You can read the first part of this series:

‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell,

I had to learn how to fight for myself,

And we both know all the truth I could tell

I’ll just say this is ‘I wish you farewell’

Kesha – Praying

1.       Encourage or coach them through grounding exercises (examples of which can be found here: Grounding Techniques - Trauma Research UK)

2.       Provide fundamental comfort and reassurance through body language, environment, and recognising any positive effort they are putting into managing their mental health safely

3.       Encourage healthy distractions in utilising creative activities, engaging in hobbies, and practicing productive and therapeutic exercises, techniques, and skills

4.       Don’t be too afraid to allow the survivor some rational and safe control over this difficult situation by letting them be alone or respecting their silence and reluctance to talk about it

5.       Show recognition of how important their experiences are so they do not feel ashamed, embarrassed, or reluctant to talk things through and provide you the opportunity to help

I think that hatred and sheer contempt for my abuser were really the very first thoughts and feelings I experienced when the abuse first began in 2006, and I think that says a lot about him because if you know me, you’ll (hopefully) agree that I’m typically not a hateful person and I don’t develop such opinions about someone with any ease or very little cause. That being said though, I must admit; the hatred I felt towards my abuser felt incredibly easy in an almost automatic and obvious way – as though I didn’t have much choice in the matter; I just had to hate someone who would do all those things to me. And feeling that way, meant that I massively struggled with the idea of having to either put those negative feelings to an end or even to one side, or considering myself wrong for even experiencing them.

I think that in the very beginning of those horrific six months of abuse, the hatred and resentment I found myself demonstrating towards my abuser felt so automatic because it was almost like a natural self-protection. Hating someone who is hurting you (in so many different ways too) and manipulating you, your thoughts, and your feelings; can be so much more understandable and feel so much simpler and more relatable than any other opinions of them. There’s actually an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (season 8, episode 20: Grey's Anatomy recap: 'The Girl With No Name' | that is a perfect, relatable, example of this; where a girl has escaped from her kidnapper and she confides in Doctor Grey that he wasn’t “all bad.” She talks about her struggling with the fact that when she was with him, she couldn’t talk about her family, and now she was back with them, she felt she couldn’t talk about him because she was so afraid of what people would think of her or how they would respond if she did.

So, whilst, when a professional once asked me if I had ‘loved’ my abuser and I’d become violent (hopefully that’s hard to imagine me being that way); I will be honest and say that my thoughts and feelings towards my abuser definitely became somewhat complicated over the course of those six months. And a lot of those contradictory opinions came as a direct result of his skilled manipulation tactics and the very frequent threats he would give me; but that hasn’t made comprehending and accepting these conflicting thoughts and emotions any easier or any more understandable for me. I mean, I often thought ‘if I can’t understand this, why – or how – could anyone else be expected to?!’ And it was this concern and conviction that really silenced me from talking about this to anyone – not even just limited to professionals.

I finally began opening up about this when I made a discovery. I realised that if I focused on my abuser and my hatred for him when I self-harmed, the actual wound would be so much worse than if I were to be thinking about my general sadness, frustration, or any other difficult feeling/thought. And I mean ‘so much worse’ – like, if I didn’t think of him; then I’d need a plaster… If I did, I’d need plastic surgery for severing a nerve and then numerous stitches!

This recognition that I actually found really scary and intimidating, gave me the motivation to finally talk through all of the complicated thoughts, feelings, and opinions on my abuser in a therapeutic setting and with professionals who could provide safe and productive advice and guidance on managing these things in a better, more healthy way. And, upon feeling as though talking more was a bit of a release and finding it to be a helpful means of really, properly processing the challenging thoughts on him, I found myself eager to talk more about the topic on I’m NOT Disordered too.

Having such a huge audience (over 1.1 million now!), means that I feel really hopeful that blogging about this, might help at least one other person to overcome similar thoughts and feelings of anger and hatred. And having recognised that my own experiences of these things was seriously dangerous, I’m really eager to encourage others to talk through everything in a bid to promote safer and more stable emotions. But, alongside the recognition of the anger enhancing the seriousness of my self-harm or suicide attempts etc. I also saw that this really affected my relationships.

