The Amanda Quick Show

Breaking Free: Unraveling and Confronting the Cycle of Abuse

September 09, 2023 Amanda Quick Season 1 Episode 7
The Amanda Quick Show
Breaking Free: Unraveling and Confronting the Cycle of Abuse
The Amanda Quick Show
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Imagine being trapped in a seemingly endless cycle - a cycle that’s intoxicating yet insidious, comforting yet destructive. The cycle of abuse is a hidden narrative, often written off as a mere side effect of a passionate relationship. We're here to contest that perception, unraveling the intricate layers of this cycle, illuminating the push-pull dynamic that ensnares its victims in an almost addictive pattern.

Breaking free from this cycle is not a linear journey – it's a complex dance of steps forward and backward. We'll guide you through this seemingly impenetrable fog, exploring how trauma and addiction intertwine to form a perilous bond, deepening the cycle of abuse. We discuss the importance of recognizing the signs, acknowledging the reality, and having the courage to face the inevitably painful truths. Brace yourself as we expose the often-disguised entrapment in this cycle, highlighting the crucial role of a supportive confidant and the bravery it takes to confront our deepest fears. 

This episode concludes with a powerful call-to-action for you. It's time to share your story, to let your voice resonate in a space that empathizes, understands, and aids recovery. Remember, even a single conversation with a safe, supportive individual can illuminate the path towards healing. Let our collective voices rise, breaking the silence that surrounds the cycle of abuse. Through sharing, we can foster understanding, compassion, and ultimately, emancipation from this destructive cycle.

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Speaker 1:

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Amanda Quick Show. I am your host, amanda Quick, today's episode. I want to talk about something a little heavier. I want to talk about the cycle of abuse. The reason I want to talk about this is there are some people somewhat close to me previous clients or students currently going through this right now and I feel like it's important message to help the people who are experiencing this cycle and recognizing that they're in this cycle so that they can start to take action in a different way. The cycle of abuse is something that's well documented amongst mental health professionals and anybody who's working with narcissistic abuse recovery, but it's not something that anybody outside of those spheres actually understands, and I know. For me, it was pretty shocking to realize when talking to other mental health professionals or talking to people who've been in that world, when they can almost predict exactly what I was going to say about what was happening with my ex-husband or I was wondering when we'd get to that part or just talking about how textbook his behavior was and I'm like textbook. If it's that textbook, why did I not know this? Why are we not teaching this? Why are we not talking about this? And so that's what I want to do. I want to talk about it more openly so that we can start to recognize it and we can start to recognize the pattern that's being repeated over and over and how we get caught up in that pattern. How do we convince ourselves that we're not caught up in that pattern while we are caught up in that pattern, and what do we really do to get out of it? Because nobody is asking to be in this cycle. Nobody says wakes up one morning and says I'm going to go find myself an abusive relationship. That doesn't happen. Nobody is choosing it on a conscious level, but they are choosing it in a sense because that's all they know and a lot of people who are in these type of relationships, that's all they've ever known, and they're choosing it because it's familiar and really that's the only big reason. They feel like it's familiar, it's understandable, and then here they are again, and perhaps this time it's even worse, or it's affecting different people in different ways. And I know, for me I had no idea it was even an abusive relationship, and I think that's really true until you get out of it and you look at it in retrospect, and so the cycle of abuse isn't something that we all jump in one day and say this is something I'm going to check out. It happens to us over time as we end up in these situations, with these relationships with really truly mentally unstable, emotionally unstable people who likely have experienced their own versions of trauma and they aren't willing to face them. And the difference between the abuser and the abuser is often whether or not we recognize what we're doing or not. When I was going through my divorce with my ex-husband, he would often accuse me of being a narcissist and I would talk I mean talking to my mom, who is a mental health professional she's licensed in the state of Hawaii and marriage and family health and she says you know, amanda, narcissists don't ask that question, the fact that you're even considering it or thinking about it, or you know, because my concern was well, am I the problem? Am I doing the wrong thing? It takes a narcissist to make you feel like one. It's like, oh interesting, because they play on your worst fears, your insecurities, the things that you aren't as confident in, and they push