Take Your Power Back is Now Available for Purchase

 

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Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors is for sale!

You can read an excerpt and purchase a copy of this groundbreaking book here!

Thanks to Dr. Patrick Gannon, PhD, Co-Founder of the ASCA (Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse) Self-Help Recovery Program for this great review!!

Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors is a practical and inspirational guide that focuses on key issues faced by adult survivors. Evelyn Ryan’s words of support and encouragement will be a source of emotional nourishment for adult survivors as they go through recovery. The book gets inside the emotional consequences of abuse. In particular, it shows how abuse impacts self-esteem and how survivors are inclined to unconsciously seek power-imbalanced relationships with narcissistic partners. The 7 Healing Lessons are cogently described dynamics tied to one’s past and the corrective thinking that is necessary for recovery. The focus on the ASCA Self-Help Program (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse) in the chapter on the Healing and Recovery Journey dovetails perfectly with the central message of this inspirational book: you can recover your authentic self by committing to make specific changes that are essential to life success but it will take hard work, persistence and most importantly, a COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF. I can see that survivors will want to read and re-read sections of this book for on-going support and inspiration – THE WORDS ARE THAT POWERFUL! Full of helpful lists, psychological insights and practical suggestions on how to take charge of one’s inner life to facilitate recovery, this book is an undiscovered gem!

Patrick Gannon, PhD
Co-Founder
ASCA Self-Help Recovery Program

Why Healing From Abuse Is Never About The Abuser

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

Excerpted from Evelyn Ryan’s book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips and Tools for Abuse Survivors. Read a review of the book here.

th-8The only person you are here to serve is your authentic self. When you serve your authentic self, your decisions and actions fulfill your legitimate emotional needs. All of life’s pieces fall into place, since the core of your being is truth-based and authentically you. You know you can rely on yourself for your safety. You feel safe in your own body.

What happens to us when we are abused, betrayed by those we intimately trust? Betrayal is one of the most painful human experiences. The victim’s response is shame, internal pain, self-loathing, trauma, and fear. We translate that into the false belief that something is wrong with us. But there is nothing wrong with us! There never was. We did not do anything wrong. Being who we are is not wrong. Our love was real. Our trust was real. Theirs was not. We were innocent defenseless victims.

GET TIPS FOR DEALING WITH THE SHAME FROM BETRAYAL.

Our attackers are character-flawed, disordered. We were betrayed because we trusted and depended on unhealed abusers, manipulators, and untrustworthy broken people. They betrayed us. We were betrayed because that is what betrayers do. It was not personal in that sense. Our attackers targeted us because they are experts on homing in on people with our vulnerabilities.

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They need people with our vulnerabilities so that their manipulation tactics will be
successful, so that they will win the challenge and the ultimate prize: our energy, attention, and adulation. Before you and me, there were many, and after us, there will be many more. We were betrayed because we were vulnerable. We did not ask to be victimized, but we played a role in the abuse that we need to understand and accept.

imgresMany of us are empaths—highly sensitive natural healers, compassionate people with
high emotional intelligence. We did not learn to use our compassion and trust responsibly; we depended on untrustworthy people to define our self-worth. Our emotional vulnerabilities make us complicit in our own abuse by keeping us susceptible to abusers who preyed on us and kept us addicted to pain. This truth can be very painful, and yet it’s life-changing. It will change your life forever and for the better. When we know better and that we are worthy of the knowledge, we do better.

knowbetter do betterAnger, resentment, and revenge will not heal us. Self-avoidance will not heal us. Focusing on our abusers will not heal us. Taking responsibility and accepting without judgment will. In healing, we learn to become our authentic selves—and to stop seeking approval of our worth from others. Healing is a learning process. Through asking the right questions and seeking and finding truthful answers in a safe and trusting environment, we learn to turn our compassion and courage inward to support shifts in our thinking that lead to long-term emotional health and happiness.

We learn to befriend ourselves (who we long ago abandoned) by accepting our powerlessness, committing to our healing, challenging our thoughts, releasing our fear and shame, and incrementally taking our power back as we lift up our thinking and discover and honor our real selves and our personal divinity.

