Breaking the silence on abuse is not always possible. It can be very dangerous. Depending on the type of abuse and the emotional stability (or lack thereof) of the abuser, it can lead to murder. That said, I have found great comfort in a few truths…
I would rather people think I’m “crazy” and remain alive than be “normal” and in a casket. The truth is, being a speaker of truth comes with its share of naysayers. To me, naysayers are useful. They offer content to start another conversation and an opportunity to practice compassion towards unhealed people. This is also a fantastic opportunity to practice self-care and remind yourself that others will sometimes paint you as a villain to justify their treatment towards you. Ignore reputation and try your best to focus on character.
I feel things at a very deep level. Publicly sharing dreams (or situations) does not make sense but I did it. Starting a series on Facebook called CONVERSATIONS did not make sense but I did it. Removing my sunny disposition filter did not make sense but I did it. Why? Because it felt like the right thing to do. Sure enough, most of the things I have leaned into have resulted in feeling better about myself. It’s not my intention to embarrass anyone, it’s a way to hold myself accountable. It’s not my intention to threaten others, it’s a way to protect myself. I’m very strategic when it comes to protecting my wellness. I wish I could offer a one size fits all formula but I cannot. I can only share what has worked for me. Leaning into intuition is scary but going through the darkness is how one cultivates light.
My housemate spent a month testing my boundaries. As I held my boundary, their behaviour escalated to a point of a smear campaign where they admitted to contacting my family. They know I’m a survivor of gun violence and they know my family does not value my life. Their end goal was to convince me to move out. As much as I would love to believe others have my best interest in mind, it’s simply not true. The best way to deal with predators is to understand what is happening. Rationally. Identify triggers and understand when in an emotional state. Ground and take things one thing at a time. Is my safety at risk? Yes, then take steps to protect myself. If no, then process the emotions as they surface. This is NOT easy work. Also, try to identify the type of predator. Knowledge is power and the priority is to always remain safe. For this example, if I’m dealing with a narcissist, peace will be restored and they will redirect their attention to an easier target. If I’m dealing with a psychopath, then their destructive retaliatory behaviour will continue. If I’m dealing with a sociopath, then things will escalate and my physical safety will be at risk. It’s important to understand what type of predator you are dealing with and take measures to protect yourself.
Processing trauma at ground zero and dealing with people with unethical behaviour forced me to get fluent with personality disorders, local laws, criminal laws, housing laws, domestic violence support groups, lawyers, police officers and even spend time at City Hall and at the State’s Attorney’s Office. On a lighter note, dealing with unethical people has also helped me find my tribe (people willing to stand with me when I feel defeated), expand my businesses; dog care clients are aware of my recovery journey and when I told them about the recent smear campaign, they vamped up referrals resulting in new clients. My coaching business is next level as I’ve been able to create a few new coaching programmes based on experience. People are amazing.
I am overdue for a 10-day vipassana sit. Embracing the consequences of breaking my silence has taught me the importance of returning to my breath. For nearly two decades, deep breathing was automatic. I am a trained sprinter and Ironman athlete. My favourite drug is running. It’s virtually impossible to escape my breath during a long run. Taking a year off from sports and cultivating a new tool (writing) to navigate my emotions was humbling and empowering. Whether I’m running or writing, the common thread is returning to my breath. Meditation also helps restore my inner balance. As long as I can find my breath, anything is possible.
Everyone dies but not everyone truly lives. I continue to live my life with love and compassion. I continue to relish in the simple pleasures and honour both myself and those I allow into my space. I firmly believe the soul is having a human experience. As long as I continue to stay in my lane, I know I’m protected and, Universally loved.
The journey continues…