December is Emotional Abuse Awareness Month for Creative Tidal Wave. I have been asked why I chose to feature this and my reason for doing so this particular month. There are many reasons, both personal and business wise. I found during the holidays often folks show their best side but will quickly in the shadows turn and unleash upon victims. It is difficult for emotional abusers, narcissists, and bully types to maintain their “charming” disposition during the holidays without a means of releasing their torment to regain their balance. Also, I wanted people to start a new year with new awareness in hopes to start identifying and getting help for family and friends who might be victims. Abusers need to be identified as well so they, too, can seek help.
Do you know what I know? Well, I do know some ways you can stop the chaos in your head from being a victim of emotional abuse. First though, please seek professional help from a counselor or a life coach. The process towards healing can move faster with professional help.
When the inner voices of your tormentor/abuser play in your head, take a moment to rethink. You are now aware that the things they said to you were to control you and to take your inner power away from you. You know you are not those terrible things. Rewrite the words into a positive. “You are so ugly, no one will ever marry you,” to “I am beautiful both inside and out with a heart full of love and compassion. I will find the person of my dreams someday.” The power of positive thinking is magical.
You did not ask to be abused. This person came into your life by no fault of your own. Now you can chose to move on and consider this a learning experience on how to recognize the words which cause pain. We cannot chose our parents, coworkers, bosses, and family members. Sometimes our friends and significant others change after they have gained our trust. It is okay to walk away. Hard it maybe, but necessary to gain your life and health back. Change your path’s course. Be brave and take a hike to freedom.
After you dismiss the abusers from your life, I know it is hard, set boundaries. They will try to win you back over. DO NOT FALL FOR THEIR CHARMING WAYS! You do not need to travel back down their path, rarely do they change.
It’s YOU time!! Rediscover old hobbies. Take time to rediscover you. Emotional abusers instill fear as a means of control. Go out and face your fears, try something new. Healing comes the more time you focus on rebuilding your self esteem and empower yourself. Trying new things! Let out old emotions and illogical fears embedded in your mind by the abuser via the arts. Dance out your anger! Paint out your frustrations! Write a poem about the empowered you. Write a book. Sing songs of happiness and write some about your sadness. Hey, you may have a hit in the making. Country music is full of them. And, Taylor Swift has made a fortunate each time she breaks up with a guy. You just never know so give it a try.
The most important thing is to move forward. Leave the abuser behind you. If you struggle with leaving, get help. Don’t walk on eggs shells any longer. Chose to run in grassy fields free from the torment. Look for local hotlines to call if you need help. Ask friends and other family members to help out. Tell your doctor. Seek help.
If you know someone who is being abused emotional and verbally, please step in to help.
This is part three in a four part series on Emotional Abuse Awareness, the Silent Killer of souls.
“Don’t be so sensitive.”
“Well, life isn’t fair, get over it.”
“Let’s stick to the facts.”
“You’ve got it all wrong.”
“I never said that.”
“You can’t do anything right.”
“Can’t take a joke, can you.”
“You owe me.”
“What did I ever see in you?”
“You will never amount to anything.”
“You just want all the attention.”
Fatso, lazy, good for nothing, stupid, idiot, worthless, loser, dummy, ugly….
Do you hear what I hear? Are these phrases and words heard everyday in your life? Is someone who is supposed to love you use these words daily?
We might have used one of these phrases a time or two in our lives when we were angry or upset. It happens. Abusers and narcissists use them daily and repeatedly against those they abuse and try to control. These phrases and words over time become like strikes against the mind and heart of the one being abused. These words are absorbed, cataloged and filed into the memory of the abused to be replayed over and over. The abuser tries to demean, insult, criticize, break down, pick apart, by use words instead of physical means to destroy any means of self-worth and self-esteem their victim has. The abused then also becomes their own worst nightmare with the replaying of these insults anytime they attempt to do something. Abusers want to make sure the abused does not stand up for him or herself. The abuser wants the abused to believe he or she is the true problem. The abuser wants to control as well as be worshiped.
The abuser wants the abused to beg for their love. They want the abused to be so controlled the abused thinks of nothing but the abuser, as in how to please, how to honor and cherish to prevent from hearing such hurtful words. The abuser wants to control all thoughts so the abused will only trust the abuser. The abuser may show love and compassion from time to time, they will make it conditional in such a way the abused feel he or she must earn the love.
Emotional abusers do not leave bruises, they leave deep scars. A victim may only reach out for help once. Please listen and respond.
Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, “do you hear what I hear, ringing through the sky, shepherd boy, do you hear what I hear?”
December is Emotional Abuse Awareness Month for Creative Tidal Wave. Please catch the wave next week for more information.
The month of December will focus on understanding and identifying emotional abuse. Many suicides and preventable health issues are manifested from people being abused. I see everyday, people who struggle with ADHD/ADD and/or dyslexia, being victims of emotional abuse. Such challenges seem to be magnets for emotional abusers. I am not certain why but there is definitely a trend, or at least in my neck of the woods.
