- Breaking up is hard. Breaking up with someone who has abused you is even harder.
- You will feel confused and traumatised for some time.
- It’s not all terrible though — distance will make you realise you’re stronger.
- Trauma doesn’t stay with you forever, and there are actually several positives from what you went through — even if you’re still hurting.
A common misconception about moving on from an abusive relationship is that the trauma stays with you for life. Even if you end up in a great relationship, you may still be lost in your old one, unable to fully let go.
In reality, this is usually simply a sign you haven’t moved on yet. Breaking up with an abusive person is hard, and it can take people months, or even years, to fully recover. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Perpetua Neo, a doctor of psychology and expert who works with women who are healing from damaging, toxic relationships, said if you sort through your pain, work out what demons you have that resulted in you being attracted to a bad person in the first place, then the magic begins.
“The narcissist didn’t want you to gain anything from being with them, but actually you ended up taking everything and becoming stronger,” she told Business Insider. “One thing people I’ve worked with find is that they gain a fuller, more whole version of themselves after leaving the narcissistic ex.”
You will probably be in agony for a while, because your body has essentially been addicted to the intermittent love the abuser gave you. But in time, you will realise that you are so much stronger, resilient, and capable of finding someone who isn’t going to discard you for being you.
Here are seven lessons you can take away from the traumatic experience of loving a toxic person — and the strengths you gain from moving on: