People who have experienced interpersonal violence are incredibly strong. But being strong and feeling strong are two different things — and we can’t feel strong all the time.

One way that abusers gain power is by sowing seeds of doubt. They make you question your beliefs, your decisions, your own thoughts. It’s really hard to move past that, even after leaving. Survivors often experience side effects of abuse — like hypervigilance, anxiety, self-doubt, and more — long after they’ve left an abusive relationship.

When those symptoms flare up, it can be helpful to have some grounding techniques on hand to help soothe your mind. One technique that can be helpful for survivors of partner abuse (and other types of trauma, too) is reciting affirmations. I recommend trying to write some of your own, but here are 21 to get you started.

21 Affirmations for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

1. I’m worthy of love just as I am.

2. My flaws don’t make me unloveable or deserving of violence.

3. It wasn’t in my head; they just made it seem that way.

4. I made the right decision.

5. My home should be a haven of peace, warmth, and safety.

6. I am a whole person. I complete myself.

7. I am able to make decisions on my own.

8. This is my body, and I’m going to take care of it the best I can.

9. When I’m struggling with feelings of distrust, I will give myself space to process them.

10. Making life changes is difficult. It won’t always feel easy, but I can do this.

11. My intuition is a helpful guide.

12. I am healing slowly but surely.

13. I know that recovery is neither linear nor time-bound. I go at my own pace.

14. I accept myself as I am.

15. I won’t always be perfect, because perfection isn’t real. But I will be doing the best that I can.

16. When I can’t do my best, I will give myself grace.

17. I deserve to set and maintain boundaries.

18. I don’t have to forgive or forget. That doesn’t make me a bad person.

19. When times are difficult, I know I have people I can turn to for support.

20. I didn’t do anything to cause this. The blame for abuse lies with my abuser, not with me.

21. I am not defined by what has happened to me. I’m in control of my own story.

What affirmations do you turn to when you doubt yourself? Let me know on Instagram or Twitter @FeministSexEd.

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