How to Rebuild Self-Esteem After an Abusive Relationship

You found the courage to free yourself from an abusive relationship. No one could have prepared you for how difficult doing the right thing would be, but you did it. Abusive relationships tend to destroy the very last strand of self-confidence you have, leaving you feeling useless, broken down, and damaged. Remember that abusive relationships are not only physical abuse, but anytime emotional or psychological abuse is present.

Part of the healing will be to stop believing everything you were told by your abuser and rebuild your wounded self-esteem by nurturing yourself back to health and confidence.

Here are some ways to help you do that:

Positive Thoughts

Start jotting down positive things about yourself. The list may be short at first, but keep adding to it as you start feeling better. Find ways to remind yourself of those positive things every time you feel low and insecure. Use a small object, such as a pendant, bracelet, small toy, a beautiful rock, or any other small objects you can carry with you, and remind yourself of all the positive things have you have to offer yourself and others.

Carrying that special object can remind you that you are deserving of love and respect. It will encourage you to keep going through tough times. See it as a gentle reminder of your promise to stop any type of abuse from ever coming into your life again.

Nurture Soul & Body

Take care of yourself by exercising, eating well, and getting plenty of rest. Take on new hobbies or activities you have always wanted to do but never did. Bring back your value by investing in yourself. It can be as simple as a hot bath and a facial mask, anything that feels good to you and brings a smile to your face.

Reflect and Observe

Try to get something positive out of that very unfortunate situation by reflecting on possible warning signs you might have missed at the beginning of the relationship, bringing them to light so you are not blinded again.

A common tactic used by an abuser is overwhelming praise and compliments that later turn into possession, pulling you away from your family and friends, only allowing you to spend time with him. Research common red flags of abusive relationships and partners. Turn this into a learning opportunity and make awareness your new best friend.

Be Kind to Yourself

As you reflect upon your past and start learning from your experience, it is critical that you do NOT blame yourself, feel guilty, or criticize yourself for falling for the very wise manipulative traps of the person you were with. It was all a ruse. Your goal is to understand better, see clearly, and grow stronger.

Though abuse is not easy to forget, you owe it to yourself to forgive and move on. Be kind to yourself and allow all the negative energies to flow out of you and embrace a fresh start.

Stay Away

Refrain from any contact with your abuser. Break all ties and contact. Clear every reminder of the relationship from your life and environment. Similar to spring-cleaning, it’s time to let go of the old and make room for the new.

If you have children with your abuser, and visitation with their father is required, you can take advantage of the services of an intermediary if you have to coordinate the transition to his care. A professional intermediary will allow you not to see the person who hurt you, and will make sure your children are safe at the time of transfer of care.

If your mind is cluttered with memories and emotions, write them all down on paper and shred it to pieces once you’re done. Do guided meditations, positive affirmations — anything that helps you quiet your mind and refocus on you.


Whether you confide in your best friend, your family, or reach out to a support group or therapist, this is a time to reconnect to people who bring the best out of you and who will support your goals and be there for you no matter what.

The world changes one person at a time, be that person in your life. Take your time, be patient with yourself, and allow room for all types of emotional fluctuations that may occur. Taking care of yourself will slowly bring self-confidence back in your life.