Some of the ways abusers use are guilt trips, shaming, and bullying. The main focus is to belittle and strip the abused of their empowerment and self worth. Many dyslexics and ADHD/ADD sorts are pleasers. They enjoy helping others out and keeping a balance in the world. This also keeps balance in their world of chaos. Emotional abusers take advantage of the opportunity for their own personal follies and gain.
Each week I will hopefully enlighten you on emotional abuse. Hopefully, you are not a victim. If so, I hope to offer information on how to get help. If you know of an emotional abuser, my wish is that you will learn ways to avoid being a victim as well as ways to rise above. Over the years I have witnessed many talented and brilliant people who’s spirit and self worth were devalued and crushed due to emotional abuse. Some took their relief seeking to an extreme while others are almost nonfunctional. This is preventable. We need to educate ourselves on recognizing and preventing this silent killer.
It just takes one person to stand up and fight. It takes just one person to save a life. Every life is valuable, none should suffer in silence. Be that one voice to speak out. Be that survivor. Be the one to come to someone’s rescue. Make a difference.
The arts are healing. They carry the power to influence within a safe environment without taking on a permanent change.
Theater allows words and action of situations to come to life for a brief moment. We get to glimpse into another world from the safe distance of our seats. We are not required to engage at the moment, just listen and watch. We are voyagers privy to a peak into lives and worlds beyond our own. We leave pondering what we have witnessed. Some words and action might impact our lives while others are lost in the mental files of our minds.
What does a theater program offer besides the pleasure of attending? Community and school theater programs offer the opportunity to explore emotions, places and lives not our own. Improv companies allow people to step outside their limited thinking to explore responses to touchy subjects and emotions via comedy. Theater offers opportunities to role play situations before they actually happen in our lives to develop a better understand of our own responses. In some ways, role playing can be an agent for change. We can “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” via the theater. We can step outside of our being to experience a life of pain and sorrow, joy and ridiculous antics, within a safety zone without worry we might be labeled.
A shy child can develop social skills from exposure to the theater. The theater enhances reading skills in dyslexic people. Proof of this? Look how many actors and actresses are coming out about their dyslexia. If you have a change, check out Henry Winkler’s life story dealing with his GIFT of dyslexia. Being involved in plays can help an angry child learn control by being involved in theater games to prep the mind. Theater which includes dancing and singing helps children and adults to develop coordination and lung development in asthmatics. Singing, dancing, and acting, known as the triple threat hosts so many benefits. Theater, beyond the stage has unlimited possibilities for positive outcomes for business, life and relationships.
You do not have to be an actor to enjoy being involved in the theater. Creatives are what make the performers look good, especially if not the best on stage. Costume designers, set creators, lighting specialist, musicians, make-up artist, dance instructors, voice coaches, graphic designers, technical support, and stage managers can make or break a production. There is a place for everyone in the theater arts. You can learn the trades and ways while actively working on a performance.
Quiet artist come alive while exposed to the actors and others behind the scenes. Lots of laughs and tears to be shed. Lessons learned dealing with deadlines and those sorts called directors, are life long skills we all need. The plus in the theater it is short lived and you can move on all the wiser. I cannot begin to list all the benefits of being involved in the theater arts as a game changer in life.
Support the theater arts in your community and schools. Become involved with local productions. Go see professional productions to gain insight into other worlds an cultures as well as explore emotionally difficult situations from a safe distance. Just go and be involved any way you can.
The world is changing. We are changing. Recent events have caused a stir in our thinking and judgement patterns. It has stirred fear, anger, and restlessness in many. Adult emotions and reactions do influence children. Be mindful of your words around growing minds. Hate is learned. Judgement is influenced by parental reactions.
For a moment, let us think about the refugee children and what might be going through their minds. Life was pleasant. Homes, be they small or large, were safe havens. Life had order and routine at all social and economic levels, pretty much. Then, the terror starts. Gun fire, bombs, death, destruction, and loss of everything which symbolized safety, trust, and security in human lives is gone. In a child’s mind these are game changers, nightmares becoming reality which will forever haunt their daily lives and dreams. Mass hysteria sets in. No one is safe. No place to call home just chaos. Parents and family members are stressed because there are no answers. Life is centered around running for their lives in places they have never been to before. The sounds, sights, and smells of destruction fill their minds, they cannot be avoided. The memories are stored for a life time never erased.
Now, they hear their parents say no one wants them. No one wants to take on the burden to save them or help. There is nowhere to go. No place is safe, not even the woods or random buildings they hide in. Hate and resentment sets in the emotions of their care givers. Anger manifests. Children become second level victims of the rage and fear manifesting in those trying to care for them. No food, water, or shelter, the basic needs which we all seek are not available. Can you see how these terrors will affect the young adult mind as this child grows up?
I wonder if those causing the terror were child victims of war. Where does the hate start? Why would someone feel the need to harm others? Were their parents victims and pass down the hate via bias and judgement? We need to look at what happens to a young mind to cause such acts as adults.
