How to Safely Seek External Validation After Abuse

How to Safely Seek External Validation After Abuse how to safely seek external validation after abuse
Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

When you’ve left an abusive relationship, you will feel that no one understands what you’ve been through. Your family and friends may not validate or understand your experiences as you had expected them to. This mostly adds to the feeling of being alone in this healing journey. In fact, it’s one of the reasons that may make you want to go back to your ex because you feel that no one is validating your experiences, and some of your close family friends may even side with your ex.

There are two kinds of validation: external validation and self-validation. The key is getting to self-validation, but it may be a challenge when you’re beginning your healing journey because you’re traumatized and your reality has been distorted. Your self-esteem has also been ruined by that relationship, so you may not even believe in yourself.

In this article, I am going to look at safe ways of seeking external validation as you build your way up to self-validation.

External Validation — Seeking Validation from Others

This is where you seek others to understand you and to validate your experiences. It’s where we rely on others for encouragement and support. It has its drawbacks but it’s a necessary component in your healing journey, especially when you feel you lack the internal resources to support yourself. You don’t really lack those resources; your perspective has just been distorted by what you’ve been put through by your abusive ex. So, how do you safely seek external validation after abuse?

1. It’s Okay to Seek External Validation

The first thing you need to understand is it’s okay to seek external validation. Don’t feel bad for seeking validation from others; you’re just building your own reserve. When you don’t know what’s hit you and you can’t make sense of what you’ve been through, seeking validation is a great solution.

You may be so hard on yourself to the point that you invalidate your attempts at seeking validation. You may even think you’re weak for seeking validation, but you’re just strong and courageous for coming out and sharing your story.

Don’t listen to that voice telling you, “You must be really sick or weak to share your story with a stranger online.” I’ve had plenty of those when interacting with victims of abuse virtually. You will feel that way because you’re used to being invalidated by your abusive ex. What you can do is just know that you’re seeking validation for yourself.

It’s okay to seek others to understand you even when you don’t understand what you’ve been through. When you’ve been constantly gaslighted, you may find it really hard to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not. So, seeking validation from someone who can just listen to you vent and validate your experiences is okay. It’s part of the healing journey.

2. Avoid Seeking Validation from Mutual Acquaintances

“Why can’t my family and friends just understand what I’ve been through?” Sounds familiar?

In life, the first people we want to validate our experiences are family and friends because we have this feeling and expectation that they have to. This is understandable because we feel that we share a deep bond with them plus we’ve been deeply conditioned with many expectations around family.

That’s the greatest trap when it comes to validation because most times they’ll be the last ones to validate our experiences. This is because they may have not seen the dark side of your abusive ex and are just used to their charming side, which makes them your family’s favorite (they may have contributed thousands in a family fundraiser). So, they may also be under the manipulative spell of your ex and they’ve not broken out of it.

Another thing is your family and friends may still be friends with your abusive ex, and where we get it ‘wrong’ is thinking that once we break up with them, our ‘friends’ and ‘family’ should also follow along. Those mutual acquaintances have also heard two sides of the story from you, one was where you were defending your abusive ex and the other was where you were explaining about their abusive side. They may have also heard the same story from your abusive ex. So, they’re just confused and their ‘neutrality’ will mean that they will not fully understand or validate what you’ve been through. Some friends and family may understand, and that’s great, but do not try so hard to convince them.

That’s where you need to stop seeking validation from your friends and family because they may have connections with your abusive ex as well as they may not believe you as you think they should. It hurts that those close to you may not believe you.

The best place to get external validation is by connecting with other survivors of abuse through Facebook groups or online forums like Reddit. You will be able to understand that there’re other people who’ve been though similar experiences and you’re not crazy after all. It’s okay to be validated by a stranger even if you wanted more from those close to you.

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This is also where educating yourself comes in handy now. You can read some books on toxic relationships just to understand that you’re not alone and all the things you’ve been experiencing were truly abusive. You will understand the impact of verbal abuse on your mental health. You will also be able to see what’s possible for you in your healing journey.

So, it’s okay to seek some level of external validation when you’re climbing your way up that dark hole. But don’t stay there; focus on working on yourself to the point that you do not need any validation from the outside as you understand that you’re just good enough on your own.

The key is moving towards self-validation, but when you feel that you cannot do it because of what you’ve been through, seek external validation as a temporary measure as you work on finding yourself. You can as well integrate self-validation and external validation.

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 (in less than 2 months) , 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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