Do we need to understand our abusers to heal? Yes. But minimally and only in order to understand what they are missing and what they exploited in us and what faulty beliefs make us vulnerable to them. In fact, focusing too much on them will prevent you from healing.

Read more here on how much do we need to know about narcissism to heal.

Narcissistic abuse recovery expert, Melanie Tonia Evans, cautions us frequently that focusing too much on our abusers and our fear of them rather than on our healing and the role we play in our abuse can keep us trapped and prevent our recovery. I can relate.

One of the most difficult lessons I learned was that I was vulnerable to attacks by manipulators and bullies. I felt threatened by them and believed I was not safe. I became fearful and resentful. My fear drove me to overestimate the harm from them and underestimate my ability to deal with them. I felt defenseless. I became hyper-vigilant in my attempts to avoid shame and pain as I waited for their attacks. I became hyper-reactive to attacks that I was sure would come and did come. I became intolerant, which did not serve me.

In the process, I gave up my power to emotional vampires who continued to target me. Trying to avoid perceived threats kept me emotionally trapped to the people and events that triggered my fears and caused me continued pain. So, I remained a victim of the emotional vampires because I thought like a victim. I was held captive by my own fears. I became emotionally fatigued. Focusing on them rather than myself kept me from healing. I learned and accepted that my fear was giving my abusers the power to overcome me.th-14

So I put on my big-girl britches and, little by little, took on and challenged my fears and
my false sense of powerlessness, replacing them with courage and self-assurance. I took my power back as I came into my own truth and accepted what I could change as well as what I could not. I accepted what happened to me, took responsibility for the role I played, and shifted my thinking from that of a victim to one who wanted to take her power back, detach from and defuse the abusers, and thrive. I took action!

I adapted by turning the irrational fear and hypervigilance into compassion and tolerance. I turned that wasted fear-driven energy to the source of that fear within myself and not only challenged and released it but replaced it with self-compassion, self-knowledge, self-power, self-respect, and self-love. I honed my ability to identify and cope with evil people. Instead of focusing my energy on them, I shifted my attention to me and my self-worth and abilities. I protected my personal boundaries because I know and believe I am worth it.

In the process of healing and witnessing my own healing, my fear of aggressors became pity for the powerless annoyances they are. In the process, my self-esteem and self-respect and self-assuredness soared, and I took my power back. I chose not to give my power to powerless emotional vampires and to protect my personal boundaries and honor my personal rights and authority because I know I deserve respect. I taught my daughter the same. In the process, my daughter healed through me and thrived. It is never about the other person, folks. My dear friend Jim Upshaw told me that years ago, and I never forgot the message. Now I know the true meaning. Now I never forget the lesson: When you serve your authentic self, your decisions and actions fulfill your legitimate emotional needs. You know you can rely on yourself for your safety. All of life’s pieces fall into place, since the core of your being is truth-based and authentically you.

In the healing process, we regain our self-trust, self-power, self-respect, and self-esteem. We learn what our true value is to ourselves. We learn to rely on and trust internal emotional cues that have been recalibrated with our personal truth and core beliefs. Oh, of course, we must get cues from our environment and from others who have our best interests at heart. We also become better able to recognize those who do not. But we now can readily use those cues to gauge where we are and to tweak our internal truth-seeking filters based on our choices and their outcomes.

th-29In healing, we learn who we really are and to love ourselves. We become fully integrated people of integrity whose thoughts, actions, and beliefs align. Our healing allows us to be the best version of ourselves. It is the best demonstration of self-love we could give ourselves. And in that newfound truth, we thrive.

How Emotions Go Haywire in Abuse Survivors

 Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“…our pain-based emotions become faulty and lose their intended design functions of being reliable protective safety measures and providing depth and color to our lives. They go haywire and rather than protect us, do us more harm and our children more harm as we teach the same distorted thinking patterns to them as well. We and our children become vulnerable targets of energy and power vampires.”

th-8We are not the source of our pain. No one is. We are the source of our joy. Read this again…and again…and again.

Our pain-based emotions exist to protect us. They exist as cues, as lessons for us to put on the brakes, stop, think, course correct or thought correct to heal from wounds and to keep ourselves safe from danger and further harm.

