Friday, March 13, 2009

Abuse

If you would actually enjoy reading this, you might want to print it out and take it with you. It's kind of long.

This particular word and what it means has been on my mind alot lately. In your head list the types of abuse there are.




Were emotional, mental and spiritual on that list you just made in your head?

If yes, good. If not, why not?

Do you believe that emotional, spiritual and mental abuse are forms abuse?

If not, shame on you.

My brain does not understand why some do not believe that emotional and spiritual abuse are not as significant as physical or sexual abuse. If you are one of such people please explain.

What does abuse mean to you?

Here is the dictionary definition.
Abuse  
abusing, noun –verb (used with object)
1. to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one's authority.
2. to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way.
3. to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
4. to commit sexual assault upon.
5. Obsolete. to deceive or mislead. –noun
6. wrong or improper use; misuse: the abuse of privileges.

7. harshly or coarsely insulting language: 8. bad or improper treatment; maltreatment: 10. rape or sexual assault. 11. Obsolete. + ūtī to

Personally, I find emotional and spiritual abuse to be one of the most damaging abuse's on this earth right now. A broken bone take weeks to heal, a black eye goes away after about 2-3 weeks, Chipped teeth can have crowns put over them. I am not down playing emotional and physical abuse I would just like people to know that it's not the bruised eye that hurts, or the broken bone that takes the longest to heal. Emotional abuse goes hand in hand with Physical and sexual abuse. It is the act of being betrayed by a loved or a stanger that takes healing. I know that men can also be emotionally and spiritually abused but I do believe it's less likely. Once a bishop explained in his own word what he thought the biggest difference was between men and women. Women are emotionally minded. Men are rationally minded. God made women to run on emotions on purpose. It is those emotions that cause motherly instinct, and empathy when a child falls of his bike, or the intuition to notice a fellow sister in nee. It in not wrong of us to be emotional, it is how God intended us to be.

On that note. I do not believe that you can choose how you feel. I do believe that you can choose how to react to what you feel.

I have experienced emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse in my life time and I can tell you right now that the emotional and spiritual were by far the most harmful and hurtful.
I have a hard time putting things out them without jumbling it all up. So, I found someone who has said it perfectly and I am just adding my opinion as well.
My thoughts are in purple.

"Emotional abuse is Heart and Soul Mutilation Emotional abuse is a devastating, debilitating heart and soul mutilation. The deepest lasting wound with any abuse is the emotional wound."

"Emotional abuse is underneath all other types of abuse - the most damaging aspect of physical, sexual, mental, etc. abuse is the trauma to our hearts and souls from being betrayed by the people that we love and trust." There is not such thing as only being emotionally abused - I have heard many horrifying stories of physical abuse and the most damaging aspect of the physical abuse is the emotional abuse it causes - when we say "I was only emotionally abused" it is the disease minimizing the trauma we experienced. Emotional abuse is underneath all other types of abuse - the most damaging aspect of physical, sexual, mental, etc. abuse is the trauma to our hearts and souls from being betrayed by the people that we love and trust. The other types of abuse can add more levels to the healing necessary but the bottom line is the emotional abuse and it's effect on our ability to Love and trust ourselves. In fact, being only emotionally abused can sometimes make it much harder to get in touch with our issues because it isn't always blatant and obvious. We not only were trained to be emotionally dishonest and emotionally abusive to ourselves - we learned concepts that set us up for more emotional abuse. One of the most damaging of those dysfunctional concepts was what we were taught about love in childhood.

"I don't remember how the particular insight that I am writing about here came about - whether I heard it, or read it, or just had the thought occur (which would mean, to me, that it was a message from my Higher Self/Higher Power - of course any of those methods would be a message from my Higher Power.)
In any case, this particular insight struck me with great force. Like most great insights, it was amazingly simple and obvious. It was to me earth shattering/paradigm busting in it’s impact. The insight was:

If someone loves you, it should feel like they love you."

"What a concept! Obvious, logical, rational, elementary "- All rational, not emotional words. Which is why I believe we don't always get it.

