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

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 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.

 

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~ 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

 

 

 

 

Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

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Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

 Today is Mother’s Day in the United States.  A day to thank Mom for all she has done to bear us, for the sacrifices, the love, the meals, the guidance and for her presence.  Mother’s Day has a long and interesting history.  Mother’s Day began as a progressive movement advocated for by a handful of activist women.

  1. In 1858, when Anna Reese Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized “Mother’s Work Days” to improve the sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water.  Anna began giving carnations to mothers in her Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
  2. In 1872, when Boston poet, pacifist and women’s suffragist Julia Ward Howe established a special day for mothers –and for peace– not long after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.
  3. In 1905, when Anna Jarvis died. Her daughter, also named Anna, decided to memorialize her mother’s lifelong activism, and began a campaign that culminated in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution.

As the years progressed and commercialization of the holiday began to take over Jarvis’ original intent that the day be an intimate affair between mother and child(ren), Jarvis came to be disappointed in those who sought to monetize love and loyalty.

Source:  http://www.nwhp.org/news/history_of_mothersday.php

As the parade of pastel cards, memorials, tributes to Mom, flowers, dinner and even gardening centers benefit from the day, my thoughts turn to those for whom the day has a different meaning.  Those for whom Mother was not a nurturer, but the source of abuse and neglect.  For those persons, Mother’s Day can be a source of high anxiety and sadness.

For years, Mother’s Day has been a source of sadness and anxiety for me for a number of reasons:  My mother abandoned me at 8 months old, my grandmother and grandfather raised me and my grandmother was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive.  Mom, while occasionally present, really only dealt with me when there was a new relationship in her world.  I am incapable of having children of my own due to endometriosis and the resultant hysterectomy, so the opportunity to be a better mother than my mother(s) is gone.  As I near 50 years old, raising a child is impractical.  I was raised by parents who were in their late 60s when I came along; I know the disadvantages to both parties of that arrangement.

For those of us with abusive backgrounds, the saccharine sentiments on Hallmark cards don’t apply to us:

 

“You have always been there for me.” Huh? No.

“Thank you for always listening to me.” No.

“A mother is a gift from God forever.” No, I didn’t feel that at all.

“A mother sacrifices for her child.” That doesn’t work when mom abandons you at 8 months old and  your grandmother who raised you was abusive.

“Thank you for your love.” I only felt her “love” when there was a new man to show me off to.

So. . .what to do about this Mother’s Day thing.  This year, I will celebrate in a way that affirms me.  Today, I will spend time with Mother Nature.  I will walk with her, hold her in my hands, drink of her perfume, marvel at her beauty and the way she supports me, the way she has given me life and nourishment.  I will allow her to love me and me her.  Today, I will love Mother in a way I have never before.  I will define Mother in my own way and she will bring me peace.

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp