5 New Year's Resolutions of a Domestic Violence Survivor
2019 was a tough year for many of us. Maybe you left an abuser, dealt with a stalker, or were raped. The effects of violence are real.
Can't sleep? Feeling hopeless? Anxious? Self-esteem so low it's non-existent?
You can't change the past, but there are things you can do to change your future. 2020 offers each of us a chance to begin again, to change those thoughts and patterns that haunt us. If you've endured domestic violence, it might feel like the deck is stacked against you. And in a lot of ways, it is. But you aren't doomed.
Starting now, you can resolve to build your life up again. Start the New Year with resolutions that are positive and attainable. They won't be the same for everyone. You know you best, so pick goals that are going to help you be who you want to be. If you don't know where to start, keep reading for some ideas.
1. Allow time to heal. The injuries will turn to scars and the bruises will fade. But the trickiest part is allowing the emotional wounds to heal. This year, I will give myself the time and space I need to heal all the physical and emotional wounds. That might mean I sign myself up for counseling, take up journaling, or go in for that annual check-up that I've missed 3 years in a row. I won't let shame or fear stop me from getting the healing I deserve.
2. Invest in trustworthy friends and family. Abuse isolates you from those you love, the ones who could really help. It's hard to trust after suffering abuse, but this year, I will try. I will remember those who have always been in my corner, fighting for me. I will choose to trust them even when it's hard. And I will spend time and energy growing those healthy relationships. I will allow them to love and support me as I try to do the same for them.
3. Eat better. Surviving in 2019 was such a priority that food was the least of my worries. But what I eat affects how I feel, think, and act. It can make my sleeping better and drastically affect my motivation levels (which are at an all-time low). There are a lot of things I can't control, but what I eat...that seems like a manageable change for me. I'm going to start cooking more or eating fast food less. I'll find new recipes on Pinterest to make things interesting and keep me on track with my goals.
4. Find life-giving activities. Life with an abuser is life-draining. Things that used to be enjoyable are stressful. Fun is a luxury you can't afford. But a life of fear, stress, and anxiety leads to depression and hopelessness. You can't undo it all in an instant, but you can start pouring back into yourself. Dig deep and remember the things you used to love. Start a list and do those things as often as possible this year. It's going to be weird to do things for myself again, so I'll start small. Once a week, I'm going to pick something from my list and do it.
5. Learn to love yourself again. Abuse teaches us that we are not worthy of love. Or at the very least, it warps our definition of love. Every time you start to beat yourself up, tell yourself this phrase: "It wasn't your fault." You are not to blame for the abuse you suffered. It wasn't because of some character fault of yours. You are worthy of true love and affection. Before jumping into another relationship, work on loving yourself. Give yourself positive affirmations; build back your self-esteem. Buy yourself flowers or a gift. Write a positive phrase above your mirror and look at it every morning. Remind yourself every chance you get that you deserve love.
As I said, these are only ideas. Feel free to expand, remove, and change them to fit you. After all, you are the expert on your life. If things are going to change for the better, it won't be because Mr. or Mrs. Perfect walked into your life. It won't be because you won the lottery or the past suddenly disappeared. It will be because of your own commitment to change. Life can get better.
Today, resolve with me that 2020 will be a better year.