I noticed that if I was feeling particularly angry around the abuse and my abuser one day – even if it seemed to be for no apparent reason (which completely fine!) – then it could shape the interactions I have with anyone and everyone during that time. It could make me snap at someone who might make a well-intended or humorous comment, but I couldn’t recognise that; it was almost like the rose-tinted sunglasses thing in that the anger was clouding my judgment of others and my responses to the conversations etc we’d have together. It was so difficult because alongside my hatred and all of the ferocity, I was desperate to connect with someone and for them to say “I completely understand” but it was as though the anger wouldn’t let me say the things I needed to in order for someone to give me that reassurance, empathy, and compassion.

1.       Suggest safe coping mechanisms such as screaming into a pillow or punching something soft!

2.       Recommend reliable and therapeutic resources e.g.: How to manage angry outbursts - Mind

3.       Encourage creative outlets e.g., writing about or drawing representations of their emotions

4.       Provide reassurance that these thoughts and feelings are completely reasonable

5.       Reserve or measure any judgment or response – even if it is well-intended or thoughtful

In case you aren’t familiar with this, the five stages of grief are a model developed by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969 (I actually wrote a blog post around them back in 2018 after the death of my first cat; Dolly: "DON'T TELL ME HOW TO GRIEVE" | WHY THE 'FIVE STAGES OF GRIEF' DON'T MEAN A THING | I'm NOT Disordered ( and it’s basically centred around her idea that you go through five key emotions after a loss (not necessarily of a person). The five ‘stages’ are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Having just chatted about the anger that can come from abuse, I was about to talk about the guilt and then I later had ‘acceptance’ written in my notes for later in the post too and it reminded me of these five stages. When I thought about this similarity, I think that the aftermath to abuse can be so similar – or be reminiscent of – a grieving process because you really do lose so much in surviving abuse…

·         You can lose a sense of safety in realising that even if you have felt safe with a person, there’s nothing concrete or absolute about it

·         Where the abuser is someone who has held some sort of a meaningful place in your life – you can lose a sense of reliance and trust in the people you know and care for/about

·         There’s a loss of certainty because more often than not, the very first episode of abuse has come about by surprise, and it leaves you questioning anything else you felt certain about

·         You can lose the ability to trust in – and build relationships with – new people from the notion that your abuser has likely affected your thoughts around feeling able to rely on anyone

·         Where the abuse happens in childhood, you can lose the naive, innocent, and wholesome upbringing that children should be entitled to

·         A loss of ‘firsts’ – especially where the abuse is sexual and/or rape; there can be a loss of having such intimate moments be with your permission and with someone of your choosing

Abuse helplines (UK based)

Domestic Violence & Abuse:

Home | Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline (

Getting help for domestic violence and abuse - NHS (

Domestic abuse: how to get help - GOV.UK (

Domestic abuse - free counselling & mental health support London (

Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence Charity - Halo Project

Home - Women's Aid (

Home - Refuge

Home (

Respect not Fear |

Ashiana Sheffield | Violence & Abuse | Support | Help | DonateAshiana Sheffield

For Children & Young People:

NSPCC | The UK children's charity | NSPCC

Help With Bullying (

YoungMinds | Mental Health Charity For Children And Young People | YoungMinds

Sexual Abuse:

Lifecentre - Your story. Our journey.

Rape Crisis England & Wales

Home | CIS'ters (

Home - Safeline - Believe in you - Surviving sexual abuse & rape

Mankind – for men in Sussex affected by unwanted sexual experiences (

General Useful Links for Abuse Survivors & Their Loved Ones:

Hourglass (

NAPAC – Supporting Recovery From Childhood Abuse

Guide to support options for abuse - Mind

Bi Survivors Network


The Survivors Trust

Home - Victim Support

To Find Your Local Helplines & Support Services (UK based):

Mental Health Support Network provided by Chasing the Stigma | Hub of hope

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