“As you said, it’s a cycle. I’m getting fed up. It’s exhausting. It just keeps repeating.”
My friend poured her heart out. Her words didn’t come as a surprise to me. I knew it was just a matter of time before I’d hear them from her.
When my friend first disclosed that she’s trapped in an abusive marriage, I knew she wasn’t ready to hear what I needed to tell her.
I held my rein.
Without her having to tell me the details, though, I immediately knew how the energies were playing out.
How her husband is maltreating and disrespecting her. Why she’s allowing it and putting up with it.
How she justifies her choice of staying. “It’s because of the children.” “I can’t afford [financially] to be on my own.”
How she refuses to honestly face the reality of her situation — thinking, believing, hoping things will get resolved by itself.
But they never do.
It is a choice. The abused must make a choice for the cycle of abuse to end.
I was relieved when my friend decided to separate from her abusive husband. It was only then that I shared my sentiments.
But I wasn’t entirely convinced that her decision was final.
After all, there is usually the tendency and the temptation to go back after choosing to leave.
The first decision to leave an abusive situation almost always isn’t the final one.
Such is how addictive the energy of abuse is. It is toxic. Lethal.
If it doesn’t take away the life of one’s physical being, abuse always takes away the life of one’s spirit.
Having been raised and grown up in a dysfunctional and abusive home and family environment, the energy of abuse is all too familiar to me.
It wasn’t until I was in my late 30s — 37, to be exact (I’m 58) — that I realized how pervasive abuse was at home.
It was only then that I became aware of how severely wounded I was as a child, adolescent, and young adult after attending the “Reparenting the Child Within” workshop.
It took me a long time, much courage, effort — and a leap of faith — to remove myself from the cycle — and the venomous tentacles of abuse that continued to latch on to me.
Even after having made a vow to heal myself from the wounds and trauma of abuse, I still found myself getting involved in abusive situations. Romantic relationships, more particularly.
I’m getting better at it, though — at recognizing the bitter energies of abuse. Of manipulation. Violence. Cruelty. Maltreatment. Insults.
I’m getting better at walking away from them, of not staying longer than I should.
Of loving myself enough to allow and be surrounded by only those who honor, love, respect, and celebrate me — and keep away and say no to those that don’t.
It does boil down to self-love.
A few months after their separation, my friend and her husband reconciled — much to my disappointment.
It didn’t surprise me, though.
She was hesitant to tell me about their reconciliation, but she didn’t want to keep it from me. And I appreciated her honesty.
And just like when she first told me about the abuse, I held my rein again. I didn’t ‘lecture’ her about how she was making a mistake.
I reminded her, though, of the damaging effects on the child when the parents continue to stay together while being miserable and abusive or violent to each other — with the children sensing, if not witnessing the abuse, or worse, being at the receiving end of the parents’ unresolved inner conflicts and displaced anger.
Just as was my experience.
My friend had been privy to the harmful and long-lasting effects of my parents’ abusive ways — towards each other and me.
Speaking from experience, I reiterated to her that the longer that the child is exposed to abuse and violence, the deeper the wound is and the more difficult and longer time it may take to heal and recover.
Loving and responsible parents create a nurturing, safe, healthy, and harmonious environment to raise their children who deserve nothing less.
I find staying together for the sake of the children a self-serving and lame excuse — serving the agenda of the parents only, not the children.
I remember how my friends were antagonizing me — when I decided to go back to an abusive relationship — until I decided to distance myself from them.
Even if I knew at some level that I may have been making the wrong decision, even if I knew at some level that my friends may have been right, I didn’t appreciate, and it didn’t help that they ridiculed me and made me feel so small, dumb, and stupid for having reconciled with an abusive lover. [Even if I was indeed being stupid!]
Had I alienated my friend by ‘lecturing’ on her, judging her, and belittling her [for being stupid] for reconciling with her abusive husband — as my friends did to me — how would that help her get out of an abusive situation?
We don’t necessarily have to agree with someone’s choice for us to extend compassion.
We may even think their choice is wrong and unhealthy — and we may be accurate in our belief and perception.
But that isn’t a reason to withhold compassion.
Even if we see things more clearly than someone in an abusive relationship — and the outsider usually sees more or differently — that doesn’t give us, outsiders, permission to dishonor the abused individual or treat them with less respect.
It is when someone is lost and confused that they need our kind understanding, loving support, and compassionate presence the most.
I will never know all that’s going on in someone’s life or relationship.
Who am I to say what lessons they are supposed to learn and master, eh?
Who am I to decide how their journey is supposed to unfold?
Who am I to dictate how their path should look like?
Who am I to say how they should live their life or who their partners should be?
I may disagree with my friend’s decision to reconcile with her abusive husband, but I respect it.
That’s all I can do. That’s her choice. It’s her life. Her journey.
My friend’s journey with abuse is her journey; my journey is mine.
The theme of abuse may be a common thread, but our journeys are still unique — including the timing of our wake-up calls and turning points.
I trust that her journey is unfolding for her as it should. The Mystery is unraveling as she is allowing it. Life is making itself known to her as she permits it. I trust my friend’s Higher Self to carry her forward. I trust the Divine Intelligence to orchestrate for her.
I am deeply saddened by the abuse that my friend has been experiencing and all the abuse that continues to be experienced by children and adult women and men alike.
I can only continue to pray for their wake-up calls, for them to make wiser and healthier choices, and for healing and support to come their way while being grateful that my experience of abuse has gifted me with the ability to offer compassion to the victims of abuse — especially those still trapped in it.