Guest Post: When Abuse is Normal, Normal is Abuse

Today I am blessed and honored to share Jenny Griffin with each of you.  Jenny is a friend, the Catharsis Coach and the intuitive behind http://tinyurl.com/lz9m4hd  

Jenny took time to sit down with The Brain Creative to discuss “normal” in terms of abuse.  She has important truth to share.  Without any further ado, here’s Jenny:

 

When Abuse is Normal, Normal is Abuse

Image

 How is it that healing from abuse and other forms of indoctrination can seem never-ending? That triggers can haunt us for the rest of our lives, and leave us feeling like the confused and frightened children we once were? It’s all about normal; your normal, my normal, and the normals we build based on others’ perceptions.

 Abuse is akin to a cult mentality – it kidnaps your sense of Self and replaces it with a distortion of what is. The abuser’s own tainted experience of reality becomes the normal on which you build your life. For instance, if someone tells you often enough that you are useless, or a waste of space, it takes over your innate sense of belonging and worth in the world and you begin to see out through your eyes as a waste of space. You might make yourself small and quiet, taking only the dregs of what remains to sustain yourself, not wanting intrude on the space of those whose worth outweighs your own. The normal you build for yourself is based not only on someone else’s perception, but an incorrect perception at that.

 The problem with distorted normals like this is that because we have the amazing capacity for such change, we easily morph our whole perspective to fit the new version, without even realising we’re doing it. I’ll use an example to demonstrate. Have you ever changed the furniture in a room, only to forget three days later how it looked before, or that it was even different? Or when you drive by a place you’ve seen every day for years that has been knocked down and rebuilt, do you easily recall what stood there before? It’s so simple to accept these changes that we do it constantly, with only some awareness that something has shifted, but whatever has replaced it is so permanent, so real, that whatever was there before seems a distant dream.

 This is the difficulty with healing from abuse. Sometimes the things you believe are so real, and so undeniably your truth, that you might not even know where the discordance in beliefs begins and ends. Others may perceive you in a (positive) way that doesn’t reflect your own inner beliefs, and until you find a way to make those two versions gel, you will find theirs difficult to accept or understand.

 Healing is a long, slow untangling of normals, to find the truth behind the fear that the distortion is true instead. It means re-aligning after each belief is let go, to find a new and more resonant normal, which may or may not last. It’s a matter of being prepared to shift, and shift again, as you discover which normals are yours, and which belong to someone else. And it’s about meeting others with the knowledge that they, too, have a very unique and personal set of normals that may be entirely different from your own. It’s as good a place as any to start.

 

Image

~ Jenny Griffin

Also known as ‘The Catharsis Coach,’ Jenny loves exploring life’s twists and turns through the lens of transformation. Her own journey through catharsis, a deep, deep letting go of ingrained patterns and beliefs, resulted in a feeling of connectedness, with the world around her and with that wise and wonderful voice within. Jenny has learned to engage with her life and experiences in a way that allows her to use the knowledge gained through them to serve others. When she’s not writing, she’s coming up with new ways to help people move through change with grace and ease.

You can find her at: The Power of Change
on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and
on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Tell Me A Story. . .NOT

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr

 

I am honored to be a featured guest blogger in Nicole Suzanne Brown’s Spiritual Wisdom Magazine. The topic? Stories vs. Your Truth. Are you being authentic?    Hop on over, give it a read and then tell me your thoughts in the comments below.  http://spiritualwisdommagazine.com/storynot-written-paulissa-kipp/

Related articles:  NY Times:  Authentic? Get Real  http://tinyurl.com/labue8z

When Sorry Isn’t Enough

Image

“Despair”

“Sorry” you say,

Hoping to erase the pain,

Yet my breath is shallow and my heart is crushing me with each pump of blood.

Sorry isn’t enough when ego clouds consideration

When the flames of your anger leap to burn me,

You’re angry that I am scared; that I startle easily when you enter the room unannounced.

Intent or not,

Sorry isn’t enough when behavior remains the same.

The sacrifice of doing what I ask for safety’s sake – mine and yours

Why does my past have to beg?

Living with the P’s isn’t easy for either of us

Please don’t make it harder when sorry isn’t enough

Tears and pain crush me

When sorry isn’t enough.

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

When You Are All That’s Left

©2013, Paulissa Kipp.  All rights reserved

©2013, Paulissa Kipp. All rights reserved

WHEN YOU ARE ALL THAT’S LEFT

I have written and rewritten this post a total of 21 times over the past several weeks, unsure what to say and fearful that pain would leak from every pore onto the page. My finger hovered over the delete and publish button more times than I care to admit.  Ultimately, however, I decided that it was important to tell my truth, to own up to my mistakes and to share in the hope that it might help someone else.

Sometimes, things are just sucky – there is no way around it. Sometimes, we just have to walk through the pain, learn what we can from it and move forward with love. All else rises from that place.

