Single Parent Faith

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Unhealthy Relationships— Purging the Bad, to Begin Anew


“What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.”Leo Buscaglia

At the intersection of change, one makes a bold and courageous decision to shed something or someone that no longer works in our lives. That no longer gifts, but instead dampens, oppresses, and slowly kills our spirit.

One must always reflect and allow oneself the opportunity to mull over what has just happened. To deny ourselves this opportunity only short-changes us, preventing our growth from this experience. Believe it or not, growth does result. From the pain and discomfort, seeds are planted that will sprout in the spring of our transformation. Just as this time will come, so too, this time today is here for us to understand what it brings.


A few years ago I read a book that called this interim time (after an ending), “In the Meantime” (by Iyanla VanZant). I found it extremely insightful and addressing what many of us don’t always want to hear. I know I was once there, where after an ending, I was looking for another beginning. Without giving myself the healing opportunity. This book is very frank about the work that needs to be addressed.

When you end a relationship, or the one you love ends it for you, you can choose to look at this pain as an opportunity for you to learn something about yourself. Given enough time to reflect, you will observe more than one thing this ended relationship has brought you.

In abusive circumstances, I don’t consider abuse a gift, but the change it spurs in you, can be the gift. Fleeing, protecting yourself and your children, is the gift. Finding your strength to seek safety, is a courageous act. Experiencing your power, is a gift. Seeing yourself in a new beginning, is a powerful and loving act.

I ask you to challenge yourself today. Challenge how you view things. Stay open to the possibility that today is the beginning of a new way of looking at things, of looking at yourself. Working through your pain, you’ll work toward a better understanding of yourself and the love inside you.

We are all creatures of habit. When we choose to begin anew, we feel lost because the old habit now has to be broken. This habit can also be our habit to be allowed to be victimized. This must stop. This old way doesn’t work anymore. It is responsible for attracting (like a magnet) other abusive people into our lives.

When we end one abusive relationship, it is not an automatic end to abuse. Many people unknowingly jump from one abusive relationship into another. The only common denominator in our relationships, is ourselves. We must change ourselves first, if we want real change to occur in our lives. We must adopt different ways, to bring us the results we want. Today take a valiant step toward adopting a new way, a new approach. Begin with purchasing for yourself a journal. It doesn’t have to be fancy, a notebook will also work.

Take this day and write all your thoughts and feelings out on the pages of your journal. No holds barred. Write and write, until you cannot write anymore. Until you are all talked out. Write into the wee hours of the night if you must. Just get it out. Vent, vent, vent. These journal pages are your vessel to dump everything that’s inside you, that you want to shed. Purge, purge the feelings. The bad and good. The regrets, the wishing the outcome would have been different. Hold imaginary conversations with him/her on these pages. Tell them how they broke your heart. How they hurt you. Let them know all the pain you feel inside. If you feel anger, this too purge onto these pages.

In the days ahead, weeks, months…it is a process…move away from blame (since it keeps you in a perpetual victim role), and move toward discovering your strength, your power, when you rediscover your voice. The journaling is a vehicle to aid you in discovering your voice. When you live in an oppressive environment your voice disappears because you cannot stay in touch with yourself so easily. You don’t have a place of safety, where you can just be you. Typically you cannot write anything down because the victimizer doesn’t respect your privacy nor your boundaries.

“We cannot have an honest, honorable, or loving relationship with ourselves or anyone else until we clear our survival issues. As long as we believe that another person has or can withhold some element of life essential to our survival, we will not tell the truth or cannot express our emotions; our self-value, worth, and self-esteem are diminished… When you believe that you must give up pieces of yourself in order to avoid being hurt to survive, you are having a meantime experience…living here makes you a victim.” –Iyanla VanZant (“In the Meantime”)

Today you will empty out the trash, to make room for the beauty to come in the near distance. This clearing is your cry and invitation for peace.

