January 30, 2015

5 Steps to Releasing Guilt & Pain Surrounding Abuse.

abuse survivor

Warning: naughty language ahead.

“The past cannot survive in your presence.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

We search so earnestly for freedom from pain after any kind of abuse. One day, you say, I will not feel this hurt, I will not lapse into guilt; I will be able to talk about abuse without feeling shame.

I’m not writing this piece because I am qualified as a therapist of any sort. I am writing this because I have been abused and my life is rich with freedom. I have discovered the path to personal healing and have followed it with success. This has worked for me.

Perhaps you are searching for that well hidden road to recovery. No one should shame you into feeling that you should just get over it. That shit happened, and now you are left with the clean-up. And since no one else waded in the exact shit that you were dealt, it’s up to no one to judge how long your healing journey will take, or the direction it winds in.

Take freely from my experience. I invite your thoughts and comments. Together, we can do more than survive abuse. Survival is just the beginning; it’s not a way to live the rest of your earthly incarnation.

1. Fall into it.

Feeling pain is not actually a bad idea. It can be a catalyst for change. It’s kind of like embracing the utter dark of a sweat lodge. It feels like it might swallow you up, but then you transform by allowing in the power of “not knowing anything but the fear I am facing.”

I allowed myself some time to remember—to feel that little girl who was emotionally, physically, sexually and verbally abused. Even as I typed this I was thinking, “Fuck! That is a lot of abuse.” Allow yourself to feel what you went through. I’m saying this because denial and sweeping it under the lumpy rug of “I’ll just forget this ever happened” is a recipe for disaster.

Forget rape? Forget being told that you’re ugly, stupid, and have no purpose? Let’s just face this thing. Otherwise it will become a monster that follows you around and pops up at inconvenient times and places. It will take compassion to watch that little girl or boy, or grown-up who has been violated.

Look at the previous you and say, I love you, I’ve got you, I’m protecting you, I understand. But then you have to move on. Cry yourself a river, feel every damn thing that you can about it, then blow your nose and move to step two. Only you can do this thing for yourself.

2. Accept it.

It happened. It cannot un-happen. That’s it for step two. That shit is for real. It reminds me of the story of the wise man who was to speak to a crowd of followers. After all their travels and the time they waited to hear what incredible wisdom he would impart, all the audience heard him, say was:

“I don’t mind what happens.”

Huh? That’s so deep you’ll need hip-waders! Ponder this statement:

“Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you’re in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender. When you accept what is, every moment is the best moment. That is enlightenment.” (From Practicing The Power of Now, E. Tolle)

This leads to step three.

3. Practice non-attachment.

I’ve been learning this from Osho and Eckhart Tolle. Now I’m about to say something that might make you angry. It made me angry and kept me at step two for some time.

In some way it serves your ego to hang on to the pain

Feel free to swear at me and call me some vile name at this point. However, the above statement is true. These questions came up for me when I first heard the above concept.

“Are you fucking insane? As if I want to feel like this! Why would I want to feel the goddamn pain instead of getting over it? I can’t get over it, I’ve tried!”

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are a few more questions:

1. Who will I be if I let this go?
2. How can I re-invent myself from this abused person I’ve been to someone without that label?
3. What will I use as a crutch if I can’t lean on this anymore? Ouch! Okay, that was a bit nasty, I admit. That question evoked rage in me.

The answers to those questions are your homework. It’s a whole other article, or perhaps a discussion you could begin with yourself and others.

To suddenly see that you are or have been attached to your pain can be quite a shocking realization. The moment you realize this you have broken the attachment. E. Tolle

You will find one day that by taking this step you are releasing the perpetrator from his role as your abused; you might even forgive. Forgiveness is freedom for you. This is about you. If you’re not ready for that, ask yourself that question again: “how is non-forgiveness serving me?” Be ready for a battle with yourself. This might take some time. Be kind to yourself. Allow humor in. Laughter is healing.

4. Make a decision.

It’s up to you. No one else can do this for you. You have to decide whether you want to work this out, or not. It is that simple. One decision marks step one to healing.

Decide that you are not going to be marked by the past.

Decide that you are your own best teacher. Decide that it’s been long enough. Decide that you refuse to give power to what happened. Decide and then decide again. And again. And again. Until you stop taking your decision back and you say, “I will not allow this to define me any longer.” I promise that the decision is a most important step. Without it, there will be no forward movement. How can a journey begin without the first step? Make this happen! Do. It.

5. Nourish your soul.

The scar might remain. You might feel compassion and sadness when you recall the “story” of what happened to you. That compassion and sadness signifies that you are fully human, that you have a soul. But you’ll be on your way to living in technicolor.

You won’t be stuck on repeat, telling yourself that everything is a reflection of what you experienced. You will be free. After a while, even the scar will have new significance to you. It will serve as a reminder of your healing, not of your abuse.

What do you need to feed your soul? Do you need a support system of folks who you can trust with your healing journey? Do you need a journal? Do you need to steep yourself in nature, art, music, love? Do you need some help from herbal allies to heal your body as well as your psyche? Do you need to meditate? Do you need help from a professional therapist?

Take what you need, but avoid falling into the pit of just re-telling your story.

This story has an end, and it ends with you not being branded as an abuse victim. Now, you are whole. You are love, and nothing can destroy that.



Identifying Emotional Abuse before it Happens.


Author: Monika Carless

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Global Panorama/Flickr

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