We are not born with pain and we are not born deserving of pain. There are no “chosen people” better than us who are genetically predisposed to deserve joy more than we do. If you believe this, your thinking is not rational and needs correcting.

th-23We are born with only two fears – fear of falling and fear of loud noises. All, yes, all of our pain-based emotions (and the list is long) like shame, guilt, anxiety, grief, phobias, compulsions are learned, every darn last one of them. Some we developed in order to cope with or avoid another greater fear or pain. Our caregivers in our youth should have taught us how to take cues from our pain-based emotions, as well as our joy-based ones and showed us to self-regulate and modulate them with healthy self-coping and self-soothing mechanisms. They should have taught us to accept, use, and rely on our emotions in order to develop our divine miraculous abilities to care for ourselves and nourish our souls and mature these abilities throughout our lives to become the best joy-seeking versions of ourselves we were put on this earth to be.

Instead they taught us to believe the lies they were taught to believe that caused them and us to maladapt. Toxic pain-based thinking in our families today originated generations ago from our great great great great great grandfathers or grandmothers who suffered some traumatic experience and who never healed and shadowed their pain on and taught their wounded thinking to their descendants. Read more on this subject here.

13166007_822039794617518_5597762351778431864_nThe truth is that we are all born and designed for happiness and to feel safe, secure, and lovable. When we are abused and betrayed in our youth when we are growing at such a rapid pace, our pain-based emotions, through overuse, become toxic and our beliefs about our self-worth and deserving peace, solace and joy become skewed. We are taught and conditioned, instead, to believe that in loving relationships, we deserve pain, we are the source of our pain, we are powerless to the pain, and only those who inflict pain on us have the power and authority to relieve the pain. We may not be able to see the “good” in normal healthy relationships and sabotage them because we were not taught to relate anything positive in a relationship to love or our worthiness.

When we are abused, our pain-based emotions become faulty and lose their intended design functions of being reliable protective safety measures and providing depth and color to our lives. They go haywire and rather than protect us, do us and our children more harm as we teach the same distorted thinking patterns to them as well. We and our children become vulnerable targets of energy and power vampires.

11825868_789154231210160_5369177878722907305_n-1We can replace this distorted thinking with emotionally adaptive and healthy thinking and learn to modulate and control our own emotions and bring our self-esteem and self-worth to healthy levels. We can change our pain-seeking/pain-avoiding lives to joy-seeking/joy-filled lives, achieve emotional sobriety, and thrive. As we heal, our children will heal through us. This is how we break the cycles of intergenerational abuse.

I am committed at Yourlifelifter to teach you how to heal and recover.

I explore these topics in much more detail in my book, Take Your Power Back: Healing Lessons, Tips, and Tools for Abuse Survivors. You can purchase and read a free sneak peek and review of the book here.

How Do We Heal and Mourn After the Loss of a Narcissist?

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

“We, in essence, have to heal and grieve from multiple doses of betrayal and the accompanying toxic shame and self-loathing and exaggerated feelings of powerlessness.”

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Narcissistic abuse survivors are frequently told to “get over it and move on.” This is not only ridiculous and inappropriate, it is also impossible. Abuse victims have suffered from extreme trauma. Understanding that the people we loved never existed and will never be the people we want and need them to be present huge challenges to victims of narcissistic abuse.

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Narcissist abuse survivors are left with significant inner conflicts because they are faced with mourning someone they loved who will never relieve or take responsibility for the trauma they inflicted on us and who will not ever return the love our hearts long for. Our attackers have, in effect, gotten away with “murder” they were not held accountable for. Emotionally, these can pose serious healing challenges to the surviving victims.

How, then, do we deal with the loss and heal from the trauma narcissists inflicted on us when they are gone? How do we mourn and grieve the loss of a narcissist when they are still alive, when they are dying or have passed away and we are left with unresolved trauma and unrequited love?