 
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my 1st ever camping trip (If you missed it you can catch up with the deets here: https://paulissaisms.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/8-lessons-learned-from-my-first-ever-camping-trip/) and how it unfolded not as a trip full of wonderful memories, but rather as the source of a lot of discomfort for all who went. High expectations, too much trying to orchestrate fun, boundaries that were not respected, sensory overload and so much more occurred on that trip.

 
In the weeks since the trip, I have spent a great deal of time evaluating what happened. First, let me say that I readily accept my responsibility for what happened. I allowed compassion and a desire to be a friend to a person in need to cloud my knowledge of conflict of interest. As a legal assisting student, conflict of interest has been drilled into my brain since day one. Yet I failed to listen to that strong voice in this instance and the consequences were swift and harsh. Had that not happened, the trip would not have happened and the ensuing fallout would not have occurred. I accept responsibility for my lack of proper judgment. We managed to trigger and annoy one another; things were said or left unsaid by both of us that were hurtful. The person who knows your pain is most capable of hurting you with it – either by acknowledging or not acknowledging it. The fallout from the trip and the fact that neither I nor the person in need feels safe in terms of a.) me being able to express my needs or exercise my self-comfort rituals and have them respected or b.) the person in question not feeling traumatized (due to their own background) by being asked to remain within boundaries means a lot of change is taking place.

 
In the weeks following the trip, I have been terminated from my volunteer position at the facility where I taught journaling for depression. I have been banned from the program, . I have lost a support system that understands mental illness without having to explain to people who do not themselves experience it. There is tremendous comfort in a shared experience. I was nearly banned from attending a memorial service for a fellow student until the person in question stated that they were OK with me paying my respects but again “don’t feel safe being asked to respect boundaries.”
The person in question then used the memorial service to strut up to me with a member of their family and ask “How much do you and your husband hate me?” First, a memorial service is not the time or place to grind one’s ax. Second, I don’t hate anyone but I will say that I am beyond disgusted at being told that if I am claustrophobic or triggered by things next to my face that I should check myself into a mental ward. No, maybe YOU should stop waving shit in my face, talking for 4 hours non-stop or crying for 4 hours nonstop and my ability to handle the talking and crying has nothing to do with me being bipolar. I don’t know any “normal” people who wouldn’t find that annoying as shit.

 
The follow-up question: “Do you think we can salvage our friendship?” The short answer: There is nothing salvage because when a person states that your need for your reasonable boundaries causes them trauma and reminds them of their abusive parent, there is nothing. I cannot say or do anything that will make that person feel safe without sacrificing my own well-being. My boundaries are: Don’t wave bright lights next to my face when you know that gives me migraines and please let me have a quiet moment when I ask for one – either by shutting up or not getting offended when I physically remove myself from your presence or energy. The person in question needs to take time to recognize that by asking others not to express their needs in relation to the behavior exhibited, their own recovery is stunted. Not being able to respect the needs of others doesn’t help us to navigate the world in which we live.

 
I have learned many things from this painful experience:

 
1. Don’t allow emotion to cloud your better judgment. Ask yourself “What could be lost if I choose this?”
2. Sometimes, the person who knows the most about your scars are most capable of re-opening the wounds.
3. Simply because a person has a similar background, that does not mean that he or she a. understands your point of view or b. is not without his or her own biases toward how you choose to navigate the challenges presented.
4. In difficult interpersonal situations, accept responsibility for what you contributed but accept nothing more than that. It takes 2 people to have a misunderstanding.
5. Always allow your values to choose how you will proceed in a situation. While I harbor no ill will toward the person in question and wish them well, I have no desire to be a friend or support person. Know your limits and honor them, damn the torpedoes. The torpedoes will fly whether you take care of yourself or not.

 
So where do I go now? I am spending time in self-care so that my helper’s heart can heal. Right now, I don’t feel as if I have anything useful to offer others in terms of comfort, support, nor do I have the desire. I need to heal the broken heart before embarking on a new venture. I am continuing to ready the launch of the Creative Link online course and am finishing up the Phoenix Uprising Manifesto. Stay tuned and remember, never sacrifice your AUTHENTIC SELF for another.
Much love,

 
Paulissa
©2013, Paulissa Kipp

How We See It: The Nature of Our Worlds Book Is Now Available!

Bursting at the seams, so I have to share. I am proud to be published in Volume III of How We See It, A View of Our Worlds. This is my 3rd collaboration with a group of 75 artists of all sorts from Google+. The book is beautiful and I am so humbled to be a part of it. (I am on page 101) You can preview the entire book here: http://www.blurb.com/books/4293600-how-we-see-it-the-nature-of-our-worlds – private – private

So if you need a mental break, give it a gander. We are donating all of the proceeds to the National Organization of Women’s LOVE YOUR BODY campaign as in previous volumes.

