Living with past abuse

Past abuse can have such a detrimental effect on our mental health, making daily life torturous. Survivors can often be left with depression or anxiety after experiencing trauma, which makes it hard for them to trust others or often do even the simplest of tasks such as leaving the house in the morning. The feeling of anxiety or worry that is induced can severely impact their social connections, work life, and ultimately their physical health.


Survivors of past abuse need to start trying to overcome their past abuse now to make living life easier. Although it's never easy to begin, it's essential to confront this head on to properly deal with these difficult memories and emotions. Whether you are working with friends or a therapist to tackle the past, you need to learn where to accurately place blame for the abuse and start setting new standards for the people you trust and have around you.

Read on for expert advice on how to live with past abuse without letting it overcome your happiness.

Redirect blame

Often, survivors of abuse blame themselves for what has happened to them. Some survivors may even think they deserve the hurt that was inflicted on them - both physical and emotional. This usually stems from the abuser(s) ingraining this belief into them during the period of abuse, telling them it is their fault for what is happening, or that the abuse is happening as some form of punishment for an action they took.

As a result, the lasting trauma survivors live with after the abuse may be 'justified' to them as a continued form of punishment for having done something wrong. Although this is a perfectly understandable reaction - this is wrong. The very first thing a survivor needs to overcome their abuse and trauma is to redirect the blame back onto the abuser where it belongs.

Once we can understand that none of what happened was our fault, living with past abuse becomes much easier as we can begin to love ourselves again and close a door on the past.

Raise your standards

Living with abuse can be hard if you still surround yourself with people who will use and harm you. When you push blame for your past abuse away from yourself, you also need to recognise that you don't deserve that treatment again, and therefore need to keep yourself away from those types of people.

You deserve much better treatment than in the past, so look at how your friends and family are treating you. If you are being abused (emotionally, physically or psychologically), or suspect you could be by these people in the future, then you need to let them go and find a new group of people who will care for you as they should.

Seek support

Living with abuse can be especially hard when you are facing this trauma alone. Surrounding yourself with people you can trust to tell your story to can help make each day easier until the point where you no longer feel wholly affected by past abuse.

Whether you have one person or seven around you who know about your past, their support system can be the difference between you finding a way to overcome the past or falling into depression.

Sometimes, we don't always have the people around us who are supportive or understanding of certain situations. However, this doesn't mean you are alone. Therapists can give you the outside expert opinion on your past abuse and provide the necessary advice you need to push the past away and live a happier and healthier life.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Warrington, Cheshire, WA4 6NU
Written by Dr Liddy Carver, Dr. Registered MBACP (Accred), PhD Counselling
Warrington, Cheshire, WA4 6NU

Prior to establishing her private practice in Warrington, Cheshire, Dr Liddy Carver was a Senior University Lecturer/Programme Leader in Counselling. Her therapeutic experience includes work in a university counselling service, not for profit organisations and a city hospital occupational health department. She is also a counselling supervisor.

Show comments

Find a therapist dealing with Abuse

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals