It’s no secret that I have been a victim of sexual abuse going through multiple diverse incidents that were not ethical and crossed my boundaries.
The last traumatic incidents were almost a year ago when travelling by myself to an unknown country where someone tried to abduct me and a few days later I was being raped by another man.
For a long time, I ended up asking myself how it would come that I attracted those situations. Not blaming myself for it to happen, but genuinely wondering what I had to learn in this lesson. Hadn’t I healed, accepted and forgiven enough about my past yet to not have to go through it again?
Later I could see what immense growth I’ve already realized in this process. How much faster I was able to voice the situation, acknowledge my emotions, express the anger, forgive and let go.
Every time something like this happens to me now, I’m not becoming more broken... I’m becoming stronger! It makes it clear that not every time abuse pops up, I’m going back to square one in my growth. No, I’ve taken so many steps that this growth only becomes visible when a similar experience comes on my path again.
Still being left wondering how this pattern of voicing (for me a clear) ‘No’, leaves me not being heard and respected in it… I realised I had to look deeper. Back to the roots of the issue, to the time of growing up. Not neccecerly having anything to do with sexual abuse...
That’s where I had hit a clear pattern. It happened all the time in my family that I would express a ‘no’ to an invitation of playing a game together, posing for a family photo, or joining a party or family gathering and I would still do it. Not that they had wrong or bad intentions with it, but they would almost always ‘force’ me into still going in against my own ‘no’ and do it anyway. The way how they valued our family spending time together, often went against what I needed, valued or desired at that moment in order to take care of my own needs or mental well-being.
I’d feel forced, stressed, smothered, trapped into pleasing them. The moments I tried to stay with my ‘no’, they would emotionally manipulate me in feeling so bad and guilty about it so I would still do whatever they were expecting me to do.
I’ve always considered myself a bit of a rebel. I understood I had my own needs and desires, often very different from what the group or my family wanted. Saying no or clearly not expressing enthusiasm wasn’t the issue for me. I’d learned to believe I had to compromise. What I forgot was taking REAL CARE of myself FIRST, before pleasing the others. Because what’s the point of meeting them in their value of a loving family meeting if one of us doesn’t really wanted to be there and is not being present with attention or love, only physically?
Most of the time it was so subtle, for outsiders it was not noticeable. Hence, for them, this was even unconscious behaviour. They thought they were doing what was best for the family cohesion. But instead, they imprinted this quiet voice in my head every time I would express a ‘no’: “You can say no whatever you like, but your voice is not worthy in this choice and we’re going to do it anyway.”. So that’s what my energy expressed and what my abusers heard.
When I realised this had been a very long destructive existing pattern it was time to break it. It had nothing to do with sexual abuse in the direct line, but it was so clearly about my energetical ‘No’ not being powerful enough when I would voice it and this would then sometimes lead me into abuse in other situations.
Last Fall, I announced I wouldn’t be joining the family Christmas dinner. DRAMA, big time! I’d never missed it. Even being on the other side of the world I’d always fly over to be there because I knew how important they felt about this day. It’s not that I hate Christmas, I love the time of decorating, having a tree in the house, all the little lights, etc. But the party itself always brought me a lot of stress, boredom, overeating, bad presents, annoying questions ...
It’s not that I don’t like my family and don’t like to talk to them, but everything felt so forced on this day. The year before I had to take a few painkillers to not faint from my menstruation pain and instead of staying in bed, I still went. There was no space for intimate sharing or vulnerability… This time I was going to stand by my ‘No’ and make it a self-care day. Not to be stubborn, but to stay true to myself.
Now I can already feel that the relationship with my family has shifted since last Christmas. A few more times I said ‘no’ to invitations that didn’t feel right to me at that moment. A few times I went and it was way more relaxed. I CHOSE to be there, and that reflected in my mental presence. They now no longer force me when I tell them I’m not going to make it and they are grateful when I am there.
Aah, it feels so nice to be finally heard and to feel trusted in my choices. It’s beautiful that when this shift in me happened and I broke a lifelong pattern, it was energetically strong enough to impact my whole family and our connection!
Even more, it released the resistance I had of living in the same country as my family and has transformed into a desire for settling in a Belgian city after living abroad for so long.
If you want to learn about how your old patterns still affect your way of relating and you want to make a change: Join us for the coaching weekend in May on Weekend Bewust Connecteren. I would be happy to guide you to clear up blind spots. www.compasstoconnection.com