WHY IS HEALING AFTER THE LOSS OF A NARCISSISTIC SO DIFFICULT

One of the main reasons that healing from narcissistic abuse as adults is so difficult is because at that point in our lives, we have been betrayed twice and sometimes even more times. To be betrayed by those we intimately trusted is compounded in adulthood as the repressed pain from childhood and the accompanying sense of defenselessness are repeatedly triggered. So after the loss of a narcissist, we are left to heal from the childhood wounds and grieve our childhood and grieve the loss of love that will be forever unrequited. We, in essence, have to heal and grieve from multiple doses of betrayal and the accompanying toxic shame and self-loathing and exaggerated feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. So, effectively grieving after narcissistic abuse provides daunting challenges. It requires a reconciliation and a recalibration of our conflicting beliefs as they relate to loss, forgiveness, unrequited love, our lovability, and our pain and suffering.

“Effectively grieving after narcissistic abuse…requires a reconciliation and a recalibration of our conflicting beliefs as they relate to loss, forgiveness, unrequited love, our lovability, and our pain and suffering.”

th-8We can also mistake trauma bonding (e.g. pain- and peptide-addictions) for love. Narcissistic abuse recovery expert Melanie Tonia Evans explains in “Trauma Bonding: Is It Love or Something Else?” that “we were all conditioned to believe that powerful and all consuming feelings, and the ‘not being able to stop thinking about someone’ and ‘feeling an intense attachment’ must mean love…we were taught very little about real love – as a safe, supportive, calm, regenerating and trustworthy entity. And we didn’t realise that true and real love necessitates a deep knowing that you are the other half of a safe, supportive and genuine ‘team.'”

HEALING IS ABOUT US, NOT THEM

Healing, folks, is not about our attackers. Healing is about us. Mourning and paying respects are not about our attackers, they are all about us. We must heal first in order to effectively mourn and grieve. We must go on a journey to figure out why we loved someone who inflicted unrelenting pain on us. To completely heal we must dig deep to release the inner pain and forgive ourselves for the role we played in our own abuse. Self-forgiveness is a critical part of healing.

Healing Henry Cloud

Read more on the importance of self-forgiveness in healing here.

In healing, rescuing ourselves from our own despair allows us to become emotionally stronger and trusting of our own abilities and self-worth and learn self-compassion that will help us release the shame and the powerlessness and defenselessness we once felt to the unresolved trauma our attackers left us with. Healing will facilitate mourning our childhoods that have passed and the loss or pending loss of the person(s) we once loved and who we once needed to love us by accepting they never existed and will never become who we thought they were. It is a point we reach when we understand and accept the truth about what happened to us from a neutral position of emotional peace without the pain, blame and shame that our abusers shadowed on us.

Read more on the importance of self-forgiveness in healing here.

knowbetter do betterHealing provides us a divine opportunity to become the authentic persons we were put on this earth to be and thrive. It is at this point that our painful pasts will no longer matter because we have broken our pain addictions and learned to provide our own selves the love and self-respect and self-assurance and self-care that we need to sustain us and thrive and the new found belief that we are worth the effort. We have learned to use our compassion responsibly and we can reliably decide what serves our hearts and souls even in our choices of paying respects when our attackers who we love or once loved have are dying or have died. Even if they are dying, their toxicity is not diminished, just their capacity to act on it. So their “death” or pending death sadly or fortunately (depends on how you choose to view it) essentially forces us into “No Contact” that supports our emotional healing and removes us from the harm from their toxicity.

NARCISSISTS ARE EASY TO FORGET

maya_angelou-howyoumakethemfeel2

Memories of narcissists fade quickly. They leave us very few memories to sustain our love so they are quickly forgotten. And once we are healed, memories of them no longer trigger our repressed pain. So they leave us with little of value or meaning to “miss.” Do we miss someone who is not capable of love and parasitically feeds off of their own children? Do we miss someone who leaves us no loving or pleasant memories to sustain our loss?  Like Maya Angelou said, “we don’t forget how people made us feel.” She was talking about pleasant feelings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Self-Forgiveness is Fundamental to Healing and Achieving Justice from Narcissistic Abuse

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

th-2“Forgiveness is part of healing. It is not a prerequisite to healing. It is a point we reach when we understand and accept the truth about what happened to us from a position of emotional neutrality without the pain, blame and shame that our abusers shadowed on us.” 


