5 Ways to Heal from a Relationship that Stole your Soul, is written by Lien Potgieter from The Colour Option.
Few things compare to a deep and loving connection with another human being. A functional, healthy and inter-dependent relationship is one of life’s greatest gifts. It affords you the opportunity to grow fully into the best version of you, it shows you exactly who you are, and it teaches unconditional love, compassion and patience.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: A toxic relationship can destroy your self-esteem, deconstruct your self-confidence, wipe out your self-belief and ultimately steal your soul.
I was in a dysfunctional, destructive relationship for six years. Emotional, mental and – close to the end – physical abuse was the order of the day.
While I was in it, I didn’t realise the damage it was causing my body, heart, mind and spirit.
And when I finally found the courage to leave not much was left of my former self. I felt hopeless, helpless, and numb. And yes, it crushed my spirit.
As I didn’t have the physical scars to show for the abuse few people realised the impact that a relationship with an abusive partner or narcissist had on me, the victim at that stage. For this reason, the road to recovery was a tough and very lonely one. Because in the end, only the abused knows exactly what she or he had to endure.
Luckily the human spirit is not broken that easily. And when I finally realised that I am the only one who can pick myself up, dust myself off and continue with this thing called life, I did just that – I started living again.
I found the five best ways for me to heal from this toxic relationship.
1. I surrounded myself with beauty (This is especially true for sensitive souls and introverts)
You have been among ugliness for such a long time: A hideous person, harsh words, and horrid experiences that you need the simplicity of beauty.
Buy a beautiful dress, beautiful accessories or a beautiful item for your home. Listen to soft, soothing music.
Visit an art gallery and drink in the creativity and colours. Buy or plant flowers and simply stop and stare at them throughout the day.
2. I delved deeply into the things I loved
Reflect a moment on what made you happy before you entered your abusive relationship. Writing, pottery, painting, exercising, cooking, walking, reading, socialising, board games?
Start doing one of these things again and pour your heart and soul into an activity that brings you joy.
3. I only allowed gentle people in my space
Only let people in who are kind, compassionate and caring. Say no to visits from friends or family who make you feel even worse about yourself.
You don’t need negativity and toxicity at this time.
4. I forgave myself
This is probably the hardest thing you will have to do on your journey to recovery. We often berate and crucify ourselves for allowing another person to steal our life force.
However, it will be your greatest gift to yourself. It will set you free, it will help you make space for something or someone new, and it will help you to attract abundance in all forms. The lesson in your experience will also become clear once you let go of the past.
5. I went out and helped others
Volunteering contributes to your physical and mental health. It boosts self-confidence, self-esteem and gives you a sense of accomplishment. You will learn new skills, become part of a community and meet interesting people.
The road to recovery can be long and lonely. I was forced to rely on my inner strength to move forward. But remember you are always in control of how you react to life’s curve balls. And when you heal and see the light a new, better you will emerge.