'like 'duh' of course it should.

I had never experienced feeling loved consistently in my closest relationships. Because my parents did not know how to Love themselves, their behavior towards me had caused me to experience love as critical, shaming, manipulative, controlling, and abusive. Because that was my experience of love as a child - that was the only type of relationship I was comfortable with as an adult. It was also, and most importantly, the relationship that I had with myself. In order to start changing my relationship with myself, so that I could start changing the type of relationships I had with other people, I had to start focusing on trying to learn the True nature of Love.

This, I believe, is the Great Quest that we are on. Anyone in recovery, on a healing/Spiritual path, is ultimately trying to find their way home to LOVE - in my belief. LOVE is the Higher Power - the True nature of the God-Force/Goddess Energy/Great Spirit. LOVE is the fabric from which we are woven. LOVE is the answer. And in order to start finding my way home to LOVE - I first had to start awakening to what Love is not. Here are a few things that I have learned, and believe, are not part of the True nature of Love. Love is not: Critical Shaming Abusive Controlling Manipulative Demeaning Humiliating Separating Discounting Diminishing Belittling Negative Traumatic Painful most of the time etc.

Love is also not an addiction. It is not taking a hostage or being taken hostage. The type of romantic love that I learned about growing is a form of toxic love. The "I can't smile without out you," "Can't live without you." "You are my everything," "You are not whole until you find your prince/princess" messages that I learned in relationship to romantic love in childhood are not descriptions of Love - they are descriptions of drug of choice, of someone who is a higher power/false god. Additionally, Love is not being a doormat. Love does not entail sacrificing your self on the altar of martyrdom - because one cannot consciously choose to sacrifice self if they have never Truly had a self that they felt was Lovable and worthy. If we do not know how to Love our self, how to show respect and honor for our self - then we have no self to sacrifice. We are then sacrificing in order to try to prove to ourselves that we are lovable and worthy - that is not giving from the heart, which is co dependently manipulative, controlling, and dishonest.
Unconditional Love is not being a self-sacrificing doormat - Unconditional Love begins with loving self enough to protect our self from the people we Love if that is necessary. Until we start Loving, honoring, and respecting our self, we are not truly giving - we are attempting to take self worth from others by being compliant in our behavior towards them." - The True Nature of Love - what Love is not?

Any kind of physical, verbal, mental, sexual abuse is also emotionally abusive. Any attitudes or behaviors that convey a message that the other is less than a being who deserves to be treated with respect and dignity - including objectifying and stereotyping - are emotionally abusive. The overt forms of abuse are often much more readily identifiable than the more covert forms. It is relatively easy for most people to see that raging and yelling are emotionally abusive. That name calling and verbal put downs are emotionally abusive. It can be hard to identify some of the more passive aggressive forms as being just as wounding - as being abusive and damaging. "Passive-aggressive behavior is the expression of anger indirectly. This happens because we got the message one way or another in childhood that it was not OK to express anger. Since anger is energy that can not be completely repressed it gets expressed in indirect ways. This takes the form one way or another, overtly or subtly, of us acting out the Codependent battle cry "I'll show you - I'll get me."

