Recovery after Abuse: Your Rights as a Human Being


Think about this carefully: do you believe that any child born on this planet today
is inherently worth less than another child? Do you believe that human beings
have the same value, no matter whom they are or where they were born? Do
you believe that all men and women are created equal and endowed with
inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

If you do, then this applies to you personally! It is not a general principle – it is
your principle! You have just as much right to live on this planet as anyone else,
and you have the right to choose the path for your life as you see fit. This is step
four of your recovery from abuse self care. You have the right to dream and to
plan for the life that you want.

I have listed a series of rights that you have. Please read them slowly and notice
how you feel when you read them. Do some of the statements make you feel
guilty, queasy, angry, frustrated, or cynical? If so, that may be an area you
need to work on. Read these when you are in a quiet, safe place where you will
not be interrupted.

As an adult human being living in a free country:

  •  You have the right to live peaceably.
  • You have the right to privacy. No one should read your mail, your journal, or your mind. You have a right to keep your thoughts to yourself or to share them. It’s up to you!
  • You have a right to be on this earth, the same as everyone else.
  • If you have no pressing concerns or children who need immediate care, you have the right to sleep in as late as you want, even if your spouse or partner rises before you.
  • If you have no children or elderly parents to care for on a certain day, you have a right to decide NOT to cook dinner, and to have leftover pizza instead. If your spouse or partner is hungry, they are adults and can find something to eat.
  • If you are unhappy with your life situation and believe it is hampering your physical and mental well-being, you have a right to seek solutions to change your life for the better. 
  • No one owns you – even if you are married. Staying in your marriage is always a choice.
  • You have the right to live safely, without physical violence or verbal abuse. If you are in an abusive situation, there are agencies that will help you to start a new life and they are free-of- charge.
  • You have a right to your beliefs, whether religious, political, or whatever.
  • You have a right to search for your own personal truth.
  • You have the right to higher education, whether it is finishing high school, attending college or trade school, or taking classes at your community center.
  • Men and women have equal rights under the law.
  • You have the right to be normal. You don’t have to be a genius and you don’t have to know everything and it’s okay to mess up now and then and still be loveable.
  • You have a right to protect yourself from someone’s constant hurtful words, recognizing that in the long run, even words can kill you.
  • You have the right to care about your own needs and wants as much as you care about a loved one’s.
  • You have a right not to be perfect. NO ONE IS!
  • You have the right to like coffee or hate coffee without being ridiculed.
  • You have a right to be acknowledged by other people and given common courtesy at home and in public.
  • You have a right to feel hurt and you have a right to find a solution to your pain.

This, of course, is only a starter list and could go on forever. Please add to the
list from the insight you’ve gained in your own situation. And remember,
learning to respect yourself again takes time and will grow with every change
that you make to protect and nourish yourself.

Recovery after Abuse: Saying Goodbye to What Didn’t Happen

Recovery After Abuse: Find Your Place of Safety