Virtues Re-Form Abuse Victims Sense of Self

October 6, 2011 Kellie Jo Holly

Some of you find it difficult to celebrate yourselves for the wonderful person you are. Perhaps you can't remember one single good thing about you that hasn't been made fun of, undermined, or turned into a weapon by your abuser. It is difficult to keep a positive self-image let alone cultivate a positive attitude when someone else attempts to squash you like a crunchy cream-centered bug every time you get "too happy".

In time, you may begin to feel like the fight for your Self is futile. A bit down the road, you may wonder why you fought at all. You think that you are not worth the fight - it's easier to become what your abuser wants you to be than to be who you want to be or become.

Depression & Anxiety

The "giving in" causes depression and anxiety. Your abuser adds to the depression and anxiety by remaining predictable in their unpredictable-ness. You concentrate on shifting your Self to complement your abuser's mood in order to maintain quasi-control your environment and your mental health. You are expecting yourself to be the abuser's mirror image, know their thoughts without being told so your actions and reactions suit them.

So you can avoid your abuser's terror-tactics, you allow your Self to disappear. The silencing of your Self causes more pain than your abuser can inflict although, in the beginning, it seemed to work. But now, the story is different.

healthyThe Abuse Victim's Self-Inflicted Pain

The longer you allow yourself to believe that you can control your abuser's moods by anticipating their desires, the longer you will feel worthless, confused, abandoned, and angry. The abuser didn't "do" this to you. You've caused your Self to painfully rebel and the anguish you feel emanates from your (almost) successful strategy of silencing your Self.

The pain you feel is your Self's last, gasping-breath attempts at helping you return to your core being - the fabulous, wonderful, flaws-and-all human that God painstakingly created for a reason.

So long as you pretend to be someone else, you cannot follow the path of your soul.

Off the Beaten Into-You Path

It may be difficult to remember "who you are" after all this time. You may be out of touch with your own soul, but that is okay. Change the ambiguous question "who am I?" into "Who do I want to be?"

Maybe you want to be:

  • Balanced
  • Honest
  • Strong
  • Empowered
  • Peaceful
  • Healthy

There are so many virtues that you could embody! Check the list of virtues at and pick one that you want to "be".

How to Become Your Self

Choose one virtue that calls to you and define it in your own words. Read your definition (which can be as long or short as you like) daily and before you go to sleep. Concentrate on becoming the embodiment of that virtue.

If you have lost the will to defend your Self, you can substitute a virtue and fight for it. In a short amount of time, after being and defending that virtue, you will discover that you've developed a piece of your Self, that you've given back your Self a bit of its powerful voice. empowered

Maybe you embodied that virtue but silenced it, or maybe you never embodied that virtue until now. It won't matter how you became virtuous, only that you are. You will have identified a piece of yourself that you know is worth fighting for.

Your boundaries will become easier to honor. Your tolerance for your abuser's nonsense will diminish. You will find your spark; you will become more you and less them.

As each piece of your Self falls into place, your abuser will become more and more uncomfortable. When s/he acts out due to your newly found sense of self, you will be ready to do what you need to do to feel free from abuse. Freedom from abuse begins when you re-form your Self.

Choose who you want to be. No one else can do this for you. You can do it.

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2011, October 6). Virtues Re-Form Abuse Victims Sense of Self, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 30 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

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