Have you ever realized that the more time you spend around a particular person the more their reality starts to become your reality and your reality starts to become their reality and suddenly you’ve created a new reality that the two of you share? This can happen between you and anyone – a friend, a lover, a family member (your father, your sister, your kid), etc. But point is…is that it does happen. You hand over a little more of your own individuality every time you decide to get close to anyone because you inevitably begin to mesh together. This isn’t an issue when you’re spending time around people who make you happy, who you like or enjoy, who benefit you or inspire you, people who are healthy, people who accept you for who you are.
Slipping Down the Rabbit Hole
Unfortunately, when you decide to spend all your time around people who make you feel bad about yourself, or who make you feel like you have to repress parts of yourself, or who just generally aren’t great for you to be around… that starts to become your reality. A guilt. A shame. A hate of oneself starts to form. A feeling of needing this person who doesn’t approve of you starts to build as you begin to feel uneasy about yourself. You grow an unhealthy attachment to the familiarity of living inside someone else’s idea of yourself, and because of this it gets harder and harder to break away and truly be who you are. The longer you decide to continue to be intertwined with this person the harder it becomes to break away, the harder it becomes to remember who you are, the harder it becomes to imagine a reality in which they don’t exist, in which your current life and situation don’t exist. And so you stay, stuck in this spiral of uncertainty and anxiety, floating along hoping someone will come and save you. Well, I’ve got news for you – the only person who can truly save you is yourself!
Friends or family may sit around you poking and prodding, asking you why you’d dare stay in this situation, why you’d care to stay with this person. You try to rationalize it anyway you can, because there must be some reason. But your ability to think logically and without bias has become dampened and quite warped. You sit alone wondering first why all the people you love would try to force you to do something you don’t want to do, and then wondering if they’re right, and trying to figure out how you feel and why you feel that way, and asking yourself again and again what the right thing to do is. What’s your next step?
Stuck in Wonderland
Abuse can take many forms: physical, psychological, financial, etc. Obviously physical abuse can be easy to spot, for the most part. You aren’t dumb – being hit or beaten, in any form, is never okay. Of course, it’s that psychological abuse that is the vicious culprit that twists your mind til you find yourself even writing away those incidences of physical abuse. Psychological abuse is a manipulation of your own emotions and your thinking. There are multiple ways to go about causing psychological abuse, but the overall end game is that your mind has become so confused that you question every thought, you are constantly second guessing yourself, looking for validation and approval from none other than the one who has caused this perverse confusion. Your mind becomes a foggy place that you are scared to inhabit.
This is where you become stuck. You can’t move forward without your mind, but delving into it now seems scary, everything uncertain. You don’t want to rely on yourself, but you are also unsure about relying on others. You become curled up in this tight ball of cycling fear and guilt. Every wrong that has become you, you take it on as your own. You feel responsible for each and every act of abuse. You feel you brought it on. Or, worse, that you deserve it. You decide it’s safer and easier to live in fear and obedience than it is to break free. So you just stay there…hoping one day things will magically get better, as your reality slowly is chipped away at until your existence encompasses nothing more than your pain and suffering. That is your reality, that is all that life is, there is nothing more out there, so what’s the point in even looking?
Making Your Escape
Snap out of it! No, it isn’t easy to do. It’s hard as hell. And it may take some help. You very likely will need support and encouragement. You may need to see a therapist as you begin to regain a true understanding of life again and work towards a more positive self image. You’ll likely need friends, or family, or even kind acquaintances, to hold your hand as your emerge from hiding…frightened as you take those first steps out into the light from the cozy depths of your dark cave. Yes, this is typically something you can’t do alone. Not completely alone. At the very least something you shouldn’t have to do alone. But, nonetheless, this forward motion has still got to start somewhere. And it’s got to start with you.
No one can truly help you if you refuse to be helped. You can keep yourself spiraling downward indefinitely for all of eternity if you really wanted to. It’s up to you to care enough to make a change. That change can be as small as texting a friend that you need help, or talking through your struggles with a psychologist. It can be as big as moving out of your home or town, divorcing your abusive partner, or otherwise ridding yourself of the abusive situation. No step is too big, or too small. It all depends on what you’re ready for. And that’s the point here…YOU have to be ready for it. You have to accept the fact that it’s okay if you’re not okay, and that you can do something to help yourself be okay again. All change in your life, no matter the breadth of it, has to start with you. So take a second right here and now to think about your life and the influences you have within it. What could you change? Where do you want to start? Are you ready to make a positive move forward in your life? Don’t sit around and wait for someone to come and save you… Be bold, be daring, be fearless. Be Your Own Hero!