Valentine’s Day can be an incredibly challenging time if you’ve been hurt by someone you loved. Don’t let this couple’s holiday catch you off guard. We’ve put together 5 helpful tips to help you on your healing journey.
How To Get Through Valentine’s Day As A Domestic Violence Survivor
- Identify Your Triggers
- Surround Yourself With Kind & Loving People
- Set Boundaries
- Prioritize Your Own Needs
- Talk To A Therapist
1. Flowers, Chocolates – Identify Your Triggers
It’s possible that certain situations, objects, scents, sounds, or images might trigger negative emotions and traumatic flashbacks, especially if you developed PTSD or another anxiety disorder as a result of being abused. Identifying and naming your triggers is an important part of processing your trauma.
Anything can potentially be triggering to someone, and your own personal triggers will depend on your traumatic experiences. There’s no need to feel ashamed of being triggered, even if the trigger is something that other people generally associate with positive or happy feelings.
For instance, some domestic violence survivors find that flowers, chocolate, and other Valentine’s Day gifts are triggering because it reminds them of the gifts that their abuser gave them to manipulate them and ask for forgiveness.
2. Surround Yourself With Kind & Loving People
You have a right to heal from your trauma and create a happy and independent life. Part of that process includes surrounding yourself with people who will support you and let you unapologetically be yourself.
It’s okay to limit contact with friends and family members who don’t understand what you’ve been through or who make you feel ashamed, guilty, or fearful. You get to decide how much contact you feel is appropriate.
3. Set Safe Boundaries This February
If you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in an abusive relationship, it’s quite likely that you’ve developed a habit of walking on eggshells and ignoring your own boundaries to appease your abuser. Even if you’re in a safe environment now, your mind and body might still subconsciously struggle to feel safe due to the trauma. As such, you might need to take some time to figure out what your boundaries are and practice setting them. A therapist can help you if you struggle with this skill.
4. Love Yourself – Prioritize Your Own Needs
Prioritizing your needs goes hand in hand with setting boundaries. Remember, you have every right to take care of yourself first before tending to others, and you are not selfish for doing so. It’s completely reasonable for you to seek your own comfort, safety, and happiness, even if this requires setting boundaries and telling people “no” sometimes.
5. Talk To A Therapist
Talk therapy can be an invaluable tool in healing from any type of trauma, including intimate partner violence. A therapist can help you identify your triggers, set boundaries, and create better self-care strategies. Moreover, if you also suffer from anxiety, PTSD, depression, or another mental health condition as a result of being abused, she can help you find ways to cope.
Domestic Violence Therapist In Glendale
If you’re a survivor of domestic abuse or intimate partner violence, don’t do Valentine’s alone this year. Dr. Taji Huang can help you regain a sense of safety and control in your life. She offers anxiety, PTSD, and domestic violence counseling in Glendale, CA. Contact her office today to schedule an appointment.