Abuse & Forgiveness: The Choice We Get to Make. ~ Corinne Casella

Via elephant journal
on Jul 9, 2013
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We all have pivotal moments in our lives—an action, an experience, something that happens that changes all that came before and affects all that will come.

My life changed the day I sat waiting in a downtown ER because the man I loved had given me a concussion.

I went alone, too embarrassed to tell anyone. To this day, very few people know about this time in my past. And I liked it that way.

What would have airing my dirty laundry—as my Nana would have said, done for me? Would it have turned back the clocks? Dried the long ago evaporated tears, healed old bruises, fixed what was once broken? Better to seal the box and move on. Too bad the subconscious does not work that way. Too bad that years since, I had stood in front of my ex and actually begged him not to leave me. I was still scared. Too bad my nightmares showed all that I hid from in the light.

I am now a world away from that broken girl. I am engaged to an amazing man, in a great place career wise and from all outside perspectives, living an incredible life. And I am. On good days I live in a state of gratefulness. I am grateful that I was able to claw my way out of the dark. I am grateful for the family and friends that never abandoned me. Grateful for the strength of spirit I never knew I had.

But I find the further I heal, the more hidden wounds crop up. You can only bury unresolved emotions for so long before they start to fester and infect. Because you cannot live forever in fear from the boogeyman. Because there is no boogeyman; there is only you.

There is no longer anyone threatening me. I no longer have to hide inside myself, walk on eggshells and live in a constant state of hyper-vigilance. I have not had to live that way for years. And in reality, I never really had to.

The choice was always mine, to stay and try and mend what was never mine to fix. Despite the bitter joy of hindsight, I still have a lot of untouched crap to sort through. Unreleased negative emotions still swim around looking for a port.

The reason for this might be my long ago personal choice to remain silent. It made sense at the time. I was not the one that ended whatever we had been to one another. And I loved him for right or wrong.

There it is in print. I can no longer hide from it.

I loved my abuser more than I had ever loved any man up to that point. And I did not want out from him.

Which Path

I wanted to protect him still. Or, did I really just want to protect myself? Pretend that none of it ever happened?

You might ask how could I love a violent man that much? How did I end up in my late 20s crushed, heartbroken and penniless? Because love is not anymore black and white than life is. Because not all ‘bad’ guys are always ‘bad’ and not all ‘good’ girls are always ‘good.’

If I sit here and say I never did anything to hurt the man in question I would be lying. I played my share of mind games, flung out my share of insults and even gave back some of the violence I was given. Yes, I, a quiet and otherwise unassuming woman, have the potential to be an abuser in her own right.

And that is the part that haunts me most of all. What does this realization do to our past? Does it rewrite our history? Does it make what he did to me OK? Does it make what I did justified? Or, does it just mean that life is messy, complicated and sometimes just plain f*cked?

As I write this and wander around in the shadows of my past, I realize something. Somewhere along the way I have forgiven him. I am forgiving myself.

We are imperfect creatures. We do our best, we do our worst and in the meantime we live.

So he shall live wherever he is and I shall live this (im)perfect life I have created out of duct tape and new beginnings. And may the cycle end with us. Because after all, I no longer believe in love at first sight, lust and butterflies. I believe in Timshel. The concept of ‘Thou Mayestx’; we have a choice in everything we do no matter what came before or what will come after. We always have a choice.


 Corinne Casella Corinne Casella was born and raised in New Jersey and now resides along the banks of the Hudson in Jersey City. She is a freelance writer & editor with over seven years of professional experience. Combining writing and yoga to her is a logical step, because if anything can bring about change in a world as large as ours, it’s through our open hearts and our pens. Connect with Corinne on her Website.


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 Assistant Ed: Gabriela Magana/Ed: Brianna Bemel


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6 Responses to “Abuse & Forgiveness: The Choice We Get to Make. ~ Corinne Casella”

  1. Carolyn Riker says:

    Thank you.

  2. Carolina Fernandez says:

    Really nicely written. Thank you for sharing.

  3. phyllishaig says:

    Whew, this article brought up a lot of thoughts and history for me. Here are some progressions I have learned.
    Anger is precious to the infant for survival, an expression of frustration at needs not getting met, a communication with the caregiver/parent. The more frustrated the infant is, the higher the volume and intensity of the communique. When the infant is properly responded to and taught, over time, as she matures, to source tools and strategies on her own, her anger then becomes a private, internal communication from her wise body/mind, and she asks the questions, "What do I need?" then, "And what is the best way to get it?" Pro-social bonding skills then are used to REsource needs from others, and only from others who are willing and able. Since others are resources, not Sources, if they can't or won't meet the request, another resource is sought. The child who is not responded to with love and understanding and trust in response to their anger, doesn't learn to internalize effective, pro-social negotiation skills. She does not learn to believe in her own Source-fulness and continues in the search outside of herself for needs, sense of self.
    Most of my youthful anger in relationships came from expecting my partner to be my Source, my corrective parent…and this was frustrating. I also attracted partners who functioned within this system; they too believed I should be their Source. A real set-up for blame and violence. Since I am Fire type, I was usually the aggressive one. I attracted passive-aggressive mates who were so ashamed and frightened of their anger they had to sub-contract it to me for expression and ownership. Real sweet dynamics. It took me almost a lifetime to unravel and begin to heal this error. I now practice Sourcing within, and still attract passive aggressives. But I know now, that with compassion, I can support them in ownership of what is theirs with a simple and loving comment, "I wonder if you are frustrated with something and I would like to hear what it is, in a safe way?". Self-Love and Sourcing the Divine abundance is so cool. There, I said cool, so you know I am an elder…

  4. I can hear you are calling yourself an abuser for retaliating. The psychological warfare of abusers often causes women who feel mad with the crazy making that goes along side it to hit back, attack in their pain and intense frustration. To blame yourself and call yourself an abuser is further evidence that the abuser is still winning, because it is win/lose in an abuser psyche.
    For the best perspective I have come across on the psychology of abusers is Why Does He Do That-Inside the minds of angry and controlling men by Lundy Bancroft. Reading about how and why men abuse is healing in itself because the first thing you learn is that it had nothing to do with you as a human being.

  5. Muks says:

    The safer I feel the more hidden emotions come up. This is normal, because emotions are buried when we feel unsafe. I am glad you can feel yours now. All the best. muks

  6. finn325 says:

    Thank you all for your kind words. This was a tough article to write but I am glad I did.

    If you are young and in or were in an abusive relationship please check out Day One. http://www.dayoneny.org/dayone/ I am not associated with them just a supporter of the great work they do!