Freedom anniversary (remix?)
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|Fri, 09-14-2012 - 10:59pm|
My freedom day occured eight years ago. Usually I post a summary of the abuse and a list of things I can do now that I couldn't manage with my ex-abuser. But I have one thing on my mind right now. In the past few weeks I have reached a new level of healing.
It's hard to explain what stalled the healing in the first place, and what kicked it off again is just as complex. Responsibility has been part of it. I've been journeying with the concept of "responsibility" for probably a couple of years now, teasing out what it is and what it isn't. The burden I had carried through all my years with the abuser and since the divorce ( a total of about 20 years) was not it. It was blame, shame, catch-22's, impossible demands, that sort of thing, but not responsibility. Responsibility brings freedom and authority to act. This mess brought only fear and a constant setup for failure.
It must have been spring when I started burning out, feeling exhausted from years of doing the same things that didn't work, and just falling down, finished. I had no strength left for the stuff that had proved futile but that people wanted me to continue doing anyway. It was done. Hopeless. I . Could. Not. But I had some strength left to try new things that had a prayer of working. It was like a big chunk of crazy died and fell off.
On through summer, I wrestled with stuff that was still sickening me from the past two decades. Abuse hurts. It damages us deeply. As I became willing to let some things go, I discovered I still had some denial around how deeply the abuse had damaged. I started letting that go. Denial may be necessary to survival, but it makes us sick. It's like chemo for cancer. Once you get the cancer killed, you have to stop using that stuff or it will wreck you. There are still those who want me to partake of the denial with them. But I'm not doing that anymore.
A friend had recommended close to two years ago that I consider a "sacrament of divorce," some small ceremony that would solemnize the end of my "marriage" and grant me closure. I didn't have my psychological divorce, she said, and she was right. I knew then that I wasn't ready.
About two weeks ago that changed. I was thinking about how I've resolved to be free, backslid, resolved to put my abuser aside even though I have to deal with him as co-parent, backslid, tried to forgive myself for falling under his thumb, backslid. I told myself, as soon as I'm able to stick with that decision, I'll make it. Then I wondered: is it possible that sometimes the decision creates the ability? I decided to risk it. First I told myself, you are forgiven for that relationship. I love you too much to hang on to that blame any longer. Right on the heels of that, I decided I had to disregard what my former abuser or his confederate thought of me or did about it and just get on with life. It felt like I was taking oaths of office or something. Once it was done, it was done. The possibility of backsliding doesn't seem so bad now. It doesn't seem like it will cancel my new beginning. As my eighth anniversary approached, I finally had my divorce. I'm just me now. I'm planning for that sacrament.
It's worth it to keep working to become the person you want to be, and to never give up. Please don't ever give up on yourself. Huges and blessings to all.