Dear Abusive Relationship, I don’t talk about my past a lot anymore, at least not in my present relationship, or with people who know about you.
Since I’ve finally moved on from your constraining presence, there’s no reason to.
But, I share it with people in my writing because it helps them. Some people are stuck and feel they have no way out. Some mothers and fathers can’t afford to move and so, they stay with people who hurt them. They stay with partners who just can’t control one word that comes out of their mouths. Who appear to be powerless when it comes to chaining fury.
I didn’t think I had a type, but they say it takes nine months until you will witness every emotion your SO will have. So, even though all might be rosy at months 6-7, you might be in store for more. If you even detect you could be harmed, no matter how deeply you are falling down the rabbit hole of infatuation, it is time to GET OUT.
My type would lurk in hiding before leaping out and making themselves known.
Dear Abusive Relationship, I learned I was not important enough to stop hurting. That my feelings paled in comparison to the need my partner had to express themselves in hurtful ways. THAT was it. No matter what, their anger, their every feeling had to find release.
Somehow, the abused find the strength to get out. But many don’t. I think of the articles advertising the couples who have stayed together, the pictures of elderly women with black eyes, silent for decades. I think of the woman who lived with an abuser who took a picture of herself every day. One day, she had a smooth clean face, the next a constellation of bruises and a fat lip, and then she would heal, and I would forget the physical proof of battering, but never the look in her eyes.
I wonder what happened to her when she returned home with that man. I think I know.
Survivors do get out and when we do it is an intricate game of Cloak and Dagger. We hide and scheme and sneak and refuse to go “home.” But if we are not careful, we will return to that same home with the same partner who just happens to possess a different face…because we tend to choose people who have the same temperaments, who suffer from their own emotional crippling. We are addicted to bad treatment that we believe is a fair response to our inequalities. We actually feel sorry for the people who have to put up with us.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence notes “On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This equates to more than 10 million women and men.”
Statistics on rape are shocking: “Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.”
Abusive relationship, you are everywhere. It is a certainty that we know someone living in your grasp.
Maybe you have wondered what happens when you finally and permanently leave? The pull is challenging to return, but survivors must stay out.
Survivors, I can tell you even when you have physically bested the odds, you will remain in an emotionally-spiked, anxiety-riddled prison for a long time. This is okay. This is the new beast to wrestle and it is normal. You will even miss the old familiarity of the battle you have memorized so well and it will make you feel guilty and like you deserved your past treatment. The advent of a healthy dynamic is terrifying and seems as fleeting as a ragged scarf in a tumbling wind.
When your eyes begin to open you will examine the dynamic that exists in every relationship for patterns. Do you accept judgment as if you have earned it (no such thing); do you fall into the role of being overly accommodating while fighting the truth that you are hiding your true self because you will never have approval? Do you justify cruel behavior because you are the one “who is a handful,” “who is the troublemaker”? You will learn the roles you have played throughout your life and they will all be similar. You will have been gaslit, deceived and blamed.
When you work on truly loving yourself, knowledge illuminates.
My abusive relationships incited irrational rage in me because I’d had the point I was worth nothing repeatedly hammered home. They made me a people pleaser, a “yes girl,” who agreed with everything to reduce wrinkles in the fabric. They ignited a fierce and over-the-top response to everyday arguments, where I felt the need to scream out my importance from strained vocal chords. Shouting to convince myself and my partner to give a shit about me even as they promised they did through their healthy words and actions. I conjured tests for my poor husband to follow and set him up to fail so I could argue my worth. I ignored his gestures of love because it was uncomfortable, foreign, and I was numb. My eating disorder was a raging monster, literally consuming me. And I wanted to believe so badly in all the good sentiments I would hear about myself, but I couldn’t. I didn’t think I was smart until I was 32 and had enrolled in college. That was the extent of my assigned self-value.
Dear Abusive Relationship, you cost me not just the physical ability to feel safe, but you instilled in me that I was one of the unlucky ones. That some people were born lucky and were afforded love and I wasn’t one of them. That I was the biggest loser in this way because that was the way life was…unfair. You taught me you can sleep in the same bed with someone without really sleeping, your body coiled and ready to escape, and that minor daily infractions were major and merited punishment. On no subject was I ever to feel safe, at least not for too long, and when I learned how many people bore this weight, I was disheartened because that was the grooming of society. It was acceptable because it was so rampant.
