A bit of beauty from my garden for my readers
I sometimes write about topics that are difficult to face, things one wishes to turn away from, bury, ignore. Some read, some don’t. Either is okay with me. What does matter is if something I have written helps another person.
In truth, reality is what we accept. That stuff we allow through our defenses and take on as a part of us. It may insult us. It may bolster us. But reality often lies in what we as each individual experience. Even if we connect, you and I – that reality is only shared between two. It has no impression or weight on the world as a whole most often.
I wrote back in July a piece on whether victims are born, groomed or happenstance, and how that relates to acceptance later in life of further types of abuse. In between I’ve written “The Rest of the Story” and “A Measure of Self-Worth…”. They too, are components of my understanding.
To get to a place where physical, mental or sexual abuse are ‘permissible’ in the life of an adult, one has to have a very skewed perspective on self-worth and love. Sometimes that is manifested by looking for another caretaker to replace the ones we lost in childhood. Sometimes it is by pairing with a person who talks to or treats us the way we secretly feel inside. And sometimes it is only when we reveal our vulnerability to another, does the sleeping drive in that other person get awakened – like two magnets tracing each other under a piece of paper. Most of us I think do these things unconsciously. And then there are the natural predators found in and among us – sociopaths, psychopaths, narcissists and so forth, which respond to our broken bits like sharks to chum. Just as a predator animal will often seek out the young or the infirm for their kill, so too do these.
The only way to avoid all of these pitfalls is to really examine ourselves first. Inside of the relationship, that is all too difficult to do. It usually requires some kind of break in that trauma bond, which is akin to Stockholm Syndrome. Unhealthy often feeds on unhealthiness and until one is in clear water, that cycle cannot even be seen. We may not even know it IS a cycle. The relationship in some way either reinforces negative feelings of worth, or it represents periods of life which we have already lived through in some form that created lasting emotional impressions as ‘normal’. Every counselor will tell you at some time that we seek what we know. Until we learn that what we know isn’t healthy inherently and not just intellectually, we cannot make that change. Many never do. They go from one unhealthy relationship to another and often die there.
It is far easier to label our abusers and stop there than to examine our own behaviors (for adults, not applicable to kids). It hurts less. It puts the onus all upon someone else. Taking responsibility for what allowed us to get to that point is tough, painful and difficult. It is often a very ugly mirror to peer into. Most of all it takes time and in my opinion, solitude, before one can really get to the bottom of what drives actions, and then learn to change those actions. Many people just leaving these situations are suddenly single parents, perhaps having to return to work for the first time, or are doing both as they were all along. No time in the living to do a lot of self-examination between work days, school events, sport or music events, etc. Often they will rush right into another relationship without missing a beat, perhaps due to financial pressures, emotional fragility or even simply being overwhelmed at being a sudden singleton in a world where couplehood is the norm. Rarely do we take the critical time needed to reset our emotional clocks. There are lots of men particularly who will respond to a wounded bird; it is in their nature. What happens when that wounded bird comes out of her abuse coma and is a stronger, healthier person? By that time another dynamic is already in play and it wreaks havoc on the relationship when one partner grows into an equal partner and not someone to be protected. Their newfound strength may cause resentment and cause a lack of importance in the feelings of the other, protecting partner. This can lead to its own set of problems of a different kind.
I’m not giving abusers a pass here. But in many cases there is a symbiosis required for it to continue. We must look at our complicity in a learning manner and be willing to take something from it. Yes, some situations are like the frog in the boiling pot – they turn up heat slowly. If we are honest though, there are usually signs of such long beforehand. Because previous abuse victims have such a strong need to be loved, they’ll ignore any flag, or make excuses – because they’ve done that for a long time already in other parts of their lives, usually at crucial developmental stages. In other words, we get stuck way back there despite growing up and moving outward in life.
There are no cookie-cutter answers to these problems. You can’t take a pill and make the pain go away (even if they are often prescribed). You can’t drink or drug your way through it, or the stunting will stay and no pruning and true growth can occur. When you own it, accept it, and look to change it, then you’ve started something good, strong and useful.
Wanting to be liked means being a supporting character in your own life, using the cues of the actors around you to determine your next line rather than your own script. It means that your self-worth will always be tied to what someone else thinks about you, forever out of your control. ~Jessica Valenti
Sometimes it is a fine line when one is learning to like themselves. Some people kind of run through life with a hatchet for a while because they are so used to being on the defensive. Eventually balance can be found.
The number one person who should like you is you. That is the same person who should also let you know when you’re being an ass. There are others who can guide you, show you the blind spots, but you gotta like you when the day is through. When you like you, when you know your strengths and your weaknesses then you can accept being alone until quality people appear in your life. Until then you create your own safe place for healing.
I’d like to live in a world where people don’t intentionally hurt or abuse other people. Until that Nirvana appears, the only thing I can do is try to help others help themselves. The way is out there, we just have to work our way to it. Don’t be afraid of the work.
PS. I have been awarded two wonderful blog awards which I will get to this week. Thank you to http://dazzlingwhimsy.com/ and https://piecesofbipolar.wordpress.com for the incredibly kind words, and the knowledge that something I have done has made a difference, even in one day, for one person 🙂
I will continue to post on Mondays, Wednesdays and each weekend, but I’m taking a little bit of time to restructure my life and my blog work. Stay tuned and as always, thank you for stopping in!