I’d like to share some information on forgiveness, justice and victimization that may not be so obvious to survivors of narcissistic abuse but is critical to their healing.

Survivors of narcissistic or for that matter any abuse were victims, no different than a victim of a crime, a brutal illegal attack or violation of our boundaries, rights, authorities, or freedoms. What is the difference between a brutal attack of one’s body or possessions and one’s psyche and one’s heart and betrayal of intimate trust? Not many. But there are a few fundamental ones.

brokenheart-wallpaperOne attack, you may think, takes place in the conscious physical world – the other, in the metaphysical, the metacognitive world where we feel and think. However, the pain and shame and anger and fear and trauma we experience from a brutal physical or emotional brutal attack are the same. They inflict the same wounds and frequently open old ones. In addition, there are major differences to how we heal from the wounds. This is why.

We can achieve justice and emotional relief when our attackers are found, charged, found guilty, and punished for their evil deeds. Our victimization is then validated, our egos are soothed, and we can achieve some sense of safety, security, and closure. But what happens when a criminal “gets away with murder” and is free to roam and victimize whomever he or she chooses to target?

Isn’t this what serial thieves do?

Isn’t this what serial murderers and rapists do?8cc14d8f-48d2-4d8c-97d9-3e66d991850e-medium

Isn’t this what serial narcissists do?

The answers are an unequivocal YES and pose huge healing challenges to their victims. Let’s explore these challenges closer.

Healing and Achieving Justice

Healing and justice are not acquired through resentment and revenge that serve no other purpose than feeding our egos, keeping us bonded to our abusers, and continuing to give up our power to them. These are reactive defenses that cause us unjustifiably to take on additional pain and blame and continue to suppress our pain and also keep us trapped and hunkered down in shame and inaction that will do nothing more than hamper our healing and recovery.

Equally, healing and justice are not acquired through excusing the evil or pain or betrayal that was inflicted on us by our attackers or by showing compassion for them. Our need to forgive can also be guilt-driven by our moral, ethical or religious 1935078_1109367059096008_7406065166067850262_nbeliefs and convictions. I agree with renowned author and therapist Dr. Alice Miller and others that we do not have to forgive and that forgiving our abusers is a personal choice. We can add a huge amount of emotional burden to an already painful situation by being told if we do not forgive, we punish ourselves twice..blah blah blah. This can leave us conflicted and feeling added guilt and even shame when we really do not want to forgive.

We also while dealing with forgiveness have to deal with other daunting and unique challenges faced while grieving our losses. Effectively grieving after narcissistic abuse requires a reconciliation and a recalibration of our conflicting beliefs as they not only relate to forgiveness but also to loss, unrequited love, our lovability, and our pain and suffering.

Read more here on how to grieve and mourn the loss of a narcissist.

How, then, do innocent victims “get justice” when their attackers get off free of charge? How then do they achieve emotional relief and a sense of security? Victims of emotional abuse do not even have the option of becoming vigilantes because the narcissists like the mutants on X-men and space creatures on Men in Black look normal on the outside, do their dirty deeds, and remain unscathed. In essence, not only are we the victim, but we also become the police, judge and jury.

Healing is All about the Victims, Not the Abusers

th-1Healing, folks, has nothing to do with our abusers. Healing is, however, all about the victims. We are left to heal invisible wounds that were caused by our active but unaware participation in a very harming situation. Abuse survivors must work to turn their compassion and care inward and release the pain, trauma, shame, anger and fear that were projected onto them and inflicted on them by the emotional and conscienceless criminals, vampires, and thieves who also stole their identities. We, to heal, must not only release the pain and anger from the attack but also the shame from betrayal and of our unconscious complicity in the crime and our perceived foolery. This is why self-forgiveness and self-compassion are so important in healing. As Emily R., a community member at Yourlifelifter so eloquently stated, “forgiving a conscienceless person has absolutely zero meaning, thus, the real issue is learning to forgive oneself for not trusting oneself over their manipulative ploys of false promises and fake emoting.”

Forgiveness is part of healing. It is not a prerequisite to healing.

