What I am realizing is that YES I am like many of us in this world am a victim of abuse. It's hard to say this because we generally equate child abuse to our parents. However, I can tell you I had a great mother and even though yes she made mistakes (even she said this) she made my childhood a lot of fun and she made sure I was protected, safe and taken care of as well as very much loved.
So with that being said how could I be a victim of abuse? Well i'm realizing after certain major events have happened in our country in the last several weeks that my family (at least part of it) is very angry. They yell they scream and get angry when they are not getting their way. They belittle, talk down too and badger people when they want to make their point and yes a good portion of my family is homophobic, racist and generally hateful. On the surface they do not seem this way because they go to work, they pay their bills they laugh and yes at times they can be very loving.
I can tell you I was the kid that stood up and said the way we say things is wrong and so was my mother. She did not appreciate these things being said around me or her....
An example of this is my family talks very badly about Native Americans; basically thinking they are thieves and users... It makes me scratch my head because we are in fact partially Native American... I'm usually like What!?!?!
My family is the classic example of co-dependents and passive aggressive abuse and yes I did have one of them raise their fist to me when I was a teenager and the same person swerved car back and forth when they were mad at my mother while we are on a country road scaring everyone in the car....This is a abuse! No matter how much you package it nicely or make light of it it's abuse... Now I have forgiven them and the reason why i'm bringing this up is because it's time to talk about it.
I'm not saying they are all bad and I am not saying the abuse I suffered was any worse or any less then anybody else's... My point is this...
All of us at some point in our lives have been a victim of abuse... whether this was being bullied in school, our parents yelling, or our churches telling us how to live with threats of damnation when we do not comply.. this is abuse!
This is my process of how I overcome these painful memories and move on from them. Maybe they will help you and please if you have something more to add please add them in the comments so they can help others...
1. I stop and pause for a minute to see the others perspective...where are they coming from? What has made them react or act the way they are doing.
Sometimes people are just having a bad day and also abusers most certainly have been abused themselves and guess what? They are in tons of pain themselves. (this does not make it okay for them to abuse it just gives you an idea of where they are coming from)
I have actually as someone was yelling at me stopped and told them how much I loved them and embraced them because I felt that was what I needed to do in that moment... and the person started crying instead of yelling.
2. I proactively assess how I am going to respond and then when I do it with compassion..
I can tell you take a moment to assess how you respond you already are thinking further a head then most of us who immediately react based on our immediate emotions. Those immediate responses are generally the most damaging to both yourself and the other person and then.. You become the abuser as much as they are the abuser.
Compassion Heals Everything... If you take your time to assess and respond according to your heart and wisdom you will know how that needs to look...
3. If I do not follow # 2 then I evaluate my reaction in the moment or later on so I can learn from it and become more self aware.
To say that I or anyone never reacts is just living with our heads in the clouds.. of course we all fall off the wagon or get out of balance to not do this would mean we would have nothing more to learn and I can tell you I have plenty of learn... It's time to really just relax and allow yourself to grow in each moment.
This is an old saying and really comes down to "Do unto others as you would want them to do onto you"
I can tell I have changed more people just by loving them and even the ones that proclaimed to not like me... I had an experience a lot of years ago with a man who did not like me because I am a Gay male... he openly told me this while I was training his new hire class... I had a choice in this moment to be offended and go into HR and get him in trouble.. However, when I thought about that fact that he did not say it hateful he just said very a matter a fact that he did not like that I was gay, he thought it was gross and a sin... I just looked at him and said we are all entitled to our opinion but in here we need to not talk about these things and focus on our work.
Anyhow, what happened was over the year I worked with him... he gained respect for me because I treated him no differently then anybody else. I treated him with respect and love. When he left the company he pulled me to the side and said "I dont understand your life style however, I do have a ton of respect for you Jeremy you are a good man." I said thank you and shook his hand and wished him luck in his new job.
We do not always have to fight in anger with people.. we do not have to yell to get what we want. We also do not have to take abuse either.
You also do not have to stay in an abusive situation.. you can love them by a far... you love them so you can release the pain....
5. When someone is yelling talk softer then they are and be calmer then they are....
When I was 20 years old I was a McDonald's Manager and the trainer who trained my management courses used to tell us how you diffuse an angry customer is that as they are yelling you talk softer then they are yelling and then he said why? "Because they have to either shut up or lower their voice to hear you."
It's interesting because my whole professional life I have spent working with people.. whether it's been as a trainer, collector in sales or customer service, HR or as a manager I've dealt with people so I have had a lot of practice in this area of making my voice softer and watching people gradually lower their voice or eventually just shut up.
It's also amazing to watch because if you just let people get their frustration out it's amazing how they will listen to you as you speak.. not always but a lot of times they will.
6. Know that the abuse you received is not your fault you did not cause it
I think what I hear the most from people in sessions is how they have created this world of taking on the responsibility for the abuser.. they will make excuses and have convinced them self at some level that it is their fault....I am here to tell you this...
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!
Yes, it takes two to create an argument and yes it can take two to cause problems... however, I do not care how horrible or how bad a disagreement is.. It does not excuse Belittling someone, talking down to them, screaming at them... calling them names or physically assaulting them...
These things are not your fault.. you did not cause them.. no matter what anybody says it was not you!
7. Forgive them and Forgive yourself..
I can tell you forgiveness is probably one of the most powerful healing tools I've found.. and this is because resentment is one of the most damaging things we can let happen within our inner world.. it breeds more anger, hate, anxiety and as it festers inside our body is causes a lot of damage.
So it's time to Forgive more not just the other person but you...
To Go on..
There is definitely abuse out there that is really horrible and YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PUT UP WITH ABUSE!
Some forms of abuse are just us lashing out and not fully understanding who we are in the moment.. we can grow from that and all abuse comes from pain...
So my point is this.. Some things we can look beyond and grow from and then there are some things we need to remove ourselves from the situation all together because we do not need to be hurt by others anymore.
Just know that you are here to experience joy, love and happiness! Not pain... We can use pain as a tool to help us grow and move away from pain but to stay there is not where we want to be.
Love you all! <3 p="">
P.S. Some of the points above are meant for the immediate and some especially forgiveness is meant for healing the past and present.. you can actually relive memories in your mind and go through each of these points in your mind to help release prior pains.
If also you are a victim of abuse and do not know how to get out of it.. reach out for help immediately! Do not stay!