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Depression and Domestic Abuse:

5 Actions to Avoid in Order to Heal Depression after an Abusive Relationship

domestic violence consulting expert


By Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

It is common knowledge that when one is beaten down, they feel beaten down. So it’s no wonder that domestic abuse survivors frequently suffer from depression. We see this in individuals living in an abusive relationship, and in those having left their abuser.

What is it that makes it possible for these people to heal their depression? The following actions to avoid, and steps to take, are essential to the resolution of depression for domestic abuse survivors.


1) Stop Negative self-talk

Even though you might be accustomed to hearing how you can’t, you won’t, you don’t, you aren’t, there is no need for you to pick up where s/he left off. Doing so only sustains the battering. Only difference is it’s from the inside out. 

2) Un-shoulder responsibility for battering

Un-shoulder any remnants of your shouldering responsibility for the abuse. Battering is fully owned, operated and controlled by the perpetrator and no one else. Your willingness to shoulder the responsibility for the abuse is part of what keeps the abuse dynamic going. Let it go! It’s not yours. 

3) Avoid self-deprivation

Self-deprivation may have been the norm in your former kingdom and that’s where it must remain. One may be accustom to being consumed by, and preoccupied with, taking care of the needs of the “other” (a demanding perpetrator), rather than recognizing and caring for oneself. This keeps you in the “I am abused position.” Instead, it is time to know, honor and nourish yourself in every way, shape and form that is physically possible for you. 

4) Cultivate Self-compassion

When the blow hurts and the pain aches, embrace it. Running from it prevents it from resolving itself. Exercise self-compassion. Be with yourself just as you would be with a child who is wounded in a playground. 

5) Find and rekindle that which you love…that comes from within

“That comes from within” is the key to this one. Now this may be the hard one because so much time has been spent on not recognizing anything is within. It is of utmost importance that you find that which you love…that comes from within, and make this your primary focus. As you focus on it, it will expand. You know what you focus on expands. That which we bring energy to brings more of it onto us.


Bonus Tip: Focus on what you have; not what you don’t have. You’ve been inundated with the message that you aren’t enough…you’re amiss in this, that and the other. Over time you develop the habit of seeing yourself as the half-empty cup. Shift your perspective and see yourself as the half-full cup. With this your cup will fill with more of what is right with you.


If you do all of these things, your depression will lift. And under that you will discover the goodness that you are, the happiness you can be and your love of life again.

For more domestic violence healing insights, claim your free Survivor Success Tips & eInsights. For personal help for yourself or for a loved one, contact us Dr. Jeanne King helps individuals recognize and end domestic abuse, and heal from abusive relationships.

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©Copyright 2008 Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.