In the same vein, I realized my life meant something because of you.
I live on the opposite pole now and I have the intimate knowledge of what not backing down brings. I know that if you are in an abusive relationship, you are not as alone as you think and that when you flee, you need to pour every molecule of your being into recovering.
Be ready to dedicate years of your life to this endeavor.
I had a yearning to confirm I fucking mattered. It drove me to push, to keep accepting there could be a different way and a different reality. I wanted happiness in a marriage so much, and I kept doing the work, even when I fell down a thousand times…I knew my life was a product of me and not the control I’d had taken from me, the action I didn’t know how to defend. My need to believe in a better life outshone the creeping cancer of rampant and repeated abuse.
Dear Abusive Relationship, you are behind me, but now when I think of you…I think of my resplendent power in the face of naked fear. That I am a survivor, that you could be conquered and that feeling abandoned as I sorted out the darkest memories and terror wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Believing I was merely a barren vessel for punishment was.
To you, survivor, write your own letter and get in touch with what you have recouped and what you have reigned victorious over, redeeming your self-worth.
To you, who are still in danger, who are being hurt every day, you know that feeling when you sit down, exhausted and out of breath when you consider your friend you have wanted to confide in? When you sense in your gut what the next step should be, and it is plotting leaving or hiding? There’s a reason you’re feeling that. Be careful, but act on it.
Prepare to receive the love from people (you may not even know) who care, those who don’t have a clue.
I urge you to stop hiding in shame.
Dear Abusive Relationship, you are a liar. Because everyone deserves more and better and best, and all the love in the world for one reason alone. They are human.
Original Article From: ‘The Good Men Project’
“Do you have trouble catching your breath when you walk up the stairs?”
“Yes,” I replied, looking at the floor.
“Are you still getting your periods regularly?”
“Unfortunately,” I laughed.
“I’m surprised,” the doctor said. “There’s just a small percentage of women who do when they are so underweight.”
“I want you to go to the lab and they will give you a bottle. Every time you have to pee, you will go in it.” She pushed her glasses up on her nose, her eyes glittering. “Clear a shelf in the refrigerator and instruct your kids not to drink it.”
I took the piece of paper and left the room, unable to absorb my doctor’s words. I couldn’t have an eating disorder because I thought I was too skinny! I don’t have body dysmorphia and so I just have a high metabolism. But I would do what she said. I was thin, had heavy periods and most women complimented me on my looks. Pretty much I was a hot mess…before there was such a thing.
When I came out on the other side of that experiment and after I had learned there were indeed muscle gasses in my urine, the truth sank in.
I was sick. But this still wasn’t my bottom.
Bottom was 93 pounds and the threat of in-patient admittance if I couldn’t get myself to the half a dozen appointments a week.
“We will be making sure you attend,” the check-in lady said with an edge to her voice.
I swallowed back my tears, a painful lump in my throat that had been with me for about three weeks and shambled out to the parking lot. Then I set about healing. Finally.
My journey was long, decades of self-inflicted suffering I couldn’t understand and stop.
Rules I made up that seemed sane to me. Not to eat at night in case I might get sick. Never to eat anything that had been recalled. Never to eat anything that had a high percentage of being tainted. To toss leftovers. Never trust smells or expiration dates.
I had a disease they didn’t know how to treat; it has a name now, but my psychiatrist had no idea what to call it when he was seeing me: ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.)
The Eating Recovery Center (ERC) is celebrating Eating Recovery Day, today, May 2nd, using this day as one to increase awareness of the signs of eating disorders, and the hashtag #DontMissIt. According to their press release, the signs are:
- Sudden, dramatic weight loss or constant weight fluctuation
- Constantly feeling cold – even in warm weather
- Negative self-talk, especially about one’s body
- Changes in mood and desire to interact with others socially
- Compulsive or excessive exercising
- Frequently engaging in conversation about food
- Avoiding certain foods that were once loved
- Unusual behaviors at meal times – practicing food rituals or avoiding meals altogether
- Using the bathroom right after a meal, or other signs of physical signs purging (swollen cheeks, marks/scars on knuckles – a.k.a. “Russell’s sign”)
- Evidence of hoarding food, empty food wrappers or containers, or the disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time
Eating Recovery Day was started last year and the response to people sharing their stories of “hope and recovery” letting others know they can “enjoy their life again” has been overwhelming.
