When I began my recovery from abuse, I didn’t have a plan, per se. I had a goal. That goal was essentially the same as how I intend to live my life: conduct yourself in such a way that if someone said something bad about you, others wouldn’t believe it. It was the same in dealing with Captain Crazy. I struggled for a while because I was stuck in the cycle of “why” and “how”. As in, why would you continue to be so abusive after I removed myself from your life and how could you possibly create these utterly stunning lies about me? Man, that took some time to get past!
We Look at Karma the Wrong Way
We hear a lot about Karma, people saying, “Oh, don’t you worry… he/she will get his/hers.” The problem is we look at Karma the wrong way. We are so used to keeping score in the relationship because in an abuse dynamic, everything is transactional. You try to “earn” good treatment and your abuser metes out punishment or mercy depending on their general mood. You were the Identified Patient, the alleged cause of everything that was wrong in the abuser’s world. It’s a perpetual cycle of no-win disappointments. When we are out of the abuse, so many of us get stuck in the cycle of pain associated with recovery, a lot of which can involve disastrous financial, emotional, and physiological consequences. We think, “I’m here broke and trying to feed my children and he is out buying himself a new car and sports equipment! When is it going to be my turn?”
So I submit to you that Karma should be viewed as a different dynamic altogether.
After I got out of my abusive marriage, I did everything “right.” I went back to school for a Master’s degree. I got myself and my kids in counseling and DivorceCare. I never, ever talked badly to my children about their father and I even went to the lengths of paying for his visitation expenses, even though he had left the state and moved about 1,000 miles away of his own choosing. I made sure they sent him things and/or called on holidays when they didn’t see him. In short, I did the things my moral compass told me to do rather than what my emotional self wanted, which was to lash out. Don’t get me wrong… I was truly elated that he was gone and that he was so far away. My anger had to do with the callousness and complete ease with which he disconnected from the daughters he purported to love so much. Then I realized, that is the abuser’s Karma.
Karma is not a thing to revel in or hope for. It has its own rhythm and time. If someone’s harmed you, your business is to heal you and forget about them.
Life Happens, No Matter Your Karma
No matter who you are, what you do, or where you go, bad stuff is going to happen. You will make money, you will lose money. You will experience good health, you will experience poor health. Your car or refrigerator will break down at the worst possible time. This is just the cycle of living in the modern world. But here is what will be a constant: your abuser is not capable, in any capacity, of feeling and enjoying life the way you do. That is the abuser’s Karma. The time that your abuser wastes plotting against you or terrorizing you is time they can’t get back. Most times, we have the choice of whether we react or not (except, for instance, if it’s a legal action and we have no choice but to respond). This person is not able to feel the love that you do, the happiness that you do, the pride in a job well done, the satisfaction of treating another human being with dignity, or any of the meaningful aspects of life. Worse yet, they can never learn if they are of the personality disorder variety. The capacity just isn’t there.
So, while feeling is sometimes a thing we wish we couldn’t do, it is what lets us know we are alive. It helps us appreciate the smallest of good things. It also helps us to help others later on, with empathy and love. Karma coming around and kicking the abuser is something that happens all the time, even when we don’t see it. Truthfully, I can imagine no worse Karma than being unable to experience a joyful, feeling life. As Garth Brooks put it, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d’ve had to miss the dance.”
One last thought about this Karma stuff: just because your abuser is putting on a big show about “being happy” and doing fun things or going places, does not make it true.
The bottom line is that an abuser will be a miserable ass no matter where they go or what they do. That’s part of their Karma, too.
You have the ability to find joy in every day, on even the worst of days. Your abuser cannot and never will be able to.