Dear God,
Today I pray that you take my hand through this unknown process. Show me the beauty you see in me. Make it clear to me, the strength and courage you have breathed into me, to pull me through this moment. Teach me a different way, your way, the way to healing. The way to loving myself the way you as my Creator love me.

Use this pain to lay the groundwork for a new beginning in my life, more in line with what you desire for me. My way alone is riddled with bumps and bruises, so I need you to teach me discernment, so that I do not repeat this familiar pain. It’s time to let go of the familiar, and make room for the unfamiliar – real love— not the feeling I’ve grown accustomed to which I’ve fooled myself (or others have tried to fool me) with this imposter that is anything but love. Pain is not love. Shame is not love. Control is not love. Abuse is not love.  

I now lean on you to carry me through this period of healing. Fill me with hope and give me the patience to anticipate the beautiful days ahead you have in store for me. Teach me what love is, show me that love is “patient, kind, …believes all things, and hopes all things.” I let go of my past understandings, and invite you to show me a new way.

Amen

Ella Venezia
Copyright © 2011 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved. 

I humbly dedicate this post to Angela and all the courageous women and men who let go of the unhealthy to start anew...to embark on change.
  
This post is inspired by truly courageous stories of new beginnings as told on 
http://violenceunsilenced.com/
and Angela who is in the process of beginning anew on http://perfectdrug.org/2011/08/23/change/

You may also refer to one of my earlier posts:  http://singleparentfaith.blogspot.com/2011/03/loving-ourselves-enough-to-say-good-bye.html#more

Image Source: http://flic.kr/p/8wMDzZ   © Rights reserved by tjdewey

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this post! It's actually been about 2 years and 8 months since I got out of the abusive relationship. For most of that time though he stalked me to the point I was afraid to leave my home. I just now started feeling like I could write on a blog again, but I am still cautious about what I write there just in case he ever finds it. The journal idea is a good one and I am definitely going to try it. I think that it might help me to get some things out that I can't say to people face to face or write on my blog.

    You're right also, in saying that we are creatures of habit. That's what has been the hardest thing for me, I have had a couple of relationships since the "bad" one and they have been with men who were very similar to the abuser. So even though it's been nearly 3 years since I freed myself from the clutches of a monster, I am just now learning how to forgive myself and heal. I've decided that it's time to break the pattern. I'm not interested in a relationship now because I have to go through the healing process alone and get myself to the point where I feel emotionally ready to be in a relationship again. Otherwise it will just be more of the same.

    So I am beginning this journey on my own. I'm finally ready.

    Again, thank you so much for this post. You are inspirational!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Angela-
    You certainly have been through alot. I admire your courage to move forward and not getting stuck in the past or paralyzed by fear. You have so much to say and share with many who can benefit from your experiences and revelations. I appreciate your kindness saying I am inspirational, but truly I believe you are an inspiration.

    I believe there is no prescribed timeframe for healing. What's most important is that you've made the decision to "begin" the process. Going at your pace is the right pace. Besides, habits and patterns take a long while to identify and work to break. In fact I believe it is our life's work (we are a work in progress)...we are ever discovering things about ourselves.

    Though you say you are just beginning this journey, my humble opinion is that you have already progressed many steps on your journey because you have realized that one has to first do the work of healing before beginning another relationship. That's a huge discovery that is paramount to facilitating change. You are also taking accountability for what you need to focus on about yourself to change. Change is never about the other person (we are powerless to change someone else). Change is always about what we have control over: our own decisions.

    Just don't be discouraged if you experience some set backs along the way. That is all part of the process. It doesn't mean anything wrong you are doing. Healing is individual and you make it up as you go! :) Just surround yourself with uplifting and encouraging people, and of course a good therapist helps, and great reference/inspirational books.....and your journaling. PLUS you'll discover other methods and ways that assisted you in healing and you can share those! For me, the spiritual element was a necessity in my healing. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

    Peace and Love to you! Stay safe!
    Ella

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