Women who survive abusive relationships have a lot in common!
It wasn’t until I was 36 years old that I finally decided that I deserved a better life for myself. I wasn’t scared anymore, I wasn’t playing small anymore and I wasn’t settling anymore! I made a plan to leave my very toxic marriage and I followed it step by step. When I was out of the marriage and on my own for the first time in over 14 years I realized that I was an abused woman. I had been emotionally and mentally abused for 14 years.
Once I was thinking clearly with no more chaos and recovery in my future I sat down and made a list of all the traits I have that enabled me to not only survive my marriage but to leave it behind and begin again. Again, with faith in myself!
I believe us women who do make it out of abusive relationships do so because of innate strengths and, along to way learn more strengths from the experience of being abused. What I’ve found is that the psychopathic experience we endure actually endows us with even more strengths.
And it will be these new-found strengths that will enable us to heal and move forward—whole, confident, and with love. I’ve met so many women via my abuse support group and I have come to discover some qualities in these friends that I believe to be universal among all abuse survivors.
Below are 23 Traits I Believe All Abuse Survivors Have in Common.
1. Actions over words. Healthy, humble individuals do not constantly talk about the good things they have done, because it would be arrogant and uncomfortable. Instead, they prove it via their actions. We don’t spend a lot of time bragging about how far we’ve come, we’re too busy living life for that nonsense.
2. A strong moral compass. Us survivors have always pay attention to rules and ethics. We are frightened of getting into trouble at work, or breaking the law, or hurting a romantic partner. Our happiness does not infringe upon the happiness of others, and we strive to see that same good in others. It’s this one that probably landed us in an abusive relationship!
3. Take responsibility for our actions. Instead of blaming others for our problems, we tend to take full responsibility. We are not looking for excuses or scapegoats. We don’t fear an internal investigation and owning our own faults.
4. Gentle and compassionate. Survivors tend to be the type of people who are always willing to compromise and make things better. We are approachable, warm, and sensitive to the feelings of others. This is the one that probably kept us in an abusive relationship long after we should have left.
5. Can say “I’m sorry.” We always say “sorry” when we do something wrong and sometimes even when they haven’t done anything wrong at all. While manipulators will only apologize if they can get something out of it, their targets apologize in order to restore peace and trust. Being able to say, “I’m sorry” means being able to be vulnerable and, us abuse survivors don’t fear vulnerability.
6. Creative, Romantic, Imaginative. Survivors are often creators—artists, writers, spiritual workers, and musicians. Us dreamer types may find it more difficult than most to reconcile our ideals with reality, but a world without dreamers would be very sad indeed.
7. Say no to conflict. Psychopaths seek out people who will not stand up to them. This doesn’t mean submissive and weak. It means conflict-averse, and willing to set aside issues in order to maintain harmony. Survivors make great colleagues and roommates, BFFs, sisters and so forth! As long as there is harmony we are loyal.
8. Optimistic. This is what can make it so difficult for a victim to leave their abuser. We continue to hope that things will change and go back to the way they were in the idealization phase of the relationship. We want to see the best in everyone, and the plus side of this is we help others see the best in themselves. Our optimism is contagious, and we keep people hopeful.
9. Forgiving. Although we have a hard time forgiving ourselves, most survivors tend to be very forgiving when it comes to someone else’s wrongdoings. We don’t judge, and we don’t hold grudges.
10. See the good in others. We project our own good nature and conscience onto others, mostly because we want to see the inherent good in all people. Although part of recovery is learning to recognize people for who they actually are, whether those qualities be positive or negative, expecting the best in others actually promotes empathy in others.
11. Tuned into the insecurities of others. Survivors seem to have some sort of “autodetect” mode for the soft spots in others. Once these qualities are noted, survivors are intuitively aware of how to approach those vulnerabilities with respect and kindness as opposed to over-the-top flattery offered by psychopaths and toxic people.
Do you see a lot of these traits in yourself? You should respect and celebrate these qualities and seek them out in others.
12. Respect other’s need for space. Survivors can usually tell when someone needs time alone, as opposed to offering extra attention or cheering up. We are not smothering or overbearing, and instead tend to be strong listeners who can sense when we are needed.
13. Easygoing. Survivors can adapt to most any situation, especially if it’s for someone we care about. We’re very low maintenance when it comes to relationships, and unlikely to point out inappropriate behavior until our boundaries have been repeatedly violated. Even when warranted, we will likely feel bad after reprimanding someone else. I know this doesn’t sound like a good thing but, think about it, wouldn’t you rather be easygoing and aware of the feelings of others than a tight ass only out for herself?
14. Positive. We see the best in others and in situations, emphasizing the good and not getting bogged down in the negative details.
15. Loyal in romantic relationships. We are committed to proving loyalty and building trust at all times. No matter what challenges might occur in the relationship, we are determined to treat their romantic partner well. I think this is the one I like best. No one can ever accuse me of throwing my marriage away. I stayed and gave it every opportunity to work until I’d finally been proven it was fruitless.
16. Self-deprecating. We don’t feel any need to present an inflated or impressive version of ourselves, because it’s far easier to laugh at our flaws and foibles than deny we have any.
17. Loves animals. What’s not to love? Us survivors have a complete admiration for the total inherent innocence of animals.
18. Enjoy making others happy. We are driven by an innate desire to make others open up, laugh, and feel good about themselves. A simple smile from a stranger can boost our entire day. And, we are always ready with a smile for others.
19. Seeks understanding. We can’t relax until we understand every experience that shapes us. Shrugging and saying “well, life just sucks” isn’t a valid option. We have a deep need to analyze our situations, so we know how we got there and, if a mistake, how to never let it happen again.
20. Resilience. We have a deep resilience that sustains us. We make question our ability to survive an adversity but, in the end, we always come out the other side, wiser and stronger.
21. Good listeners. A lot of people are always waiting for you to finish talking so they can start their own story. Survivors will spend hours listening to others, and we’re able to empathize without relating everything back to ourselves.
22. Enjoy time alone. We like ourselves, aren’t afraid to be alone and know what to do with that time that brings us contentment and happiness. We don’t need external stimulation every day in order to be happy, and we sometimes require time on our own to recharge.
23. A quest for harmony, peace, and love. Every survivor I’ve ever encountered is on their own path to freedom. However, we choose to accomplish this, I will always have the utmost admiration and respect for our resiliency and drive to turn darkness into light. This, in my opinion, is the most magical of all human qualities.
Do you see a lot of these traits in yourself? You should respect and celebrate these qualities and seek them out in others. And, in new relationships, attach yourself to romantic partners who won’t exploit and use them against you.