10453112_10150486967674990_1990359670124377576_nIt is a point we reach when we understand and accept the truth about what happened
to us from a position of emotional neutrality without the pain, blame and shame that our abusers shadowed on us. Releasing the pain and anger will allow us to heal emotionally. Accepting our powerlessness to the pain “permits” us to direct our energy to healing. But to fully heal we must forgive ourselves for the part we played. This is why understanding why we were targeted is critical to healing. We are then emotionally free to see things truthfully and accept what happened to us, accept our powerlessness to the pain, incrementally take back our personal power and redirect it to change our faulty thinking, rescue our own selves, and stop being vulnerable to emotional criminals.

Healing is a process of self-discovery, self-analysis into the root causes of why we were victimized, addressing how our beliefs contributed to that, correcting our skewed beliefs, mourning our losses, building our self-worth as well as healing our trauma wounds. I personally believe, it is close to impossible to fully accept what happened to us and forgive ourselves for the part we played unless we first heal and recover from the trauma and then stop our faulty victim thinking. This requires fully understanding why we love people who inflict pain on us and why we are attracted to power imbalanced relationships.

 “Forgiving a conscienceless person has absolutely zero meaning, thus, the real issue is learning to forgive oneself for not trusting oneself over their manipulative ploys of false promises and fake emoting.”  ~ Emily R., a community member at Yourlifelifter

As a survivor, I can say that I do not excuse the despicable acts of the abusers in my life or absolve them of their “sins” (e.g. outside my pay grade) but I can say that I am clear on what happened and why it happened in my childhood, why I was targeted and why I let it happen into my adulthood. I am also very clear that the abuse no longer continues because I do not think like a victim so I am no longer victimized. I am not powerless to pain and I do not deserve to suffer. I choose not to participate in the dysfunction so they are defused and go away. They continue to target me because that is just what abusers do and but I am not emotionally vested. I no longer fear them. I no longer believe I have to suffer or self-sacrifice to be good or lovable. I do, however, accept them and readily identify them as the abusers and broken people they are.

Healing Henry CloudWe cannot expect things from people who are not capable of giving them. I accept that life is not fair and I was born into a herd of narcissists that I had no choice over. But I do have choices now based on my new found personal truth and not others’ lies. I choose a life I know I deserve, a life of peace, harmony, happiness, emotionally healthy love and mutual respect! I also accept that they cannot. I also accept that truly evil people do exist and that I do not possess the divine power, right, and authority to absolve them of their depravity.

I do, however, have the divinely provided right and authority first and foremost to forgive myself, heal, and to live a joy-filled life I am deserving and worthy of. The best revenge is healing, happiness, and success!

And in the process we achieve the justice we seek.

The Gentleman

Gut wrenchingly beautiful…th-2

by Sheri Spain, Detoxify You

I’ve met the most amazing gentleman, the man of my deepest dreams and desires.

Kindness, understanding, attentive. Handsome, giving, intelligent. A true gentleman who walks me safely to my car.

I’m fragile, I say. I’ve had loss.

I’ll never hurt you he assures.

Love overwhelms quickly, I share my awe with one and all.

He’s a gentleman, truly. My hero. My partner. My man. My soul mate. My King.

I am the Queen of his world, he says, I’m twitterpated. Quotes from Bambi?! Yes! Oh, my.

Marry me. Yes.

The nightmare begins softly, the very next week.

An ugly word or two. Uncharacteristic inconsideration. Excuses, apologies, gifts. Ignoring, complaining, forgetting. Intimacy withheld.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I love you. Don’t leave me.

What is wrong with me? His cries work their deceit.

It’s ok, I murmur. We are committed, we’ll work this out.

I should have listened to myself, my intuition, nagging concerns.

Tantrums, crazy-making, nonsensical demands commence.

My needs are dismissed, his concerns the only priority.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I love you. Don’t leave me.

What is wrong with me?

We mustn’t tell, no one will like me, he fears. He cries and moans.

Shares his agonies of life, such sadness and pain and tragedy.

A victim, many times over, at the hands of women. Psycho-bitches all.

