How Experiencing Domestic Violence Taught Me to Love Myself

Since 2017, I’ve found myself engulfed in multiple abusive relationships. I left one relationship in which I’d been experiencing physical and emotional abuse for months, only to enter another relationship that turned abusive during the end. 

Experiencing domestic violence took a toll on my overall well-being. Physically, my bruises healed, but mentally I was still placing bandages on open wounds. I was left feeling unlovable and unworthy which led to me coping in unhealthy ways. For a while, I believed I deserved the abuse. I thought surely that it was my fault and that I made my abusers inflict harm upon me. 

After the first relationship ended, I spent a few months alone before meeting who I thought was the love of my life. We spent the next 2 and a half years entangled in what felt like a romance novel. Our love story was filled with ups and downs, but I was certain this was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. That was until our relationship turned sour and the house we fought tirelessly to build was burned to the ground.

In the blink of an eye, everything I loved was gone and I felt that familiar feeling of brokenness. Months after our breakup something in me shifted. I realized the road I was traveling down was disastrous, so I decided to make a change. I woke up one morning feeling optimistic and decided from that day forward I was going to reclaim my life. I began a journey of self-love and healing. I no longer wanted to be a victim or to sit and sulk.

Learning to Love Myself

If it wasn’t for the heartbreak I experienced at the hands of those who claimed to love me, I wouldn’t have embarked on a path that led to me discovering how important loving myself is. 

Over the course of the last two years, I’ve gone within and taken a deep dive into learning who I am. I’ve learned my likes and dislikes, what I’m passionate about, what puts a smile on my face, and numerous other things about myself. During this time, I forced myself to be alone because I knew I wasn’t ready to date or be involved with anyone else. Learning more about myself helped me realize that because I lacked self-love, I settled for relationships that drained me. Because I had no love for myself, I allowed others to treat me horribly. I felt like I wasn’t good enough and it was reflected in the partners I picked. I also realized that I feared being alone which is another reason I chose to stay in an abusive situation. 

When my last relationship ended, I was drowning in trauma. Once I decided to open up to my therapist about how much I was struggling, things began to improve. We started discussing the impact heartache and trauma were having on me. My feelings were validated, and this gave me the push I needed to move forward. 

Learning to love myself after experiencing domestic violence has been one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do. Being abused in any form can make you feel like you don’t deserve love or to live a fulfilling life. 

Another valuable tool I utilized on my journey was meditation. I began doing guided meditations that were centered around healing from trauma as well as forgiveness. Meditation helped me sit with my painful emotions and eventually release them. It took me a long time to understand that the abuse I endured wasn’t my fault. Nothing I did warranted them harming me. I learned to have self-compassion and to be gentle with myself.

I lost myself in both relationships and while it has taken time, I’m finally starting to find myself. Every day, I shower myself with love and positivity. I look in the mirror and recite affirmations. This helps me feel good and allows me to see just how worthy I am. All the love I so selflessly gave away, I now give to myself. 

When I look back on who I was years ago, I feel an immense amount of gratitude. I felt defeated. I was broken and looking for external sources to make me happy and whole. My last relationship ending taught me that I am whole all on my own. If it wasn’t for my experiences, I never would have taken my healing seriously. 

Through all the adversity and trauma that I faced, I learned how to pick up my broken pieces and put myself back together. I took my pain and used it to fuel my journey. I turned what felt like a tragedy into a beautiful transformation. 

I love myself and I will never allow anything or anyone to break me again. 

Photo by Joshua Mcknight:

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