It’s funny how things come around full circle sometimes. If you make the effort to stay in tune with the rhythm of the Universe, you’re led to what you need. That’s what I believe, anyway. Three years ago, I had a vision of creating a website that goes into depth about childhood emotional abuse from the perspective of the adult survivor. I thought the desire to create it had died in me, but it hasn’t. Emotional Abuse Answers is the result.
September 2010 to July 2011
I started my blog in August 2010 to see if I would like blogging. After a month of fooling around, writing about any old thing, I began to write about my emotional abuse experiences and the research I was doing to find out more. I’d actually begun my healing in the fall of 2008 through dreamwork, but I was still struggling two years later to validate what had happened to me.
I began to write about things like humiliation, isolation, enmeshment, and constant criticism, all of which I had to take from my abusive parents. I also wrote about healing from emotional abuse through things like validating your pain and self-forgiveness. I was really just trying to work out what had happened to me and how I could get through it.
People started finding my blog and commenting on their experiences. It seemed some of what I wrote hit a nerve. They too were looking for validation and healing. Emotional abuse is usually discussed in the context of domestic abuse, and that wasn’t entirely helpful to them. When childhood emotional abuse is discussed, it’s usually the more obvious forms, like verbal abuse.
I wrote about emotional abuse on my blog until June 2011. Like other abuse survivors who blog, I felt a need to write about my experiences in order to make sense of them and support my healing process. But it’s not easy. You have to re-live those experiences and go into some uncomfortable emotional territory. You have to go against all of the justifications you were fed as a child about why you deserved what you got.
When I made my decision to stop writing about emotional abuse on my blog, I still had the vision of creating a comprehensive website that discussed childhood emotional abuse from the perspective of an adult survivor. I even started designing it and writing additional articles for it.
But I harbored a fear that writing about it in depth would plunge me back into the victim mindset. For a couple of years, that was all I had to hang onto in terms of validation. I was afraid that if I let go of my anger, it was like denying the emotional abuse had left the destructive legacy that I know it had left.
So I set the project aside. I still wanted what I wrote to be available to people, so I dumped the blog posts onto a WordPress.com blog. I posted a sticky that the blog was no longer being updated, and I left it alone for 3 years.
March to July 2014
In the 3 years that the WordPress.com blog was up, I continued to get emails from people who had gone through some of the experiences I wrote about. I had people subscribing to the blog, even though the sticky said it was no longer being updated. That told me a lot. There was still a need to write in depth about childhood emotional abuse from the perspective of the adult survivor. But it wasn’t until March 2014 when I thought seriously of bringing my vision to fruition.
I believe we’re given our life experiences for a reason. They are our tools for becoming a part of humanity. Everyone is special in that they’ve gone through experiences that no one else has gone through. Our greatest challenges are our greatest gifts to the world, whether we make a business of it or pay it forward through philanthropic work or simply share our wisdom with family and friends.
I was given emotional abuse. I was given a sensitive nature (I’m an HSP*) combined with a combative nature (I’m Aries). I was given the gift of communication (words have always come easily to me) and curiosity. Emotional abuse is too often ignored, explained away, and ridiculed. That leaves many people struggling to validate what they feel in their hearts to be true.
The first step in bringing the world what I have to give is Emotional Abuse Answers. I’m reworking the blog posts that were on the WordPress.com blog and adding new ones. My goal is ambitious. I want to cover every emotionally abusive behavior, every effect of emotional abuse, and every healing method for emotional abuse. I want it to be the most comprehensive website about this problem that exists.
But in spite of my strong desire to shed light on childhood emotional abuse, I still have a couple of nagging doubts. The first is whether I’m really capable of such a sweeping vision. That’s not like me. My life has been small and I’ve been comfortable keeping it that way. Humanitarian projects are not my thing.
As I’ve worked on taking Emotional Abuse Answers live, I’ve realized that I was brought up to worry only about my little world. I think my parents’ own abusive history has something to do with their outlook on life. When you’re abused, many of your needs go unmet. As you grow older and become responsible for meeting your own needs, many of us become obsessed with them. It’s difficult for many of us to think big because we’re always so worried about out little world falling apart.
As I’ve worked on Emotional Abuse Answers and my business project, which I’ll announce soon [added December 2, 2014: Make that at the end of this year…], I’ve gotten the Tower Tarot card a lot in my daily readings. I’ve written about the Tower card before. It’s about a total destruction of the old to make way for the new. I realized that if I wanted to do something meaningful in my life then I was going to have to blow my old life to pieces. My little world is falling apart, but that’s a good thing.
The other nagging doubt I’ve been dealing with is spiritual. I believe in what Wayne Dyer calls the power of intention. Some refer to it as the law of attraction. In other words, you attract what you focus your mind on. I question sometimes whether I’m doing more harm than good writing about emotional abuse, not just for me but for anyone reading it.
Popular thinking about trauma has it that if you don’t dwell on the trauma then it won’t interfere with your life. Many proponents of the law of attraction essentially agree with this. If, they say, you dwell on success, prosperity, love, and joy, that’s what you’ll get. If, however, you dwell on victimization, misery, failure, and hostility then that’s what you’ll get.
An awful lot of what I write on Emotional Abuse Answers is negative. I write about types of emotionally abusive behaviors and destructive effects from emotional abuse. It’s not pleasant. Frankly, I hate doing it. But I have an important goal in writing about this darkness. Validation is the first step to healing. Healing can’t happen without validation. And validation requires going into the darkness of your experiences.
I also write about healing on Emotional Abuse Answers. I love that. My hope is to bring emotional abuse survivors relief by validating their pain and then inspiring them to continue their healing journey by moving beyond the stage of validation. Sometimes, it takes years. It took me 2 years, but I did it. I no longer feel the need to hang onto my anger because I don’t need it to make my pain real. I know that’s possible for every emotional abuse survivor.
But you can’t let go of pain and anger without experiencing them with your whole being. The law of attraction people who are against “dwelling” on pain are ignoring the power of the mind. Nothing disappears, least of all pain and anger. It works on us and destroys us. It’s a powerful hidden energy that draws more destruction to us. Experiencing pain and anger breaks down their energy. It takes time, but eventually that dark energy is neutralized. Then there’s room for more positive energy to enter our lives.
A couple of posts back, I wrote about my 2014 Tarot Year Card. In it, I talked about my realization that what I have to give is support to emotional abuse survivors and how bummed I was about that because it wasn’t the beautiful, spiritual, creative work I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve since realized that what I’m doing is spiritual work.
Light cannot come when the darkness hides it. My experience and knowledge happens to be of a certain kind of darkness. With Emotional Abuse Answers, I hope to help emotional abuse survivors walk through the initial dark passage of healing (namely, anger and validation) so that they can be inspired to continue the healing journey with a little more light to accompany them.
* HSP refers to the concept introduced by Elaine Aron in her book The Highly Sensitive Person.