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

 

 

 

 

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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

A Gift For You! Open It – You’ll Never Be The Same

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Beloved,

The fact that you are still here and still being a Phoenix rising shows that you DO value yourself. It takes courage to face challenges, survive and to want to make a change. Maybe you don’t value yourself as much as you would like, but the spark is there and will be fanned into a flame that will burn brightly.

It has to begin with you – with offering your unique gifts. You weren’t meant to fit in amongst the mediocre, you were meant to SHINE. We are given a box of gifts at birth, it is our job to hand that box back at the end of our days and say “There is nothing left – I used it all up.”

When we do our me-work (the Beauty Uprising, self-development and self-awareness) because we are worth it, we learn that through vulnerability comes strength. We break ourselves down and get rid of the crap that no longer serves us – negative views of ourselves, habits that perpetuate cycles of defeat, relationships that no longer affirm our worth and we act from of place of love. You’ve beaten yourself up long enough, hon.

I challenge you to do some mirror work. There is a very specific reason: By looking into the mirror, we see ourselves as we are: human. Each day I would like you to look in the mirror and say the following ( a paulissaism that helped me tremendously in my path and perhaps it will help someone else):

I am ENOUGH
-Smart ENOUGH
-Worth ENOUGH
-Loved ENOUGH
ENOUGH. I am.

You may feel funny at first and that it is OK. You may feel phony or feel lots of resistance and that is OK too. The most valuable lessons are found when we are uncomfortable. That is where the growth happens. Fake it until you make. Say this until you believe in your heart of hearts that you truly are enough, in the state in which you are now because you are a Phoenix and you are rising!

Don’t be a yeah but either. . .you know “Yeah but it’s hardddddddd”. Yes it is hard but you are worth every effort. Mega hugs and lots of love. Hope some of this helps.

You Are Seen

You Are Seen

© 2012 Paulissa Kipp Hello BraveHearts! Here at Pardon My Muse we talk often about love:  self-love and love for others.  We foster humanity through love and believe that love is always the answer.  In the spirit of love, I … Continue reading