What can we do? How can we help? I do not have the answers. What I ask is that we rethink what is happening and our reactions. How can we empower a nation to fight back instead of fleeing? How can we influence the next generation so they do not hate or lash out with weapons of mass destruction? How do we create change in our own homes so if this happens in our towns and cities? How can we prepare our children to be positive empowered survivors instead of angry hate revengeful adults?
First, let’s develop an understanding of different cultures and beliefs. Let’s learn about them not run from them. In schools in the US now, parents are refusing to allow their children to be exposed to the teaching of world religions. Please know, children do not decide to run to a religion based upon the 10 minute lecture in a middle school class. The attitude of exclusion brings on curiosity more so than the brief exposure. Secondly, let me refer to quotes from one of my favorite books, The Art of War.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
― Sun Tzu,
“Foreknowledge cannot be gotten from ghosts and spirits, cannot be had by analogy, cannot be found out by calculation. It must be obtained from people, people who know the conditions of the enemy.”
― Sun Tzu,
Educate yourself. Understand the nature of those you do not understand. Create a space of knowledge before you judge and attack. This not only true in war but in our daily lives. Our workplace, our homes, and in all relationships, know the other party before engaging in battle or, engaging in alliance. Create a hunger of knowledge in your children at a young age so they will be victors instead of victims.
A third thing, create an atmosphere of mindfulness and compassion. This does not mean to be weak but to listen and understand as not to create mass unnecessary chaos. Teach your children self reliance. Create a means of self-regulation and comforting in various environments and situations. Help your children as well as yourself to find positive in the least likely of places. We are never guaranteed a stable tomorrow. Life throws curve balls and monkey wrenches when we least expect it. Build a working tool box of life skills and supports when times turn into the unspeakable.
We create the future within ourselves and those around us. Let’s be game changers for our children so their future may become a more positive environment. No, we can never rid the world of all hatred and violence but we can reduce it. We can also prepare our children and ourselves emotionally, mentally, and physically to be survivors not victims. It all lies in our actions and reaction. Children are influenced by those around them. Let’s be the positive change for the future of our children, and their world. It just takes a spark, make it positive to set the fire a blaze in their hearts to spread to others.
Promoting Lively Adventure for Yourself!! Isn’t that what kids do? Play is active. It is adventuresome in nature because the results are often a surprise and challenging. Negative life experiences have often caused us as adults to lose the wild abandonment of wonder and curiosity to escape us. Best of all, play is all about you!
Okay, I am hearing some humbugs out there. No, you are never too old to play. No, it doesn’t require fancy toys or a playground. No, you won’t break bones or have an ER visit if you remember safety rules. No… well, yeah, you might look silly, so what? Is being silly bad? Is laughing until your sides ache harmful? Oh, there are health benefits for play such as cardio and core strengthening, if you laugh long and hard enough.
Why play? let me count the ways…
- It reduces stress. As adults, excessive stress is deadly. Why not find a fun way to kill stress not you?
- Brain stimulation is the result of play. Ever get stuck on a problem at work? Try playing to kick-start it up again. Nothing wrong with pulling out the old yo-yo or the hidden stash of Lego’s for a few minutes of fun.
- Boosting creativity leads to success in business and life. If you keep doing the same thing you will get the same results. Get your play on and discover new ways to tackle old boring habits. Scoring baskets with all the old memos in the corner trash can could lead to a serious break though you have struggled with. Oh, it s important not to hit the boss in the head while doing so. That could be counter productive if he doesn’t have a sense of humor.
- Improves relationships. Group play can bring a team together on work projects. Playing with friends or family can open blocked communication pathways. This will date me a bit but taking all the video cases from various classrooms and the.. library (no, you really did not read that) creating a domino trail takes team work. Watching the fruits of our labor travel round the classroom and down the hallway was inspiring as well as bonding. Just like when I was a kid, we had to have a lookout. During my early days of teaching, school administrators were not so versed in the act of play among teaching staff as a good thing.
- Promotes youthful feelings and energy. It is true, one is only as old as they feel. Well, at 51 years old, I have days I am feeling 100+. The old wives tale about joints aching on rainy days is no longer a wives tale but a fact for me. On those cold rainy days it is helpful to explore the crayons and color pages to escape reality. I revisited playing jacks the other day. I really suck at it but was once quite good. After a few moments chasing the ball and grabbing air, I managed to get my grab and go reflex back into the swing. I forgot the aches and pains because I was laughing so much.
- Heals emotional wounds. As adults, we carry lots of emotional baggage with us. Playing helps unpack those emotions with laughter and fun in some cases. Jumping in rain puddles is one of my healing childlike past times. Got those yellow rain shoes splashing in some of the biggest puddles I can find. Do I get messy and wet? Yes, I do. Sometimes messy and wet is fun. I loved it as a child, why can’t I love it as an adult? I can jump in bigger and deeper puddles now that I am taller.
Time to get my play on! Where are those bubbles? Yes, I think it is a bubble blowing kind of day today.