[I’ve been slowly working my way through an online course entitled A Year to Clear What is Holding You Back. This is the 13th lesson–]
The best way to release what isn’t working for you is to enter that sometimes scary zone called feeling.
Feeling the overwhelm, resistance, attachment, guilt, despair, shame. . .
Feeling it all without judging it as good or bad, or taking it personally.
Q – What are you feeling right this second? Is it possible to take one step back and observe what you’re feeling?
A – I’m currently watching a television series which has depicted a woman being attacked and beaten. Her body pushed to the ground — kicked and punched repeatedly.
The next morning the scene unfolds – She sees herself in the mirror. Cuts, bruises, all over her face. She walks stiffly. The pain is evident.
I remember this, too many times to count.
And although the cuts and bruises have faded, physical scars remain. I can see them on my face, and feel them as I apply my face creams, and occasional make-up.
The thing about scars is that they never go away. They become a part of you that you will carry with you forever, and must deal with each and every day of the rest of your life.
I’ve come to terms with it all, and they no longer bring me pain — physically or emotionally. However, they do bring memories that I occasionally observe from a place of numbness. I have learned how to detach from the emotional pain that I experienced during those healing phases of my life’s journey.
I didn’t have a fancy selfie-cam available back in those days, which is probably a good thing because I don’t want photos of myself looking that way. The memory is enough.
The sad thing though is that sometimes those photographs are necessary. They can show proof of wounds inflicted.
There was one time that I had to endure this evidentiary procedure. I was led into a narrow, windowless room. I was asked to remove every article of clothing but I insisted on keeping my underpants on. I had photos taken of every square inch of my battered and bruised body. The lacerations on my face. Choke prints on my neck. Shoe prints on my upper-cheekbone and forehead. Combined with the photographs taken of the damages from my home (following the unfortunate home invasion), a compelling case was made in court.
Aside from the obvious discomforts, the hardest part was the fact that I was alone during these processes. Alone to endure the abuse. Alone during the collection of evidence. Alone during the Q&A as my statement was written. Alone in the court room as I testified, face to face with the person responsible for my injuries. And alone in the days, weeks, months, and years afterwards, as I figured out how to heal from these repeated offences.
I remember feeling shame. I remember feeling guilt for not being able to protect and prevent these things from happening. I remember feeling helpless because I had no way to finance my way to safety. I remember fearing the judgment of what people would think if they saw my face that way, so I hid away for weeks until the bruises were no longer visible, covering what I could with clothing.
I also remember the fear of recrimination. The unfair judgments handed out to others like me. Why does she stay? Meanwhile the better question would have been…..what happened, what can I do to help? And I would have gladly accepted it, graciously.
Sometimes we stay because we are afraid of what might happen next — (not in my case, but it’s still a factor for a great deal of survival victims) — and sometimes we stay because we have no way to escape. We live in an expensive world. In my case, I was denied public assistance for reasons too complicated to get into right now. All part of that entrapment and control process.
In hindsight, I don’t feel any emotional attachment to any of it. I am free of the heartache. I am free of the anger. I am free of that helpless feeling.
To sum it up — I feel grateful. Grateful that I had the strength to endure, survive, and heal. Grateful that I had the strength to leave. Grateful that I had the wherewithal to remain loving and kind to my children during such a difficult phase of our lives.
Every once in a while I feel a twinge of guilt as I think about what my boys have been through, but then I remind myself that I didn’t do this to us; to them. Every decision on my part was for survival, and prevention…..and I don’t think they can even begin to comprehend the magnitude of what I saved them from having to witness.
That incident I wrote about above, — my eldest boy was a very young child, and he remains haunted by the flashes of images of seeing me being beaten, and left bloody, fighting to regain consciousness. He remembers thinking that I was dead. He remembers hearing me struggle, and choking, gasping for breath. He remembers watching me clawing, and kicking……and he remembers me asking him to call for help. I would never wish this on another innocent, little soul.
That’s the part that hurts. The memory of hearing him crying over me while I was unable to open my eyes — “Mommy wake up…are you dead? Wake up Mommy….”, and having him hug me, and look at my bruised and broken face, asking me if it hurts……
Today’s response, as I allow myself to feel all the feels — ‘Yes son, it does’…… [those damn memories…..]
I wish I could erase those painful memories for us all.
If I had one piece of advice to give to others — Try not to think too far ahead. Keep your head in the now, and do whatever you can to get through each moment as it comes. Moment by moment, minute by minute, day by day…..you’ll progress.
Use social media to your benefit. Search for uplifting posts that depict courage, and encouragement. Surround yourself only by positivity — positive messages, positive people, positive energies. [Don’t try to fit in where you’re not accepted or wanted, like I did for far too long. That only led to further heartache on top of what I was already struggling to overcome.]
The people that are right for you will reach out to understand. They will reach out with offers of support in any way that they can. They will refer you to places of assistance, and they will not force you to stay hush, or feel shame about your situation.
You survived. You are a survivor. You will be ok — just keep reaching for the stars.
There are online support groups that nobody needs to even know about. Use them — they are a fantastic place to receive love during your darkest hours. I met some amazing people in these groups and to this day they remain near and dear to my heart.
Remember to find something to be grateful for at the beginning and end of each day.
Take time to meditate, and think happy thoughts.
You’re never alone. We’re in this together. xo