An abuser will come out to play and try to start trouble in my lane. They will say things to get me to question my reality. They will plant seeds to get me to question my sanity. They will plant a seed to get me to question who I can trust. Emotional abuse is tricky because it plays on your emotions. It’s someone close to you that tries their best to keep you in an emotional state. If you are in an emotional state then it’s easier to control you. Emotions are not rational. Rational people are typically not emotional. Make sense? THIS is called GASLIGHTING.
Someone accuses me of being a difficult person. They claim I am difficult after I told them NO. Their intention is to get me to question if my current behaviour is appropriate or not. Their goal is to control me and by planting a seed that I’m difficult, they want me to take the path of least resistance and be submissive to their demand. They are creating an environment where I’m supposed to be a people pleaser (life in fear) as opposed to a free thinker (life in love).
3-week cycle: I listen to the claim. I review my own perception of reality. I scour my mental file cabinet seeking examples to validate I’m easy going and acknowledge the times I could have been viewed as difficult. Then, I reach out to a trusted friend to either validate the claim of being difficult or reinforce I’m having a normal human reaction to an abnormal human situation. After the internal validation AND external validation, I am then informed to either maintain my boundary or surrender to the abuser. This cycle used to take 3 weeks because oftentimes I chose to externally validate with people struggling with their own dysfunction. Not many are open about family abuse. I didn’t know what questions to ask? I didn’t have a label for it other than ‘this doesn’t feel right.’ I didn’t even know about emotional abuse. I was taught that sometimes people are just assholes. I didn’t understand the terms ‘gaslighting’ ‘conditioning’ or ‘projection’ or fully understand the mantra ‘not my monkey, not my circus’. My ignorance led me to seek external validation from flying monkeys (people used to reinforce abuse and distort reality). My trauma bond to my abuser led me to seek external validation to people similar to my abuser rather than loving/kind people who had my best interest in mind. I took responsibility for everything, not just my response but I took responsibility for the abuse. I thought they were right and I was crazy. I mean, why would anyone cause harm or go to such great lengths as a way to control another human being? I was trying to apply logic to a completely illogical situation. 3-weeks to process and accept. This was my life for 13 years. (Again, I need to do inner child work but I’m not ready to explore if my abuse started before then. So for discussion and healing purposes, I’m being kind with only acknowledging 13 years of being subject to this dysfunctional behaviour).
18-hour cycle: I decided it was time to acknowledge, process, and heal from abuse. I reached a point where I realised I was dating the same type of guy and it’s a direct result of my abuse. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. It was time to address my demons head-on. Accept what happened. Learn about it. Understand it. Then heal. This blog is my healing journey. I feel very grateful because this blog actually saved me. It gave me space to understand various dynamics of abuse. It made me feel connected and my readers have helped point me in the right direction for additional support (THANK YOU READERS). It’s a peaceful and respectful place filled with love and understanding. Yes, lots of pain… it’s easier to heal in a bubble of love than in a bubble of pain. So my blog has been a saving grace for me to understand various layers of myself. It took me about a year to build a solid network of well-wishers and supporters that understand abuse and the perimeters of gross dysfunction. The only way I was able to connect with these people is by sharing my story. The good. The bad. The ugly. Other people are responsible for abusing me but I’m responsible for healing. That said, I share another example and my recovery cycle.
My experience, abusers will come out to play in two instances. When things are going really well, they will try to find a way to disrupt your peace. OK when things are tough, they find a way to make it worse. This time, I was raped. Processing rape is humbling, humiliating, and lonely. It’s devastating on so many levels. The abuser tried to “hit me” on a few sides. 1. They judged my intentions of sharing my story. 2. They compared my story of rape as if I was advertising my sexual conquests. 3. They tried to infiltrate and isolate me from leaning into my circle of support. They saw me healing and made an attempt to disrupt my progress.
18-hour cycle: As part of the healing process, I knew this would happen so I planned for the worst and hoped for the best. Internally, I acknowledge I am processing a heavy life event. Internally, the abuser did not contact me directly meaning I successfully maintained a boundary. (It was established all emails received from this person were being forwarded to others to read the abuse first hand). I was no longer willing to suffer in silence and I was very loud about it. *A small victory.* After a moment of gratitude, I reach out to one of my support groups (narcissistic abuse, domestic violence, or addiction). I give a heads up on my situation and ask for help. I acknowledge the abuser is my father. I acknowledge he spent approximately 3 days telling my mother she raised a slut for a daughter. I acknowledge this will make it difficult for me to lean on her for support. I acknowledge I have a choice to allow this into my world or ignore it. I validate my feelings in therapy. I acknowledge another truth – I’m not isolating myself, rather someone is trying to isolate me. I remind myself the abuser is not able to emotionally self-regulate. I remind myself the abuser does not care about my well being. I remind myself of The Game. I accept a kink in my armour – experiencing anger for my exposure. I decide my response is to keep faith that love conquers all (and of course I hope my mother is able to view me as a human being rather than some powerhouse who is unaffected by abuse).
HOW I SHORTENED THE CYCLE
The worst nightmare for a narcissist is an informed empath. I’m so grateful my support groups allow me to focus on how to respond. Rather than seek validation on words being said. They help me shift focus by reminding me to understand the desired result of the abuser: to create disharmony or distract me. Once I accept everything is a game, I am empowered on whether or not to play. Does playing allow me to experience forward movement? This simple shift has been HUGE with my recovery and healing journey. Recognising I was being tested and passed! The relief of no longer seeking validation is powerful! Having a strong sense of self is powerful. The ability to allow others to say whatever they need to say is powerful. The opinion of others about me is none of my business. I maintain focus on the desired outcome: MY WELLNESS.