Contributing writer for Wake Up World
Emotional abuse may not be as easy to recognize as physical abuse, but it can be even more damaging. It affects you emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually — and it makes you feel crazy as you unravel the truth.
Grief is a most unpopular yet vital topic of discussion. Maybe our tendency to shy away from facing grief openly is why society has a hard time honoring the process, especially when it comes to complicated grief. No one ever tells you to prepare for grief as you would prepare for the convergence of a hurricane. And sometimes grief shows up unexpectedly in any number of ways; like the angel of death on a beautiful October day at the end of a Hawaiian vacation. Ideally, we know grief is coming in some way and have the foresight to make room in our lives for the storm, such as preparing for the death of an elderly family member or — importantly — leaving an abusive relationship.
As it pertains to abuse, preparing to end or ending an abusive relationship is tricky. In these situations, you may feel powerless but proper preparation allows you the edge required to move forward and get back to the joy of living life to its fullest potential.
The process of grief is ultimately about coming to a place of acceptance. There are many milestones along the path where pieces of acceptance come. It won’t come all at once or the way we like it. It is about acceptance, after all. If it were easy, we wouldn’t have to take a journey to get there. So, as with any trip, we prepare accordingly. Grief is a trip, sometimes even reaching psychedelic proportions. The more we resist it, the more it will let us know we’re still trippin’. But, we can map out a plan of action where we consider our options and gather the tools we need to prepare our emotional, spiritual, mental and physical house for the storm to come.
Grief is like giving birth in reverse. Instead of new life, we find life leaving us. We don’t want just anyone peering in on our anger and pain when we’re suffering just as we don’t want just anyone watching us in the primal act of sex or childbirth. These are very trying times in being forced to confront the most deep-rooted vulnerabilities as we learn to trust again. If you’re”here”, it’s because trust has been broken somewhere along the way on the deepest level of your spirit; you, or someone you love, is in an abusive relationship. At the very least, you have been spiritually violated and it mostly likely doesn’t stop there but ripples out to the physical, mental and emotional. Accepting this is a milestone. This is our higher self telling us we can no longer sustain the way we have been. This is when most of the tools in your toolbox will stop working. Finding a way to exist outside of the abusive relationship is imperative.
Separating isn’t easy. A child leaving home. A lucrative business arrangement gone sour. A parent who moves from the physical world. Losing a home in a devastating flood while the world looks the other way. All of these things are grievous. Equally or not, when we separate from an abusive relationship, it is the biggest emotional storm imaginable… our own. If someone is abusing or mistreating you and then tells you they didn’t do anything “wrong” or they “can’t help it”, listen to them — because they are telling you they are going to continue. This is a milestone of acceptance. The next step is creating separation. This is an ideal time to find a midwife; even if that midwife is buying some time off work, finding a healer and/or moving to shelter. As in any “survival” scenario, to move is to live; You must find higher ground. When we feel violated in a relationship and only one person is willing to change or admit there’s a problem; we find ourselves getting lost in the hope things will eventually get better. When an abusive person either can’t or won’t get help, we must take charge in order to obtain, maintain and protect our dignity as we allow grief to part the waters of change. We can never allow these things to ensue if we don’t have safe haven. When it all ends, what we seek is what we find; the truth. The ending provides the perfect opportunity to see the true colors in the relationship. Threatening to leave and actually leaving are two different things so keep in mind, it will get worse before it gets better. If the situation is physical or sexual, trying to leave before finding safety is dangerous because this is a breeding ground for violence. In the case of emotional, verbal or mental abuse; we have to create a safe space of “no contact” with the abuser, otherwise, the fear of things getting worse will paralyze you like a venomous animal paralyzing its prey for a meal. Find sanctuary. When you have found separation from the abuse, this is a milestone.
After separating from the situation, clarity starts to sink in forcing an assessment of the emotional and psychological injuries that were sustained in the relationship. Triage. This is when the addiction sets in and you may start missing them, or think you do. What’s missing is the idea of the relationship as the illusion it is. It’s not crazy or insane to manufacture a more ideal reality as the feelings are very real but encourage us to believe the other person is equally suffering in our absence. E-motion is a verb meaning to move emotional energy, emotion is necessary to get to the truth. The feelings, the intuition and gut feeling of truth, is underneath the illusion that this is a healthy relationship. Healthy relationships are not abusive or one-sided. Love is not being chronically and consistently scared, tense, edgy, unhappy, neglected or so much worse.
This is a dynamic relationship so the provocateur is most likely experiencing the equivalent of a scratch while you are absorbing the brunt of the damage like the cherry on top of an already fragile psyche. This moment of realization can be overwhelming and isolating. This is when you need to know you’re not alone, have your team standing by and allow yourself to reach out accordingly. The next moments will be tumultuous as you fight the urge to go back; bargaining for the illusion to be true and not the other way around. When the glass house of the illusion is shattered, everything is upside-down in the rabbit hole. This is when the earth shakes. To top it off; you may realize you feel “victimized” while the instigator is using emotional triggers as niceties, storming the castle with rage, screaming in anguish, calling you crazy or riding off in the sunset of alienation — depending on the pattern of abuse.
