If I have learned anything in the last two years, it’s that trauma doesn’t age well. It ultimately leads to regret without actually bringing remorse. It is a vicious cycle that keeps us bound to what won’t let us go. It is considered easier to hurt feelings and break spirits than to honor common knowledge. When people act like they own the corner on truth, I smell toxicity. When they make that truth painful, heavy, and inaccessible while acting like it doesn’t apply to them, I see evidence of a hidden agenda. There’s nothing new under the sun here.
I am discovering that it isn’t about what we deserve. It’s about what we accept. What traumatizes us the most is pretense. It happened, and it produced real emotions, but it was never based on any kind of reality outside of perception. The scariest part is that abusers will groom the empathetic out of their vision, wisdom, and discernment while projecting the image of an abusive monster onto their souls. It’s like laser-printing the design that is needed to sell a product. The only point is to bring benefit to the one marketing it. It won’t matter to them how the image affects the wearer once they have paid the price for it.
I have been writing for fifteen years. A year ago, things got real and more serious. A year before that, I had an interesting dream one night. I dreamed that I was running through one house after another, looking for something that I couldn’t define within myself. I was with a man I didn’t recognize who seemed to be just as lost as me. The whole time we were running, it was almost completely dark, like a perpetual night in the wilderness. We finally ran through the last house to find that we were on the edge of a precipice where we stopped and looked up. Circular lightning flashing in the dark skies, I heard a booming voice say, “My covenant is still binding.” I didn’t understand at the time.
Here’s what I call irony in a bottle.
Nostalgia makes us believe that things were better than they seemed. We were escaping the reality that was created by the adults before us. It was easier than cognitive dissonance. There is no moral utopia that needs our return. This is gaslighting. Believing that we are missing something undefined is the proverbial dangling carrot. It’s a neverending diversion to keep rebuilding the illusion of buying time they are stealing from your future.
I have spent over 20 years of my adult life thinking that I missed the memo about making relationships work. I obsess over it because I have been blamed regardless of how hard I tried to make peace with what I am taught to believe. It didn’t matter what I learned, tried, or did, I was blamed for not submitting to what others wanted. If I didn’t agree to hand over everything without question, I was cut off and thrown away. This isn’t occasional or random. The rejection is hardcore. It is every time I try to have an intimate friendship with a connection, instead of an attachment. I have heard the same things over and over again, almost verbatim. I am silly, immature, and naive for wanting things that don’t deserve respect or even consideration.
I face more abuse that escalates immediately when I try to walk away, which only gives context to why I find nothing but opposition. What I realize now is so simple, after being broken into pieces over it. Being broken is how the light gets into the dark places that I am isolated. It’s not that I don’t know how to make relationships work. It’s that I expect to have one that is life-giving, healthy, and reciprocal. There is nothing that makes sense about injustice and cruelty, about punishing constantly, when someone doesn’t give us what we want and doesn’t let us have our way. Mercy says no, sometimes. It’s not negative, bitter, weak, or unworthy. It is the savage reality that saves us from more judgment that doesn’t fit the perceived crime.
I am angry over what it meant for a covenant to be binding after two failed marriages that were never allowed to become more. They were treated like places of privilege by those that resented the confrontation of their issues. This is where I am learning that the ultimate privilege is zero accountability. The real problem is that I am expected to be more so that someone else can be comfortable with being less. We cannot treat people like toxic waste dumps and expect to have anything sustainable. No one can live where the air has been poisoned by our words and actions. They will eventually escape, run away, or choose to save what is left of the life they see.
I tend to miss what is right in front of me until I am looking back over the evidence once it has been given some hindsight. While I will agree with others that you need to release the past, it will also cut you off from your destiny if you try to forget what has shaped you. Psychological projection is usually a subconscious attempt to escape the reality of what we hate in others that is also a reflection of ourselves. We judge ourselves more harshly than we do others but don’t realize it because of how much we personalize our offenses. It becomes too easy to assign blame, talk smack, and hate someone for having issues, that we are far too familiar with in our bloodlines. This is also a place of privilege because we have the option to not see and feel what has taken enormous strength and courage to share. Some will never escape what keeps beating them into a corner.
The greatest tragedy in our lives is when we make peace in those places to create a comfort zone. Denial creates an inevitable confrontation that didn’t have to happen. No one ever seems to understand that, because they are too fixated on the pain they have caused that has found a return path with lethal velocity.