I see and feel. Deeply. A knowing. A gift and a curse.

I give in. I trust again. Benefit of the doubt. Again. Stupid.

I’ll get help, he says. I’ll tell the truth.

Promises, promises, promises. Promises never ever kept, never ever meant. Just carrots dangling.

His secret became my secret. My burden to bear.

While his adoring fans gather ‘round. Rock star fantasy lives.

He quits his meds, dismisses his doctors. (He lied to them, too.)

Escalating crisis, erratic behavior. Danger dances. A roller coaster, ever-jumping tracks. Chaos reigns. He rules.

Alone, so alone. Suffocating in shallow and fallacy.

I call his adult daughter to encourage and support her Dad. She’s sorry. She’s not equipped to handle these behaviors he’s been plagued with all his life.

Shock, just shock. Manipulated. I’m not the first, second, or third.

Another discard, another souvenir. A serial abuser of women. A master manipulator.

Fear is the cacophony. No more mask at home. His Bundy is released. Charm and torture. He controls my food, my activities, when I can sleep.

Me. I’m dying as the servant of his twisted facade. Sucking me dry.

A vampire.

Forceful isolation. Degradation. Humiliation. Fear becomes terror.

His fists come out. My tears and pain belittled.

An accident, I didn’t mean to, I don’t remember. It’s your fault.

I’ve cowered in corners, his spittle in my face, finger poking my bones.

I’ve hidden weapons from him and slept in my car. Concealed the bruises. Keeping the secret. Co-dependent.

I try and try and try and try and try and try and try and try. I read and research and read some more while he saunters. And smirks. Does nothing. While I work. And work. And work.

Maybe this will work, maybe that will change. Maybe, maybe.

Accept the reality; let go of the dream. Turn to the cliff. Jump.

I tell him I’m done. He steals my resume, my writing. Spends the last of my money. Hoards his. Bribes for his minions.

Trapped. Scared. Don’t make him mad. Misery.

Months and months.

John Q matters significantly, I am nothing. Never was. Just a pawn.

His fury grows with non-reaction, upping the ante until I fight back.

He smiles with his victory hand; his game complete. Demonized.

It’s fun making you lose your mind, my tormentor taunts.

Go ahead and tell, no one will believe you. You’re the crazy one, He says. Not me. I’m a shaman and an alchemist. And a man of God.

My tribe says so. They say there’s nothing wrong with me. Sneer.

I understand. I get it. More lessons to be revealed.

For they all love the most amazing gentleman they’ve ever met.

Who never was.

Tips for Dealing with the Shame of Betrayal

Evelyn Ryan, Yourlifelifter

shameThe primary pain that we experience from abuse is shame. Abuse is betrayal of intimate trust. Abuse is abandonment. Unlike guilt, which is the result of feeling bad about what you do in the external world, shame reflects feelings of failure inside, as a person.

Shame is experienced as self-blame. You perceive yourself as flawed, inferior, contemptible, no good. Shame is a normal unconscious human emotion that helps us “put on the brakes” by taking cues from our external environment.

The problem is that you may have too much of it which is the case for victims of abuse.
Shame can become a normal feeling for victims of abuse. We also give up most of our personal power and abandon our own selves.

Shame is the part of you that you can’t face because it is so intolerable. In the words of John Bradshaw, “toxic shame” is an “emotion that gets internalized as a state of being.”

Toxic shame becomes part of a what I refer to as the “Shame Triad” of self-blame, self-loathing, and self-sabotaging behaviors.

Too much shame can make us targets of toxic manipulators and keep us powerless to them and trigger anger at inappropriate times.

Shame can keep us trauma addicted to our abusers.

