Deciphering insidious messages (guest blogger)

Written by Amie on January 22, 2015 – 11:37 am -

I have a guest blogger!

This is the first time I have had a guest blogger on my site. I really want to post this because I believe it will be very helpful for many people. Many (probably most) people have been exposed to dysfunctional and abusive behavior. If you were exposed for many years to dysfunctional behavior, chances are very good that you are still suffering as an adult from the messages you absorbed and didn’t even realize it. It was just “normal” behavior. Until we begin the journey of questioning depression/anxiety/anger, we most likely will not notice the interactions that feed these conditions (for lack of a better word). These interactions feel so familiar to us that most of us assume there is something wrong with us when we walk away from the interaction feeling miserable. Rather than go inward with the feelings (depression), some people explode with rage and either hurt themselves or others. Early on in my healing process, I had no idea why I still felt horrible after being with certain people. And then I figured it out. Their actions never matched their words. Their energy was saying one thing, but their actions another. Their words were not really expressing their truth, their words were being used to manipulate people and situations in order to fulfill their need to stay locked in their abusive behavior. The rest of this post will be written by a guest blogger.

 Abusive behavior and what it looks like 

*I am using “he” rather than write out “he/she” each time.

As long as the abuser has you (and all of his supporters) questioning YOU (the victim), the focus is off of him. When the focus is taken off the abuser, he does not have to face the fact that the problem in the relationship is his past and continued abusive ways. Instead, he can blame you for causing problems, and not “forgiving” (when in reality the true issue is that you simply held him accountable for his abusive behavior, you stood up to him when nobody would, and he sees this as you causing problems) Abusive people lie, blame, and deny and they are masters at all of these. They play the victim, and could win an Oscar for their performance. Anything to avoid facing the truth of what is actually happening. Their supporters (enablers) all flock to defend him. However, even the supporters will claim they are not supporting his behavior. Instead they say they are supporting both the abuser and the victim. (this is not possible). They say things like, “but he loves his family”, “he would do anything for his kids”, (EXCEPT WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO, WHICH IS SAY HOW HE HAS CHANGED HIS ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR) If you ask him to tell you how he has changed (because you want to know this before agreeing to be around him again), you are called demanding and controlling. The enablers then use guilt, shame, and lies to try and shut you up from speaking the truth. The abuser will tell the enablers lies in order to keep them believing he is the victim (like saying “I did admit what I did to her”,or “I have changed”,or “I have done everything possible to fix this”) and then say something different to the victim. (like lying about what really happened, not, in fact, admitting the truth).

Guilt, guilt and more guilt. Oh, and some shame too

Another way to attempt to guilt you is to ask you, “what would God want you to do?” (As if these people have this answer! lol) And then they ask, “Can’t we just start anew?”(this being said over and over, even after the abuser has had multiple chances to repair the relationship) “Can’t we just start anew” is another guilt trip laden remark. The person asking this question just wants you to shut up and stop trying to make the abuser and enabler change anything. Let’s start anew means, let’s sweep it under the rug like we always do. They want to go back to the way it was, but SAY things have changed, when in fact, they haven’t changed a bit.

People in dysfunctional relationships like things to stay the same. They may not like the behavior of the abusive person, but be sure, if you try to break the cycle at all, you will become the “hateful angry one” who is a “troublemaker” who is “always arguing with people”. The list goes on and on…Anything is used to put the focus on you rather than where it belongs.

Actions always speak loudest

The words of abusive people never match their actions. This feels so good to finally realize why it never felt good to be around them in the first place. I could not figure that out. They tell me, “My intention has never been to hurt you”, which I used to think, ok, well they didn’t mean to. I would still feel crappy, but I thought it was just me. When in reality this statement actually means, “I will not take responsibility because I didn’t mean to hurt you.” So hurting someone and not having to apologize is ok if you say you didn’t mean to? Also, if the abusive person continues to hurt you, their words mean absolutely nothing. They just say these words because they think it gets them off the hook from having to take responsibility for their actions. They don’t want to take responsibility for something they believe you deserved because you “disrespected” them by simply disagreeing with them.

“I have unconditional love for you”- doesn’t this statement  sound nice? If you have to tell someone you have unconditional love for them, then its very possible you don’t actually have it. Your actions  would show unconditional love, there should be no need to have to tell someone. When this statement is used in conjunction with the fact that the abuser refuses to take the steps needed in order to heal the relationship, (that they, in fact, ruined) they are trying to guilt you into changing your story, trying to get you to stop saying what is true. They want to be in denial, so they use what most people think is a loving statement, in hopes that you will feel bad enough setting boundaries that you will just let it all go, sweep it under the rug again. Again, trying to make you into the perpetrator because you are the one speaking out, you are the one rocking the boat.

