October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and for the last day, I would like to share a bit of my story to hopefully encourage and bring hope to others who are facing challenging times. There have been amazing gifts that have emerged in my life that I sincerely believe would have never come had it not been for the incredible pain I have gone through on my recovery journey over the last 11 years, since leaving a 10-year Domestic Violence marriage.
I never thought that there would come a day that I would look back on what I have been through and say to myself, I would do it all again if that is what it would take to get me to where I am today. It was not easy to leave and I believe that is why I stayed for as long as I did. It is even harder when you have children involved. I’m grateful every day that I got out.
Some of the biggest lessons I have learned since leaving are to stand up for yourself but never fight against anything or anyone. One of the best lessons I learned was found in the expression “drop the rope.” When you drop the rope, you end the tug of war battle and with abusers, there is always a war that ensues.
I also learned that people outside of myself are a reflection or a “mirror” reflecting back to me my inner beliefs about myself. And as I changed my inner beliefs through doing recovery work, the unhealthy people around me either dropped out of my life or changed their reflections back to me. Change your beliefs about yourself and you change the reflection back at you.
I learned that I couldn’t change them and their behavior, so I had to change me. I learned that it’s a lot harder to stay angry at someone and make them wrong, then to forgive and be at peace.
I also learned that while there is no cure for abusers, especially those with Narcissistic personality who use violence to coerce and control you, you can use tools including the Law of Attraction, visualization and other techniques to change your interactions with them. I wouldn’t have believed that had I not tried it and seen the outcome with my own two eyes.
Two examples of this are one which was two years when my family who supports my abusive, narcissistic ex-husband showed up at my oldest daughter’s graduation. I had a spilt-second when I saw them with him and had to decide if I was going to be angry and allow their presence and support of him which hurt me deeply to ruin my daughter’s graduation or to take the high road.
I walked up to them all thanked them for coming and gave them all hugs, including my ex-husband who had just put my current husband and I through three years of court hell while living with my aunt who was financially supporting him and his attorney fees and helped him legally kidnapped our daughter right from school while my family had her and we could not see or speak to her for 6 months.
It was hell, what he put us through and I walked right up and gave him a hug anyway. It felt so good to do and it took away his power over me. He no longer had power over how I was going to feel, I did and I wasn’t about to let him ruin this special day.
It was an empowering day and it felt so good to get out of “ego” about how wrong what he and all of them did and go into my heart instead, it literally felt like the weight of the world released from my heart, so much so that I gently wept.
When we left the ceremony, I thanked and hugged them all again, including my ex-husband. As I hugged him goodbye, he said in my ear ” I’m sorry.” It was like a miracle had occurred, a narcissist apologizing, I couldn’t believe what was happening. It helped me realize that when you drop out of ego your life can truly change for the better.
Another example was even more recently, I received a phone call from an old high school friend that my step-dad who raised me since I was an infant, had been given a month to live. I had been estranged for years since my Narcissistic mother refused to come to my wedding or allow my father to walk me down the aisle.
I knew I wanted to make peace and see him before he left this earth. I called and felt angry about them not telling me, about the way I found out and how casually he was acting about it all. It was maddening. I ended the conversation on an agitated note.
After I hung up the phone I thought about the conversation and I decided to do a practice called Ho’oponopono that I had learned along my recovery journey. It is is an ancient practice of reconciliation where you visualize the person and say something like my modified version of it, in which you state: please forgive me, I forgive you, thank you, I love you.
I did that with both of my parents and called back on the house line which I knew my mom would answer. Her whole demeanor was different with me, better than it had ever been before, so much so that I got up the courage to ask if I could come home to spend time with my dad. She said, “do whatever you need to do.” I couldn’t believe my mother was actually saying this.
I immediately bought the plane tickets as soon as I got off the phone and before she changed her mind. I spent the next two days before my flight visualizing my mother and sending her love. When I arrived home it was the first time in 20 years, that there hadn’t been some sort of narcissistic rage that ensued while on a visit.
I was beginning to see the power in all of these techniques and new I had nothing to lose by practicing them. Around 6 weeks later when my father started to decline, I was the first person my mother called. What a change from being the last to find out about things happening in the family.
When my dad died three days later my mom said she wanted me and my girls to stay at her house. I could hardly believe my ears. I practiced sending love to my mother once again before my trip home and again everything went off without a hitch.
One of the things I got to do while visiting my dad was to give him reiki and a white light healing hypnosis that I offer. I had been a Hypnotherapist for years, as well as an EFT practitioner. Both of those modalities helped me overcome PTSD from the years of abuse I had endured at the hands of my Narcissistic mother and ex-husband.
I had only just recently become a Reiki practitioner and had really only practiced on to start to myself and my husband. My dad enjoyed the reiki so much that when I came back from my visit, I decided to start to offer it at a clinic I help run at a Spiritual co-op called “bliss.”
Since I started offering Reiki I’ve had many gifts come from the sessions I’ve had with others. I’ve had those experiences over the years with EFT and have had spontaneous healings through my white light hypnosis, but there is something very intimate about reiki and the offering of healing touch through one’s hands. It is an intimacy and a closeness that I had never shared with my dad until then and since with others through the reiki clinics.
So not only did I find strength I never knew I had on my road to recovery from Domestic Violence. I discovered many techniques which led to the discovery of my own gifts that I otherwise would not have discovered and which I now find continued healing and great joy in sharing with others. All of which have helped take me from not only survivor but thriver. There are gifts waiting for you too when you get to the other side.
Please don’t give up, don’t let them break you and keep putting one foot in front of the other, which some days will be harder to do than others. There are good things coming, you can do this, you are stronger than you know, keep going you’ve got this. You will thank yourself later for sticking it out and for how far you’ve come. And when you find the gifts that will come from this and you begin to share them with others, that’s when life really gets good.
I’m wishing you well on your healing journey Anne-Marie Wiesman