How Do You Challenge Your Negative Beliefs After Abuse?

How Do You Challenge Your Negative Beliefs After Abuse? how do you challenge your negative beliefs after abuse?
Photo by Jordan Madrid on Unsplash

When you’ve experienced an abusive relationship, one inevitable outcome is the distortion of your inner belief system, leading to a plethora of negative beliefs about yourself. These may range from feeling unworthy of love, thinking you deserve the abuse, to believing in your helplessness and more. This distortion prevents you from recognizing positive aspects in your life, as your distorted inner belief system filters out the good and emphasizes the bad.

These negative beliefs have a profound impact on your actions and emotions; much of your behavior aligns with what you deeply believe about yourself. For instance, engaging in self-sabotage reinforces the belief that you are unworthy of self-care or that you don’t deserve to prioritize your well-being. Your actions and circumstances gravitate towards the familiarity of what you’ve come to accept about yourself.

So, how can you challenge these negative beliefs? The process is more practical than theoretical, involving simple exercises in your journey. This is more of a practical thing and a simple exercise you can adopt in your journey. Do not try to overanalyze it because the mind is quite a strange thing. It will go all the way to protect you, even if it’s not protecting you but keeping you in painful circumstances.

The Power of Contradictions

The best way to challenge your beliefs is to understand how your current life, or the life you’re living, is full of contradictions. Contradictions are more about statements, beliefs, and ideas that seem inconsistent or conflicting with each other. When we get stuck in a problem or a situation, our mind keeps us from looking the other way; we only focus on the problem because we’re stuck in it.

For example, you might hold a negative belief about your abilities, like helplessness, but have evidence of past successes that contradict that belief. When you uncover some of your contradictions, you’re challenging the conclusions you’ve made about your current state in your healing journey. Beliefs drive us to make negative conclusions, and these conclusions are what make us stuck.

Now that you understand what contradictions are, let’s do this practically. Here are the steps you can take. Have fun with this, and if there is something that will help you in your personal development journey, it’s just deep inquiry — looking at your conclusions and examining contradictions that disrupt those conclusions. A conclusion is like the end of thinking, and when you look at contradictions, you’re beginning to see again or view things and your life from a different perspective.

Let’s look at a practical example. You can give it a try, but always understand that it’s your responsibility to keep yourself safe, and this is not a replacement for therapy and mental health support. Approach this process with care and compassion, and be patient with yourself.

Step 1: Identify the negative belief

The first step is to pay attention to your thoughts and identify negative beliefs that may be influencing your emotions and behavior. For example, some common beliefs include feeling unlovable, thinking you deserve to be abused, believing you are damaged beyond repair, blaming yourself for the abuse, feeling foolish for not leaving sooner, considering yourself a bad parent with your kids deserving better, thinking you’ll never recover from this, and doubting your ability to trust anyone as everyone will hurt you, and more.

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Write as much as you want, and go easy on yourself. If it feels heavy, make sure to keep yourself safe.

Step 2: Explore the Contradiction

Once you identify the negative belief, you can then explore the contradiction that will expose the untruth of the negative belief. A negative belief may appear so true to the point where you cannot even look beyond it. Therefore, when you explore the contradiction, you’re essentially challenging the conclusion that the belief had fed you. Write down the contradiction to the belief, no matter how minimal the positive aspect is. Note that your mind will attempt to minimize or downplay it, aiming to keep you stuck with the negative belief.

For Example: Negative Belief 1: I Am Worthless and Unlovable

Contradiction: List instances where people have shown care and love towards you, highlighting that this belief is not universally true. For example: –

Friendship: Think about friends who have supported you during difficult times, listened to you without judgment, and shared moments of joy and laughter with you.

Family Relationships: Recall instances where family members have expressed love, appreciation, or provided assistance when you needed it, demonstrating their care for you.

Acts of Kindness: Consider times when people have shown kindness towards you, whether through small gestures, compliments, or acts of generosity.

Professional Relationships: Reflect on positive feedback, praise, or recognition you’ve received in your workplace, highlighting instances where others value your contributions.

Romantic Relationships: If applicable, think about moments in past or current romantic relationships where your partner expressed love, affection, and admiration for you.

Supportive Communities: Identify groups or communities where you feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, recognizing that you are valued within those social circles.

Pet Relationships: If you have pets, consider the unconditional love and companionship they provide, serving as a reminder that you are capable of forming meaningful connections.

Personal Achievements: Acknowledge your accomplishments and successes, recognizing that these achievements reflect your skills, talents, and worth.

Positive Feedback: Think about times when people have given you positive feedback or compliments, indicating that they see positive qualities in you.

Acts of Love and Care: Recall specific instances where people have gone out of their way to show love or care for you, whether through supportive words, thoughtful gestures, or expressions of affection.

Step 3: Repeat for all those other beliefs

Remember that the negative belief is a distortion, and these examples serve as evidence that contradicts it. It’s important to focus on these positive instances and use them to challenge and reshape your self-perception.

If you find it challenging to identify these examples on your own, consider discussing them with a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional who can provide additional perspective and support. Give it a try, and go easy on yourself. The best thing to do is to use this as your daily practice — spend just a few minutes, like 10 or 20 minutes, every evening, and then see how it goes.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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