those buttons and they make you question yourself and question your entire reality. And so some of the beginning parts of abuse don't look anything like abuse and they wouldn't even be classified as an abuse from a mental health perspective, because having a different opinion or telling somebody they're wrong isn't abusive. But what is abusive is when it's systematically methodical and malicious. But it takes time for it to become that and the cycle of abuse starts with, really that initial piece, that initial connection, where you feel like they understand you, they love you, they have something and they're giving you something that you haven't experienced before and they draw you in and some people call this love bombing and it can look like that, but not always in the very beginning. You know, for me, when I first met my ex-husband, he was actually married to somebody else and but he poured all of his attention into me when he was around me and he would show up and he would have gifts and even early dating, lots of expensive gifts. He wanted to spend time with me and talk to me and I felt like we had this deeper connection in a way that I'd never experienced before. And then he would pull away and he would vanish and disappear and I wouldn't hear from him for weeks, and so that push-pull is a classic, classic beginning sign of what's to come and they pull you in, they draw you in, they know something about you, they feel something different with you, they give you different gifts. There's so many versions of it, but there's something that draws you to them that's different than anybody else before and you feel different than you've ever had before and you build stories in your mind about what that means and true love and all of the things, and oftentimes that might be true in that moment and that experience. But it's then what happens after, it's the withdrawal, and it's almost like you get punished for being in that energy at all and they punish you with the withdrawal of that so that all you do is want it more, playing hard to get, so to speak, except on an extreme level. And they do it over and over and over again and sometimes it eventually means you leave and sometimes it means you stay and things get worse. And I know for me that cycle continued until eventually his then ex-wife left and we started dating more openly. But it didn't really stop. It just stopped in that extreme level because we eventually moved in together and so there wasn't disappearing for weeks on end, but there was a lot of withdrawal of time and attention. There was focus on everything but me, not willing to talk to me, with all kinds of other excuses. And yes, jobs take time, yes, all of these other important things take time. But to have that connection and then be completely shut out, that cycle continued. And I think it's important to note that oftentimes we think, oh, I fixed them, I healed them, I changed them. I certainly did because there was progress in a sense. Right, his ex-wife did leave, we did move in together, we did eventually even start a family and get married. But if I take a real honest look about how all that happened, that'll happen because I pushed, because I wanted it, because I insisted, because I got pregnant, and then I was the one actually who proposed because, well, I was pregnant. Yea, I appreciate it. Thank you, toys. Hospital. 닷 вся 닷. That push-pull dynamic never stopped. I always wanted something more than I was allowed to get and I would almost feel like I was being punished for wanting a connection with my spouse, and that punishment was isolation, essentially. And when I did eventually have a child, that isolation meant that he'd stopped coming home from work regularly and he stopped being around and he stopped doing any of the things that he even had been doing and I became hyper-focused on my new baby and, knowing what I know now about his mental health, he was also experiencing the withdrawal of my attention. Because I focused on the baby all of a sudden and not him and my intentions for that weren't to exclude him or withdraw from him but to focus on my newborn baby. But because I withdrew my attention and I had never done that previously his reaction to that was to start soliciting again, and that was the beginning of when he essentially started. Cheating on me was right after I had my first child, and so I didn't understand why he was isolating and pushing me away further. Now I do, but when I look at it, it's the same thing. It's that push, pull, it's your things are so good and then they're so bad, and that really messes with our nervous system. It messes with our nervous system and basically causes an addiction cycle to take place, just like kids on screens, just like sugar. There's this high and then that high is withdrawn and all we want is that high back and we become addicted to the abuse cycle. We come addicted to the highs and willingness to do anything to protect the highs, to reconnect to that high, to feel good again and we don't recognize that being constantly withdrawn from those highs is causing that chemical reaction in our body, the same as a withdrawal from any type of substance would be. In fact, that adrenaline spike, that love hormone that comes in our system, is perhaps one of the most addictive out there, way more than any type of heroin or methamphetamines. That is probably the most addictive