Congratulations--you've gotten out of an abusive relationship. It would be great to say that you are unscathed, but anyone who has been through an abusive relationship knows that the wounds and scars will be with you for a long time. You've taken the biggest step--getting away, but what do you do now? How do you put it behind you and start over? You aren't the first to ask those questions and won't be the last. Just know that you know have the chance to have a fresh beginning, starting today.
The first and most important step is making sure that you are safe and that your abuser isn't going to bother you.You may decide to move or you may decide to stay close to your family. Either way, make sure you are safe.
If you are in a new apartment, make sure all of the locks are secure. A second or third floor apartment can offer more safety. Talk to your neighbors and let them know your situation and that if they ever suspect something is amiss to call the police. Get a cell phone and keep it with you. Keep your doors and windows locked at all times, as well as your car.
Putting The Past Behind You
No one wants to hear that they should go to counseling, but counseling is a way to get your self-esteem back and to get back to knowing yourself. Abuse can take your identity away and counseling, or a support group, can help you find yourself again. Learning to make friends is an important step in surviving, as is being close to people who have been in the same situation. Surround yourself with positive people, and make sure that you get your story out. A death of a relationship is hard and you'll need positive and loving people surrounding you.
There are women's organizations in many cities that can help you find an apartment, food stamps, medical help and even a job. Don't be so proud that you don't take advantage of the programs available to help you. All of us need help at times, and there will come a day when you are able to give back in some way.
If you feel overwhelmed, look up the telephone number of an organization that helps battered women and call them. The people there are more than willing to listen and may be able to offer a program of which you are unaware that can help. You might also find solace in going to church. If you were at any time in your life a church goer, this may give you peace and another place to find loving people who will help you.
Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. Go to the library and listen to talks. Take a free jewelery making class. Llearn to knit. Play bingo. Join a cooking class. Do things that get you out of the home and help you develop interests as you move away from the past. Put on makeup every morning just because it makes you feel good. Write in a journal your feelings and inroads. Begin every day by thinking about three things for which you are grateful.
Remember that you are no longer under someone else's thumb. You are a person--a good person--who deserves all of life's great things.