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Ten Ways for Survivors to Trust and Love Again
1. Recognize the Urge to Recreate Childhood Abuse: It is human nature to be drawn to people who replay the abuse we suffered as children. We do this because we hope to recreate the original trauma and work for a happy ending.

2. Identify Your Happy Ending: The happy ending can be: I will find someone who makes me feel like number one; or I will choose a partner who responds to my needs. Before you can achieve your happy ending, you need to know what outcome you desire.

3. Choose a Partner Who is Capable of Providing the Happy Ending: Your happy ending can only occur when you chose a partner that is different from the person(s) who abused you in the past. To avoid recreating the abuse of the past, and to obtain the happy ending, don’t choose abusers in the present.

4. Listen to Your Warning Bells: If you are afraid of starting a new relationship or moving deeper into a relationship with someone that you are dating, listen to your warning bells. They may be telling you that your mind is drawing you into a repetition of an earlier abuse.

5. Just Say No: Survivors have a hard time setting limits for themselves, hence love feels dangerous. When you know that you are entitled to say no to any form of treatment that feels uncomfortable to you, you will feel safer to love and trust. Don’t surrender your power in the hopes that someone else will be kind to you, which puts you in the child seat, and stirs up feelings of helplessness and fear. Know that you can count on yourself for protection. If you take hold of the reins, trusting and loving comes easier.

6. Say What You Need: Survivors often feel unentitled to say what they need and want. Hence, the prospect of trusting and surrendering to love is seen as another opportunity to be walked on by somene else. In order to trust someone else, you must first know that you can count on yourself for protection. As an additional guard against being walked on, verbalize your needs.

7. Don’t Stuff Your Anger: When you feel angry, make sure to calmly tell the person who upset you what he or she said or did, and how that made you feel.

8. Handle Your Angry Feelings Properly: When explaining how you feel, make sure you behave constructively. (No screaming, yelling, name-calling, or character insults.) The better you express your angry feelings, the less likely you are to receive abuse in return.

9. Choose a Partner That Welcomes Your Angry Feelings: Make sure to choose a partner that accepts all your feelings. If your partner refuses to hear your negative feelings, turns the blame back on you, or tries to make you feel guilty for your feelings, listen to your warning bells, and run for the hills.

10. Listen to Your Mate’s Angry Feelings: If you weren’t heard emotionally as a kid, you will not know how to listen to your mate. If your mate feels unheard, his or her temper will flare, and you will be on the receiving end of a lot of anger, which can feel very painful to an abuse survivor. So learn to listen

Reprinted with permission from:
Dr. Jamie Turndorf (a.k.a. Dr. Love), bestselling author of Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First), internationally famous couples therapist, and advice columnist read by millions throughout the world. You may have read her Dr. Love Guides in newspapers world-wide, seen her on television or heard her on the hot NYC radio show “Women for Women.”

1995-2001 Dr. Jamie Turndorf
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