substance on the planet is our own emotions, our own hormones, and so when we're in that addictive cycle, we are addicted to our abuser, we are addicted to the push and pull, because that's all we want. We just want to get high again. And that abuse cycle will continue and continue until we recognize, just as any addict, what we've been doing and we recognize that this isn't healthy anymore. But then the trick is to get the hell out of there, because it's not simple, as any addict will tell you, to just stop cold turkey and walk away. And it's really not simple to quit cold turkey and walk away once you have a life and children and a marriage. And so I think it's really important to recognize that these aren't small shifts, these aren't little things. These are huge awarenesses that take place over periods of time often, and they often have big events that happen, that shake pieces up, but then we're still drawn back in, we're still addicted to it. When my ex was arrested and most people would have assumed I would have taken off and left Well, as far as I knew he was a safe person, why would I do that? Why would I take off and leave when all of my good feelings, all of my happy family, all of my who I believe the world to be, was connected to this person? That didn't make any sense. Of course they stayed. I had to figure more information out, and when he gave me even the smallest viable in my mind, potential, potential possibility, I ran with it. I held on to it. It was my lifeline and because of that I stayed and I believed him and I allowed the trauma bond of that experience to deepen. And so the other thing that sometimes happens and at least this is what happened to me is not only was I addicted to my abuser, but I became deeply trauma bonded to him, and this isn't dissimilar from what happens to kidnapping victims. It's very similar. The only safe person at that point that I knew was the person who caused the abuse. The person who caused the trauma was the safe person in my life, the only person I could talk to about what happened, the only person who could possibly understand what was going on was the person who caused it. And so, because I had now been isolated from everybody and I had been being pushed away by him, but he was now coming back and that addictive, that addictive draw was there and there was this need for safety in myself and my kids and my family, that bond only got deeper. The trauma bond that he and I formed after he was arrested is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I wanted nothing more than to fix the marriage, to be with him, to be with my family, and, because he was also terrified of what was happening, all he did was pour all of his time and energy into us. We spent literally 24 seven hours on the phone because I felt responsible for keeping him engaged with the kids, even though he had no ability to have contact with them right away. I felt responsible for him, feeling like he knew what was going on and they're growing up and I would take pictures and send them to him and talk about everything. And it became to the point where he was in my head all the time I didn't have a thought without him being right there. That bond was so deep that I was terrified to even put the phone down. It's like that's. The only thing that mattered in the world to me was keeping that connection alive, not seeing how unsafe and damaging it was. And eventually things shifted and he eventually was allowed back home, which we were all excited about. And I remember, when he moved back into the house, how weird it was that he wasn't in my head. It was almost jarring, actually, that he wasn't in my head anymore and my thoughts were my own even though he was in the house. And that was a new adjustment back to myself. And that was when I realized I had to go back to work. I had to do something for myself. And even then going back to work was further separation, because I was gone for eight hours a day and it took me having really small steps away from that person in order for me to start to see how not okay I had been the whole time. I realized I wasn't allowed to experience emotions, I wasn't allowed to have thoughts outside of what the collective belief between he and I was. He really wanted me to believe that we could recover from this. He really wanted me to see it as nothing more than a little bit of infidelity and that sometimes happens and people move on. He really wanted me to see him as the person I believed I married, and so he fought tooth and nail to make sure that we stayed so connected that I couldn't have a belief system of my own and I couldn't look at anything of my own. And this is when the abuse cycle here gets really bad. This is when people get really stuck. They have no identity. They are completely isolated. Nobody but this other person knows them. Nobody but this other person feels safe. Nobody but this other person could possibly understand. And so the leap to leave feels like death. It really does, because it's the death of who you are. It's the death of everything you believe. And if you have children too, it's even more challenging, and so I want people to understand. This is why people stay and this is why people come back, Even after they do try to leave, Because it's that bond, that addiction is so, so strong. And it is coupled with how do we take care of ourselves financially. It is coupled with