Being abused is an incredibly traumatic experience that leaves you with deep emotional scars. You feel confused and ashamed and turn the blame inwards, the most common and distressing response to abuse.
You find yourself trapped in a vicious loop of guilt and shame after abuse, even if it was not your fault. You believe that somehow you are responsible for the abuse you endure, which is detrimental to your mental health.
Therefore, let’s dive into the strategies to stop blaming yourself for being abused. Learn them, take these steps to heal yourself, and move on from this traumatic experience.
How To Stop Blaming Myself For Being Abused?
The best way to eradicate self-blame is to forgive yourself. Acknowledge the fact that you couldn’t protect yourself against the abuse, and they were too strong for you. They are the ones to be blamed. Don’t let this negative experience scare you for life; do not mix such negativity into your personality.
- Understand That It Could Happen To Anyone
It’s normal to think about why it happened only to you. But you must understand that abuse can happen to anyone regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. Anyone can suffer from this traumatic experience regardless of age, gender, race, or socio-economic status.
Abusers prey on vulnerability, and it’s vital to understand that the responsibility lies solely with the perpetrator, not the victim. You blame yourself for others’ actions because it’s too easy to blame yourself. However, accepting that it’s not your fault can reduce the burden you carry inside.
- Talk To Someone You Trust
Breaking the silence and expressing your thoughts on what happened to you is a powerful step towards healing, So reach out to someone you trust, like a family member, a close friend, a counselor, or a therapist. Turning your emotions into words eases your burden, and you feel light-hearted.
Talking about your negative experience also gives you an external perspective and validation, which is helpful. As a result, you don’t feel the guilt, shame and stop blaming yourself for the abuse.
- Learn From It And Be Careful Next Time
Paul Coelho is a globally recognized author who says, “When you repeat a mistake, it’s not a mistake anymore; it’s a decision.” It means you must learn from your experiences and not repeat the same mistakes. So, identify any red flags you might have missed that caused the abuse, and be careful in the future.
Set boundaries around yourself, which is your personal space, and train yourself to make better choices than before. Accepting the abuse as a learning opportunity might be hard, but you can do it. Instead of blaming yourself for abuse, learn from it and spot the red flags immediately the next time.
- Avoid Your Traumatic Thoughts
Healing from abuse is not easy, but it can happen when you constantly steer away from self-destructing thoughts. Whenever your mind starts thinking about the abuse, immediately replace these thoughts with positive ones. Focus on your thought process and actively redirect your mind from negative self-talk.
You can also use relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness. Applying these techniques helps you insert positive affirmations into the mind rather than thinking negatively. As a result, you start to forget the bad experience you have been through and stop blaming yourself.
- Embrace The Healing Process
Healing is a journey that requires time, patience, and self-compassion. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that arise and permit yourself to grieve the past. Seeking therapy can provide invaluable support and guidance throughout this process.
Many other resources, such as support groups and self-help books, are available to help you on your journey. You can take guidance on any topic to improve and live a peaceful life. Engaging in such activities keep you busy, and gradually, you stop blaming yourself.
- Forgive Yourself
Forgiving yourself is the most vital step in stopping self-blame after being abused. It doesn’t mean that you’re condoning the abuse, but it does mean that you’re letting go of the guilt and shame. Remember that you were a victim, and the abuse was not your fault. So you must not suffer and blame yourself for others’ mistakes.
Be kind to yourself and recognize that you deserve compassion and understanding. It’s the only way to remove self-blame and eradicate negative and self-destructing thoughts. Forgive yourself for not being able to protect yourself, accept the mistake and learn from it.
- Recognize The Resilience Inside You
You’ve survived abuse, meaning you’re stronger than you think. So, recognize your strength and resilience in surviving such a challenging ordeal. Celebrate your perseverance and focus on rebuilding your life with new strength.
Abuse can deeply wound a person, but it does not define them. So, you must use your strength and resilience to help you heal. Making mistakes as a human is normal, but you must emerge stronger than before.
