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 past emotional wounds that affect your present

Written by Amie on May 6, 2014 – 3:26 am -

We all have emotional wounds

Another very popular statement thrown around quite often today is, “stop living in the past”. It is another statement that irritates me. In some cases, sure, it is very possible to live your life in a way that only focuses on past events, traumas, etc. However, if you are depressed, chances are good that events, traumas, old beliefs, conditioning, etc. from your past, are affecting your life today. When you begin questioning, investigating, and reflecting on your life, this does not mean you are living in the past. This means you are courageous enough to look within yourself to uncover the wounds that are hindering your life today. We all have emotional wounds. They are to different degrees, but we all have them. It is part of being human in this world today. Many people are not willing to do the difficult and sometimes very painful work of self reflection. When we investigate our wounds, it doesn’t mean we are sitting around blaming others or staying stuck in the past. It means we are taking responsibility for our lives by looking at our wounds and feeling the accompanying emotions that were never felt. It means we are able to get through the pain, to the other side, which is our true self.

the truth keeps resurfacing

Sometimes it is easy to “talk” about things that happened to us. This isn’t the same as processing the emotions around these events. It is the hidden emotion underneath the “talking” that will heal. It is allowing ourselves to feel. It is expressing the emotions that were buried at the time of the true hurt. It is allowing ourselves to process the feelings that are coming up today even though the may have happened years ago. If we don’t allow the emotions to come to the surface to be felt, we are living in the past. The past is controlling our present. We can deny our past, we can “say” we processed it, we can pretend all is well. But the truth keeps resurfacing in different forms. It may show up in denial, depression, severe anxiety,debilitating fear, rage, isolation, over compensating by keeping extra busy, addictions, etc. When we keep trying to hold in those repressed feelings, we block our ability to heal. So this means really living in the past. It may appear as though you are living now, but in all honesty, you are merely functioning. You may tell others to stop living in the past, when in reality, it is you who lives in the past because the fear of feeling your truth is just too great.

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 peeking underneath the pain

I understand this completely. I remained in a severe depression because at first I didn’t know that I was burying my pain. I thought my depression stemmed from an inherent flaw in me. I was conditioned to believe that something was terribly wrong with me. I learned to turn my emotions inward. I learned to blame myself. I learned to pretend that all was well when it was nowhere close to being well. I told myself to keep looking to the future because it was sure to be better. Until my past wounds finally got such a deep hold on me that I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to begin the process of peeking underneath the pain to see and feel what was really there. One layer at a time. I revealed my core wounds. We all have them. This absolutely does not mean something is wrong with you or that you are bad. Thinking something is wrong with you or thinking you are bad or broken ; these are conditioned beliefs. They are not true.

What coping mechanisms do you have in place

You can begin healing your past by becoming aware of your beliefs, thoughts, and your wounds. What is the message you continually tell yourself? It may take work to discover this. What do you believe about yourself? Where did these beliefs come from? How do you interact with others? What do you feel in your body during interactions with others? How can you take responsibility for your emotions? (which gives you your power back) What coping mechanisms do you have in place that keep you from looking and feeling your truth? By this I mean do you keep yourself so busy or so focused on work or home or some other thing so as to make it impossible to have time to really look at your inner world? Do you eat too much so that you can then focus on how miserable you feel so as to take the focus off your feelings? Please know I am not judging. I have done many things in order to distract myself from feeling. I just want to throw some ideas out there.

In order to heal, you must first feel. There is no other way around it. It is hard work at times. Be gentle with yourself, be patient with yourself. Love yourself every step of the way even when you don’t feel love for yourself. 

 

 

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