Dr. Rebecca Wagner, Clinical Director of Eating Recovery Center, Houston, shared with me that “Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.” Most deaths occur through suicide and the secondary fatal implication is due to medical consequences. “ Eating disorders affect every organ in the body. We are not sure how it will affect any one person. Even people who have had an eating disorder for less than 10 years are still at risk.”
I want to add in an additional little-known sign that Dr. Wagner shared and that hit home for me.
She states, “[These patients are] experientially avoidant—they have much greater reactivity to conflict management.” One of the goals of treatment is to help people learn to manage everyday life crises, and that includes avoidant behavior, such as would apply to how an ED patient would react to confrontation. The avoidance of confrontation spills over into avoiding food. So, if you notice the above signs in a friend or loved one, and this person also has a difficult time controlling their emotions, or whose reactions seem irrational as it relates to “regular” emotional transactions, please take the steps to get them help.
Since the identification of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, the ED spectrum has widened to include other types of EDs.
ARFID, as aforementioned is now a recognized eating disorder and the popularity of clean eating has enabled Orthoexia Nervosa, which Dr. Wagner identifies as another form of dieting, saying, “You cut out different things and keep going. It’s a dangerous cycle, but the result is the same. Severe malnourishment.”
What made a difference for me and I can pinpoint as the exact moment that recovery began was when I confessed my rules that I’d slapped a shameful label on.
“I make rules about eating,” I said, picking at an imaginary thread on the couch in the psychiatrist’s office, my empty stomach churning.
“Like what?” he asked, his gentle gaze holding mine.
“I don’t trust food and I don’t feel safe and so I try to control what I eat.”
“Go on,” he urged, nearly in a whisper.
My eyes filled with the tears of confession. I let them fall.
Original Article from: ‘The Huffington Post’
So many people start working in their passion when they finally identify what it is.
And it is a terrifying step to take. For one, you need to realize that you are in a comfort zone and roll around in your mind what that discovery means to you.
Are you blissful in the comfort zone? How does it make you feel? Do you see other people working in their purpose and it flips on a switch inside you to change your life?
Then it is time to make the leap.
Let’s say you figure out making the leap and you even manage to assemble some sort of common-sense processes. You are open to receiving your abundant gifts and the easy opportunities (the ideas that find you and that you can reap some sort of currency from. Time, money, lifting someone else up. In other words, a meaningful conversion.)
Yes, you are pounding away at the pavement in your factory. Grinding every day, as the saying goes.
Stop and sit in your moment.
Contemplate where your energy is going and ask yourself if you are living in your purpose or becoming enslaved by it.
Our purposes do not just involve us. They are not one-dimensional paths to success or gratitude. They involve ensemble players; each of us serving the other and when you are becoming an opportunity hoarder, you lose your purpose.
Cycles are funny. We get into them like we circle the drain. This is where we live; this is where we should stay close to; this is my supposed comfort. But we evolve out of each one and when we remain open to what our true jobs are, we move into another cycle.
In case this is clear as mud, let me explain. When I first opened the doors of my digital marketing and editorial agency, it was out of necessity. I wondered, what amount of money do I HAVE to make to survive? I lived in this cycle for a long time like a hungry catfish on the bottom of the ocean, seizing anything that came my way.
Then my mind cracked, light flooded in, and I realized that service and commitment were my brand and that people were responding to that.
I shifted internally: What can I do? How can I become limitless?
We can’t traverse this journey by ourselves. We need help. I accepted that truth and my mindset shifted again. It wasn’t my purpose to become everything to everyone, but to identify how I fit into the cast of characters. To find people who were gifted and able to serve as I loved to do…so I could still go ham in my strengths.
And as this new idea set up shop, I also realized that when we work alone, and when we accept abundant gifts and manifest that THAT is only the beginning. If we are fortunate enough to be busy and work in our beloved passion, then we also have a responsibility to grow as large as we can in our mission, but we need help. Obviously.
