How do you heal from emotional abuse?

19 Mar 2019

How do you heal from emotional abuse? is a question that I get asked a lot. Most recently by a worker for a domestic violence charity. “There is”, she said, “ a lot of information about toxic people out there. There are a lot of online forums in which people can share experiences – which is therapeutic, to a degree. But not uncommonly those forums help people to stay focused on the problem. Healing appears to be more challenging?”

For a long time I have struggled with the “how do you heal” question. In part, I think, that goes back to my own childhood. As the child of a bullying, judgmental family, I have a bit of a rabbit in the headlights reaction to questions. My family always taught me to answer the exact question asked. Mostly, it was an abusive, manipulative question designed to make me feel inadequate. It took me a while to learn that bad questions do not help you to arrive at good answers.

So it is with the “How do you heal?” question. That question is the psychological equivalent of “How do you cook a Thai curry?” It requires a list of ingredients together with a methodology.

Ingredients list for healing from emotional abuse

The ingredients list for Healing from Emotional Abuse includes,

• Learning to love yourself.
• Getting closure on the wounds of the past.
• Learning to trust your intuition.
• Building robust boundaries.
• Upgrading the way that you do relationships.
• Becoming aware of your emotional programming.
• Learning how to be emotionally resilient.

These are all things that a survivor needs to master. Otherwise, you can end up out of the relationship and feeling less bad than you did but, still, a long way from happy, free and at peace with yourself and your world.

Ending up smarter but not happier

You can read books and attend courses on every one of these ingredients. You can embellish the whole process with further books and courses on the Law of Attraction, how to be positive 24/7. how to be assertive, how to flirt, how to make anyone fall in love with you and who knows what else besides.

The problem with a lot of this learning is that you will become smarter but not necessarily happier. The worst case scenario is that you spend the money and become intellectually smarter but you remain trapped in the same emotional impasse.

The importance of unlearning

You see, healing from abuse is not a painting by numbers process. Especially since, as I totally believe, there is nothing wrong with you and precious little that you need to learn. It is all a process of unlearning.

You have to unlearn the toxic beliefs that negative people have planted in your psyche.

The issue is, of course, that these toxic beliefs took root and grew.

How did that happen?

The likelihood is that your abusive and Narcissistic partner was not the first toxic person you encountered. Most likely, you were trained (brainwashed) to accept the negativity that other people grafted onto your own eco-system.

Ask yourself a better question

If the question you are asking yourself is not giving you an answer that really moves you forward, you need to find a better question.

In this scenario, the Healing Question worth asking is not, “How do I heal from emotional abuse?” but “What is getting in the way of my healing from emotional abuse? Should you want to be get more specific – specific is mostly good – then you need to ask, “Which of my beliefs and attitudes that I take as being Just the Way the World Works are actually toxic?” and “What am I missing about myself and the situation?”

Unlearning your way to self-love

Healing does require you to learn self-love. However, the way you learn it is by unlearning the toxic, destructive beliefs about yourself that you have taken on board.  Healing requires you to identify the fears and programming that cause you immense – unwarranted – debilitating emotional distress. Your healing requires you to become aware of the way your own thoughts and feelings trip you up and how you can move beyond this.

In short, healing is not a one size fits all process, it needs to be tailored to your experience, your temperament and the speed at which you can go. All the “should”-ing in the world will not move you any further forward, any faster.

There is a lot to unlearn about healing. Nobody can undertake that journey alone. Especially ifthey are starting in the wrong place and facing in a wrong direction.

Healing from abuse, the basics

• Nobody is so broken, so old, or so anything else that they cannot heal from emotional abuse.
• Time, luck, chance or new love will not heal you without you doing the work.
• Before you can heal, you have to make yourself your own priority. If you don’t feel you are worthy of the best you can offer yourself, you are giving yourself a powerful – negative – message that will limit the results you achieve.
• You cannot do it alone – because you cannot see the precious human being that lies beneath the abuse. You need someone working with you who can do that for you until you can do that for yourself. On the plus side, discovering that precious human being will likely go far faster and prove far more rewarding than you could possibly imagine.

Seeing the precious human being beneath the abuse is something that you can hardly be expected to do for yourself, given the “brainwashing” that your abuser(s) subjected to. You need help to do that. If I can help you, too, to heal from abuse so that you can enjoy your life, enjoy the person that you are and enjoy peace of mind, get in touch. You have been through the pain of abuse, now you deserve the joy of healing.


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.

2 thoughts on “How do you heal from emotional abuse?”

  1. I have been separated from my husband for almost two years and have felt like I couldn’t heal or move on. I’m finally prepared to do the work to heal and move forward with my life in a positive way. This article has helped immensely thank you.


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