This line is borrowed from a very popular Simon and Garfunkel song.
It starts off with, “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again…”
This is the song of abuse.
Abuse is cyclical. Life is “good” and then there is an event, some supposed affront….then comes the violence, whether physical, verbal or both.
The cycle can be tracked. You can plot it on a calendar, just like a woman’s cycle.
The span of time between events can vary, but the “affront” will always be followed by violence. The abuser will always have VERY good reasons, why they were left without recourse, but to strike out.
It will be words like, “Look what you made me do.” Or “You always do this and I have no choice.”
One of the saddest and most telling stories I recently heard while in India was about a woman who had been set on fire by her husband. While in the rickshaw going to the hospital, the man fell at her feet crying that he was sorry but it was her fault for whatever she had done. He begged her not to tell the police that he had done it.
She lied to the hospital and to the police and she said it was an accident. She took the entire brunt of the incident, the physical torture, the emotional torture and the blame. She thought that he would “love” her more, since she showed how strong she was.
What she did not realize was that he cannot love.
If he was capable of love he would never have burned her.
He was only concerned with NOT being caught and put in jail.
This story is gruesome, and it is sad and you may be tempted to say “ah, my story is nothing like this.”
Be careful of dismissing this too quickly, as it holds many lessons for us.
It tells us to be aware of the cycles.
It tells us to have faith and courage in OUR TRUTH.
It tells us to be strong in our convictions.
Most of all, it tells us to allow the authorities to do their jobs.
What secrets are you holding?
What wrongs are you accepting blame for that were not your fault?
Who are you letting off the hook by making YET another excuse for their poor behavior?
Silence like a cancer grows.
Remove the cancers.
I believe that Mary Oliver found herself in the CFU job and she had to quit.
I think that her poem was her resignation letter.
What would your resignation letter look like?
It can be a Poem.
It can be a short letter.
It can be a long profound thesis with tons of explanations and life examples… but this may make you more upset when you remember all the stuff that you CHOOSE to take on.
CHOOSE to take on?
Uh huh, choose. It may sound harsh that I am telling you to choose to take it on, but really did someone hold a gun to your head to make you do it? If the answer is yes, that a GUN was held to your head, make immediate plans to leave that environment.
So now, let’s just see how you got THAT thankless job.
Were you always a fixer? Were you a “born” helper? Did you get lots of pats on the back for always having the solution? Were people always calling you up so you could fix their issues? Do you feel useless if you are not fixing something or someone?
What would happen if you simply STOPPED all the fixing?
Who would you be upsetting?
Make a list of all the significant folks in your life and put a Y or an N next to their names if they would be upset or not? Then add up all the No people and tell them THANKS for all the support they have given you. Thank them for not expecting you to be the constant Fixer.
Now for the YES people, what to do with them?
The truth is that the issue is with YOU, not them. You have not been able to say NO to these folks who expect you to fix everything. You have trained them to expect you to fix it all.
It may sound harsh but we really do train others how to treat us.
We train them by not speaking our truth.
We train them by not being able to say a NO that respects both them and ourselves.
We train them by assuming that if we do just one more thing, they may leave us alone.
We also assume that we are teaching them something, like maybe how to do it themselves the next time.
They learn nothing but “there she goes again” taking this new load of “crap” off my plate.
A dear friend of mine was on a professional coach call yesterday and a significant member of her family (a grown up), interrupted her to say that SHE needs to call the insurance company to get something done.
Why does SHE need to call?
Why did he interrupt her?
Easy answer…..she trained him over the course of many years to expect that she would “fix” all that was broken, not working, or just plain pissing him off.
Yes, she has a great strength, which is to find solutions, but what do we teach others when WE are the only ones to find the solutions?
What happens when people are so dependent on us and we fall ill or die?
We leave them in a lurch and we leave them helpless.
It may be better if we teach them how to fix their own issues so that both people can take full responsibility for the smooth running of the family.
I know that it is easier said than done. I understand that the people you care about may get angry and say some hurtful things.
What I am asking you to do is to care for yourself and your physical, mental and emotional health as much as you care for theirs.
One of my favorite quotes is this one from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter to us.”
What things matter to you?
I invite you to speak them to a trusted friend, not complaining about all that you must do, but rather, what steps you will take to do less and have the able bodied people in your life do more.
Love and light,
Indrani, Former CFU.
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