Abusive relationships are not only extremely toxic; they have the tendency to be completely breakdown the simplest of emotional coping-mechanisms of the victim. However, once you’ve seen the back of battery (physical or otherwise) the start of a new life can feel empowering. You’re on your own. You are in control. You’re safe.

domestic-violence-But often these sentiments don’t appear right away and in their stead feelings of major anxiety, loss and uncertainty come to the surface. This is usually when a profound sense of self-doubt sweeps in and consumes everything. You start to wonder – “am I strong enough to do this?” And then you start convincing yourself that, “good things don’t happen to people like me.”

After all, for so long, your abuser tried to convince you of your inferior standing in the relationship, but also in society at large. Regaining your self-esteem after domestic violence takes time. It’s important you work on it daily, just as you would strengthen your body after being injured. Adding to your self-reliance and more importantly your self-belief is especially important if you have children who were present in the abusive situation with you. The biggest fear by far is that kids imitate your (and the abuser’s) actions, attitudes and emotions. Children tend to model their learnt personality traits on what they experience growing up. The supposition is that if you are modeling confidence and self-appreciation, they will be more likely to feel the same about themselves. Children who witness violence at home are more likely to have low self-esteem and high incidents of self-blame later in life.

The organization domesticshelters.org offers the following ways to build self-esteem:

1. Take stock of your attitude towards yourself – make sure you give yourself a fair change at emotional success.
2. Be patient with yourself. Think about how you’d treat a best friend who had just been through your same situation.
3. Spend time with people who build you up. Try to get out and connect with others as much as possible, be it with good friends.
4. Find an exercise routine you enjoy. Research shows that regular exercise lowers rates of depression and anxiety because it helps to release endorphins.
5. Give back. Helping others can make you feel like you have a sense of purpose in the world, and can take your mind off your own struggles.

What is most prudent is being aware and conscious of the fact that you took decisive action to break the circle of abuse. This is not the action of a weak and insecure individual. The process you have to go through to build a solid self image will take time, view it as a journey and know that you are strong enough, just persevere and be patient.Self esteem LifeLine 1