Bruised, Not Broken A Survival Story TRIGGER ALERT

Image

Bruised, Not Broken – A Survival Story

 

My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me.  I am the face of abuse and recovery.  I have survived child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.  I am stronger than what has happened to me, but what has happened creeps into the shadows when I least expect it and response will always be present.

 

A little about me:  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Paulissa Kipp.  I have been a Women Against Violence sexual assault/ domestic violence victim’s advocate for 20 years.  This conversation may be disturbing.  If at any time you’d like to take a break and regroup, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

The story I’m about to tell you is mine.  I was 22 years old.  I left Nebraska for a romanticized ideal of being taken care of.  Every relationship red flag that I will discuss was present but I was young, opinionated, and most of all, naïve. 

The relationship started easily enough. 

Here he comes.  The truck and ladders lumbered down the lane with a loud clank.  3:47 am.  He’s been gone for three days, no phone call (the phone was actually working but he didn’t call), no food in the house except for 2 packets of oatmeal, and here he comes rolling in at 3:47 am drunk.  He fumbles with the keys, singing “Yellow Submarine” at the top of his lungs.  He finally gets the door open.

He asks me for a kiss.  The smell of whiskey nearly makes me sick.  “What’s wrong you don’t love me?” 

“You’ve been gone for three days!  Do you even know how many days you were gone?  The police are looking for you because I filed a missing person’s report.”

“I told you I was looking for work in Oklahoma City.”

“I know what you told me”.

I didn’t see it coming.  The force knocked me backwards.  I could feel my broken teeth and my jaw hurt.  I ran into the bathroom and pushed the dresser against the door and held it. He came through the door and choked me until I gasped for air.  I ran down the basement stairs and shut myself into the storm cellar.  I felt the knife whip the air as it passed my head and grazed my ear. The footsteps overhead grew louder as glass shattered.  The house gradually became quiet.  I took my shoes off and tiptoed through the house. I gathered a bag of clothing, my legal documents, and walked to the front door.  As the door opened, he stood up and lunged toward me.  The bullet grazed my hip. My ankle twisting, I broke free and walked 3 miles on a broken ankle for help. I am one of the lucky ones.  I lived to tell the story.

Abuse causes many cracks in the veneer of the soul. Healing from abuse is a slow recovery process. It requires a courage that does not come naturally. It often requires counseling and brutal honesty. It requires forgiveness, but not forgetting. It requires not being a bystander. It requires making a stand and saying “Not on my watch, not me, not you and not your child. It requires faith, even when you don’t know if the wound will heal. It requires acknowledging that we are all broken in some way. In the words of Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets through.”

All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.  Often abusers punish while professing love.

You might ask yourself how do we combat violence?  Violence isn’t just what lurks on the surface; it goes deeper than that.  As Jiddu Krishnamurti points out, “Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there is fear. So violence isn’t merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we are inquiring into the very depths of violence.”  Begin by speaking for those who are unable. Don’t ask why did he or she stay? Ask why do batterers, rapists and molesters do what THEY do and work to combat it. Yes, I’ve been there and can tell you it’s not as easy as it might seem. If you are being abused, have a safety plan (if you don’t know how to set one up, call the national domestic violence hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). 

I have spent a lot of time working on myself, learning to be vulnerable, to love myself, to find my own worth, to value the things I do well, to not give others the power I should keep for myself and to learn how to feed myself and my soul what it needs.  

So dear friends, this has been very long and if you made it to the end – THANK YOU!  The things that I am learning are these:

A caterpillar only remains in the cocoon for so long.  Eventually, it has to break out of its shell to become what it is destined to become.  So it is with our lives as well.  

The things we give the most of are the very things that we need most desperately.

No matter how painful our past or present is, we do not have the right to project that pain onto others and punish them for past hurts.  No matter our past or present circumstances, we have a choice.  We can choose better.  I have a lot I could be bitter about.  For the most part, I’m not bitter.  Why?  Because if I am bitter, that means that I have nothing worthwhile to offer the world and that would be a waste of my potential and ability to love.

 

Braggart!

“Tell me a little about yourself.”

Tongue tied, sweaty palm, raspy voice

“Who Me?”

So much to tell, so little to share

Do I dare to unlock the box

To take pride in it all, even the rocks?

Braggart!

Liar!

Fraud!

Who do you think you are?

I think, no I KNOW I am me

Courageous

Magnificent

Beautiful

ME!

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp 4/17/13

 

A Small Delay In the NaPoWriMo Postings

Hello!  This is just a quick note to let you know that I have not abandoned the project.  My laptop died and typing out new works on my Android is interesting at best and frustrating to say the least.  I will be attempting to catch up today and stay caught up for the remainder of the project.  Thank you for your understanding.