what kind of life do I want my children to have? It is coupled with all of our childhood trauma about how we were raised and how we want better for our kids. It is coupled with so many things and this abuser usually also has deteriorated our own belief about ourselves and deteriorated who we think we are and what we're capable of. I truly, at that point, didn't believe I was capable of making the same amount of money that my ex-husband had made back then. I truly believed I wasn't capable of financially providing for myself and three kids. I truly believed that I wasn't even emotionally capable of being a single parent. And I had all of that. And he deepened it. He deepened it and said you know that of course I wouldn't want to do that, because he's there and we need each other and the family needs us together and in a beautiful, best case scenario world that would be true that kids would have both healthy parents in their lives. But I didn't see how all of that was him further continuing to keep his hold on me. And it wasn't until multiple separations, slow separations, that I started to see not the manipulations, that's not what came first. I started to see my discomfort and how not okay I was. I started to see that I couldn't be with somebody who had done some of these things, but I still didn't see the whole piece of it because I wasn't allowing myself to. And this is the other thing that I really want to highlight here is that it's not obvious, because it was really fricking obvious, but I wasn't allowing myself to see the full truth because it was too painful. It was way too painful to see the truth that had been staring me in the face about the person I was married to, the person I chose to have children with. That was way too painful for me to face, not in its entirety, and so I started. My system and my energy allowed me to receive small pieces. I wasn't okay being in this marriage with somebody who had cheated on me that many times, and so I started to allow my body to feel that, and I started feeling like every time he looked at me in a sexy way or he wanted to try to initiate intimacy, I just kept feeling like I could see and feel all of the other people that he had been with in the room, and it was every time he looked at me. That's how you looked at them, that's what you did with them, that's what you wanted with them and those thoughts started to enter my mind and I started to experience what that felt like in my body. And I wasn't even angry, but it was just. It was disgust. Honestly, I couldn't look at him, I didn't want to be around him anymore, but I still didn't see anything other than he had made those choices and he had broken my trust. I didn't see the rest of it yet because I had to process that first, and so a lot of times when people start to come out of this fog, of this hold that somebody has on them, it's slow, it's not instant. One piece starts to get to them. One thing bothers them, one thing they become not okay with, and sometimes that one thing can help drive them and move them forward and help them leave if need be, or help them take action in another way. And it certainly helped me. Yes, because I realized I couldn't romantically be involved with him and I started to seek out something else. I started to realize I wanted something else. I wanted a relationship with somebody who didn't have those demons, who didn't have the betrayal. And I think that version of that often does happen as people are coming out of it and sometimes they're made to feel guilty or wrong or all of the above, and that's part of what draws them back in. But at least in my case I held so strong that I couldn't anymore because I felt literally repulsed. For me it got to the point where the only way I could look at my husband was if I had a half a bottle of wine in front of me and basically would come home every night and drink a half a bottle of wine and then, fine, I'll talk to you, because otherwise I couldn't be around him at all. And when I started to see that pattern because that was a little more tangible and obvious I said I got to get my shit together. This is not okay, I'm not okay. I got to do something and I took the action to start to pull away. But it still took another six months, a year, for me to really see the intensity of how bad it actually was, because I wouldn't let my system see it all, because that would have been too much. If I had woken up one day and the fog had completely lifted, I probably would have had a panic attack, nervous breakdown, I would have packed up my kids and gone to Canada and probably been arrested for kidnapping. I wouldn't allow myself to do that because it would have shocked me, and I had already been through a lot of shock. My system really couldn't handle it. So, at least for me, it happened in steps, and even with the arrest and everything else it still had to happen in steps. And so I started to see that I couldn't be with him and I started to see that he was kind of manipulative. But that was my problem. He was still a good dad. That's the belief I started to hold, and so I was walking back all of the beliefs, little by little, and as each one of them started to be moved, I started to see more examples of the way that was true. And so unwinding the abuse cycle is just as back and forth, because a part of me still wanted to keep a friendship with him. A part of me still wanted to figure