When we take on help, we avoid grueling work; we avoid burnout. We avoid being a person who can’t turn any opportunity down for ourselves, but who instead, accepts it knowing it is ours, but only to share. It is ours, but only to give since we are an instrument of abundance for people. We are supposed to be in this place offering an assist. We snap into place innately.
You can work in your passion and your drive may be highjacked as you ply your loving energy, but as you swell with the possibilities of blessings, then you need to make plans to handle it. You need to sit back and say, “I need help. I want to help. I am grateful for this landslide abundance but it is not meant for me alone.”
Living in this space is such a trip and knowing we are here for a greater collaborative reason is heady and simply beautiful.
Selfishly, it is so much more rewarding than seeking only to fill our own hunger. We kill for the pride.
And that is when the real blessings begin to show up, in the form of people you have been waiting to meet. Who are working in what captivates them, in the most reciprocal relationship you didn’t even know you needed. You WILL blow each other up.
Echoing relief, you will also learn some jobs are not yours in the time it takes to snap, they are gone. Given to their rightful owner, a team member wallowing in joy over the hand off.
Protect your passion. Plan for its continual evolution. If this is what you want to do, you WILL succeed. And when you do, I hope your team is ready for you. Your team carries on with the elements you cannot manage anymore, that they love, and you will have your true mission returned to you, but better.
Original Article From: “The Good Men Project”
September 2014, and I was finally speaking up.
After devouring eleventy-billion blogs, writing a book, and dreaming for countless hours of joining the fray of uplifting and action-oriented voices, I was invited to write for GMP.
What went through my head as I stared at the Word page slowly peppered with what I hoped were meaningful words… Don’t think too much.
I had written since I was a little girl, having no choice in the matter and at the mercy of my oddly wired brain. I was the kid scarfing up Benji the dog’s adventures when other kids were outside playing and whooping in the sun. I gobbled up reading more than my dad’s cook-all-day spaghetti and his frightful fire-down-below chili. So, I’d had a fair amount of practice playing with the art of the written word, but I also had the soothing that I needed for my frayed over-anxious mind. Because someone else had gone first. Someone else would decide if I was good enough. At long last, that job was not up to me.
That part was a relief as I am my own worst critic.
But I was going first in a way. Some of my friends weren’t writers although, they too, wanted to be. When I told them of my serendipitous luck and pluck, they were happy and nervous for me. And when I was finally published, they had questions. The same ones that had assaulted my spinning head…
How do I get to do that?
There is a beauty in going first and I can break it down to three gifts I’ve noticed.
1. Other people need you to go first. When you take the lead, you take some of their fear with you, too. You bring a dream closer to dreamers. They might think well, why can’t I do that cool thing, too? And you know what? They can! We all can because we all have a story to tell. Everyone has something of value to share. When you go first, you let people know it is possible to write, to innovate, to break the framework. You let it be known there are options, so maybe a person who’s contemplating will enjoy their fear of judgment waning as welll.
2. You get to chart the course when you take the lead. Figure it out! What worked for you? Why did it work? Can it apply to someone else’s hope? When you make a discovery a super fun gesture to try is to share what you know. You can monetize your formulas if you want, and you can also hand out referrals for zero bucks (and that feels pretty amazing!) Other people can look to you and study what you have done and find their own success. When you go first, try to remember to pay it forward to those who are looking to reinvent themselves as well.
3. You make all the mistakes and gather invaluable information when you lead. And you are that much further along in your quest after a fall. I don’t mind a misstep (most of the time) because I know that I am learning and if I pay attention, I will take in the lesson and never repeat the same course again. I just became that much more efficient and effective. And when you turn the corner out of the mistake and into comprehension of why you fumbled and what the silver lining is, then never again will you have to worry about that particular arc of the learning curve. It’s out of your system and you gathered important data to continue to sharpen your skills. Never again will you be as green as you were mere moments ago, having absorbed facts that seriously needed your understanding.
Yes, going first can be scary. You might feel alone and like no one can relate to you, but don’t forget, you’re not an island. Others have gone before you. When you feel shaky about your progress or that the stage is flooded with spotlights ready to pick up all your “flaws,” remember the people who preceded you. They had to screw their courage to the sticking post, just like you…as the saying goes…and odds are, even though they might not have realized some of their whys, they surely know now you are one of them. You were a reason they went forward. They might never lay eyes on your radiant, eager face. Nevertheless, you were a splash of gas in their tank driving them a little further from where they started.
