So, this is a difficult topic – not because the topic itself is difficult as with anything, when held with love, empathy and compassion we have enough space in our hearts to hold anything that needs healing and a warm embrace from one soul to another. But rather because it is so little spoken about in the open because of this word called shame. This terrible word that isolates us all even though we all may know how it feels to feel this way, even though we are not really ever alone in it all. Shame seeks to divide us, to silence us, to make us small and feel isolated so we go on in silence, hurting alone, rather than healing, rather than accepting ourselves, rather than coming together and banishing this thing called shame all together – with the power of our shared human love. This is why I write today, so we can bring our shame into the open, this shame in all of us that needs healing, and heal it with our love.
So what is this topic that creates such shame that isolates us all, makes us feel alone, feel that it can’t be spoken in the open or else our worst fears will be confirmed – that something is wrong with us, that we are really not enough just like shame said, and now everyone else will know it too.
Well I’m here to banish this shame and pour on it with love until it melts into our hearts with love and realizes it is enough – if you’d like to join me in this collective shame banishing and love holding, do read on.
The topic I speak of is abuse. And it is one that we all feel deep shame about whether we have experienced it or not. Today I bring light to a particular kind of abuse as the others like physical or sexual abuse are sometimes seen as more clearly defined, more recognizable, because the harm is done directly to the body, which humans these days seem more fixated on, or ready to call “real” rather than other kinds of abuse because it meets the criteria of the mind and the five sense in witnessing such abuse – although sadly even then society falls victim to denial of it, and in many cases blame the victim in these circumstances because they are not ready to face the fact that something may be wrong with society as a whole, families as a whole, an individual as a whole, if such darkness can be allowed to prevail.
Despite the obvious issues that still persist around these forms of abuse I wanted to talk about a form of abuse that is less easily recognized, but just as harmful, and as unacceptable as the rest, one many more of us may be familiar with but may not even be aware we are even experiencing. So socially acceptable it has become in many cultures, families, relationships, friendships, marriages, etc. – emotional abuse. I am speaking of emotional abuse. (Also referred to as psychological abuse or mental abuse). For those of you who may not be aware of what emotional abuse is, as much as I hate trying to define anything, I included this definition so you have an idea of what I am speaking of, but feel free to do more research to understand what it is as awareness when it comes to abuse is everything, and it is everyone’s responsibility. Emotional abuse can be defined as: any abusive behavior that isn’t physical, which may include verbal aggression, intimidation, manipulation, and humiliation, which most often unfolds as a pattern of behavior over time that aims to diminish another person’s sense of identity, dignity and self worth, and which often results in anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Source: https://www.joinonelove.org/learn/emotional-abuse-really-means/) And of course can be accompanied by physical abuse also, or other forms of abuse.
Emotional abuse - just as harmful as the others, because it harms the mind, which in turn affects every system in the body, and is my belief it can even harm the body physically as it has in many cases not only through mental illness like anxiety, depression, PTSD as you’ll find when researching it, but I believe it can be the root of many physical illnesses too, when deep in the body there is held a belief that because someone treats me this way, I deserve it. And so, the body creates disease to mirror this belief, this unworthiness of life – that we are in fact not good enough.
In my case of experiencing this since I was very young, when many who experience emotional abuse are developing identity, this can be very damaging to self-image, identity and really affect a person’s ability to love themselves because there is a belief that if someone treats me badly, even without cause, it must be my fault (especially developed as a child who isn’t able to make sense of such abuse at all) – and so therefore I must be a bad person and since no one else around me is stopping it, it reinforces the idea – then it must be true. Something must be wrong with me.
As I have read about this and understood it when working to heal myself from my physical illness, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), I found that the nearly decades of this emotional abuse I had experienced (although I did not know that is what it was at the time) had deeply affected me in ways I didn’t even consciously know, as it all gets buried deep inside our beings without us realizing, especially as the shame that accompanies it and the denial of those around us work to reinforce the idea that we are isolated – that we are alone in it.
