Do you have a history of abuse? There are ways to avoid the guilt and shame trap that is too often a result of such experiences.
The more you are able to release the shame and guilt which you have stored from the abuse you have experienced (any kind, any level), the more free you will be to discover your purpose and start living it!
It can be crippling to hold onto the shame from not having known how to stop abuse, not stopping it sooner/soon enough, or having participated in your abuse out of fear, financial insecurity, misplaced love or misplaced trust and loyalty.
We may have intense guilt if others were hurt along with us, if we feel we didn't protect who we wanted to, or if we closed our eyes, ears and hearts to what was happening.
Regret, pity, apathy, despair. None of these feelings or attitudes work toward solution or victory from your history. You are more than your past and you can use its lessons to shape your future, instead of destroying it.
One of the first exercises you can use is to purposefully cultivate your awareness and assessment skills of the abusive tactics so you recognize them in action.
What is Abuse?Abuse is use of the tactics listed below to control you or to "keep you in line":
- Coercion, threats and intimidation
- Emotional manipulation - taking advantage of your lack of knowledge, love for them, shyness, etc to keep you dependent upon them.
- Social isolation – keeping you away from your support system.
- Economic abuse – taking advantage of financial dependence, lack of job training and skills, withholding money.
- Using male or cultural privilege to keep you in “your place.”
- Using children and fear of their wellbeing to keep you “in line.”
- Using force in sexual actions and sense of entitlement to your body.
- Using force in physical actions and sense of entitlement to your body.
Progression of Abuse
Abusers up the ante from psychological to physical abuse if you don't obey. Sporadic and unpredictable use of the above tactics, especially the physical violence, is key to keeping you afraid to leave.LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
During The Relationship – these tactics are used to steadily erode confidence, body image, self esteem, support system, and eliminate alternatives to the relationship.
After Separation - the most dangerous (and potentially lethal) time period of all...the abuser is most likely to aggressively retaliate against you and all that you value in your life.
The reasons people stay with abusive partners are FEAR-BASED.LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
- Fear of losing support systems;
- Fear because of being isolated physically & emotionally;
- Fear you are wrong about abuser (he's just misunderstood, lonely) and hoping for change;
- Economic pressures - no money, housing, education, job
- Family pressure to stay, and being ostracized for
- Lack of information - don't know how to leave, or what help is available;
- Love of partner and hope- remembering how abuser used to be or seeing their potential to change;
- Feel you are not "good enough" if alone;
- Fear of retaliation;
- Threats to safety of self and others;
- Fear of losing children;
- Fear of no help from the criminal justice system;
- Fear no one will believe;
- Fear of being deported;
- Fear of being alone or single;
- Fear of not being desired by anyone else;
- Fear of losing "invested time".
To Avoid The Guilt and Shame of Abuse History, Remember:
ABUSIVE VIOLENCE IS A CHOICE
TO CONTROL YOU AND YOUR RESPONSE
Anger does not cause violence
Alcohol and drugs do not cause violence
Stress does not cause violence (or he'd be abusing his boss, too)
Your actions, thoughts and words do not cause your abuser's violence
These factors can be triggers to violent behavior, but are always the abuser's CHOICE.
THE ABUSER WANTS YOU TO FEEL THERE IS NO CHOICE OR ALTERNATIVE
- Abusers depend on your fear controlling your behavior.
- Abusers depend on your loyalty and that it will outweigh your desire to change the situation.
- Abusers depend on your ignorance or fear of options.
- Abusers depend on your optimism that they can change.
- Abusers depend on your unconditional "love," while theirs is extremely conditional.
- Abusers work at destroying your identity as anything separate from them to make controlling you easier.
NEXT POST - HOW TO RECOVER YOUR "SELF" AFTER SURVIVING ABUSE.