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The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

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Depression after ending an abusive relationship

It is often very hard to end an abusive relationship. It can take several attempts until one is finally strong enough to leave. After leaving, one faces the loneliness that can lead to a severe depression. Often depression has already developed as a consequence of prolonged abuse in a relationship.

Mental and physical abuse are having severe effect on one's self esteem. Our romantic partner in life should be the one person who we can trust and rely on. If our partner is suddenly withdrawing his or her support and is turning against us, the very foundations of our life are shaken. We have exposed ourselves completely to our spouse, trusting that our spouse does not use our vulnerabilities against us. If our spouse is suddenly starting to behave in a way that makes us feel he or she no longer loves us but instead has a very negative feeling of us, it is like stabbing us to the back. There is no way one can prepare to such an emotional tragedy.

Long-term effects of emotional and physical abuse

After the first episode of abuse is over one often feels disoriented, confused, ashamed and depressed. If the abusive spouse is apologizing the abuse and promises never to do it again, it is tempting to return to him or her and to try to continue the relationship. The abused spouse is wishing he or she could somehow get back the warm, loving feeling there was in the beginning of the relationship, before the abuse took place. The memory of those positive feelings is like an emotional "hook" that makes it very hard to leave after the first episode of the abuse.

If the abuser is truly sorry and realizes he or she made a mistake, it is possible that the abuse will not happen again. If the abuse does not happen again, it is possible to regain the trust and a good, comfortable feeling in a relationship. However, if the abuse happens again, it is harder to get over it. If one stays in a relationship after second or third time the abuse takes place, another process starts; One starts to slowly adapt to the abuse.

The pain one experiences when the abuse takes place the first time is similar to the pain we feel if our spouse suddenly tells us he or she wants to end the relationship. Our view of our world is suddenly changing and our mind is having hard time adapting to the new situation. If the abuse takes place often, after a while the pain is no longer as sharp as it was the first time we experienced the abuse. This does not mean one would not feel strong pain and depression when the abuse occurs. However, the feeling is different than in the beginning. When the abuse continues, the brain is slowly adapting to the situation and hence the emotional reaction is not so strong (the pain is not as sharp) as it was the first time the abuse took place.

Abuse in a relationship and the development depression

When the abuse continues, one becomes slowly more and more depressed. The development of depression often takes place so slowly that one is not aware of the process until the condition is already quite advanced. If you are feeling depressed to begin with when your spouse is abusing you, the difference between the feeling you had prior to the abusive episode and right after the abuse took place is not as great as it was when you were still generally happy in your relationship (the abuse had not yet started) and after the first episode of the abuse occurred.

Before the abuse started occurring in your relationship, your happiness level was, let us say, 5. When the abuse took place the first time, your happiness level dropped momentarily to 0. The difference between 5 and 0 is 5 steps. The difference is very big and hence the contrast between these two emotional states is very strong. This is why the pain feels so sharp first time when the abuse takes place.

If the abuse continues, you will slowly become more and more depressed. As a consequence of this depression, the general level of your happiness drops, let us say to level 3 or even to level 2. When the abuse now occurs, you drop from level 2 to level 0. The difference is now only 2 steps. Consequently, you do not feel there is such a huge difference between the way you felt right before the abuse took place and the way you felt right after the episode of the abuse.

When one has become severely depressed, one's happiness level has dropped to level 1 or even to level 0. If the abuse happens now, one no longer reacts strongly, one has become numb to the pain. It is very dangerous to stay in this kind of a situation for a long time. The aim of this website is to help people to understand and recognize the processes and different elements that are creating depression and to encourage depressed people to remove these elements from their life so that the recovery can begin.

To read more about how to recover from depression after ending an abusive relationship, visit page Depression due to Problems in a Relationship.