If you have a past riddled with verbal abuse like me, you may know how difficult it is to find happiness in your life. Prolonged abuse has changed how you perceive the world and the actions of those around you. You may be hesitant when someone is nice to you or feel unworthy of love and affection. However, everyone deserves a life of happiness, and it is possible. 

How to Find Happiness After Abuse

Start Small 

One misconception that many abuse victims face is looking at the world in extremes. Once I realized I was the victim of verbal abuse, I wanted to get as far away from it as possible. So I started seeking the opposite behaviors in others to avoid a similar situation. However, looking for the perfect relationship was impossible until I was ready to heal from my trauma. 

Part of my therapeutic process was to start small each day with some positives in my daily life. This method began on my darkest days when I was overcome with depression and could not believe there was something worthwhile to look forward to. I started a daily journal listing things that brought me joy or gave me a positive feeling. It was challenging at first, but as I became accustomed, my lists included items like: 

  • Walking with my dog
  • Having a houseplant with flowers 
  • Fresh coffee in the morning
  • Holding a baby
  • A hot shower

Find Joy

I found it hard most days to find joy as I struggled with processing my past trauma and dealing with my present challenges. I felt like my history of verbal abuse tainted how I see and react to things as an adult. And after going through years of therapy, I realize it is true. 

However, I slowly learned that I can make adjustments to how I react and see my world today. I do not have to endure a never-ending cycle of self-pity and despair from my past trauma. I have the tools to find joy in my life every day, but I sometimes have to make a real effort. 

These days, it is slowly getting easier to find joy. Last week, I found myself laughing and smiling as I watched my dog curiously playing with a beetle he found on the ground. After a long couple of days with rain, I felt like a child collecting earthworms from the ground to feed my pet chickens. 

I’ve realized that finding joy and happiness in your life is not always from big, spectacular events. This feeling can come in small, everyday pieces. And how wonderful it is to find joy often rather than wait for an extraordinary situation to happen to me. 

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