As a kid I was very angry at my mother for not protecting me or herself from my father - but it was not ok to be angry at my mother so I was passive-aggressive in various ways. One was to not show any feelings. By the time I was 7 or 8, I was being cool in a passive-aggressive response to her attempts to be close to me - I would not let her touch me, I would not show happiness if something good happened or pain if something bad happened. I would just say "it's ok" no matter how much it wasn't. I also "showed" her and my dad by not getting the type of grades as I was capable of getting in school. I have spent much of my life sabotaging myself to get back at them. Passive-aggressive behavior can take the form of sarcasm, procrastination, chronic lateness, being a party pooper, constantly complaining, being negative, offering opinions and advice that is not asked for, being the martyr, slinging arrows ("whatever have you done to your hair", "gained a little weight haven't we?"), etc. If we don't know how to set boundaries or will go along with anything to avoid conflict, then we often will agree to doing things we don't want to do - and as a result we will not be happy doing them and will get back at the other person somehow, someway because we are angry at them for "making" us do something we don't want to do. A classic codependent scenario is being asked where you want to eat and saying
"oh, I don't care, wherever you want to" and then being angry because they take us somewhere we don't like. We think they should be able to read our mind and know we don't want to do whatever. Typically, in relationships, one partner will ask the other to do something and the person who can't say "I don't want to do that" will agree to do it and then not do it. This will result in nagging and scolding which will cause more anger and passive-aggressive behavior.
The way to stop being passive-aggressive is to start being honest (first of all with ourselves), having boundaries (the more we get in touch with our inner children the more we can have boundaries with the angry ones that are causing us to be passive-aggressive), saying no when we don't want to do something. It is easier said than done. On one level what we are doing is recreating our childhood dynamics of being criticized by our parents. It is because at our core we feel unworthy and unlovable that we have relationships - romantic, friendship, work - where we will be criticized and given the message that we are bad or wrong. Because we don't Love our self we need to manifest people outside of ourselves that will be our critical parent - then we can resent them, feel victimized, and be passive-aggressive. They are in fact just a reflection of how we treat ourselves internally. The more we can learn to defend ourselves internally from the critical parent voice the more we will find that we don't want critical people in our lives."
Emotional abuse is a devastating, debilitating heart and soul mutilation. Bruises to the body fade away, bruises to the heart and soul stay - until we start focusing the Light of healing upon them. Emotional abuse is crippling to self-esteem and sets us up to become trapped in the viscous self-perpetuating cycles of shame, suffering, and self-abuse that drive the dynamics of the dysfunctional dance that is codependency."

"The most destructive emotional abuse is the emotional abuse we learned to inflict upon ourselves. We formed our core relationship with self in early childhood and have been judging and shaming ourselves ever since. The most destructive thing about the emotional abuse we suffered because our parents were wounded was that we incorporated the messages we got from their behavior into our relationship with self. We emotionally abuse ourselves on a daily basis."

Codependence = a dysfunctional relationship with self, self worth dependent on external sources

"Codependence and interdependence are two very different dynamics. Codependence is about giving away power over our self-esteem. Taking our self-definition and self-worth from outside or external sources is dysfunctional because it causes us to give power over how we feel about ourselves to people and forces which we cannot control. Any time that we give power over our self-esteem to something outside of ourselves we are making that person or thing our higher power. We are worshiping false gods." "Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside. Codependence is a defense system that causes us to wound ourselves."

Those of you that know me, know that I will never hike. NEVER. Don't even try to talk me into it. It would be a waste of your time. The Reason I don't hike is because when I hike, I can not escape my own head. All I can do is focus all of my flaws. Pick every single one of them over with a fine tooth comb. Yes, I am very co-dependent. I admit it freely.

