Life inside the cage of abuse becomes familiar. The feelings of worthlessness, the repeated patterns of “not enough” or “less than” in all areas of your life: health, relationship and wealth.
So, when you begin the journey of moving beyond abuse, and leaving the cage, something quite surprising occurs. The freedom, pleasure and possibility you experience is so unfamiliar that it can feel shocking, scary, crazy, and all you want to do is crawl back into the cage.
Because the cage is what you know. The cage is what feels safe. You grab hold of the bars and become more rigid, more confined.
How do you leave the cage once and for all without it feeling so painful?
You start with these 3 steps:
Step 1: Acknowledge the Pattern
The biggest problem is returning to the cage and going unconscious again. If you do this, you’re just going to continue the patterns of abuse that have you in such pain in your life.
So becoming aware of this pattern (of trying to leave and getting freaked out and returning to the cage), acknowledging it, and knowing it’s normal is essential to staying awake and choosing something different rather than staying in the familiar zone of the cage.
Step 2: Make Friends with the Cage
I know this sounds crazy, yet the only way to create change in your life and move beyond your abuse is to first accept this cage that you’ve been living in. Honor the cage as your friend as it’s actually been your biggest ally in healing. Express your gratitude for its strength and resourcefulness: it protected you during a time you needed protection.
One way to move beyond the cage of abuse is to show it gratitude. If you fight against it, you will experience more of the same. But if you are grateful for it and how it has served you so far, you will find that it is easier to befriend it.
- How has the invisible cage of abuse served you?
- What have you loved about living in the cage?
- What do you wish to thank the cage for?
When you embrace the cage and choose something other than shutting down, you soften. You open to the possibility of being in communion with your pain. This is ultimately the only way to dissolve the bars of the cage and step into true freedom.
Step 3: Get Support
We’re wounded in relationship and we’re healed in relationship. Abuse twists things up inside – we end up pushing everyone away yet feel desperate for support.
Reaching out to enlist support in your journey is essential. At first you may still be in a fetal position in the cage, yet having someone there with you giving you space to stand up is the best feeling in the world.
And then, with support, you discover how to leave the cage in a way that’s not so painful or scary. You step into greater freedom and pleasure and embrace this new naked vulnerability that is you, what I like to call radical aliveness.
When you embrace the cage and choose something other than shutting down, you soften. You open to the possibility of being in communion with your pain. This is ultimately the only way to begin to dissolve the bars of the cage.
If you’d like to hear more on this topic, and discover more tools for making friends with the cage of abuse, check out the audio from my radio show, “Making Friends With The Cage Of Abuse.”
(This article is an excerpt from Dr. Lisa’s soon-to-be-released book, “Kick Abuse In The Caboose.”)
Be You. Beyond Anything. Create Magic.