The most ironic behavior is when someone that does understand chooses to punish you for having a problem instead of teaching you how to overcome. This is where I thought people were lost in that irony. I think that what happens is that we are so afraid of taking a direct hit that we deflect onto a “target” that we see as stronger than us. This is more about protecting ourselves from seeing the darkness of the ego than anything else.
I once heard another writer say that dreaming is a luxury in survival mode. It took me a while to fully understand the impact of that. Reality is a hell of a teacher, but we have to be willing to engage. Whether it is worth the trip is defined, not in what happens, but in how we respond to unimaginable hardship that seems inescapable. Not everything happens for a reason. Sometimes, we get the extent of what we have chosen to keep pushing while opposing what keeps producing backlash. It is the ego that assumes that any pushback is a sign that we are going in the right direction or doing the right thing. You are bouncing off the boundaries others have been forced to create because you don’t respect their lives or ever step up to their standards of living.
A standard of living is not about what we can buy or win the privilege of while beating others out of those places. It is about the life that flows out of what can’t be bought or forced. If your life stalls out and becomes stagnant when there is a lack of material abundance, you are a bondservant to desires that flow with that dynamic. I know this sounds harsh, but it is so true, for some.
People are truly suffering because of a lack of access to life-giving resources. What I am talking about are those that live in unchallenged places of abundance, whose lives are not so sharply affected by external shifts in politics and economics. They are usually the first ones to cry over non-issues because they can’t accept the reality that others have to survive around them.
The root word of survival means to “live beyond.” This could be interpreted as the ability to live beyond circumstances, or that we chose to live on in the aftermath of unrecoverable loss. Either way, we need to be allowed the time and space to grieve, even if we have to withdraw to do so.
Overcome means, “to reach, pass over, defeat and/or overwhelm.” It is what we do while in survival mode that is the outflow of our choice to live on. They flow together, which is what context is. It is a coming together of parts of ourselves that have been disconnected by trauma.
The most surprising aspect of all of this has been that isolation just teaches us to hide what we fear. An authentic community is what will allow us a safe place to land where we can grow, learn, and find the missing pieces that abuse has stolen from us. Too many try to make it look like a community exists in places that it should naturally be found. The root word of community refers to a place where we connect because of what we share in common. It is rarely about what we think, feel, and believe but what is inherently true that we couldn’t escape if we tried. I have found an authentic community in abstract ways that I never saw coming because of all the pretenses I was groomed with, growing up. This is probably true more often than we would ever admit to ourselves.
Here’s the reason why most people run the moment anything gets too pure and real. True connection is what occurs in an authentic community. It exposes our exit wounds by revealing the entry points that have been exploited by privilege. Privilege is actually what causes our psychological character damage because not only is it an attempt to normalize depravity, but it spends a lifetime trying to conceal entry points. This is done by guarding access to resources that would give a quality of life to those being groomed as “human shields” for the privilege of abusive communities.
Another reason people run from reality is because of what happens when engagement occurs with people that they share common interests and personal issues. Direct engagement produces backlash because of the purity of truth being shared in the dark, silent places between souls. We don’t have to say some things to those that we share a genuine mental connection. This is how intimacy flows.
You know you are dealing with people whose minds have been perverted with spiritual abuse when they make everything sexual. Life is not sex. It is full of so many wonderful complexities that it makes me feel alive and full of passion. Being accused of being angry and lustful for wanting all that life has to offer and experience shows me the intentions of others upfront. That should be the first red flag in our interactions with others. If you have a long, unspoken list of rules you aren’t allowed to break, it’s time for some introspection of what is being worshiped instead of a divine Creator.
Here’s the conclusion that has brought me into the awareness of new life. You won’t be able to accept endings until you can define the beginning that brought you to those endings. This is so simple but isn’t dumbed down. What people oversimplify to avoid responsibility is what is dumb because it lacks wisdom. Knowing does not make us smarter. It just fools us into thinking we know something more than others that have the same access to knowledge. What gives us hope for a future is the ability to accept the end of what is only intended for a season. If we can learn that, it won’t just be a gamechanger but will open up all kinds of life that will bring us into acceptance of what we have grieved for a lifetime. That’s when we will find a life that we won’t have to escape from.