And in many cases a deeper belief is created that lies just beneath the surface of all that we do – one I found within myself to my own surprise but came up readily when I was ready to hold space for myself – to love and accept myself no matter what, in my journey to heal myself from ME – in all levels – physically, which led to emotionally and mentally, which led even further to spiritually. And it is this – if my life is to be abused, as I have tried to stop it and it never has, or tried to tell others who have not taken the steps to make it stop – if my life is to be abused because I do not see any other way out – then I do not want to live.
It is a very simple notion yet extremely profound the day I realized all along underneath everything I was doing to distract myself in my life, to keep busy, to run from this one truth that lay in my subconscious after experiencing years of unrelentless abuse and the denial/inaction of those around me in stopping it, the isolation and shame that went with it and not knowing how to end it – or even what it was! - that it had a name, emotional abuse - was the realization that I didn’t want to live. It hurt so much, I didn’t want to live.
And so instead of running from it this time, instead of not knowing what to do with it, I was ready for it. As hard as it was. I was ready to heal it. Because now my life depended on it. And I realized – my life mattered more. Mattered more than protecting the person abusing me, more than pleasing the others around us so their status quo of relationships would remain the same. More than the hurt it would cause anyone else because I realized if they truly loved me – they would know I did not deserve to be treated this way. That it had to stop, that I deserved support because I chose it. I chose to be surrounded by love, peace, harmony and healthy relationships because I deserve it, and if they truly loved me, the person abusing me included, they would want that for me too.
Because I deserved it.
And if they didn’t feel I deserved that, or didn’t support me in it, then they weren’t worth losing my wellbeing over. Those that would sacrifice my wellbeing to remain in denial for their own attachments or guilt. I wasn’t going to sacrifice my life for that.
So I stood. For myself. And I took the steps I needed to take to heal it.
Because I realized one thing.
My body had caved out – 1.5 years into the illness of ME that no one could solve, yet was an illness with a physical cause – and when I decided to go deeper into myself to harness that power within that can overcome any obstacle it faces, that can heal anything – that can create miracles – that Divinity in me – this is what I found.
This emotional abuse. (The name literally came to me at the end of my epiphany about choosing to live).
Because I had to become aware of what I was experiencing, the thing we were all so afraid to talk about that left us feeling alone, because of the shame and some belief that somehow because this thing that is happening to us, that has absolutely nothing to do with us, and everything to do with the person doing it – somehow it is our fault. Somehow it means we are less. Broken. Not good enough, just like they say so. And that’s what the person abusing does, to make you feel alone so they can continue, they only behave that way with you, while treating everyone else well, so it really does seem like it is you. When it is not. It is something within them that needs healing – which only they can do. You can’t do it for them.
The greatest thing I learned you can do – is stand in your own power and choose positive life space for yourself, even if it means taking space from them, and creating boundaries that make you feel safe again so you can heal – such as no communication, or choosing not to attend gatherings that they are present at, even if others around you don’t accept – because you’re doing it for you – and anyone that loves you should be supporting you in your own need for positive space and wellbeing.
I learned that in many cases the person that is treating you this way does love you, and feels helpless themselves, or feels out of control with the behaviour, and needs healing too. And when you take the steps to cut yourself off, to not be their punching bag anymore, to stop allowing it by any means necessary, they are forced to face it. Knowing how it has affected you, the steps you’ve had to take for your own safety and wellbeing, helps them become aware of what’s going on inside them. It helps them heal it too, because they are forced to face it, rather than taking it out on you. It becomes a blessing not only for yourself – but for them too.
And everyone around you, because you help them realize, especially parents or those that are in care giver roles witnessing this abuse, especially done to children under their care, that it is their responsibility to stop the abuse. That it isn’t ok. That it isn’t just siblings fighting, or a tough parent or whatever people justify it as. It is harming that child psychologically and mentally and that can manifest in many ways in their life, as I said even physically over time in my case with ME – not wanting to live, but not wanting to die either – some place in between, the best description of ME if I’ve ever heard one.
