How to Stop Emotionally Abusing Yourself

06/30/2015 09:27 pm ET | Updated Jun 30, 2016
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Your dreams will never come true.

You screwed up, again.

You're fat.

You're ugly.

I hate you!

How many of these phrases have said out loud or thought quietly? If you're like me, you may have said some of these and other emotionally abusing phrases and words to yourself throughout various stages of your life.

Self-criticism may come naturally to you. Why? Because you may have been raised in a family where emotional and verbal abuse was the norm; most parents raise their children based on how they were raised. It's not smart parenting, is it?

You can break the emotionally abusive cycle. How? By choosing to honor, love and respect yourself. By choosing to not only eliminate people and situations that are not for your highest good from your life but acknowledging how powerful you are.

10 Ways to Stop Emotionally Abusing Yourself

1. Compliment yourself every day.

One way to stop emotionally abusing yourself is to compliment you. For example, you may have released 10 pounds. Congratulate yourself for getting fit and healthy. Perhaps you paid for the groceries of the person in front of you. Acknowledge your random act of kindness by feeling pretty damn good about yourself. Complimenting yourself is an act of self-love and can build your self-esteem.

2. Cut emotionally abusive people out of your life.

This one may be difficult to do, but you'll feel better for it. It doesn't matter if it's your mom, dad, sister, brother, or another family member; you don't have to surround yourself who bring or cut you down. If your family can't appreciate and respect you, walk away. You can love them and send them loving thoughts from a distance.

3. Join a support group.

If you're lacking support in your life, you may want to join a group where you'll feel safe to speak about your feelings. It's important that the group you join is made up of members who want to move forward in their lives. While you'll want to discuss how the emotional abuse you've suffered has wreaked havoc on your life, you'll want to take the appropriate steps to heal.

4. Discover what you get from emotionally abusing yourself.

What do you get from emotionally abusing yourself? Do you get to be right? Do you get to be the victim? While it was not all right for the adults in your life to treat you like crap as a child, you can choose to move forward from the abuse. You can choose to end your 'old story' and write a new one. You can choose to be kind and gentle with yourself.

5. Volunteer and make a difference.

Want to feel about yourself? Give to and help others. For example, if you love nature, you may consider volunteering with an environment and conservation organization. Perhaps you could help to pick up trash from local parks. Or if you have technical skills, you could offer to redesign a nonprofit's outdated website. Giving back is a great way to give to others and you at the same time.

6. Hire a counselor and/or a life coach.

Counseling and life coaching sessions can help you to stop emotionally abusing yourself. Keep in mind that an expert counselor and life coach will help you to move forward in your life. You never want to wallow in your reasons for self-abuse because it will only keep you struck - you'll continue to repeat destructive patterns.

7. Curb your tendency to think too much.

Do you tend to live in your head where you're always thinking and thinking? Thinking too much can lead you down the rabbit hole of emotional abuse. For example, you may think that your thighs are too big and before you know, you've picked a part your entire body. Get out of your head and live in the present moment because it will be gone before you know it.

8. Take an assertiveness course.

Check out the personal development classes at your local community center or college. For example, you may want to learn about how to be more assertive in your life. If you tend to be a people pleaser, you'll learn how to be comfortable with saying "No." You'll recognize when people are trying to manipulate you into doing something you really don't want to do. You'll also learn how to boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.

9. Do something nice for yourself.

When's the last time you bought new clothes? What about getting your haircut by a professional hair stylist? How about getting a massage? It's okay to treat yourself to something special. Why? Because you deserve it and are worth it! If you wait for others to do something nice for you, you may be waiting a long time. You must first show yourself some love before it comes back to you.

10. Create positive affirmations for you.

The trick for affirmations to work is that you have to believe and feel them. For example, if you say, "I AM worthy (YES), I AM!" but don't believe a word of it, you won't feel worthy and deserving to receive all the good that's waiting to come into your life. If you're ready to let go and move forward in your life, picture yourself receiving that which is for your highest and best good.

Stop Abusing and Start Loving Yourself

Picture saying "No" to your mom when she asks you to do something you don't want to do. Maybe it's bake cookies for a family reunion. Hell! Maybe you don't even want to go to the family reunion. Imagine saying, "Thanks for the invite mom. But no thank you!"

Gone will be the sinking pit in your stomach when your mom calls to 'chat'. You can sit up straight and won't be afraid to speak up for yourself because it means you are free to do whatever you want without having to please others.

All of this will have happened because you stopped emotionally abusing you. And you've stopped others from doing it too.

Not only are you loving yourself more but you've finally started to feel full of life, planned a two-week trip to Paris or signed up for the art classes you've wanted to take.

Seems impossible? It's not.

Take a weekend to reflect on your past and present. Journal about when the emotional abuse started in your life. Read your journal(s) -- you may need more than one and make a promise to yourself to stop abusing you and instead start loving you.

You've got the steps: Now all you need to do is follow them.

Give yourself the gift of freedom from emotional abuse. Your new life of self-love expects you.