Updated: Mar 23
A while back, there was a morning I was feeling low, a deep sadness, but I didn’t know where it was coming from. So I figured best give myself a Reiki treatment and see if anything reveals itself. What started flashing back to me in my self treatment were events from years ago when I first met my former spouse and started being subjected to what was later revealed to me as emotional abuse. The emotional abuse started to occur almost immediately during the early years of our relationship.
One may ask, if I have been healing and I’ve removed myself from this relationship, why am I going back there and bringing everything back up again? Because the view is different now. I don’t look back at it and feel victimized any longer; but there is an awareness now that helps me to understand what had happened to me. That’s what I am telling you about now.
From the start, I had been relentlessly teased and ridiculed by this man for being “boring” and too “goody two shoes”, so I changed. He made fun of some of the things I did, so I stopped doing some of them. I was put down for “being too deep” and thinking too much; I tried to change that but couldn't. I never was allowed to share any of the painful things about my past with him; he would tell me he didn't want to hear about them, so I stopped trying to share. In fact, he almost never heard me when I did talk. I decided very quickly that what I had to say was not as important as what he had to say. If I were to express anything that was displeasing to him, even if it was my truth, I would be shut out and ignored; affection and attention would be withdrawn, so I mostly stopped speaking up. I also knew he had a tendency to yell very loudly and say harsh things if he was angry, so I did my best not to cause that to happen. This isn’t about beating him up for what he said and did - I have come to understand that he has his own wounds; I have forgiven him and I wish the best for him. I only bring some of these things up because they were things that came up during my treatment to bring me a healing and to show how distorted my thinking had become at the time and how I behaved. And, you know what, it is important to share what I experienced and what the affects were, because this is about healing and sharing my truth. I don't need to protect him any longer. (Now I'm probably breaking out in a sweat right now knowing I'm going to post these things and feeling fear for having shared what happened to me because it will not show him in the best light - I spent all my years with him protecting his image and not sharing what was happening because I was scared and felt it was disloyal. Heck, I still am feeling those things at times, but my desire to heal myself and help others is bigger than my fear. It's also about exploring my own shortcomings and behaviours; what is the root cause for them and how I am learning to heal and change me. Isn't it interesting that I'm not afraid to show myself in not my best light, but am still fearful of showing him in not the best light - that needs exploring - but not right this moment.)
What was interesting and different when recalling those experiences now was that I wasn’t “feeling them” so much as observing them. I was “hearing” the words telling me to look at the woman I was then and see how far I have come; that I wouldn’t allow that kind of treatment any longer. Yet, I was still looking back at the woman I had been and wondered - what happened to her? And that’s the question I have been asking for a while now - trying to understand so that I don’t find myself being drawn back into another toxic, controlling relationship. One of the things I have become aware of is that I had mostly been blaming myself, thinking that if I had been a different person, this wouldn’t have happened to me. It was as if I was telling myself I deserved to be mistreated because I had always believed I was unworthy; I was not enough.
As I mentioned in my last post; I have been struggling with trying to reclaim some of the abandoned pieces of myself. In my self treatment, I received the following healing and awareness: “I was struggling to reclaim myself because I was afraid that if I brought those parts back into my being; it may make me vulnerable to ridicule again and that I needed to go deeper to heal". I have still been rejecting things that my former spouse disliked about me because I believed they were part of what caused this experience to happen to me. But they had nothing to do with it. How I wore my hair, the clothes I wore, my hobbies and interests, what I liked and disliked, and my not being "good enough" were not to blame for me being mistreated.
This relationship “happened” to me because I learned at a very young age to be submissive to overpowering men. My dad was a narcissistic, alcoholic who also suffered from PTSD from the Second World War. Because of his controlling, and emotionally and mentally abusive behaviour throughout my entire childhood, I learned that if I wanted to be safe, I had to be quiet, be invisible and do everything he said and no matter what, never speak up, never disagree. I did this because I was afraid of his anger ( I was also witness many times to his physical abuse of my siblings but was never on the receiving end of physical abuse - I have not figured out why I was spared that.) I have had this fearful pattern with some of the male figures in my life ever since. Besides being fearful, I was also co-dependant; striving to find the love and security that was missing from my childhood. (I felt my mom loved me, but I never felt it from my dad.)
What is very healing for me now is the awareness that my being “attracted” to controlling, emotionally toxic relationships wasn’t because of things that were “wrong” with me; it was because it was how I learned to be in relationship with people, especially men with narcissistic qualities. (My first husband, whom I was widowed from at a very young age, also had these tendencies). It was what I knew and what I understood - it was a very familiar pattern. One that was meant to be broken by me and in this lifetime. Quite frankly, I have always had a fear of domineering men; and also any man who yells in anger - it had a tendency to make me cower and retreat - so much so that I would do my best not to anger anyone. I can happily report that I am strongly overcoming that fear! What I have learned is that I am not responsible for another’s inappropriate reactions - their yelling is not my fault, no matter what I may have said or did that was displeasing. I do not have to accept it being directed towards me - I can remove myself from any situation that makes me feel unsafe.
There was another healing gift I received while trying to work through the difficulties in my marriage and learning the truth about our relationship and who I was. I became aware that my dad was a narcissist and that is helping me to understand that the way I was treated as a child was not my fault. The reason I was not loved wasn't because I was unloveable, it was because my dad did not know how to love. By learning about narcissistic behaviours and co-dependant behaviours, I have recognized the root of all the things I couldn’t understand about my childhood and the traumatic things that occurred. (I’ll be sharing more in future posts.)
My courage to look this hard at myself to understand “what happened to me” is part of my purpose as a healer - not just for myself, but for others too. I continue on this soul searching and soul healing journey; exploring the shadowy corners of my being, no matter how scared I may feel to do so at times, so that I may bring light to those parts of me and, in turn, bring light to the world. That’s who I am.
Thank you for reading - I hope my posts help you to understand what either you, or someone close to you, may be experiencing now or have gone through in the past.