Does Abuse Change Your Personality?
Yes, it changes your personality because it lowers your self-esteem and makes you more anxious and depressed. You become more cautious, and it becomes extremely difficult to trust others. The trauma due to abuse has visible effects on your mental and physical well-being, but you can tackle them.
However, while abuse can bring about these changes, it’s not your fault. Rather, these personality shifts are natural responses to the traumatic experiences you endured. With the right support, therapy, and self-compassion, abuse survivors work towards healing and gradually reclaiming aspects of their pre-abuse personality.
You can also develop new strengths and coping mechanisms during this phase. Healing from the impact of abuse is a process that requires time, patience, and support. So, you must be gentle with yourself as you navigate your path to recovery.
Why Do Victims Of Emotional Abuse Blame Themselves?
Blaming yourself is easy; because you feel shame and guilt for this trauma. You blame yourself for not spotting the red flags, and the regret keeps eating you. This self-blame is associated with anger and hostility, and when you hold grudges inside, it affects your happiness detrimentally.
- Ignoring or Not Spotting The Red Flags
As a victim, you mostly blame yourself because you missed or ignored the early warning signs of abuse. You go through severe guilt and shame and have repetitive thoughts of having more control over the situation.
But it’s essential to understand that abusers are skilled manipulators. Their actions are not a reflection of your judgment or intelligence. So, there’s no way you could have known their intentions. However, if you missed any red flag, learn from it and don’t repeat this mistake.
- Self-Blame Is Easy
Blaming yourself is often a coping mechanism and a universal response after abuse. It may feel easier to believe that you caused the abuse rather than facing the reality of being hurt by trusted ones.
This coping mechanism is a defense against overwhelming feelings of powerlessness and betrayal. By blaming yourself, you attempt to regain control in a distorted and harmful way. This response is not only harmful to your mental health, but it may also alter your personality.
- Overthinking Also Plays A Role
Overthinking traumatic past events can lead to distorted perceptions of the abuse. It intensifies feelings of self-blame, making it difficult to break free from the cycle. When you think about the abuse more and more in your mind, you interpret this abuse as deserving.
Additionally, overthinking amplifies the impact of this abuse which further reinforces your false belief of being at fault. As a result, it creates a vicious loop of negative thought patterns that stops you from healing. So, if you want to stop blaming yourself for being abused, you must stop overthinking through constant efforts.
- Triggered Into Shame
The abuser’s tactics may involve constant criticism, belittling, and gaslighting, which aim to undermine your self-esteem and confidence. As a result, you internalize these negative messages, leading to a sense of shame and inadequacy.
Over time, you come to believe you are unworthy of respect, love, or better treatment, reinforcing the cycle of self-blame. These emotional scars can become deeply ingrained, impacting your perception of yourself and your place in the world.
This profound sense of unworthiness can manifest in physically and emotionally neglecting self-care. Victims find it difficult to prioritize their own needs, feeling guilty or selfish for doing so. The neglect of self-care becomes a vicious cycle, as it reinforces the belief that they deserve mistreatment. As a result, the loop of self-blame continues.
Is Blaming Myself A Trauma Response?
Yes, it’s a trauma response known as “survivor’s guilt”. It’s a way of trying to make sense of what happened to you to regain control. When you undergo a traumatic event like abuse, it’s incredibly difficult to process the magnitude of what has occurred. That’s how coping mechanisms kick in.
By blaming yourself, you try to rationalize the traumatic experience and regain control over the situation. Overcoming survivor’s guilt is crucial in healing and requires a compassionate and understanding approach. Working with a therapist or counselor to explore these feelings may be helpful.
You must challenge negative thought patterns and develop healthier coping strategies.
Abuse is a trauma of high magnitude, and healing from self-blame after abuse is challenging. However, you can succeed in this journey by being patient and kind to yourself. Remember, you are not alone, and there’s no shame in asking for help from people who want to help you.
Embrace this journey with an open heart, and with constant effort and patience; you will tackle these negative energies.