Hello all, a reader recently pointed out to me that I haven’t written since my visit with the healer Doña Leova. In my response to the comment I realized that I guess I’ve “let it go” since seeing her and haven’t felt the need to write as much. But I wanted to get back to it because I feel like maybe now is exactly the time I should be writing… to share with those who are struggling that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. So yes, my visit with Donna was one piece of my healing puzzle, but there are so many more. I wanted to share what inspires me to continue to heal from a verbally and sometimes physically abusive childhood:
- My first step in healing was to become aware of what was going on and educate myself. These resources helped me. What I learned from these books is that my dad is in complete denial about his problem and therefore feels completely justified in his actions. Therefore, no amount of arguing with him will get him to see the truth, because he is too invested in his own mental image of himself and his own sense of “reality.” So once I confronted him, I felt better about myself and my own sense of power, but it did nothing to make him see the truth. Therefore, I expressed to him in my family intervention for him that if he begins to talk to me in a disrespectful manner, I will not respond to him, and I will leave. I said this several times, very clearly, so that he definitely heard me. And then from that point on, I have stuck to that. I simply get up, and walk away. No conversation needed. The other thing I learned is that anger is a chemical reaction in the brain that one can become addicted to. As is drama. So when I hear him staying things that are pressing my buttons, I take the high route and do not react. I can almost sense that he is looking for a way to elicit a reaciton to get attention. So I simply ignore it, and do not react. This in and of itself has allowed us to get over so much drama in our relationship.
- My next step was to remove myself from the situation. I moved out. It’s been huge. It’s not the end of it – I am still healing, and he is still doing his thing – but it is an important step in protecting myself on a day to day basis.
- Finding support was huge. I found a 12 step group called Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA), that has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. The name is a bit limiting because it’s not just for people who grew up with alcoholic parents. It is also for people who grew up with any dysfunction in their homes like verbal abuse, any addictions, perfectionism, criticism, etc. The beauty of this program for me is that it looks at the whole family including several generations and really gives you a chance to look at the big picture. When we do that, we are able to not just heal and forgive ourselves, but we can also choose to put down the baggage of blame and shame that has been passed down from generation to generation. Doing so, helped me understand why my dad ended up the way he did, and it helped me forgive him.
- Note on forgiveness: it’s not for the other person, it’s for you. It’s a way of putting down that suitcase of issues you’ve been carrying all your life and just letting it go.
- Meditation is my number one healing tool. I spent a lot of time learning about child brain development and learned that abuse cases the brain to physically be different than that of children who were not abused. Meditation heals that. Physically. It repairs it. And it is never too late to begin. Realizing that and implementing a daily practice of meditation has been THE KEY to my healing.
- Kundalini Yoga is a tool I also appreciate and use in my daily life. It’s not like most hatha yoga classes you might take in a gym or yoga studio. It includes a lot of cardio and meditation with chanting and mantras to physically break through the energetic barriers in my body that have been keeping the abuse stuck in my system. I feel like it’s really helping me.
- Going gluten and dairy free has also been a tremendous help for my brain. There’s are a lot of books about the stomach/brain connection and how dairy and gluten can affect thinking and lead to depression. When I am clear, I am stronger and feel more empowered. When I am empowered, an abuser has no way to attack me.
All of these healing approaches have one thing in common: they put the focus on me, and naturally shift the focus off the abuser. As sick as it may sound, my dad was abusing me in order to get attention. It was negative, but still attention, and he is so hurt that this was better than nothing. By changing myself, I have shifted that attention to my own healing, giving him nothing to hang on to, so our relationship has naturally shifted. I personally didn’t want to cut ties with my dad. I want to heal and I want to forgive him. My wish for him is to heal too. Our relationship has transformed in the recent years and I am very thankful for it.