And that it isn’t ok because to by-stand emotional abuse, or any kind of abuse, as a caregiver is equally as responsible as the one doing the abusing. Because it is their role to protect the ones they are caring for to ensure they are not harmed, no matter how hard it may be to do so. Even if that person doing the abusing is a child and it is said they know no better. We are all responsible for our actions, and when held accountable – each and every one of us - we have the power to heal it.
This darkness is the fault of no individual, but can be healed collectively by love, acceptance and truth – rather than suppression, denial, shame or isolation.
We are better than that.
We can do better than that.
And I will tell you, by taking the steps I needed to take for my own wellbeing, because I knew I deserved it, because I knew I was a good person and didn’t deserve to be treated that way, no matter what I did, there was no excuse for it, that it had nothing to do with me at all, it didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do, because it was a wound within the person doing it, and entirely about them and nothing to do with me or some deficiency on my part. Because I realized no human being deserves to be treated that way – no matter what. That this behaviour is simply not acceptable, and I would tolerate it no longer. Because I chose to love myself, and know I was worth it - it healed it.
It healed the victimization in me, and it healed the behaviour in that person. Within a few years of realizing what I did, that this was in fact emotional abuse, the way it had affected me, and that I wasn’t going to allow it anymore - that we always have a choice and I choose to live, within years of that and all the steps I was guided to take to get the support I needed to heal this, and the space required to feel safe enough to heal – and to go within to love and accept myself, while that person did choose to do the same within themselves, the abuse did stop. And we were able to come back into a relationship that was harmonious and filled with our love. Love that was always there - just being covered and blocked by the abuse, and the consequential harm it was causing to both them and myself, and those around us.
That harmony, healing and love was able to also help those around us to see that it is better to face these things than hide them in shame where it perpetuates and creates unhealthy mental and physical conditions within us because we are being abused and see no way out in those circumstances. It is always better to face it, to choose love, to stop it rather than ignore in guilt or attachment because to heal it would be inconvenient.
Because the truth is when one of us is hurting, we are all hurting. And when one of us is healed, as I choose to heal and continue to, we are all healed too.
Families, society – the world.
Because there is less darkness for what we have brought to the light with our love.
Things like this take time to heal, and can be complex, and many times underneath it there is a deep unworthiness we may carry that allowed the abuse to happen to us in the first place. That belief we aren’t good enough. And so that is what I continue to heal, while being grateful for how far I have come on this, by facing and healing the shame, by melting it with my own love for myself. Grateful for how far we have all come together in our acceptance of this, and our love for one another, above all else.
My physical health has improved over this time too, although I continue to go deeper into it and heal the layers that continue to come up so I can be free of it – of this unworthiness within me that says I am unworthy of love, unworthy of life, unworthy of peace, not good enough and that I never will be because this is what I believed after having been treated this way for all those years.
Even deeper than that, because I carried that belief myself underneath it all, which is how it manifested itself in my life as emotional abuse, so I could have the chance to love myself and finally heal it – this core soul wound. Thanks to a soul who loved me very much, the one playing the role so it could all be brought up in this lifetime to be healed, along with the souls around me who let it unfold, so I could find my own worth within, and take the steps I needed to, because I was worth it. Because I deserved it.
These things take time, so I continue to heal and show my body it is safe to live, it is safe to heal, it is ok to experience pain because it doesn’t define us – what does is how we respond. And I choose love for myself, I choose healing for myself. I learned that we always have a choice no matter how hard it may be – because our lives matter more. Our wellbeing matters more. We are enough.
That is what I learned most of all.
I am enough. I have always been enough. And I always will be enough.
And, I am the bravest person I know for writing this – with Love.
For my healing, for yours, for ours – because we are One.
And we deserve better. Always.
So join me... and spread the love <3
With my love always,