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Tips to heal from domestic violence trauma
Recovering from domestic abuse can be a challenging journey. It requires a compassionate and empathetic approach along with practical strategies, says Dr Tugnait. You can always seek professional help, but there are other helpful ways too.
1. Practice self-care
Engaging in self-care activities is essential for survivors to prioritize their well-being and rebuild their lives. Whether practicing yoga, indulging in a favourite hobby, spending time in nature, or simply taking quiet moments, self-care practices can nourish the mind, body, and soul. Survivors can gradually find happiness in simple pleasures by investing time and energy into activities that bring them joy and fulfilment.
2. Build a support system
Building a solid support system is vital for survivors as they go on their healing journey. Connecting with friends, family, or support groups who understand and validate their experiences can provide a much-needed sense of community and belonging. Sharing stories, seeking advice, and offering support to others can foster resilience, combat feelings of isolation, and create a network of empathy and understanding.
3. Learn to forgive
Forgiveness, both for yourself and others, is a powerful tool for healing, says Dr Tugnait. Domestic violence survivors need to release the burden of past mistakes or hurtful actions. Holding onto anger and resentment can come in the way of personal growth and happiness. Cultivating forgiveness allows survivors to let go of negative emotions, reclaim their power, and create space for healing and new beginnings.
4. Set boundaries
Establishing healthy boundaries is important to rebuild life after domestic violence. By clearly defining acceptable and unacceptable in relationships, survivors regain control over their lives and ensure their well-being. Setting boundaries helps to create a safe environment and healthy relationships that are built on respect, trust and mutual understanding.
5. Learn to trust again
Survivors of domestic violence often struggle with trust issues due to the betrayal they have experienced. Learning to trust again takes time and practice, but it is possible. It involves gradually opening up to trusted people, seeking professional guidance to address underlying trust issues and allowing yourself to believe in the goodness of others. By taking small steps towards trust, survivors can rebuild their ability to form healthy connections and experience happiness in relationships.
6. Indulge in expressive arts
Engaging in expressive arts like painting, sculpting or writing can provide survivors with a creative outlet for self-expression and emotional release. Encouraging them to explore their artistic side, experiment with different mediums, and use art as a form of therapy can bring immense happiness.
7. Spend time outdoors
Connecting with nature can be a transformative experience for survivors. Encouraging them to spend time outdoors, whether it’s going for walks in a park, hiking in the mountains, or simply sitting by the sea, allows them to find peace.
8. Focus on gratitude
Shifting your mindset towards gratitude can be a great way to find happiness. Even amid pain and recovery, survivors can cultivate gratitude by consciously acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of their lives, says the expert.
These strategies are like a roadmap for healing, growth and renewed joy. But remember finding happiness again after domestic violence is a personal and unique process for each survivor.