How to Regain Self-Esteem After Abuse


Are you struggling to put the pieces of yourself back together again? Abuse can affect someone’s life in a variety of awful ways, but wreaking havoc on a person’s self-esteem is one of the biggest; it is difficult to feel worthy of much when you have been treated like a kitchen rag. You may feel as though a tiny voice is undermining your decision process at all times, paralyzing your actions for fear of “doing something wrong”. Or you may feel confused by the situations in front of you, unable to determine which path is the correct one to take, as you no longer trust yourself to make the right choice. Believing in yourself and building back the confidence that has been eroding away, little by little, is going to take time and a bit of work.

First, it is important to recognize that the issues you are dealing with are due to the abuse you have gone through in the past and not a reflection on your own character. This loss of confidence is experienced by virtually everyone who has been abused by another and the shame you feel as a person can be remedied. You have the skills required to move forward in your life, only requiring the self-confidence to do so. Don’t let fear take over and override your system. Easier said than done, right?

Unfortunately, fear is a large player in the heart of the abused. It creeps in and oozes poison into every crevice of a person’s world. Unable to move, they blame themselves for their “failures” and retreat further down into the rabbit hole. No. Get up. You are not to blame for the fear or lack of self-esteem that eats away at you every day, and you can take steps to build yourself back. Let go of the idea that this is YOUR fault. It isn’t. It is just a consequence of what you have gone through. This consequence can make it very difficult to feel whole and lead your own life. You may feel out of control in regards to your own fate. This feeling is normal, given the circumstances. It is not your fault. It is not some sort of proof that you are incapable or unsatisfactory as a person. Let this idea go. Remind yourself every day that the feelings you are experiencing are normal after abuse and do not allow the guilt to penetrate your being. Stop it in its tracks. Slowly take the control back from the fear and the doubt that has been ruling over you.

When a situation presents itself and you feel that familiar tension inside that disables you from acting, remind yourself. Again and again you will need to fight the indecision and internal chaos that comes along. It is a long process, but one you can win.

If you start to feel stuck and like your head is spinning from making a decision or taking a step forward, take a moment. Breathe. Just focus on that for a minute. Clear your head. Imagine a place that feels soothing to you, it can even be as simple as seeing a white blank screen or an empty white room. Clear your thoughts. Breathe. When you feel the tension easing back, you can face the world again. It will take time to feel comfortable jumping in. Allow yourself the time, but work on this steadily inside. Go with your gut instinct; it is right more often than not. Make the decision. If you end up making the wrong one, know that it will be okay in the end and that you ARE capable of steering it. It is okay. Everyone makes mistakes and we are not perfect. Forgive yourself. Only you have the power to do that and it is okay to do so. Let it go. Every tiny mistake you make does not make you scum. Train yourself to be okay with making a mistake. We all make them. EVERYONE. You are not a horrible person for doing something wrong. Keep reminding yourself. Self-talk is a major part of fixing this.

The more you let yourself make decisions and talk yourself through them, the more confidence you will restore. The fear will try to eat you alive, but with awareness of what is happening to you, and the knowledge that it is not due to some sort of fatal flaw in your being but rather abuse that is causing it, you can heal. You can regain your confidence and self-worth, you can find yourself again. The tension will come. That feeling that you want to run away because you feel unworthy and so very unsure, will come. Don’t run. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, then look the situation square in the face and go with your gut. It will be okay in the end. You have already survived a lot, you can do this.

When in the midst of an abusive situation, it may be difficult to think clearly and come up with a solution to remedy the abuse, while trying to implement it may feel almost impossible. However, given the right tools and the will power to create change, it most certainly is possible, even more so– it is probable. Many may feel overwhelmed and may not know where to start, but it is important to start somewhere. 

Please continue to check in with us each week for a new post about abusive behavior and how it can affect your life and the lives of those around you. There is always that first action to helping someone you care about. Let this be it!


Author Bio - Anna Czarska is a writer and actor who has 15+ years of experience dealing with various situations of abuse. She has pursued business ventures and creative pursuits as well as spending time to study psychology in both formal and personal education. For more information, you may find her Linkedin profile here:

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