You are addicted to this relationship, too. The body releases hormones at each stage of the roller coaster ride — the high of coming together, the stress of the slow demise, the whiplash of devaluation and finally, the pain when you find yourself discarded with less energy than it takes to pay a bill. That’s why it feels so good in hoping, goes south in anger when it starts deteriorating, and turns to agony when it’s over. Do you really want to go through this again? This person, substance, entity or institution is not worth your life. You may not be consciously choosing this but there is a pattern in your life of allowing it; even if this pattern goes back to childhood. It’s the pattern that needs to change, not you. Remember that. Love is why we come “here” in the first place and it’s the reward once you actualize your own Self-Love by not giving your energy away to those who don’t have your best interests at heart. Trust takes time to earn, you are worth the time it takes to earn trust. God, however you choose to define it, is asking this of you. Honor that. That’s what it means when people say “It’s them, not you” and it’s true. Accept this. It is painful, but you are very close to getting your life back.
The pain is the hardest part. I wish I could say that this kind of rejection is easy. This kind of rejection is different because of how damaging the relationship is/was. You have been emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually effected. You probably feel crazy as you unravel the truth. Gaslighting is a term used in psychology because it’s real and damaging; the instigator tries to change your reality by insisting they didn’t do or say the things they did and said. This makes you doubt your own sanity while you don’t even know you’re doubting your own sanity. You’re still trippin’! It’s okay because you’re safe. You feel as if the pain will never end but this is also the convergence. In order to release these things we have to allow them to pass through us. You have the tools. You are actualizing Self-Love and have a safe place to give birth to your pain. The midwife is nurturing and brings soul food. They hold onto you in the moments the pain sets in so you can remember the light on the other side. The pain is a milestone but you can also get lost here. Make sure the midwife knows this. Allow the pain and anger to pass through because this is the storm you’ve been preparing for all this time, the entirety of your life up to this moment. Find a safe place to exorcise and exercise your anger because you will be pissed off and want to let them know about it. This is not conducive to your recovery. Find another way. Those ways are infinite.
Make a home with your Mother, the Earth. She is waiting to heal you. Be Grateful. You may not know how to receive Her. It’s okay. Humility is a milestone. Accept it, it’s Beautiful. Will you honor your abuser as if she/he were yourself by admitting that they have also suffered in this dis-ease? Can you forgive, even if the only way you can do it is letting go and away from this person? Are you willing to receive the path that waits before you, even if it’s unfamiliar? Will you go back because it’s easier than facing the unknown? Can you answer these questions within yourself honestly or do you need help receiving your truth? Will you commit to your Healing? Do you remember the ancient ways? Are you willing to receive a Spiritual Awakening into your life?
You shouldn’t have to fight for your Divine Inheritance, either in a relationship or in the world, but you did. You are a mighty warrior. Look how far you’ve come. Sometimes it really is better to be seemingly alone rather than subject our Sacred selves to this kind of nonsense. Accept this. You have been granted an opportunity to Love again. You hold the staff of Life in your hands and are prepared to spread your message of Faith and Healing. There is someone out there who needs to hear your story. It is your Divine destiny to walk this path with another as someone has walked this path with you. Go forth with Compassion and help banish abuse from the vocabulary of Emotional Intelligence. This is your Purpose and you aren’t just important, you’re important to someone else’s journey. This is the last milestone if you choose to Accept it. You are a powerful Healer and will Heal many more. Thank you for your service.
Recommended reading by Jennifer Deisher:
- The Beast of Burden – Illusion and Deception on the Path of Enlightenment
- The Ties That Bind – Releasing Toxic Relationships
- Our Purpose is to Heal
- Stop, Look and Listen: Healing a Society in Denial
- Let It Rain – Finding Gratitude in Grief
- Into the Deep – Learning from the Shadow Within
- Dying to Live: Unity and Oneness, or Corporate Rule?
- The Hijacked Mind: Healing a Society in Trauma
About the author:
Jennifer Deisher is the co-founder of BlueprintsForButterflies.com, a resource for the Spiritual Explorer, which she runs with her husband Aaron Deisher. Jennifer is the writer of site’s Moon Hippie Mystic blog and has been published on several consciousness and healing sites, including Wake Up World and OM Times Magazine. She also runs Dakota Ridge Chiropractic in Littleton, Colorado. Through BlueprintsForButterflies, Aaron applies his unique experience to assist others using aspects of Soul Therapy, Shadow Work and Intuitive Guidance for the Mind, Body and Spirit.
For more information or to book a session, visit BlueprintsForButterflies.com or Facebook.com/BlueprintsForButterflies.