, in time, when it is meant to.
The first three and a half years after leaving my ex were spent going through my divorce, dedicating my time to my then toddler and socializing. Yes, I went out. Yes, I spent time with men and with women. No, I did not date. Once I began to date, it was a year and a half of nothing serious with a lot of first dates with a lot of different guys. These dates were wonderful because I learned about myself and about what I want and don’t want. You can do it.
Now I am in a relationship with an amazing man who I met almost three years ago. I get to experience what a healthy relationship looks like, feels like, smells like, tastes like and sounds like. It’s wonderful.
Guess what? Now is the time to discover who you are. Take time for yourself. Seriously. Date yourself. Go out to dinner and a movie. Go for a walk. Go bowling. Do fun things just for you.
Law 2: Vulnerability
Telling a person who’s been surviving most of their life by being guarded out of necessity for their safety is like telling them you have removed all the mines from a mine field and it’s safe to run through a mine field they have navigated for years. They know where each hidden mine had been placed and they still instinctively avoid stepping in those places, even with the knowledge that the mine field is clear. For them it’s a matter of life or death.
The tragic part in all this, is that in order for a person to have the happy, thriving, and successful healthy relationship they want, that vulnerability and trust needs to be there.
The best way to get through this is to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to experience the emotions. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, play some good instrumental music, and write (for at least 10 minutes) ‘I am afraid to be vulnerable because…’ and see what comes out. You’d be amazed at the insight this will give you into yourself.
Law 3: Love Yourself
This may be the most important thing you can do to help yourself. Often times people who experience abuse have fought a daily battle with their partner. And the daily message they give you that you are not good enough, not worthy, no one else will want you, takes a toll on even the strongest self esteem. Especially because it comes from someone you love and someone who should be lifting you up every chance they get.
The ironic thing about loving yourself is, once you truly get there, then the right person will just meander unexpectedly into your life at just the right time. The more you do to help prepare yourself for that time, the better off you’ll be.
Sure I can say ‘love yourself’ all day long, but how do you actually do that? It actually takes a little work and a little effort on your part.
For the next 30 days write down five amazing things about you each day. The best part? It gets to be something different each time. So at the end of 30 days, you’ll have 150 amazing things about yourself written down. These can be things about you as a person, a friend, in your work, your body, as a parent, as a romantic partner, anything you like. Just make sure you do it. And make sure you stay positive.
Reprogramming your brain is a lot of hard work. Don’t let that scare you though, you’ve already allowed it to be programmed the way it is currently if you want a better life, it’s your responsibility to take ownership and create it. You got this.