 

Dictionary of abusive/dysfunctional statements:

1. “We are definitely on different pages” (what an abusive person actually means-Your thoughts and opinions are crazy/wrong/don’t matter, and mine are right, so there is nothing we need to talk about. You are crazy for even thinking that.)

2. “I’m sorry you feel the way you do” (what an abusive person actually means- It’s not my fault. You are very wrong about what you are saying. I will not even listen to your thoughts because the way you feel is wrong/bad) This statement is used to minimize ones’ feelings, to make you question yourself.

3. “You need to forgive” (what an abusive person actually means-Lift up the rug and let’s forget about all this that happened.You are bad if you can’t just forgive, forget, and move on) ** This being said even though the abuser has not admitted to the abuse, nor have they made any changes. (And I know that because I was with the person recently,and they exhibited the same abusive behavior)

4. “You are just hateful and angry” (what an abusive person actually means-this is your fault this mess is still going on. Anger is bad, you shouldn’t have anger.)

5.”My intention was never to hurt you” (what an abusive person actually means-I am not responsible for what I did to you. I will not take responsibility for my actions. You should feel bad that you think I would ever mean to hurt you)

6. “Don’t you think we have analyzed this situation to the fullest and we could resolve these issues?” (what an abusive person actually means-there is no hope of me ever taking responsibility for my actions, so can you please go back to accepting abusive behavior. And, btw, I have no intention of ever changing, but since I said the words “let’s resolve these issues”  to you, I am able to tell people I have tried everything, but its YOU that won’t accept my efforts. So its your fault this mess is still a mess.)

7. “Let’s focus on the positive” (what an abusive person actually means-stop calling me out on my abusive behavior, you are just so negative, angry and hateful!)

8. “But he/we have done so many good things for you” (what an abusive person actually means-be grateful for the good things, ignore and be okay with abusive things. Good things should outweigh the hurt.)

9. “You don’t really feel that way do you?” (what an abusive person actually means-you should be ashamed for even thinking that! You are bad/wrong/crazy. Your feelings don’t matter.)

 

Practice Questioning everything!

These are a few of the statements that I have learned to decipher. Whenever someone says something that makes you feel bad about yourself, question it. Ask if there is guilt or shame being used to try to manipulate you. Question what is truly going on. If you frequently beat yourself up over day to day interactions, stop, become aware, and practice looking within to learn more about yourself and what is happening inside you. When we do this, we take our power back from abusive people. Please feel free to comment with any messages you have absorbed from being in dysfunctional relationships.

 

Here is Brene Brown talking about how to stop a shame spiral.

 

 

 

 

 

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Healing takes a lot of hard work; moving to self-love

Written by Amie on May 13, 2013 – 1:45 am -

buried who they truly are, what they truly desire, how they truly feel, and possibly negative or traumatic experiences that carry guilt and/or shame.

Changing your pattern to self-love will take work. But coming to a place of self-love will be the best reward you can ever imagine! Trust me when I say I know what it feels like to feel hopeless and stuck. And please trust me when I say, we are meant to love ourselves. I believe this with every ounce of my being. Does that mean our lives should be without heartache or difficulties or grief? Absolutely not. We will have all of these experiences because we are human and because we desire love and connection with other humans. But if we are in an emotionally healthy place, these experiences may be difficult, but we will be able to see them in a much different light than we do if we are in a place of self-hate. When a person is in a deep place of self hate, they may act out in all sorts of unhealthy ways. For example, one might lie about a situation in order to protect themselves emotionally rather than choose to be vulnerable and admit how they hurt someone they love. One may choose to overeat, or drink too much alcohol, etc., in order to try to block out feelings of self-hatred/guilt/shame.  Sometimes it is difficult to “see” this in a person who appears to have it all together. Most people have learned to have two (or more) personalities. One is the personality they display when they do not wish to be authentic, honest, etc. (in protection mode, or denial) The other is their “true” self, which mostly gets lost or buried until a person is able to love themselves, or desire a more authentic way of being. Depression comes when a person is completely hiding their true self, in an attempt to protect themselves emotionally.  They have buried who they truly are, what they truly desire, how they truly feel, and possibly negative or traumatic experiences that carry guilt and/or shame.

people who can be unkind to a loved one but then turn around two seconds later and be kind

I want to write about how to begin the journey to self-love and self-compassion. Have you met people who can be unkind to a loved one but then turn around two seconds later and be kind to a complete stranger? I have. And I am sure I have been guilty of this myself somewhere along the way. This is the example I will use to help you begin your journey to self love and self compassion. Even though the actions of being kind to that stranger aren’t authentic, I want to ask you, don’t you at least deserve the effort you gave them? I witnessed a mother (I assume she was the girl’s mother) in a store the other day who was with her  approximately 8 year old daughter. The young girl was looking at cards and would come to her mother to ask, “is this a good one”? It was very clear from watching, that the young girl wanted to pick the “perfect” card for whomever it was she was buying the card. It was obviously very important to her to pick a special card. The mother’s response was, “Just pick a fuc*ing” card”. I was shocked, and sad, and I wanted to go to the girl and tell her “I see you trying to pick the perfect card, I see it is so important for you to choose the most special one.” But I didn’t.  The woman passed me after being so unkind to her daughter, and she very politely said, “excuse me”, and even smiled at me! I don’t want to pass judgement here, because maybe this woman had a terrible day and this isn’t how she usually speaks to her sweet daughter. I truly hope this is the case.  If this isn’t the case, then I hope this woman will eventually come to a place of loving herself so she and her daughter can have an emotionally healthy relationship. So, how does this relate to what I am talking about?

