Step 1: Listen to that tiny voice when it says you deserve better.
Step 2: Internalize that you need to leave.
Step 3: Figure out a way to leave, then leave. Or leave even without a clear plan. Whatever it takes, hopefully with a support system in place, but also if not. It’s possible.
[Alternate Steps 2 & 3: Recognize that you’ve been discarded by your abuser and now is your chance. It’s a gift. It doesn’t feel like it yet, but it’s a gift.]
Step 3.5: Realize that you don’t have to figure out how to survive, because you are already surviving and have been for weeks or months or years. Take a few deep breaths. Keep on.
Step 4: Establish your outlets for crying, yelling, confusion, empowerment, therapy, raw honesty, hurting, and healing. Plus more crying and yelling.
Step 5: Teach yourself about the abuse. Study when you can. Knowledge is power.
Step 5.75: Embrace that you deserved none of the abuse, nor were you responsible for it.
Step 6, Part 1: Set your standards and start practicing your boundaries. These are your personal guidelines and rules that you’ll allow no one to infringe upon or break, and will not sacrifice yourself.
Step 6, Part 2: Understand that these standards and boundaries are necessary in all walks: with friends, family, bosses, partners, etc., and operate thusly.
Step 7: Explore and find what it is that makes you feel safe, helps you create stability, and fills you with happiness. Do more of it.
Step 8: Take time to notice that holy shit, you’re doing this. You’re healing and thriving.
Step 9: Move forward into a life which needs no one’s approval but your own.
Step 9.99: Remind yourself as often as necessary that you’re a warrior a la Wonder Woman.
Step 10: Use your story to help others. (Note: Helping doesn’t have to look and manifest the same to you as it does for me.)