out how to co-parent with him. A part of me still thought maybe I'd get over it, because that was his belief. Maybe I'd get over it and I'd go, you know, have my fun and come back". That's what he believed. That was his hope, I think. And it took all of this unwinding because the further away from him I got, the more I couldn't stand him, the more I saw the truth. And so I think this is important that sometimes we get a little farther away and then we get reeled back in. And sometimes we get a little farther away and we start to see more. We start to see more truths and we start to be open to the fact that maybe this wasn't okay in the first place. But the real important thing here is that this happens at an individual's time and an individual's time frame, and I know for me that if anybody wanted me to try to see the truth sooner, or anybody had said this is messed up or you should leave or what the hell are you doing all that did was isolate me more. All that did was say you don't get it, you don't understand, you don't understand our connection, you don't understand. How dare you? This is my family, this is my husband. All it did was actually push me closer to him, not further away. The people who got through to me were the ones that held no judgment from the beginning, who held no judgment and held space and, if anything, stood in amazement about what I had been through and what I was still capable of accomplishing despite all of the trauma, those who held almost a reverence for me in the middle of what I was doing. That, too eventually got through, because I felt seen in a way that I had never felt seen before. I felt like you get it. You get that I can't just walk away. You get that this sucks, and you get that I'm not happy. And yet I don't know what to do. And you're not pushing anything on me. You're just seeing me and understanding that despite all of that, I'm doing my damnedest to make a living, to make a living to provide for my family and to do everything I can to take care of myself. And that's really what got through to me is somebody seeing me for exactly where I was and seeing all that I had been through and really honoring who I was in that moment. And when I started to allow that person in, that's when I started to be open to other possibilities and I started to recognize life could be different. Life could be different on the other side of abuse. Life could be fun again. And I got to find me again. I got to remember who I was. I felt different with this person because it made so much sense that I had been so shut down. And so I think it's really important, because so many people ask me you know, what would you say to somebody who has a friend going through something like this, or who knows somebody? What would you say to them so that they could potentially help, or what should they do? And I really truly believe it's very, very important that there isn't anything to do. All there is is to be an ear and open without judgment. And if you can't withhold your judgment, if you can't recognize that this is their experience and they're going to go through it in their own time and in their own way, if you can't do that, if that's either too triggering for you or it's too much and you just can't, then you just need to stay away and you need to recognize that this is not your life to live and you can step away and you can love them from afar, but there isn't anything to be done. And if you can hold space without judgment and you can recognize that this is their process and they will come and on their own time, to the awarenesses that they are ready to have, you can be the safe person. If you can honor the accomplishments of what they've accomplished despite everything, if you can make them feel proud again, if you can make them feel like they can have fun again, like they can be themselves, even better. But it can't be in judgment of what they're currently choosing, and so that is so, so important that, if you know somebody out there that it isn't about where do I take them or what do I see to them or how do I wake them up. That's their choice. To make Everybody's individual experience. That's what's important, and their choice to wake up on their own time and then ask for help from their safe people. That's when you can start to actually do something. Eventually, I got to the point where I was flabbergasted with the fact that I had stayed so long and I needed real help, real, tangible, physical actions. I needed connections. I needed people who could make things happen, and that's when I started reaching out to anybody and everybody, and then some, and that's when things really started to shift, because I was open to it. But if anybody had tried to make those calls before, I would have been furious, pissed and shut them out. And so if you have somebody like this in your life, it's recognizing. This is an abusive, addictive cycle, and just as you can't just cold turkey, put somebody in rehab and expect that 100% of the time it's going to work. You can't do that here either. It really takes their desire to change, their desire to see the truth, their desire to change their life, to take action, to do something, and I know for me, the only reason I was willing to do that was to protect my children, and this I think happens a lot of the case in abusive relationship with children involved is we have such a self-depreciating thought of