abuse | emotional wellness

Finding the Strength to Heal from Abuse

By on February 24, 2021

I have been thinking about vulnerability. I’m coming up on the 3 year anniversary of this blog. My intent has been to share a slice of life and finding joy in the motherhood journey.

Lately, I have been lacking inspiration and direction. Today I realized the reason. I’ve touched on my story a few times here and there, but I haven’t really shared the nitty-gritty. The nitty-gritty of how to leave a lifetime of abuse behind and create a positive life of love and healing. This growth is what has created the space to be able to fully experience “joyful motherhood”.

In the past, I have shared the “end result” rather than the baby-steps it took to get to this place of healing. My work now is to share the how-to. This is the vulnerable piece for me. The information came to me in several forms all at once. It was like I hit a place in life and the universe said here, it’s your time. Go do it. Go break the cycle.

I started taking steps– I found the personal development avenues I required to start changing my thoughts, I found someone who was willing to support me and empower me through the change. It was not (and is not) always easy. Luckily, I’m strong willed or determined and my support system knows how get me to activate the right muscles to get it done, lol. I am also dedicated to use my story and my success to help others who need and want it.

Trauma Cycles

The truth is, I have only been free of abuse for 6 years. Abuse is so clouding, I didn’t even recognize I was *still* living in an abusive situation in adulthood because it felt better than my childhood. Denial at its best. I was the master of thinking “if I do this, then our situation will change”. I failed to recognize I needed to love myself enough to completely remove myself from abuse and never turn back. The saying is true, “we repeat what we don’t repair”. This is unfortunate as a mother, because we have the luxury of passing it on to our children.

Abuse leaves nasty scars. It took about 3 years after removing myself from abuse to feel calm and grounded in my new reality. Abuse affects us physically, mentally and spiritually. It damages our self-image, our self-worth, our ability to have healthy relationships, our ability to trust life, trust people, to be fully present and on and on. It causes us to suffer from anxiety, depression, trauma responses, etc. etc.

This is the piece I feel is so truly unfair, and the piece I am passionate about. The scars DO NOT have to dictate our outcome or our level of success (meaning happiness). Life does not have to be a struggle. Yes, we will be faced with struggles. However, overall healing is possible and we can stop the cycles of abuse if we truly want it.

The Mind is a Tool

I had two thoughts I held on to throughout my childhood. #1 was that I was going through this to help others and #2 I deserved more and would have a healthy family as an adult. I had a very clear image of what my “normal” family would look like. Little did I know, that the power of focus on these two thoughts would be my saving grace.

I survived sexual abuse, domestic violence, poverty, living in extreme drug addiction, and many other labels. I have survived PTSD, disassociation, and have learned to live fully in my body so that I can truly enjoy life.

The details of how to leave, how to pay for it, and how to live beyond survival unfolded. I have been able to keep my son relatively sane and I feel there has been massive healing for him too, so that hopefully he doesn’t have to carry the scars into adulthood.

I’m saddened every day when I think about abuse statistics and the reality of the drug situation in our country. I felt alone when I was young, and now recognize that a huge percentage of the world falls into these statistics. All forms of abuse damages our psyche and creates the baggage that we carry.

Over the next phase of this blog, I will start sharing the ways I learned to manage my mind, pull from my inner strength, love myself, and change my story. If you or someone you know has suffered abuse in any form, please invite them to this page so they can receive this information.

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yoga

My “Why”

By on April 26, 2018

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To be propelled toward a goal, most often a pressing “why” or urge is the force that drives someone. That why is a motivator, something to stay focused on. Since the beginning of my life I have had a pretty clear “why” statement. I was born into a family full of addiction and abuse. I remember sitting in my room at age 4 telling myself I would “break the cycle”. It was a strange clarity for a little girl.

As a fourth grader, I learned how deep the drug addiction was. I learned about crack cocaine, methamphetamines, overdose, and who to call when it happens. This is also the year I attended my first Al-Anon meeting. I took notes in the Al-Anon meetings, I knew what it meant to be an “enabler”, a “scapegoat”, the “hero”, and all of the other verbiage from these meetings. My dad was the known addict in our family, the one who lived a more openly addicted life. My mom was just as bad– although better, for a while, at covering her tracks. My brother quickly spiraled down the same path of addiction at a very early age. I learned about the lies it takes to be an addict, and I became a good liar when it came to covering up what my home life was like.

When someone is addicted, they can not love. No matter what, the drug or object of addiction is the only thing that matters. I grew up quickly, taking on the role of adult before it was age appropriate. I felt it was unfair, that surely life did not have to be this way. I connected myself to bad relationships where I continually had to play the role of “mother”, or “fixer”. Co-dependent is the title for that role. Growing up without proper role models and support is definitely a different sort of path, and a path I was quite ashamed of.

Thank heavens I know what I know now. I learned how to change a story and recognize your “why”. The desire to break the cycle of addiction, poverty, and abuse became my mission. Luckily, I stumbled on to the right information to begin to make it happen. Years of therapy never helped release my body from the anxiety. It felt as if the only way to get to the “root’ of the issue was by rethinking and retelling my stories over and over. That kept my mind in a place looking for someone or something outside of myself to either blame for the pain or to keep me feeling victim to the circumstance. I was not going to take a pill to make myself happy.

Becoming the author of my story was quite empowering. Realizing that I had the power to not be a victim, but the owner. Their actions, their words did not have to control my actions or my outcome. Just because something is a struggle once, or a million times, the power to release the “bondage” of the past came from me. Changing my role in my family was the first step, and changing my thoughts surrounding it was the next one. For me, I would feel anxiety, despair, or depression often. A sadness that came from the loss of what a family “should” be. A feeling of unfairness, or of lack. Instead of whining and feeding the story (those feelings), the power comes from reaching for something “good” when those old feelings of anxiety or despair resurface. Good food, good books, good friendships, good music, an essential oil or a yoga pose– you get the idea. This is a practice. Something that I have to remind myself and repeat over and over. Not to say I do not have “bad” days anymore, it is just that the “bad” days are much shorter.

Regaining my balance now takes a fraction of the time. The anxiety, despair, anger, or depressive feelings used to encompass days, or weeks of my time. Now I can look around and count my blessings and attune to something happier or more beautiful than the darkness that used to float around in my mind. I can send loving thoughts toward my family, even though I no longer feel I  have to participate or try to “fix” their circumstances. Sharing my story from a place of empowerment, of health/wellness, and purpose changes the role I used to carry. Which is modeling a different example for my children, therefore breaking the chains of addiction that were modeled for me.

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