Little Girl Holding Kitten

 in the moment

Well, my guess is that this woman’s outburst to her child is also her own inner voice. The one she uses to beat herself up with. It is difficult for a person who dislikes themselves to see a young  beautifully innocent young girl who is in the moment, happily picking out a special card (or whatever the situation may be). It “triggers” something inside them that if they don’t take the time to figure out why it triggers them, they will continue beating themselves up. The other important thing to notice is if this young girl starts taking in this negativity; the unresolved emotions, the  negative talk from her mother, she too, may begin the process of self hate. This is not always the case. There are some people who seem to be able to hear this negativity and separate it from themselves. They somehow realize even from a young age that these negative interactions are not personal. Unfortunately, many people take on this negativity as if they deserve to be treated unkindly. When frequent situations such as this happen, a person may develop a very harsh inner voice. I just wanted to mention this, because it helped me begin to understand how my own harsh inner voice began. I could *feel* the person’s emotions (energy) if it was negative, even if they were saying something to me that they wanted to sound “positive”. I *felt* them rather than *heard* their words. Hope that makes sense. It is like someone telling you your beloved pet cat is going to be okay, when in fact, you feel they are lying to you so that they don’t have to tell you the truth. By the way, this behavior is crazy making! It took me years to figure this out. A person claiming to care about me saying one thing to me, but I would feel the complete opposite coming from them.

 If you are able to be nice to a stranger, you *know* people deserve kindness!

To begin the process of being kind, loving, and compassionate to yourself, you must begin to be aware of your thoughts. And then when you notice a negative one, start a dialog with yourself. Be that lady who was polite to me. Even though I felt negative energy from her, she was still able to talk kindly to me. No, it may not feel authentic, but it is a start. And, consider this: you deserve to be treated kindly and with respect and compassion! If you are able to be nice to a stranger, you *know* people deserve kindness! Guess what, you are one of those people who deserve kindness! Most importantly, you deserve kindness from yourself. Try doing this even when it doesn’t feel authentic to you. It most likely won’t feel authentic for awhile. That’s okay. That is to be expected since your inner voice has been so critical for so long! And, your inner critic ISN’T YOU!! That inner voice is an accumulation of those negative voices, thoughts and beliefs stemming from negative experiences (like the little girl I mentioned about) and negative people all throughout the course of your life.

“I am so lazy, why can’t I just clean my room?”

I am a very emotionally sensitive person, so if you are too, it is very likely you have picked up many of these negative experiences. And remember, dysfunctional people pass their dysfunction on to others unless they are working on healing these experiences. So, if you have had unhealthy people in your life at any time (which, let’s face it, who hasn’t?), chances are good that you may have picked up unhealthy thoughts and beliefs about yourself. You can begin right now to change this. If you have a negative thought about yourself, it is absolutely not true. There is a difference between saying to yourself something like, “My room is messy, I would like it cleaned up”, vs. something like, “I am so lazy, why can’t I just clean my room?” BIG difference! The first statement is simply a desire, the second is a harsh self-judgment meant to make a person feel shame. Begin simply by noticing and observing these thoughts going through your mind. Then question them; is this self-judgment, is this a kind voice, whose voice is this? Ask yourself how you would respond to a young child who you happen to over hear speaking to himself with this voice. I’m guessing you would respond with love and kindness and compassion? GIVE the same thing to yourself!

Nurture yourself!

I am going to add more to this post soon, but until then….please think of small ways to begin nurturing yourself. Buy yourself a new pen, go to the library and get a book you have been wanting to read, take a long hot bubble bath, get outside and go for a hike with the soothing trees and birds and crickets, play with your cat or dog, allow yourself to take a nap, play a fun game with a child, light a candle and sit down for 10 minutes and just observe your breath moving in and out of your nose, get a massage, paint, draw, color, work with clay, write in your journal, sing, dance, jump on the bed, do something that makes you feel loved. This is the beginning of loving yourself. Give yourself a big hug and talk to yourself as if you are a small child who still trusts love. You deserve love! You are love! You ARE NOT those negative thoughts you have been living with and believing all these years.

 

 

 

 

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