90-Day A Better Me Series
Part I: A Journey of Awareness
What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation
Day 29: Self-Abuse
“If you abuse yourself very badly, you can even tolerate someone who beats you up, humiliates you, and treats you like dirt. Why? Because in your belief system you say, ‘I deserve it. This person is doing me a favor by being with me. I’m not worthy of love and respect. I’m not good enough.’”
-Don Miguel Ruiz
In The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, he wrote a few paragraphs about abuse. Reading the passage up above broke my whole world wide open. I felt the foundation under me shake and my house of fear began to crack apart. That is exactly how I felt, Like I deserved being emotionally beaten down. I had to face that I was allowing him to continue to talk to me like I was a piece of trash is because that is how I felt about myself.
If you have a similar reaction to the material, please exhale now. Make sure to do it all the way. Get all the air pushed out of you and take a few deep breaths. If you need to stop reading and take a break because this passage triggered you, do it. Even after all this time and all the progress I have made, I can’t even believe how awful I was to myself, and how much pain I would allow myself to go through to prove it.
If we don’t want to be treated badly, we have to stop abusing ourselves. If we can’t look in the mirror and be kind to ourselves, we are attracting the energy of hate into our realities. This can come in a variety of ways. People may see us as having a chip on our shoulder. If we have friends they are the kind that will commiserate in our victimhood. We attract toxic relationships. We attract bosses who disrespect us. We have drama all around us. We might not experience it in all these areas, if there is a place we feel confident, we won’t experience it there. What areas we do feel it, we sit and blame the world without taking responsibility for the real person who is hurting us—Ourselves. Our own personal perspective of pain, fear, and suffering is hurting us. We believe someone’s view that says we HAVE to blame someone else for our pain, but the truth is suffering starts in the mirror.
If our perception of ourselves is abusive and full of fear, shame, blame, judgment and hate (like I’ve covered over the last 28 days) we will perceive the world outside of us according to how we evaluate our inner world. If we are abusive to ourselves, emotionally, physically, and/or psychologically we will sabotage everything that will take us to a level of happiness that we are uncomfortable with. The outside world treats us the way we tell it to.
This doesn’t mean that once we have a good self-concept and we take the time to take care of ourselves that challenges won’t come our way. Whatever comes our way has the opportunity to help us grow or allows us to sink back into old patterns so we get the chance to go deeper. Sometimes the greatest challenges help us find the path to serving the world in the healthiest way possible.
A friend of mine once gave me the suggestion to get a picture of myself as a little girl and talk to her in the way I think she deserves. Our emotional maturity stops the second we stop looking at ourselves for the answers and start blaming the world for how it treats us, this is the time we become vulnerable to addictions and abusive cycles in our relationships.
When we are victims of trauma early in our lives, it is very challenging to come into adulthood with a healthy self-concept. We weren’t emotionally mature enough to see beyond the black and white. This person did this to me or this happened to me, so it is the fault of the person or event. It is easy to stay the victim once we have been a victim. We don’t know better. I know I didn’t! I tried everything I could think of to try to help myself like therapy, church, spiritual groups, reading, in-treatment programs, outpatient programs, affirmations, writing, reiki, healings, and meditation. Even with all I tried, I had to go through years of suffering to finally get that my problem was how horrible I was to myself. None of the help I got stuck, because I was still abusing myself.
After focusing my unhappiness on someone else’s drinking for way too many years and letting that be my excuse for treating the situation with hateful energy, I finally reached the point I needed dig down through the rocky foundation and get rid of all the hate making my life so miserable. The 12-steps of AL-ANON helped me dig myself out of the hole I created. I didn’t realize how powerful my shame cycle was until I dug myself deep into the work.
I didn’t go through this phase of my journey alone. That helped me see that I wasn’t the only one who beat themselves down. I started looking at the world differently. I wanted to live a healthier life, so I started seeking different ways to view the world. Everyone is different, but what I realized is that I needed examples of different ways to do things. I needed to see relationships that were healthy even in the midst of struggle. I had to teach myself a new way of looking at myself. Otherwise, I would continue to send this hateful energy out just for it to be returned back to me. I was done with this vicious cycle.
After peeling away layer after layer I started to see patterns of self-hate that went back beyond me. I saw how toxic my parents relationship was and how I continued that cycle because it felt normal to me. I had belief systems that worked against me in so many different ways to squash my value and self-worth. It was important to me to acknowledge the beliefs that hurt my view of myself.
We will get the lessons we are ready to learn from. We might need to build some strength and courage before we can go deeper into what we are feeling. I got to the point that I attracted a narcissist to my life, because I needed to see just how far my darkness went. If it wasn’t for that extreme lesson, I don’t know if I ever would have figured out how cruel I was to myself. If you haven’t read the shame section in 90-Day A Better Me Series, it is an important one to look at in order to set yourself free from the self-abuse cycle. Shame was covered on Days 7-12.
Just for Today
Get out a piece a paper or a notebook. Look in the mirror. STAY THERE! What is coming up? If it gets uncomfortable stay longer! Write down how you are talking to yourself. This can be a layered process. If you feel like this is too intense to do right now, Louise Hay has a book called Mirror Work. It guides the reader through a whole program of doing the work in the mirror, one day at a time. On your journey with me, I don’t spend too much time here, but it is an important place to go back to make sure you are being honest with how you really feel about yourself.
Come back later to see today’s Letter from A Better Me. If you are ready to really dive into the work, you can sign-up with me to do the 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp (click here for details).
When you are doing this work it is very important to be gentle with yourself. Don’t abuse yourself for abusing yourself. Our pasts can help us grow or hinder us from growing. It’s all in our hands.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff ©2019
Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 29 – How I Abuse Myself