A Phoenix Rising: Healing After Toxic Relationships by Embracing Change, Not the Past

By Stephanie McPhail, MS.

Why do we want to return to who we were before our heart was broken by abuse?

In the fallout after an unhealthy or abusive relationship, it’s a natural inclination to want to return to who we were before the turmoil, before the storm. We chase the shadow of our past selves, longing for the joy, innocence, and freedom we once knew. This craving is amplified by the pain and confusion of the present, leaving us yearning for a time when life seemed simpler and happier. However, this longing for the past, while understandable, can do us a disservice in our healing journey.

In this article, we explore why trying to revert to our old selves after a horrible relationship is counterproductive, the importance of gratitude for our personal evolution, and the empowering realization of truly knowing our worth.

Chasing Shadows: The Illusion of the Past

When faced with the arduous task of healing after a dysfunctional relationship, our minds often trick us into romanticizing the past. We recall the euphoria of the ‘good times’, conveniently forgetting the reason why we decided to break free in the first place. It’s essential to remember that while our past might seem comforting, it also led us into the unhealthy situations we’re trying to heal from.

What’s more, clinging to who we were doesn’t allow for the growth and self-discovery necessary for recovery. As human beings, we’re dynamic and ever-evolving. The experiences we go through, both pleasant and painful, shape us into who we are. To deny this transformation is to deny a significant part of our identity.

Gratitude for the Journey: Celebrating Who We Are and Who We’re Becoming

Being grateful for our current selves, even in the midst of our healing journey, is a powerful affirmation of our resilience. It acknowledges the courage it took to break free from a codependent relationship, the strength in facing the pain, and the commitment to seek a happier, healthier future.

Moreover, gratitude encourages us to accept and celebrate our ongoing transformation. The journey from who we were to who we are becoming is filled with invaluable lessons and insights. It’s a testament to our ability to endure, adapt, and evolve, and for that, it is something to be deeply grateful for.

Understanding Our Worth: The Key to Healing

One of the reasons we end up in these relationships is a lack of understanding of our true worth. Perhaps we settled for less than we deserved, or we didn’t realize the extent of our needs and wants. Healing involves not only recognizing these past oversights but also learning to set healthier expectations for the future.

Understanding what we truly want, need, and deserve is a critical part of moving on from unhealthy relationships. It equips us with the knowledge to set boundaries, express our needs clearly, and refuse anything less than what we deserve. Embracing our worth is an act of self-empowerment, signaling that we’re ready for healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

In conclusion, healing after a toxic relationship isn’t about going back to who we were before, but about moving forward as who we are becoming. It’s about accepting and being grateful for our transformation, understanding our worth, and looking ahead to a healthier, happier future. It’s about becoming the phoenix, rising from the ashes, more brilliant and resilient than ever before. As professional women, we must remember that our past experiences, no matter how painful, have shaped us into the powerful individuals we are today. And for that, we should be immensely proud.

In addition to being regular contributors to the #1 Online Magazine For Codependency Recovery, Stephanie and David are a husband and wife coaching team who specialize in helping professional women rediscover themselves and create their best lives after toxic relationships. Sign up for their free masterclass where you’ll discover the 3 step framework that is guaranteed to help you heal, transform & thrive: https://www.go.beinglovedshouldnthurt.com

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