Why Experiencing Grief After Surviving An Abusive Relationship Is Totally Normal

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Heartbreak

You should be overjoyed, right? You just escaped an abusive relationship.

After suffering for some time, you're now free to live your life and be happy. But, what is this grief you're feeling?

Abusive relationships can still make you grieve. Perhaps, you find yourself longing for the company of your ex, the good times that you shared, or the comfort of knowing that you were part of a pair, even if it wasn’t a good pair.

It's super confusing, painful, and you just want it to end.

Understanding why you're grieving is a big step towards letting go of the pain and moving on.

RELATED: 15 Undeniable Warning Signs Your Relationship Is Abusive

Here are 5 reasons why those who were in abusive relationships still experience grief. Plus, how to cope and move forward.

1. You believed things were fixable.

So many clients tell me that they won’t walk away from their abusive relationships because they aren’t quitters.

They truly believe that if they just love their person enough, if they stand by their side in spite of abusive behaviors, that their person will change and they will be happy again.

Here you are, on the other side of your breakup, and you're grieving because you weren’t able to fix them or the relationship.

You might feel like you have let everyone down. You might even feel like you've abandoned your person.

Let me tell you that no matter how much you might have tried, your person wasn’t fixable unless they wanted to be fixed. And you're probably grieving this fact — that you couldn’t save a relationship or someone you once loved.

Try to let yourself off the hook. You couldn’t have made any change alone, no matter how hard you tried.

2. You blame yourself.

One of the most insidious things about an abusive relationship is that after a while, you start blaming yourself for everything that's going wrong.

I have a client whose husband had a relationship with one of their employees. For three years, my client has asked her husband to fire that woman, and for three years, he promised to but didn't.

She was beside herself — and rightly so.

The thing is, her husband has done a remarkable job making her feel like their issues are her fault. He says that if she could just let this go, they could be happy.

He says that she has no compassion for this other woman’s children — what would they do if their mother had no income? His accusations made her question her mental health some days.

Do you blame yourself for why your relationship was abusive? Do you believe that if you could just have been a little bit nicer or paid more attention to him or had sex with him when he wanted you to, that everything would be just fine?

If yes, stop. Your person was making your life difficult and while you might play a role in the situation, it’s not all your fault.

3. You feel lonely and bored.

I know it’s hard when you're still experiencing grief after surviving an abusive relationship. You may believe that you will never be happy again.

These feelings are understandable. But your grieving comes from sheer loneliness and boredom.

When you break up with someone, you lose a playmate — someone to watch T.V. with, to go out to dinner with, to fool around with, and to just hang out with during those downtimes.

And, now, you don’t have that person.

For a lot of people, when they're grieving after a breakup, they stop doing things.

They don’t feel like doing things because they're depressed about the breakup, but also because they're not used to doing things without their person. So, they don’t do anything at all.

As a result, they're bored and lonely and they spend a lot of time thinking about their ex as they grieve.

Do whatever you can to keep yourself busy. I was just talking to a client who said that just taking a trip to Starbucks brightened her day, at least temporarily. Sitting at home obsessing was sucking the life out of her!

I know it’s hard during these times of Covid to keep yourself busy but now is the time to work to do so.

FaceTime with friends, read books, get into shape, learn something new, watch rom-coms with your mom — whatever you can do to keep yourself busy and not bored.

Honestly, you might not be grieving the loss of your ex as much as you think you are. Keeping yourself busy might prove that!

RELATED: How I Saved Myself From An Emotionally Abusive Man — And You Can, Too

4. You believed you were soulmates.

Do you believe that the relationship that you shared with your person is like none other? That the intense passion and connection that you share can not compare with anyone else’s relationship and that letting it go is such a waste?

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Let me tell you, everyone feels that way about their relationship. I hate to burst your bubble, but while the love you have for this person might be strong, it’s not the ultimate love in the world. Letting go of it will not be the end of love for you.

I mean, how can someone who hurts you over and over be your soulmate? Really, how can they?

If you can accept that this person who abused you is not your soulmate (even if it felt that way in the beginning), then you are WAY more likely to find a connection that is real, wonderful, and magical.

I did.

5. You have to let go of your dreams for the future.

I have a client who was abused one time too many and made the decision to finally walk away.

For her, she saw her family die, at that moment. She saw that the dreams she had of an intact family and grandchildren coming home and growing old with someone had been dashed, maybe forever.

And she believed that she might be alone forever, that she will never love or be loved again.

One of the reasons you're still experiencing grief is because you're grieving the loss of those dreams for the future and that your new future is scary and murky.

As someone who has survived an abusive relationship, I can tell you that leaving this situation is the only way that your dreams for the future will come true.

You will find love and happiness again, I promise!

Experiencing grief after surviving an abusive relationship is not only normal, but it could be the best thing that could happen to you right now.

Letting go of an abusive relationship comes in stages — much like death. Right now, you are grieving.

I promise you, it will pass. You will come to accept that the past is the past and look towards the future, a future filled with happiness and love.

RELATED: 6 Heartbreaking Ways Emotional Abuse Changes You

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based, certified life and love coach. Let her help you find, and keep, love in this crazy world in which we live. Email her at mitzi@letyourdreamsbegin.com and get started!