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4 Steps to Overcome Limiting Beliefs after Abuse

Trauma leaves us with a bunch of limiting beliefs. These are subconscious patterns that inform how we see ourselves and the world. Things we believe

Beliefs themselves aren’t bad, many are neutral or good. But some are damaging. They hold us back—limiting us. These, logically, are called limiting beliefs. 

Every single person, with a history of trauma or not, has limiting beliefs. But, as survivors of abuse, ours are often more impactful than your average person who’s had a fairly easy life. Ours also tend to be about more critical topics—like our will to live, our life purpose, or our sense of safety in the world.

We needed to adopt certain beliefs to survive the abuse. No belief forms without a reason. Today, though, some of these beliefs are hurting you—even though they once helped. 

It’s time to break free from them. To replace these limiting beliefs with new, self-loving ones.

How to work through any limiting belief

One of the simplest (and arguably most effective!) ways to process limiting beliefs is by dividing a piece of paper into two columns. Write your belief at the top and then do a little brainstorming. 

In column one, write what the belief tries to tell you. 

These are going to be mostly false, but there may be a truth or two in this list too (that’s how your belief stays so well rooted). There are examples a little further down the page.

In the second column, write what the objective and unbiased truth is. 

Be critical about every statement you write here and ask “is this actually true?” Opinions don’t count. It’s only things that could be proven or observed that anyone looking at the situation would universally agree. Examples of this are coming too! 

This simple two-column strategy is so powerful because it helps dismantle limiting beliefs at their roots. 

You’ll understand what it tells you versus what the truth is. So every time the belief crops up you can say, clearly, “Hey, you’re not telling me the truth.” It’ll shrink away and do a little “Oh, okay, I’ll be quiet now. Guess I can’t trick you anymore” dance. 

When it attempts to sneak up on you again, you’ll just repeat this. Eventually it will disappear entirely.

Once you uncover the lies from this limiting belief, you can overcome it. First brainstorm why the belief formed (because they all arise for a reason that’s initially helpful or necessary). Then write the new, effective and self-loving belief you want to replace it based on the column of truths. I’ll give examples of this below too!

How close are you to living a life you love? Take the quiz here!

3 huge limiting beliefs survivors of abuse live with

“My abuser took everything away from me.”

This one is super common! Our life radically changed because of abuse. We face real limitations we wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for that trauma. But, did our abuser truly take everything from us? Here’s what this exercise would show. 

What the belief tells you:

  • My abuser is at fault for all the hardship in my life
  • I have no power because of the abuse I faced
  • I can’t control anything that happens in my life
  • My abuser took away all my potential for happiness or a good life
  • I can’t do anything to improve my life

What the objective truth is:

  • My abuser did leave me with PTSD, but my whole life is not just my PTSD
  • My abuser caused me hardship, but my life today is more than my past experiences. 
  • Although can’t control everything in my life, I can control how I react to and overcome the situations in my life.
  • I still have potential for happiness and a good life, it may just take more work because of my past. 
  • I can improve my life—in fact, I already have in these ways (list them!)

Why we had to believe it once upon a time:

The belief that our abuse took everything away from us once helped us validate how hard our trauma was to survive. It helped us listen to our own pain and frustration when it needed to be heard.

New healthy belief:

“I am capable of living a life I love, even with a history of trauma.”

Go ahead and do this exercise on your own too. There’s a lot more you can brainstorm for each column—and you can customize the last two sections to your own situation. This blog’s list is just a starting point!

“I deserved the abuse.” 

What the belief tells you:

  • I was abused because something was wrong with me.
  • My abuser was punishing me for my wrongdoings. 
  • I was abused because I needed to learn a lesson. 
  • It’s my fault I was abused.

What the objective truth is:

  • My abuser alone is at fault for their actions. 
  • I am accountable for my actions and their impacts, but I never deserve to be punished for them. 
  • There is no greater lesson in abuse—it was simply my abuser reacting poorly to their own pain and pushing it onto me.

Why we had to believe this at the time:

Believing that we deserved the abuse helps us feel a little in control during the trauma. If we deserved it, theoretically we can change and become a “better person” and stop the trauma. This is less scary than seeing the truth that our abuser had all the power. 

New healthy belief:

“I always deserved to be treated with love, but my abuser chose to not act this way. Their choices are not my fault.”

“My pain doesn’t matter.”

What the belief tells you:

  • Other people have it worse, meaning my pain doesn’t matter.
  • Other people and their struggles are more important than mine. 
  • I should be quiet about my pain—no one wants to hear it. 
  • Why does my story and pain matter when lots of others are abused too?

What the objective truth is:

  • Every single person’s pain is a valid experience. 
  • There is no way to compare traumas, everyone experiences pain and struggle differently.
  • Although some people may not want to hear about my pain, others may be inspired by my story
  • It doesn’t erase other people’s pain to talk about my own.

Why we had to believe this:

Sometimes we are shamed for talking about our emotional distress or past trauma. In order to avoid this shame, we formed this belief that our pain doesn’t matter, so we wouldn’t feel internal pressure to talk about it.

New healthy belief:

“My pain does matter and I have every right to talk about it, validate it, and heal it.”

If you want to find out what your main limiting beliefs are, check out this blog here! We’ll also be doing a ton of work on this in The Prosperity Path program—join that right here. <3 

What you’ll notice as you overcome these limiting beliefs

Limiting beliefs are like bowls that hold our pain. This exercise helps dump those bowls out, so you can refill them with self love and joy

As you overcome these limiting beliefs, you’ll finally feel like your life is changing for the better. Perhaps for the very first time after getting out of your abusive situation! This limiting belief work is deep inner healing. 

In my Prosperity Path membership program, I have a whole module set up to help you unearth your core limiting beliefs. You’ll then have my guidance in customizing a path to overcome the main ones you experience. 

There’s also a huge community of survivors walking the same journey as you—so you’ll have tons of support along the way.

Even if you don’t join The Prosperity Path, this two column exercise alone will get you so much closer to healing.

Give it a try with a major limiting belief you face! Go ahead and comment with a belief you have, two lies it tells you, and two objective truths. If you’re stuck, comment anyways and I’ll personally help you out. This is a great way to start this healing process.

Take the quiz. There are 6 stages to prospering after abuse...which one are you in? Click here to access the quiz!
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