I’ve previously discussed my experience of surviving abusive people, in my pieces “I have always been worthy.” and “subtle poisons”. While my healing journey from abuse began over a decade ago, this past year has been particularly rich in new progress. From the day in 2006 that I broke up with the guy who had been abusing me, I began to plant seeds of love for myself. Some of these seeds took a while to sprout. Some had to be hidden from other abusers in my life. But now, with more healthy and safe people in my life, there is room for many healing flowers to bloom.
Those who abused me did not want me to see my power. Me naming and owning my inherent power would have directly threatened their ability to control me. Using my power to resist abusive people sometimes made them angry. Other times they incorrectly took my silence as consent to do what they pleased.
In reality, I alone hold power to determine my inner world and my energy. All of it. I get to choose where my energy is spent every moment. Actions, connections. And thoughts too. Thoughts flow as they will, but I can choose to focus on ones that hold more truth. Healthy and safe people see and respect my power, and we can mutually encourage one another’s growth.
Who do you feel has power over your life? Is it you? Is love there?
Those who abused me only saw me as someone to take their anger out on, to use, or to control. To the abusive guy I dated, my body was only useful for sex. Abusers tried to twist my thoughts about myself, them, and the world, in order to more easily fulfill their harmful desires.
I try to be mindful of my self-talk when I look in the mirror. I try to notice when my thoughts mimic the hurtful words and outright lies of those who abused me. I then try to gently shift to words that hold truth and love. I deserve to look at and treat my body with kindness and gentleness. I deserve to show my body love. I deserve to outline my own goals for my body that honour its abilities and strengths.
Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it you? Is love there?
For many years, whenever I was at a gathering and needed to step away for a moment, it was inevitable that I would be followed by memories of the guy’s abuse. Rejoining the group of people then required a tiring process to calm myself and reorient myself to the present. All that effort to then have the memories return the next time I needed to step away.
During gatherings this spring, I noticed something new – when I needed to step away, I was alone-alone. I was surprised. But glad. I saw this new aloneness as a tangible result of my processing and healing over the past year.
Who do you hear when you are alone? Is it you? Is love there?