Check-In: In the work that I do, to end systemic domestic violence, you may feel a variety of emotions.
1. If you were or are a victim, you may feel a surge of emotions. Some folks call that being triggered. That’s normal. Realize that you are still healing. Breathe. Remember what you learned about being in crisis, and about crisis response. You might want to fight. You might want to run (flight). You might not be able to think or move or breathe (freeze). Ground yourself. Breathe. Do your self-care. Detach. Disengage. Breathe. Call the 24/7 domestic violence support line at 1.888.428.0101, or call/text me at 520.909.3888. Call your friend who supports you. Breathe. Write a letter to yourself. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Relax your jaw. Relax your tongue. Relax your toes. Breathe. Relax your fingers. Relax your scalp. Relax your eyelids. Breathe. Ground yourself… breathe.
2. If you read something I wrote, and respond in 3 seconds with a lengthy paragraph justifying your choices (totally normal)… Realize that you might be part of the problem of the cycle of abuse. When you are dismissive of what others are feeling, especially of individuals who are trying to escape the cycle, you are making things worse. YOU are engaging in the Drama Triangle, where there is a victim, a perpetrator, and a rescuer (YOU). This cycle of abuse is not, and should not, be about YOU. Stop it. Go heal yourself and stay away from the victim and the perpetrator. Coddling makes things worse. Enabling makes things worse. It may sound counterintuitive because YOU want the victim to understand that they have responsibilties. Believe me… they KNOW that. They KNOW it because they have been abused physically, emotionally, sexually, religiously, financially, psychologically, or mentally…. they have been blamed, shamed, guilted, beat down until they are broken spirits. Don’t beat them down further. Be quiet. Listen. Believe. Be kind. Breathe. Listen. Believe. Be kind. Breathe. Repeat. Help the victim help themselves. They don’t need to go from one co-dependency to another.
3. If you are blaming and trying to shame others… you are part of the problem. You are an abuser. Truth hurts. Actually for you, it doesn’t hurt. You are the one belittling me, attacking me, calling the cops on me, devaluing me, and encouraging others to do the same. I don’t hate you. I am a humanitarian. My greatest weakness is being a humanitarian, and you know that. You don’t like that about me, and you see it as weak. You are afraid of me because you know that I see through you. Here’s the hope and truth I leave you with:
I believe you were doing the best that you could, based on your life experiences and your knowledge. You didn’t see another way. You were blocked. You were a victim…. and you don’t want to believe that, because you were taught that it is not okay to be weak. So you pumped yourself up. You put on your big boy/ big girl pants. You tried to force others to do the same. Here’s the thing… they would do it in your presence because they were afraid to disobey you. But when the cat was away, the mice would play. And then you would be angered, and you would respond (some would say you would react) with more actions to control and manipulate that person to do what you wanted. You might have done it Ted Bundy style or you might have done it with kool-aid, or with physical violence and intimidation. Stop. Stop it. Stop the cycle. Breathe. It’s not your fault. I love you. I don’t know you. But I love you. I am sorry for the pain you went through. I am sorry for the pain you caused. I forgive you. I won’t forget it, but I will forgive it. And I will continue to work for systems, policies, budgets, that provide programs to heal these generations of unhealthy practices that have been allowed for generations.
If your tummy is churning…. breathe.
Learn more about breaking the cycle of domestic violence at http://www.feliciachew.com/enddv
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“We are each a piece of the puzzle of life. Without each of us, our picture is incomplete.”