How To Move On When You’re Struggling

17 Jan 2017

How to move on from an emotionally abusive relationship is something that every woman who has ever been there, inevitably, asks herself.  She knows she needs to. She desperately wants to – at least in part. Although, invariably, another part of her, would still love to make do and mend the relationship. The problem lies in knowing how to move on from that relationship.

How to move on – according to Other People

Friends, family, and the world of large have their opinion, of course. They know exactly what you should be doing.  You should just move on. If pressed, they would probably tell you to,

  • Forget about him.
  • Get back out there.
  • Get on with your life.

They might add such “helpful” details as,

  • Join a gym.
  • Get a makeover.
  • Get back in the dating pool.
  • Go on a diet.
  • Get a job.
  • Get a lawyer.
  • Get a life.
  • Get on with it.

Easy to say, right?

It reminds me of the woman who wanted to play Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” on the piano. She did not want to learn how to play the piano.  Just “Fur Elise”. Therefore, in her own thinking, she did not need to learn to read music, do scales, or work through the basics.

You can see where she was coming from. Sort of.  She just needed to be able to play “Fur Elise” to be perfectly happy with her life. Only it didn’t work. How could it? 

The problem With Other People’s advice

 The people who tell a woman to “move on” when she is, emotionally, on her knees enjoy listening to the music of their own voices.  That is the kindest thing you can say about them. What they are actually offering is bad advice masquerading as good advice. You are actually meant to be grateful for their opinion.  

In fact, the Move On Brigade can go from moralizing to umbrage in fifteen seconds, if you are NOT grateful for their opinion.  They interpret your failure to implement their opinion as a personal affront.


This is one of those situations in which the truth will … help you to liberate yourself.

First off, you need to know what “moving on” means to you. A lot of clients come to me because they want to move on. However, when I ask them what moving on will look like, they just don’t know. They know no more than that it will not be like staying stuck. If you don’t have working GPS – which no woman has in the aftermath of an emotionally abusive relationship – and you don’t know what your destination looks like, you have a problem. You could end up anywhere -Including back at square one.

Dreaming and the Law of Attraction

No matter what you have been through, no matter what kind of crazy brainwashing Mr Nasty has put you through, you have a right to dream, and envision your ideal life.

Dreams alone are highly unlikely to magically attract that life to you – no matter what the Law of Attraction may suggest.

However, not dreaming means that the only point of reference on your mental and emotional horizon is The Abusive Kingdom.  Do you see how unhelpful that is? You need a valid counterpoint.

Avoid Fast Fiction

Cultivate an allergy to Hollywood and chick lit. Fast Fiction is just as unhealthy for you, in its way, as fast food is. Just because we can put any food – or any fantasy – down our necks doesn’t mean we should. In Fast Fiction, a sad heroine goes from Woe to Wow!  Along the way, she encounters a couple of dramatic pit stop at Friction and Misunderstanding that serves to,

  1. ensure the fantasy is too sick-makingly easy
  2. teach the lovebirds just how deeply they love one another.

Fast Fiction sucks. It is perfect for a 120 minute romance. Unfortunately, most people actually want more than a 120 minute romance – however perfect. Most relationships last rather longer than that – although when they are built on a weak – or non-existent foundation – they really shouldn’t last a full 120 minutes.  (Even Kim Kardashian’s second blink-and-you-could-miss-it marriage lasted longer than that.)

Think back for a moment.  If you could have had a glorious 120 minutes with your Mr Nasty, and then lost him, sure you would have been left with a few regrets about The One Who Got Away”.  However, when you compare them with the regrets you actually have… Losing him early would have been a price well worth paying, right?

Why I struggled to know how to move on

When I finally showed my abusive husband the door, I knew I was turning my back on a lot of things that mattered to me, including,

  • Offering my daughter a “stable” two-parent family.
  • Being a gilted (guilted?)
  • An enviable lifestyle.
  • Financial security.
  • My hopes and dreams.

The thing that made it possible for me to walk into the unknown – and, in case you’re wondering, I have never been a great fan of the Great Unknown – was the vision of how life would be if I stayed. Stupid though I undoubtedly was, I realized that a man with a talent for Nastiness would only have continued to nurture that talent.

I already felt ill-treated, isolated, and rejected big time. But 3, 5, and 10 years down the line, how much deeper would the wounds be? How much more would it hurt? How much more would I have damaged myself through my attempts to numb and deny the pain?

That scenario was too frightening to contemplate. The picture of endless years of fights, silences, and abuse until finally Death should us part, filled me with dread. The fear of looking back, in old age, at a wasted life tore me apart.

Terror prompted me to move on.  Somehow, I found a courage that I never thought I would have.

Not that I knew how to move on, back then.

What you really need

Actually, I figured it had to be far harder than it is. Like every woman I have worked with since then, I thought I had to have all the answers on Day 1.

That is the point. It is incredibly hard to move on when you feel you need to meet a load of preconditions before you can even take your place on the Moving On starting line.

All that you really need is the intention, kindness towards yourself, and the capacity to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Moving on is not some kind of Olympic sport. You will not be judged on speed, or style – at least by anyone whose opinion matters.

If you don’t yet know how to move on, but know that you need to do it, that is not something to worry about. Just practise putting one foot in front of the other. If you find that you are moving forward, even if only by a tiny distance, then you know that you are doing the right thing.

If, on the other hand, you feel that you are not moving forward, or not moving forward as much as you might like, then you need support.  You really won’t help yourself if you tell yourself you don’t deserve that support for whatever reason. If you don’t yet know how to move on, or what joys moving on will bring you, then you can’t yet truly know that it is the most rewarding, life-affirming thing you will ever do.

If you think it would help you to work with me, and have me walk beside you along your journey, then we need to talk. Get in touch today!


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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