Updated: Jul 1, 2020
I ended my last post with the question what do we do now? I'm going to address that at the end. But to begin with, I think it's crucial to fully experience the pain. My last post was full of sorrow. It was my own pity party and you got to be a part of it. It may have been uncomfortable to enter that pain with me and that's ok. It's all part of the process of healing.
Lament! That's a strong word. The definition of it is: a passionate expression of grief or sorrow; mourn.
If you've already started this healing process, then you identify with this word, lament. But if you're new to this whole abuse cycle, then be encouraged that you'll be ok. In fact you will rise above this pain. because truly experiencing your pain is key to healing.
So how did we get here? Why are we behind? As I mentioned in Part 1 of this discussion, it's because we were hyper-focused on our spouse (or the one who abused us). It's probably safe to say that most of us are empaths. Or as my LMFT daughter says, I'm concerned more with the "tribe" than myself. Our goal was to take care of others, make them happy, make them comfortable. This results in our focus being fully on to our abusers.
What we do not understand is that our abusers can never be happy, comfortable or feel taken care of. Instead they feel like we are irritating them. This leads to them accusing us of ignorance, selfishness, and stupidity. As result, we question ourselves. Of course, we do not believe we are any of those adjectives but the seed of doubt has taken root. So, we begin to wonder if we did in fact do something wrong. Maybe we're not as good as we thought. Maybe he's right. Once that lie has entered our minds and hearts, it's over.
You see, what just happened was the following:
1. my desire to please others trumps my own self-awareness
2. his displeasure & accusations
3. doubt in myself
3. my efforts to make him happy increase
4. and the cycle repeats
Eventually we become so weary but our belief in ourselves drives us to continue to try. We're not quitters. We're gonna figure this out. "This time I'll get it right!" we say. But we don't! The cycle repeats over and over and we loose hope. Which then activates this survival mentality. We are no longer living, but simply surviving. It's automatic, it's exhausting, it's second nature. We have completely forgotten who we are because we are consumed with who he is and what he'll do next.
But something inside of us finally broke! We recognized we couldn't do this. We threw up our hands and said, "NO more!"
But what now? Well this is where is gets good! That surrender is the key. Recognizing that we are unable to do this on our own. We were not meant to carry such a burden. But there is someone who is: JESUS! He has promised to those of us who are weak and heavy laden, to turn to Him and He'll give us rest. He'll take care of us. (Matthew 11:28)
As long as I'm striving to survive, I will find only exhaustion. But when I turn this burden to Him, relinquishing my pain and confusion to Him, I find peace. It is no longer me guiding this wayward ship, but His presence in me. He now guides me, speaks to me, tells me who I am and which direction I will take.
Lamenting to rejoicing!