What is normal? We all have our ideas of “normal”. What should life look like, how should people interact, how should you respond to circumstances… every day we respond to our life in a way that we find “normal”.
For survivors of abuse, our sense of normal is often quite significantly out of wack. How do we navigate a life on planet earth, when we have lived in a alternate universe for so long. A universe where compliments were really concealed put downs, where help was a means of control, where there was no privacy or confidentiality, where there was self, no safety.
Even when we do escape the abuse, we need to learn – sometimes basic – life skills in order to survive in “the real world”. Sometimes we even look back to the abuse, and consider going back. Because however bad it was, at least it was familiar.
There is much to learn once you leave an abusive situation. Most of us learn things along these lines:
I am allowed to express myself. My feelings and opinions matter.
I deserve respect, always! No-one should ever make me feel 2 inches tall.
I can say no, without feeling guilty about it
I deserve to be happy and healthy. So I can create the life I want for myself
I deserve to protect myself against physical, mental or emotional attacks.
I decide my priorities, any way I see fit.
I am allowed to have opinions, even if they are different from others’
You may recognize these from our social media, where we say: Are you finding yourself in a relationship where these simple personal rights are not followed? Is your partner, a parent or someone in your work constantly overstepping these boundaries? You may well be dealing with emotional abuse.
Learning these basic personal rights, is an important first step in normalizing your crazy normal.
Want to learn more about this topic? Check out Nova’s take on things in Working the Journey in the Dark.