Now, it’s time for you to send the elevator back down.
And that? THAT’s the BEST part!
Original Article From: “The Good Men Project”
You’ve been there…business humming and hopping.
Referrals pouring in and you’re in the zone of not having to do a damn thing to grow. We get transfixed with taking action, with completing tasks, become extra verb-oriented in our work, and in our very existence.
We “mmmhmmm,” to the people around us who deserve more and even when we are solely handling one project our minds are a million butterflies escaping from a net. We can’t pay attention anymore due to the richness of overwhelm.
When what we pray for happens and we begin to learn the definition of financial success (whatever that means to you), it is overwhelming, in a “I’m going to carjack your brain” kind of way.
This is when we stop dreaming.
It is when we miss dreaming.
Yes, we are grateful for the black, silky serenity of thoroughly roasted sleep (read: flat-out exhaustion), but…we miss the chance to noodle and toodle over new inspirations.
We miss the chance to water our trees of epiphanies. To watch buds sprout. We start to mentally starve.
And we have to be careful of that. We have to be nurturing of what moves us.
We have to say no sometimes to rock in the mental hammock of downtime.
To not grow resentful of our own decisions.
When you are grappling with the tentacles of opportunity and every shiny thing looks like THE key to riches…STOP.
For even 20 minutes. Don’t tell me you don’t have 20 minutes.
Resist thinking about your tasks and close your eyes. Try not to sleep, producer.
Instead, dream while you are awake. Better yet, do you have a document where you write down whims you hope to “get to”? Dig it up and sink into it. What were you going to write about? What came to you in the middle of that meeting? What is the innovation you know would blow up? This is your list of dreams. Let your aim be to add one thing…but just like sex, don’t rush it, okay? Loll around and let the pleasure flow through you. You LOVE what you do…how it feels. What is does to your heart and mind. So, if you can lengthen the list, great…if not, that’s okay, too. Then let your plan be to take ONE action to further the dream on your list. Take it out of fantasy mode and on-board it into production.
Here’s an example. I want to reach out to someone and collaborate because I think my peanut butter would mesh deliciously with their sweet jelly. Guess what? Dream time is the time. I will use part of my 20 mins and find them on Facebook and send them a message about the beautiful sandwich we can make and savor.
Another action: I want to expand my media reach and I have a gripping article topic. I will take advantage of this time to suss out the right person to help me and I will ASK or pitch RIGHT THEN and THERE.
What about the beauty of doing nothing…what if your dream time feels more like you should sit and have lunch by a lake? Perfect! Then take the action of letting your thoughts run loose like a spool of thread spilled on the floor. Can you ideate as you eat? Of course, and it will be such a palatable and memorable lunch. Make sure you have something with you to write down what dreams may come…or tap them into the notes section on your phone.
That’s not hard, right? Now add it up: 20 minutes a day, five times a week! Seven if you work for yourself (that’s an insider entrepreneur joke!) and you will find you can dedicate yourself to the grind and to progressing from the internal proliferation to the external manifestation.
I was once worried that my well of writing ideas would run dry. But what I have learned instead, is that the more you are in it, the more you slosh around in the muddiness of imperfect potential and the immaturity of the sparks of illumination, the more you will fill up that recess in your hoping head.
Daydreaming generates possibilities, and the notion that we are authentically prepared to conquer, to introduce, to change, to impact, to grow, to connect, to collaborate, to partner, and to polish and (insert your verb here) is POWERFUL.
It is why kids MUST play. To remain thrilled at life!
It fuels you and loads you up with energy to get through the GRIND that you created by being incessantly CREATIVE. You need it to spur you along, little dogie.
It is the yin to the realized workload yang. You cannot exist without it…well, you can, but you might be a joyless slug, just humpin’ along on the gritty concrete. Uninspired, uninformed and thoughtlessly driven by your taskmaster self.
Dream MORE about what you will bring to fruition in your life. DREAM hard about fitting your gear into the machinations of someone else’s invention.
Take the time to honor your wildfire fancies and THAT will lead you to even greater moments of discovery in your business, relationships and LIFE. <3
Original Article from: “The Good Men Project”