“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
I would love to find the person who coined that phrase and smack them repeatedly with a cactus, while throwing some venomous words at them to prove my point. Bones can heal, but words can make or break a person.
I think we have proved, without a doubt, how deadly verbal abuse can be… no age group or demographic being exempt. Bullying has reached epic proportions and sadly, time and time again, we hear of adolescent and teen suicide at the hands of cyber and non-cyber bullying.
Bullied right through elementary school, and then mocked consistently during my teen years for my misunderstood timid nature and imperfect appearance, I felt like everyone’s verbal punching bag (some of the bullying did also get physical). It seemed only fitting that I would take the shell-of-a-human who I felt I was, and allow myself to be the victim of both physical and verbal abuse during my first marriage.
It took years for my knee-jerk flinching reaction to go away anytime my second husband raised his voice at me. Long after the physical bruises healed though, I still had to repair the inner wounds which caused my feelings of worthlessness.
Most folks know about the amazing healing qualities of arnica for bumps and bruises, but they have yet to invent “arnica for your soul.”
If I rub a paste of lemon juice, baking soda, and beetle dung over my heart and on my scalp, will it heal the battle scars of my ticker, and erase all the memories of the damning words people have thrown at me? If only it were that simple.
After allowing myself to be physically assaulted by my spouse, I got mad—I got feisty—I put my foot down. I pity anyone who tries to lay a hand on me ever again. The result of such an altercation would put any Walmart mom-fight to shame. Unfortunately though, the healing of my soul and psyche took far more aggressive therapy, and I still work on it daily. I still battle my demons of self-worth and trust.
Since publishing my book, Living Out Loud, I have met some incredible people; sadly though, I have also met some incredibly broken people (both men and women). I see that they have allowed their exes to rob them of the light in their eyes. Let me repeat myself with a little more emphasis:
They have allowed their exes to rob them of the light in their eyes.
“I’m rubber, you’re glue. Your words bounce off me and stick to you.”
Great comeback from when I was a kid, but how many of us really have the chutzpah to shrug off cutting words so easily.
Yes, we are in control of how we allow people’s actions to affect us. I don’t believe anyone is truly capable of having a “water off a duck’s back” reaction to all of life’s negative situations; but some folks are more bulletproof than others. We all have areas of our psyche where the water off said duck’s back, pools and has the potential to drowns us.
But this is not specifically about spouses or exes, this is about who surrounds us in our day-to-day, and how we let them penetrate our souls.
Why do we let these bullies win? Why do we feel we are not worthy of the utmost respect by every person we encounter? Whom do we have to blame for being so affected?
Go ahead, say it.
“Well if my dad had just spent more time with me, and didn’t shout so much, maybe I’d be able to handle these things better.”
“My mom used to tell me I’m stupid.”
Yup. Exactly what I thought you’d say.
Maybe your mom and dad weren’t equipped with the best skills to raise children. In those days, they didn’t have the self-empowerment resources we have now. Geezus, we should all be bulletproof because of the information available to us in this day and age.
So here’s the thing: You have let people affect you. What’s done is done. You can’t change them, and you can’t change the past. So stop dead in your tracks, and decide which foot you are going to put forward next.
Was my emotional upbringing completely healthy? Were my marriages? Nope. No, they were not.
Although I am confident that I will never receive the mother-of-the-year or wife-of-the-year award, I did however, learn from the negative I was exposed to (on every path of my life—not just family or ex-spouses), and vowed not to duplicate those behaviors to the people around me.
Turn around, look back at the wounds that have been inflicted upon you, and kick them in the nuts. Kick the crap out of the wounds and then spin on your heel, and walk away proudly.
A final comment on the spouse or ex aspect of bullying. Although I preach about fairness towards your ex, concerning finances and the relationship with your children, that doesn’t go for the emotional wounds you still carry. Don’t let that bully win anymore. Don’t be that bully either. Take all of the emotional baggage, and toss it off a bridge into the water. Don’t tie chains to it and allow it to continue to sit in the pit of your soul. Let it float away. Smile as you watch it disappear with the help of the current.
You can heal.
If you do not release the emotional burden on your soul, then you will never be able to love again. I’m not talking about a new partner, I’m talking about every human being that you come in contact with—including yourself.
Take the time to fall in love with yourself. I truly believe that God doesn’t make junk, so start treating yourself with the gentle hands that your soul deserves. Stop abusing the miracle that is you.