When someone has gotten out of a traumatic situation, it’s very common to struggle with complex emotions and thoughts. More often than not, the abused will blame themselves for the abuser’s bad behavior, especially if the abuser was narcissistic.
1. Victims may retreat, lose/gain weight and feel depressed
It’s not unusual for victims of abuse to retreat from others out of shame, self-blame or desire to keep the abuse a secret.
Of course, it’s not the person’s fault and he or she shouldn’t be ashamed, but after being treated a certain way, it can be hard to not feel down about oneself.
2. Victims may not trust others after being abused
Abuse victims may second guess how they view people or doubt their own judgement. They may stop trusting people. They may feel anxious or wonder if people truly care or if they are just “faking it.” They may second guess love partners. They might even retract affection.
3. Victims may take the blame even though they clearly shouldn’t
These feelings manifest in depression, anxiety and self-doubt. It’s not unusual to hear of someone who has been abused “beating themselves up” psychologically.
4. Victims may relive the event(s)
In their minds, the trauma can still replay and feel very real. These symptoms suggest Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
5. Victims may try to play the “If I only” game
If I only did this … the abuser may have done that instead of that …
The reality is if you or someone you love has been abused, know that you are not a “victim.” You are not to blame. You did not deserve this. Sometimes, people are outright evil and not “well” and that is on them, not you or your loved one. That person– the abuser– is the one to blame. That person is responsible for his or her actions, and no one else.
Finding support helps. If you are alone, it is much harder to feel supported. Therapy, self-help books, meditation, group therapy, good self-care, exercise and other things will help if you or your loved one does not have a good network to help.