Weekend Wisdom: Al Anon + Healing from Abuse

Al Anon Logo

I’m grateful to be going through the Al Anon steps with a sponsor. I’ve gone to Al Anon on and off for a couple of years, and usually get something meaningful from the meetings. I’ve learned a lot from the wisdom of the group and from the Al Anon book, Courage to Change.  But working with a sponsor is different. WOW.  We are digging into truth that is brutal. We’re looking at my peace, or lack of it. Looking at my obsessive thinking, my selfishness, my fear, my desire to control.

I think everyone should go through a 12 step recovery program like Al Anon or Celebrate Recovery or Codependents Anonymous. We are all quite broken; but most of us are not awake enough to notice.

Here are a few ideas my sponsor has shared that seem true to me: Continue reading

Weekend Wisdom: It Is Well

There will be a day when I will say “It is well with my soul” and mean it.

After divorcing an abusive man or narcissist there is a season of healing. It takes work. Gut-wrenching work. Giving up resentments. Seeing our own fears and selfishness. Developing boundaries. Learning what love really is. Figuring out how we got here. Deciding where we want to go.

This is a journey. So I’m not keeping myself so busy that I don’t have time to think about it. And I’m not numbing myself with shopping or wine. (OK, maybe numbing a little with chocolate.) This quote by Henri Nouwen seems to describe well what we tend to do:

Nouwen quote

Listening to this song by Kristine DiMarco, I know I want to be well. Not just pretend that I’m well; not just say “Oh, I’m fine” with a weak, fake smile when people ask how things are going. I want to really have a deep-down joy and a peace about my life and the journey I’m on. Not because I like it or it’s easy, but because I’m starting to see it’s an upside-down blessing, and I really want to trust that He can redeem it. I want to stop feeling like a victim. Start focusing on the “new me” that I want to be. Warm. Vulnerable. Fun. Empathetic. Broken. Real.

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Weekend Wisdom – An Abusive Man’s Anger

“The abusive man’s problem with anger is almost the opposite of what is commonly believed. The reality is:

YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER.

One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you – as will happen to any abused woman from time to time- he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are.  Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy.

Why does your partner react so strongly to your anger? One reason may be that he considers himself above reproach.  The second is that on some level he senses- though not necessarily consciously – that there is power in your anger. If you have space to feel and express your rage, you will be better able to hold on to your identity and to resist his suffocation of you.  He tries to take your anger away in order to snuff out your capacity to resist his will. Finally, he perceives your anger as a challenge to his authority, to which he responds by overpowering you with anger that is greater than your own. In this way he ensures that he retains the exclusive right to be the one who shows his anger.”

Excerpt from Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That? p. 60-61.

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Weekend Wisdom – Acceptance

One learns a lot about acceptance and detachment from Al-Anon. I stink at it, though. I think something in me doesn’t want to accept or detach – it’s almost like I need to keep fighting, keep striving to make things work better with my XNarc. Because it’s soooo BAD I don’t know what else to do. But that makes me crazy, because nothing really works when it comes to trying to work better with a Narc, so I come back full circle to acceptance and detachment.  Here is a quote that I’ve cut out and pasted into the front of my Bible.

“Practice acceptance: You need to accept the fact that you will never win in the mind of a narcissist. You will not be able to change their distorted thought process regardless of how many times you remind them of the real version of the story at hand. You need to accept that you are not dealing with a rational, healthy person because acceptance is the key to moving forward.” Tina Swithin

source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tina-swithin/8-tips-for-dealing-with-a_b_2799069.html

I hope this truth helps you gain serenity this weekend. It’s helping me.

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Weekend Wisdom – High Conflict Personalities

Seething from yet another contentious email from my XNarc, I stopped and read this quote to get some perspective and serenity:

patton quote

OK.  So I’m trying to remind myself that NO MATTER WHAT I DO, HE WILL CREATE MORE CONFLICT. I know this doesn’t make sense. I’m a logical person and I honestly cannot grasp this. I keep thinking that my explanations will make a difference. That he will “get it” if I am logical and explain the facts. Nope. He doesn’t. Or maybe if I do what he asks, he will be nicer. Nope. He’s not. He wants to fight. He gets some twisted unconscious energy from the conflict with me. Bummer. For. Me.

Let’s remember in the middle of a ridiculous or difficult conflict that the Narc is thriving on the conflict and find a way to stop playing the game, if at all possible. Possibly not respond to the email. Possibly set a boundary and say “I decline to discuss this topic further.” Possibly refer the issue to your lawyer and let them handle it. Just remember, it’s not you. You are not the crazy one. We know. We believe you.

Love and blessings,

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Weekend Wisdom – Conflict with an Abusive Man

I’m really enjoying Lundy Bancroft’s book Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?  I wish I had read Bancroft’s books about 3 years ago. This is a person who gets what you are going through and validates your innermost feelings. There is something very healing about feeling validated on this journey.

