This morning, I wiped the sleep from my eyes, rolled over and picked up my phone. My usual routine. A text message was waiting for me from my beautiful, smart, amazing friend who was telling me about some major stuff happening in her divorce. She split from a man who has been horribly abusive and controlling for years. I’m beyond grateful that she’s found a way to escape and create a life of happiness and freedom. My heart swelled reading her messages.
What I’m about to share next is NOT self-congratulations or self-promotion—I’m sure some could read it that way. It’s about women helping women. Survivors helping survivors. I told her how proud and happy I am but I’m also worried because I know how dangerous it can be to get out of an abusive relationship. She said, “It’s because of you I have the strength to do this. You have inspired me that I am better than this and worthy of love. I read every word you write.”
I teared up when I read that. You guys, it’s working! By so many of us talking about the elephant in the room, it’s helping others find the strength to get out and/or simply understand that what they’re living daily IS NOT love, it’s abuse. And by writing about it, it’s helping me heal, too.
I know many think, “how can they NOT recognize they are being abused?” It’s a hard concept to understand for those who haven’t lived through it, especially when the abuse isn’t something that shows up as a bruise. When subtle manipulation and gas lighting techniques are used AFTER the euphoria of the love bombing stage is over, it’s hard to see clearly. You trusted who you THOUGHT they were and maybe they can get back to being that person. I know this first-hand. Looking back, it feels a lot like mind control/conditioning and that’s hard for me to even wrap my head around because I’ve always been an independent thinker and doer.
Just this morning, I had one of those moments where I realized I actually got used to being put down and shamed for wanting to help others who have gone through similar stuff. Because of this, I started operating in survivalist/conditioned way of thinking. For example, I thought to myself if I don’t bring up that I’m helping a friend, then I won’t get put down for it. I’ll just do it but I won’t talk about it.
This morning, the difference in my life then and now became really apparent when I was blown away by a text that Scott sent out of the blue in support of what I’m doing. He’s been so encouraging through it all but it really made me recognize that receiving his text was completely opposite of what I used to experience and allow.
I attached a screenshot of his message to me below.
My point in all of this is to say that by talking and writing about it, we are helping to create lighted pathways for others to find their way out. Now, I’m not saying everyone needs to talk about it—it’s something you will know in your heart if it’s right for you. All I’m saying is that the cloak of shame and fear that has kept all of this hidden for generations is starting to fray and unravel, thread by thread. I know personally, I still feel shame and fear but it’s not stopping me from talking about it all.
I say we unravel the whole damn cloak, shall we?!