Reprogramming yourself in abuse recovery

Not many people truly understand the enormous undertaking that is abuse recovery. They cannot relate to the heartbreak of it, especially when not in a parental or romantic setting. I was talking to someone the other day who – like me when it happened to me – was accused of having a crush on her boss. It is the only explanation people have for the intense emotional responses. Believe me, I never had a crush on my narcissistic boss, but he did elicit extreme emotional responses.

Once you leave an abusive situation, people just assume you are “over it”. And if you are not, than you should pull yourself together, and get over it.

Oh, if only it was that simple. I would pick that over the reality of abuse recovery any time.

The reality is that abuse leaves us devoid of a sense of self. Our bodies and minds have been taken over, and our responses to life are totally skewed. When I cut contact with my parents, I barely knew myself. Not in the way that I now know myself.

I have learned to know and understand my strengths and weaknesses. Not the made up ones that my family had me convinced of, but the actual real ones. I found my passion and made it my business. I found true loving friendships, and created a new family around me. I finally started taking care of myself, and even if I am still learning and healing, I have built myself a life of happiness, love and kindness.

Life with the Wrong Operating System

See, when you are the target of an abuser they reprogram your thinking. The problem is that their program does not correspond with your wiring. They will convince you that your strengths are your weaknesses and your weaknesses you strengths. And all the while you are wondering why you are “failing at life”. You wonder why your body and mind are not responding in “the normal way”.

Just because you leave your abuser, doesn’t mean all their programming magically disappears. It just means that you now stand a chance to reprogram yourself in a way that works with your mind, body, personality and passions. With the abuser out of the picture, you can do this without their constant attempts to sabotage your healing (they’ll still try mind you).

The Journey to Yourself

Rebuilding yourself like this is heart wrenching. You have to confront every part of yourself, the bad, the scary, the downright annoying… but also the good, the innocent, the lost love of our own beautiful self. It is no easy journey, but it is SO worth the effort!

So, step out on your own journey. Share your bad and good days with fellow travelers. They understand this journey like no-one else does. Sharing your story and reading those of others, is the best power-up for your journey.
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Having gained experience while working for a variety of European non-profits, I am proud to now work with SwanWaters. My connection with the website is not only professional. I am glad to tap into my personal experiences to help those who are living in toxic relationships whether with parents, partners or in their professional life. We need to make the world more aware of the devastating effects of emotional abuse and help more people on their way to heal and thrive.

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Not many people truly understand the enormous undertaking that is abuse recovery. They cannot relate to the heartbreak of it

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  1. Profile photo of Breezie

    March 25, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    I enjoy articles like this. The only problem I have is, what do you do when both parents are abusive narcissists, and your very foundation was distorted from birth? It is overwhelming and just plain tiresome.

    • Profile photo of Monkey

      March 25, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      I know where you’re coming from! I learned a lot by going back to how other adults in my life were when I was a kid. Luckily I had some really positive role models too, especially as a teenager (I think that quite possibly saved my life).
      It really is overwhelming, sometimes it does feel like it will never stop. I need to remind myself sometimes that everybody is on an endless journey called life. It is just that we all have different challenges and lessons to learn.
      For me the drive to keep going is the knowledge that my mother had a tough childhood too, but she chose not to face the overwhelming prospect of healing. Instead she paid that pain forward by inflicting it on us. I refuse to do the same to the people in my life. It is hard, but it can be done.
      Hang in there Breezie,


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