I frequently felt like people didn’t understand the destructiveness of what I was going through as a Christian woman dealing with an abusive man.  (And still go through post-divorce.)  A well-meaning friend said she viewed it as a “communication issue” while another quoted scripture that “God hates divorce.” When you read Bancroft’s book, you feel validated that someone else absolutely understands the anguish and craziness you are going through due to his abusiveness.

Here is a daily excerpt from the book, titled “How Do I Make Conflicts with Him go Better?”

“You have probably noticed that I haven’t written about how you can resolve conflicts with your partner more constructively.  That’s no accident. I don’t believe that a woman can make things go better with a controlling or abusive man by changing how she argues with him.  Some people may say that you should bring things up with him in a very diplomatic, non-demanding manner, almost like you’re asking him a favor.  Others will tell you the opposite: that you should be firm and no-nonsense with him, setting clear limits and boundaries about his behavior. You may be advised to talk just about how you feel, so that you don’t sound like you are criticizing your partner.  Some people believe that you’ll reach him more successfully if you give him lots of reassurance that you love him and that you’re just trying to make your relationship go better.

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Weekend Wisdom – “My Story”

Several people have asked why I started this blog. Why I tell my story.  Why I risk having my XNarc find out and go ballistic.  Here is why: I hope as you hear my story, you hear about hope that wouldn’t let go. You hear about love and life. I hope you hear of the grace that is greater than all my sin. Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in.  I hope as you hear my story, you hear of Him.

My story is a story of brokenness and rescue and hope and love. I pray yours is, too.

Enjoy this music by Big Daddy Weave.

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Weekend Wisdom 10.25.15

Sometimes this journey of separating or divorcing an abusive spouse feels overwhelming. It’s incredibly painful. At times, it’s hard to explain to those who haven’t been through it. But I believe there is so much to learn from it, and God can give us beauty from the ashes.

It’s when we are broken beyond what we can imagine that we turn to God, and God alone, and find His love. And a new heart, and a new way of living.

I liked this quote and wanted to share it as we journey down this path of restoration and healing together.

Love and blessings,

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Weekend Wisdom – Stop Pretending

I lunched today with a dear friend 5 years ahead of me in the post-divorce healing process. Over fabulous Tex-Mex, we shared both our food and our hearts. I shared that I had been afraid to tell my friends what was REALLY going on in our marriage and get help. Coupled with my shame was the knowledge and fear that the slighted provocation would make my husband all the angrier. There was a prescribed silence I was unwilling to break. So I carried on for years, pretending that life was fine, finding ways to cope, numbing my heart, and creating a false self.

So now, I stumble forward on this journey towards healing my heart and finding God. And not pretending anymore. I think this post by John Eldridge hits the mark:

The journey forward

click here for the full Ransomed Heart blog…..

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Weekend Wisdom – Healing from Abuse

When you begin healing from Narcissistic abuse, you change for the better, dear one.  You come out of the fog. You become alive again. Jesus told us He came to give us life, and not just a “barely getting through the day, walking on eggshells” life. He came to give us abundant life.  (John 10:10)

I think this summarizes the healing process well:

Healing from Narc Abuse

Love and blessings,

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Weekend Wisdom 9.12.15

This is a great excerpt from John Eldridge’s book, Waking the Dead.  He tells us that Jesus wants to heal our broken hearts. Really.

He asks what that statement evokes.  For me, it evokes some unexpected emotions, like doubt and fear. After experiencing emotional abuse/verbal abuse, you tend not trust anyone. Not even your own instincts. You sure don’t want to trust the Creator of the Universe who could have rushed in to save the day and changed the ending of the story….

But the question also evokes hope.

Hope that He is faithful and true. Hope that He is good and sovereign and He loves me. I want to believe He will continue to heal my broken heart. And yours, too.

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Weekend Wisdom 9.4.15

A helpful piece of wisdom came from my Christian counselor, B.G.   As I pondered his words over and over, I began to change the way I responded to my narc X2B.

When in an argument with an abuser...-4

OK. So what DOES one say in an argument with a narcissist/verbal abuser/emotional abuser? I started to say any of the following:

  • “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
  • “I understand that is your perception.”
  • “Interesting perspective.”
  • “We see it differently.”
  • “We continue to see things differently.”
  • “We disagree.”
  • “Maybe you’re right. I don’t see it that way, but who knows?”

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Weekend Wisdom 8.29.15

A friend suggested that I find a spiritual “mantra” to start the day.  Positive words to repeat to my brain every morning. Here is my chosen mantra, Psalm 143:8-10. I repeat it in my bed, from under the sheets, as I’m groggily waking up each morning.

May the morning bring word Psalm 143:8-10For a period of time, as I wrestled with whether to stay in my destructive marriage or separate, I prayed this scripture and begged God to “show me the path I should take…” Friends kept telling me that God would make it perfectly clear. They encouraged me to stay on my knees and keep asking Him for wisdom and direction. He did make it clear. I pray He will for you, too.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear one!

Love and blessings,

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