It is a process that begins in your mind before it spreads to the heart. No, it does not start with forgiveness of your spouse. Chances are you will need to forgive them, but no, you do not have to in order to heal from the abuse; find peace and happiness again.
Healing is a process. And I know that perhaps after struggling and hurting so much, you are pretty much ready to cross onto the other end of the emotional spectrum. You despair for healing, happiness and peace. You will find it but you have got to put in the work.
The most important thing is to come to terms with what has happened to you. To acknowledge the abuse and understand that you have done nothing to deserve it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with surviving abuse. Do not be ashamed of the things that have happened to you. Remember that loving is taking a risk. You can not before hand, know what someone is capable of in whatever situations, and surely there is no one that is completely flawless. So how could you have known how bad your abuser could be?
The vast majority of victims of domestic abuse are in the habit of blaming themselves for what has happened to them; perhaps for allowing it to happen, perhaps for not being strong enough to stand up against it and many more justifications some of which are thrown about by the perpertrator themselves.
It is completely normal to feel like you are to blame for the abuse that has happened to you. But it is extremely important to remember that as much as it is normal to feel that way, it is not true. It is not your fault whatsoever, nope, you are not to blame. If you are going to heal from your circumstances, you need to start with understanding that.
The road to healing is long and difficult. Figure out the things you never ever want to go through ever again and put a foot down whenever you sense them coming. In a loving relationship, no one should ever threaten you. Your spouse does not get to say they love you and the next minute threaten you. They should not use the same mouth to scream at you, that they use to say they “love you”. They should not terrorize you while claiming to love you. No one should treat you well when it suits their mood and then treat you like crap when they decide so. No one should use belittling words against you, body shame you, insult you and then claim they love you. Take note of the abuse and be ware that the confessions of love are coming shortly after. Are they genuine? NOPE! Love does not work that way. As far as physical abuse goes, the first time they put their hands on you, should be the last! WALK! I know, they will apologise for it, give excuses for it, down play it and even shed a few tears here and there. That right there is what is taking you off your guard. The day your spouse puts their hands on you, there is nothing left to talk about. If you cannot escape the teary apologies, listen to it but keep at the back of your mind that this person will hurt you again and irrespective of their apology and tears, they will do it again.
For a lot of women and men in abusive marriages, especially those with children involved are scared of walking away, definitely because of other factors but more importantly because of the children.
One thing is for sure though, you only get to live this one life and chances are, those children will be just fine with you out of the abusive situation and happier than in it. DAMAGED PEOPLE RAISE DAMAGED GENERATIONS.
Equip yourself with a support network. Look, as humans we are meant to be loved and cared for. It is important to have a friend or 2 for support or family. People that could always show up for you every step of the way. This is absolutely crucial for healing. For the abuse to have happened in the first place, alot of times, the victim is absolutely isolated. This is an enabling factor for the abusers. Counteract the factors that allowed the abuse to take place in the first place and do this by starting to equip yourself with a support network.
Take up therapy. Yes, you heard me right, THERAPY! Talking to someone, a professional that has a better insight into personalities, psychology and perhaps have better insight into the causative factors of the abuse, perhaps be able to assess you and the effects the abuse could have had on your life, things that perhaps if left unidentified and untreated may keep getting worse for you and perhaps end up causing more damage than not. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help!
Live it up! Look, through out the abuse, you have perhaps not lived but survived. You have perhaps had things you had wished to do but were limited by your abuser. You have been controlled ruthlessly. Break free, fly. Perhaps you are even terrified of getting back into society. You have got to start from somewhere, so start small. Perhaps taking more strolls with headsets on could be it, just dare yourself to go out there, but start.
Money. You do not need alot of money to be happy again, to be peaceful, to find healing. But perhaps if you spent on little things every pay day, something for yourself, something you really want, it could go a long way towards setting you free. In most abusive relationships, your abuser will ruthlessly control your money and leave you with absolutely no control over your own money or barely any money at your disposal. To find healing, you need to counterattack every single tool the abuser used to implement their abuse and inclusive in that, is taking away your freedom by taking away your money, that way you will explicitly need them for everything. Money grants us freedom. Freedom to live how we want, go where we want and do the stuff we want to do. It is pretty hard for an abuser to execute abuse towards someone that has money at their disposal, someone that has the freedom to go where they please, buy what they need etc. In finding healing, money is absolutely crucial. No one should work hard for their money and not be able to use their hard earned money how they please. Take back control over your money and enjoy it. Those things you wished to spend on that your abuser called stupid, buy them! It is your money damn it! Enjoy your money but remember, be responsible.