“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” -- M. Scott Peck
You were a sensitive child and someone, probably a parent, treated you badly and you were hurt severely because of it. It may have continued or it may have been a few situations, but you felt less of a person by it. You felt unloved and unaccepted. You had scars.
Years later you met this great man who swept you off your feet. He met all your needs. He told you how great you were and how much he cared for you. He said he loved you and accepted you.
You fell like a ton of bricks. You were sure this was the right person for you, your soul mate.
Then things began to change. He wasn’t the same person you married. He hurt your feelings continually.
You didn’t think his behavior was really wrong. It was just something you had to adjust to.
People started to tell you that his behavior was not normal. “Why were you putting up with it?”
You decided to try harder, that it would get better. You tell yourself, “If he goes to counseling it will get better. If he just understands how I feel, it will get better.”
At one point in your relationship, you began to realize it was not getting better. You were depressed. Your body was breaking down with illnesses. Your had brain fog. You were exhausted. You were confused. You asked everyone how you could make it better. What were you missing? What should you do differently? You went to counseling. Nothing helped.
Your abuser had an uncanny way of knowing exactly how to control you, how to push your buttons, sometimes to make you think you were going crazy. He understood how you thought and felt and all your weak, needy areas and he used that information against you.
Then one day you realized that it was NEVER going to get better. You felt beaten, taken for granted, controlled. He was controlling your thoughts, your actions, your feelings. You decided that you didn’t want to be controlled any longer. Actually, you decided that you would NOT be controlled any longer.
Then things got worse. He became much more controlling. He scared you.
You decide to leave and you make plans to go.
Then something happened. He started treating you like he did when he first met you. He was nice. He was understanding. He promised to do anything to make things better.
You bounced back into submission. All your fears came to the front and you were afraid of the change you were considering. How would you live on your own? What if you needed help with something? Who would you ask? Maybe it would be better to just continue in this life and keep expecting it to somehow get better. Maybe he means what he says. Maybe you could work things out.
Then, once you agreed to try again, he reverted back to the same controlling abuser.
This went on for a while and then you couldn’t take it anymore. You decided you had to put a stop to it and you planned your escape. It may have been a few days or a few years, but you emotionally stopped caring about what he wanted and what he did. You moved out and broke all contact once and for all.
Then you did something hard. You looked at reality, the way things really were. You gave up your dreams that things might possibly change. Maybe you would find someone who would really love you.
You learned about at the characteristics of abuse and understood that you were indeed abused. All the feelings were legitimate.
You forgave yourself for your depression, your questions about how this could happen, your confusion, constantly looking for answers and for trying harder to make the relationship work.
That was when you decided to look after yourself. It was time for you to begin to enjoy life and become the person you were always meant to be. It was time to start the healing.
You started taking care of yourself and your children. You did things you liked and it felt good.
You were still rehashing your abuse in your mind. You began to understand why this person was behaving the way he did. This did not excuse him, but understanding helped you move emotionally away from the pain. You could forgive him. He was acting out of his needs. You felt sorry for him, but you still wouldn’t allow him into your life again. Just because you understood him, didn’t mean he would change. You discovered that he was addicted to being abusive. You fed his need. You also found out that you were addicted to being abused. Your desire to go back to the familiar was your addiction getting a fix. You were determined to break that addiction.
You wondered why you ever got caught up in the trap of abuse in the first place. What was there inside you that allowed it? How could you be sure that you wouldn’t make the same mistake again? You were ready to learn from your experience, to look at all the things you didn’t like about yourself.
You begin to look at what your needs were that you thought would be met by this person. You look at your upbringing and why you had holes of need in you that shouted for filling. Then you begin to realize that those needs were still there and you were still vulnerable. You began to realize that you were not yet ready for a new relationship.
You were also not upset by the abuser because you learned about who you were and the needs that you had decided to change. You were thankful to him for helping you on your road to recovery.
You understood and accepted your worthiness without others telling you that you had value. You accepted, truly accepted that, you didn’t “need” someone else to make you feel loved and accepted. You now love and accept yourself.
You learned to look at the future, not the past. You gained the knowledge that every time your brain relived the past, it fed your addiction. It had created unhealthy, addictive chemicals. Then you looked to the future, lived the future in your mind, experiencing all the positive feelings that new future feels like. Your brain didn’t know the difference between a hope for that future and actually having lived it. Your brain worked toward making that future a reality. The more emotion, feeling, thought into actually living that future in your mind, the faster you saw it happen.
You are now free from the needs you had because you pushed away your negative emotions that make you vulnerable. You don’t “need” anyone. You can do anything, be anyone, be physically healthy, emotionally healed and whole. It took time, but you know that the work was worth it.
Now that you have truly accepted yourself, are really healed, you are ready for another relationship, but only if you want it, not because you need the other person to make you feel complete. The future you lived in your mind is now becoming reality.
YOU ARE NO LONGER A VICTIM. YOU HAVE ACHIEVED VICTORY!
"Every person is the creation of himself, the image of his own thinking and believing. As individuals think and believe, so they are." -- Claude M. Bristol
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