Tips for Dealing with Shame

        1. Turn your compassion and tolerance towards yourself to accept yourself, warts and all, as a valuable person.
          • Forgive yourself first. Acknowledge your fallibility as a person and that you were a victim. This will help you release the self-blame and empower yourself to stop thinking falsely that you are weak, powerless, and defenseless.
          • Be consistent and fair with sharing your compassion and tolerance with yourself as well as with others.
          • Go first with your compassion! Learn to be tolerant of yourself first. Know when to quit, rest, say you’ve had enough, and to put yourself first. This is not selfish. This is self preservation and what emotionally healthy people do.
          • Respect your OWN personal boundaries and protect your vulnerabilities. Demonstrate kindness and acceptance to yourself. Do not violate your own personal wishes, body, trust, time, privacy, feelings, and property.
          • Do not let other people violate your personal boundaries. This includes learning how to not say yes when you mean no. It also includes not letting your boundaries down by sharing too much of your personal information with others too soon.
          • Do not violate other people’s boundaries.
          • Stop defending your feelings, preferences, trust, time and choices to 11193380_10153090646497819_7384925641187409522_nabusers. Abusers use this as an opportunity to abuse and exploit you more and expose you to more trauma and shame. If you must respond to their sneaky insults or criticisms, just say, “That’s interesting. Let me think about it.” Then ignore them and turn them into a non-issue.
          • Focus on gratitude for what you have. My mother told me if you have food, a roof over your head, your health and people who love you, you have everything. She was right.
          • Avoid black and white thinking that focuses only on “good” or “bad” outcomes for yourself. Look at your track record.
          • Refrain from complaining about what you disagree with or do not like in yourself. If you have nothing nice to say or think about yourself, don’t say or think it.
          • Welcome and view disagreements from trusted individuals or differences not as criticism but as motivations for you to learn more, for you to become a person of integrity.
          • Give yourself a break. Be careful to understand the difference between rejecting the “sin” and rejecting the “sinner.” Learn to say “who cares?” more.
          • Do not judge a book by its cover. Do not rush to judgment. Refrain from developing an opinion, before you get all the facts. If in doubt, ask a wise trusted friend.
          • Refrain from making yourself the brunt of jokes or laughter.
          • Do not always stand in the back of the line. Allow yourself to go first sometimes.
        2. Educate yourself on shame and its debilitating effects.
        3. Learn to identify the feeling of shame as it occurs in your daily life and write in a journal about situations and relationships that trigger shame.
          • Challenge your emotions. Ask yourself which ones result from lack of compassion and tolerance for yourself. Check the list above.
          • Work on these areas as trigger points of shame and do what you can to avoid them or minimize their harmful effects.
          • Get rid of toxic friends who habitually violate your trust.
        4. Take anger management classes. Shame triggers anger.
        5. Look at your track record from youth. Recall the people in your childhood who had something good to say about you…those who were kind to you. Teachers, clergy, neighbors, a surrogate parent or relative perhaps. What words did they use to describe your best qualities? How did you feel when you were around them? Revive these important people from your past by writing about them in a journal and exploring what their support meant to you, then and now.
        6. If you are religious or spiritual, turn to your Higher Power or Source to cleanse yourself of the shame and unworthiness that you feel so deeply. Religion and spiritual practice can be tremendous sources of inner sustenance and can provide an ideal vision to replace the negative role models and scenarios of the past.
        7. Get honest constructive unbiased feedback. Share your struggles with working this step on support blogs, meetings, a trusted wise friend, and Websites and Facebook pages like Yourlifelifter.
        8. Seek professional therapy if you are not progressing in your healing and recovery. You most likely are trauma addicted. Trauma bonding occurs when you rely on your abuser for your safety, happiness, or security. Here are a few examples:
            • You long for and miss your abusers.
            • You make excuses for them.
            • You replay painful interactions with your abusers over and over again trying to figure out what you did wrong.

In addition, in order to resolve shame addictions, an ongoing reparative relationship with a qualified therapist can help you challenge your internal voice of shame and replace it with a healthier dialogue. A skilled therapist can be an important ally in helping you to transform the shame into self-acceptance.

Talk about your shame with him/her and share how you experienced shame in your childhood and in your life including in your therapy sessions. With your therapist’s help, identify the ways in which you keep yourself from feeling your shame by adopting a role or “false self” that you portray to others based on what you think it acceptable to them rather than yourself. Share this “false self” with your therapist and try to understand what the role gives you that you feel you lack inside. This can help home in on the shame triggers that you can work to acknowledge, challenge, and release and replace with new rational beliefs and emotions that support your emotional health and well being.