When I started on my work of healing, I was angry. After years of denying I had been emotionally abused, suddenly I had to face the fact that it had happened. Not only that, but the abuse that impacted my life, my choices and the way I thought.
I hated my abuser, and blamed them for my struggles and my pain.
This was an important stage for me, because it allowed me to gain distance from my abuser. However, I am glad I didn’t stop there.
For months I wondered how I could be so angry all the time. I wondered how I could let go of something that destroyed me. In the end, it was time and a shift in perspective.
I was listening to one of Brene Brown’s books, in which she had a long anecdote which ultimately lead to a simple notion:
We are all doing the best we can.
This single thought was the most powerful in allowing me to forgive my abuser. This person had been severely abused. This person struggled with addiction, mental illness and extreme pain. Perhaps they did the best they could.
At this point, people will think forgiveness and compassion permit the abuse. This is not the case. Forgiveness gives you freedom from hatred. This allows you enough room to see the situation more objectively. My abuser did the best they could. While I could see this truth with compassion, I could also see that this ‘best’ was unacceptable. Rather than needing to punish my abuser, I moved to protecting myself.
This tiny power shift allowed me to stop answering my phone, to stop sharing the details of my life- to take back the power I needed to heal. The dance of love and hate stopped. I had stopped dancing.