The way the emotional defense system that is Codependence works is that we continue to repeat our patterns in order to reinforce the belief that it is not safe to trust. Not safe to trust ourselves or this process we call life. Codependence does this to protect us. Because it was not safe for us to trust our own feelings, senses, and perceptions as children our egos decided that it is never safe to trust.
Codependence is an emotional and behavioral defense system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child. Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos and healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.), the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood and do not get our needs met - our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs. Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside. Codependence is a defense system that causes us to wound ourselves. . . . The Process of Recovery Recognition, awareness, is the first step in healing. Becoming aware is what is necessary before any conscious changes can be made. It is both a beginning and an ending. It is an ending in terms of our ability to unconsciously keep replaying our old patterns. In most cases, we will replay our old patterns some more times - will for the rest of our lives catch ourselves starting to go down those old roads - but we will never be able to do it as quite as unconsciously again. It is the end of our denial on one level. It is the beginning of recovery, of healing, of awakening.
It is the beginning of being conscious that there is a new level of healing to be done. Recovery is a continuous process of beginnings and endings - of uncovering and discovering new levels on which it is necessary to learn and heal. It is a gradual process of making progress on the path to Self realization - of moving out of the darkness into the Light. Discovery, recognition, that we have been victims of abuse is vital. Rather that is emotional abuse, or any of the other kinds of abuse that also cause emotional abuse - physical, verbal, mental, sexual, and spiritual, etc. It is vitally important to own our own victimization - and at some point start getting angry about it. Getting angry about how the behavior of others has wounded us is a vital step in owning ourselves - of honoring our Self. So, it is very important to own our right to be angry. That is a stage of the process that also needs to be moved through so we don't get stuck in an angry victim place.
In order to heal, it is usually not necessary to confront our abusers. For some people it is an important part of the process to confront their abusers with their anger. Hopefully this can be done in an appropriate environment - although sometimes that is not possible. What is important to emphasis is that we can heal without confronting our abusers directly - because the relationship that needs to be healed is within. To go to a place where we are lashing out at our abusers will often be just going to the other extreme - where we abuse the people who abused us.
Sometimes in our growth we find ourselves lashing out and being abusive. When that happens we can make amends for how we expressed ourselves - we never have to apologize for having the feelings. We cannot go from repressing our feelings and being emotionally dishonest to communicating perfectly in one step. Communicating in an appropriate way is something we learn gradually - and something we will never do perfectly every time. With all types of abuse, we need to own and honor our right to feel and release the grief and anger about our victimization so that we can move into a place of empowerment. In order to move into a place of empowerment, in order to start being healthier in our relationships it is vital to start getting emotionally honest - and start taking emotional responsibility. Usually, prior to being able to name the fact that we have been abused, we blamed ourselves for the abuse. Upon realizing that we have been abused, we will want to place blame for that abuse on the abuser. Eventually, we will move into a place where we learn to take the blame out of the process completely. We will learn to take responsibility for our attitudes and behavior that set us up to accept abuse, while also learning that we were powerless over that behavior because of our wounding - and therefore not to blame. We will learn to protect ourselves from those who would abuse us, while also recognizing that they are reacting to their wounding - and not really doing anything to us specifically.

Just because you are not striking someone with a bat, does not mean that they aren't being struck with blows that break the heart and soul.

Just because you don't leave bruises on the body or sleep with other women does not mean that I am not dying slowly inside with every blow delt by words, actions or lack thereof.

(p.s. these are not referring to my husband. It is being said to those who don't believe in emotional and spiritual abuse.)

A bishop told me a story about abuse recovery.

" when I was a kid, I was playing outside and I a piece of rubar cut my finger. In a comple of weeks it was completely healed and didn't bother me. One day while playing foot ball with friends, I jammed the same finger and searing pain throbbed through my finger. I went to the doctor and it turned out that a little piece of that rubar got lodged in my finger and when I jammed it, it moved the little piece. I needed surgery to have it removed. Sometime abuse is like that. Sometimes you have to re open the wound in order to heal properly."

I have attended the SOLE program through LDS Family services. SOLE stands for Survivors Of Life Experiences. I highly highly reccomend it. Whether or not you were beaten or just had a crazy family it is beneficial for everyone.It is bishop reccomended, so ask your bishop.
I once read a quote by someone in the church that said something along these lines:
Some families have awful, destructive patterns passed from one generation to another. If you are a member of such a family are plagued with the question why, it is because strong worthy souls have been placed in a position to break the damaging cycle.

I can honestly say that I have not forgotten my experiences but I can now look back on them with no anger, hurt, pain or tears, only knowledge. I do not believe that you need to forget to forgive. If did how would you ever learn, and prevent it from happening again and to someone else? As I said though, with forgivess there is no shame, anger, hard feelings only less stress and joy.

If any men are reading this, words are harsh. Words remain, especially those that think were not heard, in the heart longer then bruises on eyes or ribs.

"Men take care not to make women weap, for God counts their tears."

Neil A. Maxwell

1 comment:

Niki {A*Lovely*Lifestyle} said...

You look adorable in that header picture.

I work for Glauser-Williams Ortho.

And of course you're coming to my baby shower.