There are a number of myths you may have bought into about abuse. These myths serve one purpose: they hold you back from moving beyond abuse. Is it time to see these myths for what they are so you move beyond abuse once and for all?
Myth #1: You are on your own
One myth about abuse is that you have to figure out how to unlock yourself from the cage of abuse on your own. This myth includes the belief that nobody is safe enough to trust, that nobody else will really get it and that you are on your own.
But that’s a lie. You don’t have to do it alone. Even though the keys to unlock yourself from the cage of abuse are inside of you, living Radially Alive actually requires you to receive support.
If you have bought into ‘survivor mentality’ you are probably used to battling through and trying to do it all by yourself. I totally get it. I’ve been there. I spent the first two decades of my life not trusting anyone else and not asking for support. It wasn’t until a college professor asked me if I was okay that I finally broke down, acknowledged I wasn’t okay and began to receive support. That choice – to let go of this myth that I was on my own and to accept her support – changed everything. It was the beginning of my own deep healing.
I invite you to move beyond myth #1 by reaching out and asking for support. Whether it’s making a call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−7233) or reaching out to a friend or calling into my weekly radio show to receive facilitation, that first step has the power to set you on a new path of healing, too. I know it may feel challenging as you’re so used to going it all alone.
Yet ask yourself: what else might be possible for your life and your future if you reach out for support now?
It may also help to read this article that addresses the mistrust we often develop of other people when we’ve been abused. What if that view of reality is just that – a view – that can change?
Myth #2: There is no choice
When you experienced abuse, you didn’t have choice. Often, from that moment forward, you believe there is no choice: no choice to change your situation and no choice to change your automated actions and reactions that stem from abuse.
We often internalize this myth and make it so true that we live on autopilot: reacting and avoiding to much of life, treating our present day as though it’s our past abuse. It’s so heartbreakingly painful, I know. I’ve been there. And yet, the truth is, you have a choice in every moment. It is just that up until now, you may not have been aware that you had a choice, let alone how to make a different one.
There is nothing more important in this world and in your life than choosing a greater possibility for yourself. How do you start? Where do you start?
One way to start (as there are many ways) is to stop doing something that you usually do and be willing to be in the awkward space of, “Now what?!” Then tune in… what other possibilities are available to you now simply and powerfully because you are opening up to other possibilities beyond autopilot?
(You may also wish to check out this article on moving beyond autopilot.)
Myth #3: There is one cure-all for abuse
There is another myth that there is one cure-all for abuse. With the right workshop or one-hit-wonder you will instantly ‘cure’ yourself. I know you probably don’t rationally believe this myth. You’re intelligent. You know that healing can take time. And yet deep down, have you been hoping for a one-time cure-all?
I used to hope for an instant cure-all. I’d go visit a shaman and hope for a cure, then be disappointed when all I experienced was more abuse. Or I’d invest in a workshop and while I’d receive some healing, it was never the full monty.
In my vast experience, healing is almost always a process, rather than a one-time act. In our minds we would like to think that we just unlock ourselves from the cage of abuse and there we are – healed and ready to live Radically Alive. Yet it doesn’t work this way for the majority of cases.
But once you commit to doing what it takes to heal from abuse, you take one step out of the cage; you take one step onto the bridge towards moving beyond abuse; and you begin the journey of healing.
When we acknowledge these myths we begin to dispel them: we see the house of cards we’ve created based on these false stories.
Yet acknowledgment is not enough. You also need to take action to change the direction of your life. If you continue to live by these myths, you’ll never free yourself from the cage of abuse. But if you partner acknowledgment with action and use the tips I suggest in this and other articles, you are on your way to moving beyond abuse.
Be You. Beyond Anything. Create Magic.
Photo by h.koppdelaney