I’m guessing that, like me, you follow some of the blogs on Word Press? I tend to dip into some to get the flavour. I’m convinced that if we had the time and the energy we’d probably find that anything and everything that we can imagine will find a voice with someone writing furiously to create content. How diverse people are.
One thing I’ve noticed, and once you’ve seen something you’re going to keep seeing it, is that there are a lot of hurting people out there. I’m guessing that writing is a form of therapy. We recently exchanged letters on the healing power of confession and I’m thinking that this is what I’m seeing. Amongst the hurting there appears to be a significant number who are suffering from trauma that occurred in their past life. Things done to them by others. Occasionally I read between the lines, and I may get it wrong, but I find myself thinking that here’s someone who has carried this pain, this injury from wayback. Maybe as far back as childhood.
Back in the day, before I had a proper job, I used to get involved in helping people who were hurting, so from first hand experience I know of the damage that people can suffer at the hands of supposed “loved ones”. I think the experience often showed that the damage was done through words and that damage ran deep. It’s the person who’s been repetitively told that ‘they’re useless, that they’ll never amount to anything of worth, that they’re ugly’ that carries damage forward in life. Stephen Chbosky wrote: ‘We accept the love we think we deserve’ and this seems to bear true, over and over.
I knew a girl, whilst growing up, who had an emotionally abusive father. Loud, overbearing, belittling, erosive, though maybe not violent. Some years passed and then I met her again with her boyfriend. Initially he seemed nice enough. A guy’s guy. Into his cars, construction and liked a drink, so I joined them for a drink. Then I saw another side. He ordered her about, raised his voice to her, aggressively, threatened her, and she just acquiesced. She later married someone who added violence to the act and I could see a road leading right back to her father who had destroyed any sense of self worth and any chance at establishing a relationship built on mutual respect and love. Fortunately she is now free but the prime years of her life have been lost.
My point is, you don’t have to read from the script you’ve been handed. It may feel compulsory but be assured it’s not. It may be a long road back. There may be life skills to learn. Habits and beliefs to unlearn, but there is an alternative. There is another way. And please don’t ever think I would make little of this or say it’s easy. Occasionally yes, but for most it is a long road back.
I have also noticed that many victims of abuse have an ingrained belief that the things they have been a victim to are their fault. Like, they did something wrong to bring about this situation. For many this is the result of a torrent of accusations all beginning with ‘you’. Or could it be that as children we cannot believe that our carers can be wrong? So many crave love and will trade abuse, (although at that age we do not know this is what it is,) for attention.
Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.J.K.Rowling
And what is done back there can carry forward with crippling effect for the rest of our lives if unaddressed.
Question? Are you aware how elephants are traditionally trained in Asia? How this mighty beast is brought to submission by men? Well, traditionally a young elephant will be tethered to a post with an iron bracelet around it’s rear leg. It cannot pull away and soon learns that if it is tied around the ankle it’s going nowhere. So much so that when it grows a simple, breakable rope suffices to restrain the beast. Learnt behaviour.
I know a man who owned a large dog. One day he heard the dog barking and looked out to see some children teasing the dog. He went down the garden and said to the children: “You need to be careful. You see he can jump the fence, he just doesn’t know it yet”.
Isn’t this it. Hobbled by abuse from an early age and now restrained by the merest of notion of a put down. Held back by things that actually don’t possess the power they once had. The only power they have is the power we give them. Yes, there’s years of conditioning. Cringe submission may be a reflex reaction on occasions but it can be overcome with conscious effort and commitment.
Or restricted and contained by a fence that may have once been insurmountable but now…we can clear it. Freedom is out there and we are giving power to an illusion.
When asked what my favourite film is I will tell you Good Will Hunting. Matt Damon, the young mathematical genius who works construction because there he is surrounded by a circle of friends who are everything that his abusive childhood wasn’t. And Robin Williams, the war veteran psychiatrist who is Damon’s last chance to break free. Towards the end of the film as the relationship reaches a climax Williams says to Damon: “It’s not your fault”. Damon acknowledges with an: “I know“. Williams persists: “No, you don’t understand, it’s not your fault” and repeats this statement over and over until the resisting Damon breaks and dissolves into tears. But in finally coming to terms with the fact that years of abuse were not of his creating he is finally free to start again. Queue the Starland Vocal Band and Afternoon Delight with Damon driving off into the distance to get the girl. Watch the film.
Let no one tell you the way out is easy. There are memories and momentary relapses. But, flipping the coin over, jumping the fence may be more manageable than was suspected. The hardest part is coming to believe it can be done. The challenge is accepting we have worth despite not having the figure of a model which someone said is required to become acceptable. The fact you didn’t come top of your class, get A’s doesn’t write you off as useless. That your worth isn’t tied to your achievements. Or someone central in your life told you that you were never wanted, or that they didn’t want to be with you, doesn’t decrease your worth. Shame on them! Believing that it does and you will ‘Accept the love you think you deserve’.
Toxic people condition you to believe the problem isn’t the abuse itself, but instead your reaction to their abuse.PsychopathFree.com
If you take nothing away from this letter go away knowing that the love you decide to accept needs to make you smile, both when you’re in it and when you’re out of it. Oh, love has tough times, tears, pains, but it will return to smiling if it is love.
Whatever has gone before and been said to you or done to you by others…understand that it may well not be your fault. You know if it was and if not, tell yourself over and over until you are believing it. Abuse is never right or acceptable even if you’ve done wrong. Never! Believe this and JUMP THAT FENCE.
Yours, searching for a gentle spirit,
P.s After all of the above I just wanted to say I love you.