I AM NOT CRAZY, I am healing from abuse.
“I remember looking down at my bleeding arm. The arm I just stabbed multiple times with a pen. I had never done something like that before in my life. I thought I was having a mental breakdown. When I called 911 and explained my situation and how I was reacting to being yelled at by my partner they advised me to take my kids and myself and head to a women's shelter for abused and battered women. I did not go because he did not hit me. He had never hit me”
“We were so in love and excited at the prospect of our new life together in America. My husband made a lot of money and we had a nice apartment. Life was good and we had a beautiful daughter. Soon I felt like a slave in my own home, I had no money to even buy food unless he gave it to me, with no job I could not leave. I begged my husband to let me study and to get daycare for our child so that together we could build a better life. I found myself locked in our bedroom for weeks alone with my daughter. I did what I had to so we could escape. My daughter and I went to a shelter for a while but soon my husband and I went to counseling together. I believed things would go better. He kidnapped my daughter and left the country with her. My heart is breaking everyday, I can barely breath. I hate myself for believing he would change.”
Joanna (New York)
“I know I am fat and that it’s not everyone who wants a big girl like me. I felt so lucky to have met my husband. He was so much fun when we first met. We partied all the time and I felt proud to be with the best looking guy. It did not bother me that he did not have a 9-5 job. I made enough money to support the both of us. After we had kids I felt so stuck. He would come home high or drunk more often than not and he was spending money faster than I could make it. Soon our house started to fall apart and I could not afford to fix it. I was exhausted all the time from the babies and work. One day he came home high and hit me across the face. I threw him down the stairs, things got really ugly. We keep patching things up. I’m not sure what he would do if I ever left him. I think he would commit suicide. I could not do that to my kids. Or I would have to lose everything I have worked for and sell the kids home. He will never let me go”
The one question that comes up over and over is why did they choose to stay? Why didn’t they leave sooner? The short answer is DENIAL! There is a name for this type of denial and it is what is referred to as Cognitive Dissonance. It describes the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. The real questions we should be asking are:
Why does denial exist in the first place?
How do we break the spell of Cognitive Dissonance?
What are the consequences of letting go of the Cognitive Dissonance we experience?
To onlookers watching someone escape from abuse who may never have experienced abuse themselves, it might seem like it is a black and white issue. Stay and deal with it or leave, but nothing can be further from the truth. Many people would even go as far as thinking that the victim is CRAZY for going back or are ACTING CRAZY so they must've asked for it in some shape or fashion. This is called victim blaming and it needs to STOP!
A couple of years ago, when I first created the K.A.U.R. Process, I was escaping my own nightmare with much needed therapy. Some of this therapy was self-guided and at times, I reached out for help from trained professionals. I have come to accept that I was not crazy, I was simply healing from abuse. Over the years I have also interviewed many professionals on this subject, watched countless Youtube videos, read many books and spoken from my own personal experiences in order to help others who have lived through this pain.
The road to leaving abusive and toxic relationships is not an easy or straight path. Much like an alcoholic, there needs to be a period of detox or a period of separation before victims are able to realize that they are not alone, not crazy and that it is not their fault. It can feel impossible but it is so important to take the power back and change your reality!
The first step in the KAUR process is to KNOW your truth. Know who you are and what you are worth and never settle for anything less. Leaving an abusive relationship is dangerous for the victims and they can often expect to be harassed, stalked, threatened, humiliated as the abuser will try to regain control or to discredit the victim. The goal of the abuser is always to break the victim's spirit in any way they see fit. The fear and exhaustion victims endure as they uncover the covert patterns of abuse that are keeping them hostage is akin to psychological warfare.
In ACCEPTING the truth (the second step in the KAUR process), a level of responsibility for choosing something different is required. It takes courage and strength because an abuser will do everything in their power to make sure that you and your nervous system never get a break from the cycle of abuse that continually repeats itself. It is their goal to keep you walking in eggshells. It is often at this stage that the victim will go back to the abuser because they doubt their own feelings and long for a perfect relationship. Many victims think that if they do better then they can fix the situation. Often it is only after going back and seeing the pattern repeatedly that they finally understand that it truly is abuse they are experiencing and they are certainly not imagining it. They are not crazy!
Now comes the hard work of UNLEARNING (the third step in the KAUR process) patterns of behavior and subconscious beliefs that lead to the acceptance of abuse. This process can be very long because it requires the victims to examine conflicting core values such as “staying together for the kids”, “ I need money and a good job to be a person of value”, “ I am fat so nobody else will want me”, “ I’m too old to start over” etc... There is no limit to the beliefs that can keep us stuck in toxic relationships.
The moment of glory comes when victims can RELEASE (the fourth step in the KAUR process) the fear, pain and mourning that they’ve carried for far too long. The release does not always come as one big event of realized freedom. More often than not it is experienced in quiet moments of simple joy. The acknowledgment and appreciation of what has been gained such as a grounded sense of self, internal peace and autonomy. The ability to be present in the moment with your full attention without fear is a gift. Release is that moment when you stop being a victim and you become VICTORIOUS!
Nobody should have to face escaping abuse alone. To help celebrate survivors of abuse, The Sexy Brilliant non-profit foundation is planning a special long weekend retreat (Date to be announced). If you would like more information about this event please sign up here .
National Domestic Abuse Helplines and Resources for Canada
If you are experiencing domestic abuse in Canada, this page provides you with the essential resources needed to find help in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon. For life-threatening emergencies, dial 911.