I wrote a blog earlier about Love Doesn’t Hurt … this blog is simply about a discovery of me just three nights ago. It was my grandmother’s birthday – she passed away last year a week after my birthday. She was the rock of our family. For a few months prior to her death, she suffered with bone cancer. Her body, every inch of it, rocked with severe pain. No pain medication was strong enough to ease the pain. Yet, she never complained. She dealt with what life handed her. But she’s always been that strong as long as I can remember. She just kept smiling, kept loving everyone (regardless of how they treated her), and kept living life. The love of her life passed away a few years ago and she never really recovered from his death. She was such a woman of strength! And March 19th was her birthday. The entire day I was mourning, I was missing her, I was wishing I could be as strong as she was while she was on this earth. I was wishing I could’ve learned her secret. You ever wished that? You ever wished you could go back in time and ask very important questions from women (or men) who seemed to had this thing called life on lock? I wish I could ask my grandmother how she was able to smile when your bank account is overdrawn and there’s another week to go before the next paycheck. I wish I could ask her how do you love someone who doesn’t want to be loved and keep hurting you both physically and emotionally. I wish I can ask her how do you reach someone you love who seems so far away. I wish I can ask her how do you live earnestly while you feel so broken.
While I was caught with my feelings, I also had a moment of epiphany. I had two confrontations that day that forced me to re-evaluate my relationships. And you know what I discovered? There’s still a part of me that allow others to abuse me emotionally. One talks very disrespectfully to women in general (and I’m a woman) and the other one lies and manipulates everything and everyone (including me). Pause … when I speak about being abused (you may remember that I was sexually abused as a child), I always say there are three outcomes of someone who has been abused: (1) you remain a victim – which means every relationship you enter or attract will be with an abuser; (2) you become the abuser – that’s a habit you learned from your abuser; or (3) you become a survivor – you realize your worth and will not allow abusers to continue controlling your life.
Since I published my book, I considered myself as the survivor; but on my grandmother’s birthday, I learned differently. There’s still a part of me that remains a victim. You see, I love so deeply! I love to take care of others, especially those who have not had it so easy here on earth. I love to nurture, cook for, laugh with, help out financially, comfort the hurting, those who may be in need. If I see or hear of a need, I am quick to try to do whatever it takes to fill that need; to put a smile on someone else’s face. And in that transaction, I often allow that person to behave poorly in response. I bandage their behavior by saying they are just not used to being love sincerely without expecting something in return. I convince myself that I have to be the one to show them something different, something they may feel unobtainable. But the reality is that I try so hard to be accepted and loved back, that I put up with poor behavior (as long as they do not physically touch me). I jeopardize my own healing process, my own self-improvement, my own surviving journey for the sake of being loved back in the same vein in which I give it. I ultimately confused love with abuse. Love doesn’t hurt. So when I think back on those two relationships, I remember nights after our confrontations (because there are several incidents I’ve had with both) and I’m left crying my eyes out from being misunderstood and lost. Their words and actions hurt me deeply. Yet I continue to keep giving of myself, my time, my finances, my heart for them to turn around and do the same destructive behavioral act again. Then I cry more. You see that cycle of abuse? They abuse me emotionally and I keep thinking my love will change their behavior. Typical victim mentality – we as the victim think we can love an abuser to stop the abuse. WRONG!!
So what now that I am aware of this great epiphany? I set boundaries to the abusers. I set boundaries in my relationships up front so that in the back end, I’m not sacrificing my own journey towards healing and I remain effective in my purpose. I can’t save everyone and I can’t be railroaded from God’s purpose for my life. I continue to love, I continue to give, I continue on my path of effectiveness and impact, and I discontinue the acceptance of abuse and disrespect by others who may not understand who I am meant to be. So although I may not be a survivor, I am surviving! And that’s the moral of the story folks … every victim must find their path to surviving. Discontinue the abuser’s access to their lives and feelings and walk down the harsh road of surviving the effects of being abused. One thing I need to stress is that feelings are unreliable. The hurt, pain, fear, doubt, uncertainty, anger, lost, confusion, etc. — those are all feelings and they are all unreliable. I can’t depend on those feelings and make decisions based on how I feel. I must rely on what never changes – and for me, that is God’s Word. You have to find that stability for your own life. You can’t rely on feelings because they change every time something happens. But there is one “constant” – my constant is God’s Word – your constant may be something else. Find it. And if it is difficult for you to find it, find someone who is strong enough to guide you to find it. I would recommend a therapist – a professional who is objective and not caught up in feelings; or a friend who is loyal to your WELLNESS. Not someone who will just tell you flowery words you want to hear to make you feel better; but someone who is non-judgmental, loving, and will tell you the truth in a fashion your soul can receive what is being said. Listen to your heart. Your heart will let you know who is loyal to your WELLNESS.
One thing you can always depend on in my blogging is that I will never lie to you. I won’t tell you that life’s journey is easy. I won’t tell you that you will never feel hurt again. I won’t tell you that the road to recovery will be smooth sailing. I won’t tell you the sleepless nights will cease and the crying uncontrollably will stop. You will experience great pain; but if and when you find your “constant”, the road will get easier. You’ll learn how to manage your feelings and thrive. You’ll become more conscious of who you are and your purpose. And you will learn the key to surviving.