I had a bit of revelation last night that resulted in a vital perspective shift I would like to share for those of you who are in similar situations.
When you see a speck of lint float across your floor, it doesn’t bother you. It’s not threatening. Similarly, when anything happens in your life that is not threatening to you, you don’t react, or you react calmly. The only time you go in to “MUST DESTROY” mode is when there is something that terrifies you or threatens you on a fundamental level.
So for all of us who were in abusive relationships – whether with a toxic parent or partner, stop and think about this: They invested EFFORT into hurting us, into trying to break us, into controling us. They invested time, money, energy, into surpressing us. They didn’t bother doing that to every single person they ran into, they chose US. Why?
Because we are awesome, glorious, uncontrollable, and so far above and beyond their reach, that we scared them sh-less and became a threat to their personal narrative. You cannot surpress awesome forever, and we eventually broke free, but they will never be free of their constant need to supress threats and feed their personal (fake) narrative of power. And everytime someone breaks their control and leaves, it gets worse for them. We will go on to live our awesome lives, but they will be forever haunted by the little nagging voice in their head which gets louder and louder through the years, shouting at them how worthless and pathetic they are. So they look for awesome people to break, and tell those awesome people how worthless and pathetic THEY are, hoping that the awesome person will believe and that will silence the voice in their own head. But you can’t keep awesome down, and we will break free and it will rebound on them in shrieking waves.
Because we are awesome.
NOTES: As I shared this and discussed this, I realized there were a couple points that needed clarifying:
Breaking Free – I AM NOT saying this is a simple or even clear cut process. Breaking free is always a PROCESS (not an instant act), often a slow one, it is never simple, direct, easy. You have to find and have faith in your awesomeness to cut those clinging tendrils. This is not a change that happens all at once. But whether you find your awesome and leave, or leave because you can’t take it anymore and then slowly find your awesome as you heal, both processes are normal and valid. In fact, there is almost definitely going to be a lot of ups and downs – days when you’re Captain Awesome and days when you’re so depressed you can barely get out of bed. All of that is normal and ok. Hold on to the awesome and try to remember that you’re awesome, but be forgiving of the process and how slow it can be.
Making excuses for our abusers is one of the things we do to survive. You may reach the breaking point on your own, it may be a threat to your pet or child that does it, but you still has a long road of healing and finding you awesome ahead of you. A road that is sometimes so hard, you wonder if it isn’t easier to go back (studies show women leave their abusers an average of I think 3-4 times before they finally leave). The healing process can be awful and wretched. HOLD ON TO YOUR AWESOME TIGHTER – even if at first it’s just a note you read that you don’t believe. Remind yourself that you were awesome enough to upset someone, and you can never take awesome away. LOOK for your awesome – what do you for yourself and others that’s pretty cool? Sometimes that means, “I helped my friend with her new baby and did the laundry for her!” and sometimes that means “Even though I feel like crap and can barely move, I got myself up and ate food!” These are all wins. You are still alive, you are fighting to survive, you are awesome!!!
But I Don’t Believe In Myself – When you have endured an abusive relationship, you internalize a certain amount of that abuse and you suppress a lot of yourself so you can survive it. Cleaning that crap out and learning to not suppress can actually take YEARS!!! DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED!! You are still awesome, you just need to “detox”.
But My Abuser Was Abused Themselves, So I Feel Bad For Them – The fact that they were abused is terrible and tragic and you can acknowledge that without it binding you. THAT DOES NOT NEGATE OR EXCUSE THE EFFECT THEY HAVE ON OTHERS. They may have been awesome and unable to break totally free, that doesn’t give them the right to try to squish the awesome out of their child/partner in retaliation and the child/partner has to know that it’s ok to break free and be awesome themselves – without shame or guilt or pain for their abuser’s toxicity. Being hurt NEVER gives you the right to hurt others. Knowing no other way ALSO DOES NOT GIVE YOU THAT RIGHT.