Hey Friends! WELCOME BACK!
It’s a HUGE STEP to show up again, and I’m proud of you! You should be proud too.
Today we’re going to discuss reframing abusive situations and identifying/setting boundaries, which will all begin the groundwork for healing.
Many of us who have been abused oscillate between KNOWING it was 100% wrong and doubting ourselves and the situation. Maybe you were told you made it all up or imagined it? Or perhaps you rationalized it because your abuser acted “normal,” even nice some days. I know I would often say, “but they weren’t ALWAYS like that! Just on bad days, everyone has bad days…...” I knew that some things were not okay, but I also justified it.
Not only did I find ways to justify it in my mind, I also had a DEEP DEEP sense of shame within me.
I felt I was:
Responsible for part of the abuse and
Deserving of the abuse
I was terrified that coming to terms with my abuse would crush me because the shame I was working SO HARD to suppress already felt so overwhelming. HOW would I survive bringing it all to the top?
Well, I did! You can too!
Here's how…. recognizing that the shame IS NOT YOURS.
Let me define ABUSE for you:
To use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse.
To treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.
Understanding definitions and seeing the abuse cycle diagram below helped me TREMENDOUSLY as I faced the facts of my abuse.
Both made me recognize that the treatment, the abuse, was for a purpose, THEIR OWN SELFISH purpose.
Abuse is all about power and control. The abuser feels powerless, so they must dominate and control something, or in our case, someone, to feel powerful.
You were NOT abused because you are broken and weak.
You were abused because THEY are broken and weak.
I did NOT WANT the abuse. I did NOT WANT to be treated that way. And neither did you….
So that shame you feel? It’s NOT YOURS. It’s THEIRS. It’s your ABUSERS SHAME. They are projecting their own shame ON TO YOU.
IT IS NOT YOURS.
The day I sent that shame back to the PIT OF HELL, where it came from, I felt like a new person.
I literally felt physically lighter.
I was no longer AFRAID of what had happened to me, and I was able to SHED THE BLAME.
Admitting we were abused, it’s HARD. I experienced so many emotions upon finally coming to terms with the reality of my childhood (and parts of adulthood). For many of us, our abuser was in a position of trust or authority. Recognizing that we were betrayed, purposefully hurt and controlled by that person/people can lead to INTENSE emotions. I had EXTREME anger when I uncovered all the lies that I had been told and allowed myself to excuse all my life. I was ENRAGED to the point where I eventually physically collapsed.
I struggled with depression and feeling a loss of identity and purpose. It’s important to allow ourselves to feel these things and identify them and call them out. It’s all part of the grieving process.
A HUGE part of processing our abuse is beginning to live in reality. There are lies we were told by our abusers that dictated how we saw and lived our life. And then as a result of that broken thinking, there were lies we told ourselves so we could survive living in THEIR lies.
But if we’re going to get better, if we’re going to heal, if we’re going to let God REDEEM us, we have to BREAK those lies off of us.
We have to discover WHO we are, WHO GOD created us to be.
And guess what? Who God created you to be is a joy-filled, loving, compassionate, bright person with an IMPORTANT role and purpose in this earth.
Look over this diagram and then pause for a few minutes:
Think through these questions:
How do you FEEL looking over this diagram?
What are you THINKING about this diagram in relation to your situation?
Does this diagram help you find some peace where previously you had faulted/blamed/shamed yourself?
Why, or why not?
Can you accept that the abuse you endured was not your fault? Why or why not?
If not right now, do you think you will be able to eventually? Why or Why not?
I realize that you cannot possibly absorb and process all of this in one moment or in one day. This process took me months. Be PATIENT with yourself and with the process. Identifying all the lies you have believed takes time. I am years into my healing journey, and I’m still finding some.
But that shame, BREAK IT OFF RIGHT NOW. It’s only holding you back, my friend.
In addition to this course, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend, Dr. Caroline Leaf. She is an incredible neuroscientist, believer in Jesus and the astonishing way Jesus created our bodies. She has extensive resources available for free on her podcast and YouTube channel, along with books and study guides you can use to improve your thinking. She has extensive insight into shame and our brains and bodies, and I PROMISE YOU she will give you some nuggets that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Go check her out at the links below.