ourself after what has happened for so many years and we don't believe in ourselves anymore and we don't even see ourselves as valuable outside of our mothering role. We don't see ourselves as anything beyond somebody to feed and bathe and dress the kids, and so we have a really hard time seeing that we're capable of more and we have a really hard time even thinking we're worth anymore. But as mothers, we know our children are and we know our children are worth more than we can even put a price tag on. They're completely priceless to us and they matter more than we matter to ourselves at that time, and if we can see that our children are in danger and we can see the cycle of abuse affecting them in some way, or teaching them negative patterns in some way. That's often the catalyst for mothers. That's often something that shakes us up and says, no, not my kids. And that's often what makes us break this pattern. And I know for me that was true. I didn't see the abuse to me, but I definitely saw it to my kids and I definitely said there's no way in hell. I'm sitting by and watching this and that's what gave me the momentum, the power, the rage and the anger boiled up in me and it fueled me in a positive direction, because I said there is no way in hell. I am standing by. And it got me to fight, it got me to shift, it got me to change and it got me to stand in my truth and face my own demons. And this is probably the very hardest part about coming out of this cycle is facing the fact that we on some level chose unconsciously, yes, but we on some level chose this for our own purposes, for comfort, for understanding, for belief, of safety, for all kinds of reasons. But we chose this because we thought we could help, we thought we could change them, we thought something of the sort and we thought it wasn't actually that bad. All of these reasons, all of these things in our head. We have to face those truths that because of those thoughts and because of the actions we took, we on some level encourage the behavior to continue and we encourage the behavior to continue and to affect our children. And that's a really really hard place to be and a really really hard thing to admit, even to yourself, because nobody wants to see that they caused that, nobody wants to see that they caused, you know, their family to struggle or their children to be in danger. I know for me realizing I led him back in the house, I invited him back into our home, I invited him to have unsupervised access to the kids. I did that and I did that because I didn't believe I could do it on my own and I didn't want to believe that he was unsafe and I didn't want to believe I could choose those things. And yet all of the evidence was right in front of me and I still chose to put them in danger because of my own fear, because of my own beliefs about being able to help him or change him or whatever, and my own desire to be the one to do that. There was a big ego piece that I had to face, that I believed I could heal him and that's not true. I had to really accept that in myself and really understand that I can't heal anybody but myself and I can't protect anybody but myself and, by extension, my children. Yes, but only because they were too young to make those decisions for themselves, and so I think it's really really important here for people to understand this. This isn't some easy thing, and facing these truths in ourselves is really really uncomfortable and a lot of times, this point in time is what actually brings people back to their abusive cycle, because they're not ready to face that. And, honestly, it's okay. It's okay that it takes time. It sucks, and it sucks that we have to go through pain and trauma. But if it doesn't take time, then it's its own version of trauma and its own version of shock, and I think it's really important that everybody get to choose their experience for themselves. I can say let's just shift the world and stop all abuse and blah, blah, blah. But on some level, people are choosing those things for real reasons real lessons, real cycle breaking lessons. Because had I not gone through that, I wouldn't be able to stand up and fight it, I wouldn't be able to understand it and I truly, today, have gratitude for it because I understand so much more about this abuse cycle. I understand so much more about why people stay. You know, I had a conversation with a friend of mine recently and we were talking about her situation and I realized on some level that she was still protecting her abuser and she was protecting them by not telling the full truth to the authorities that were involved. And she was doing so because she had all of these beliefs about what would happen if she brought truths to light. And it just it just reminded me so much of my own experience and protecting the person who caused all of the pain and hiding primarily from myself, but also from my children the truth of what actually happened. And hiding because I didn't feel like I could safely bring those truths to light. And we protect our abusers because they provide a level of safety, a level of identity and a level of understanding for us. And until we stop protecting them, until we stop trying to fix them and heal them, until we stop believing anything but their own choice to live this experience is true we're gonna stay stuck. We're gonna stay stuck and tied to the back and the forth and the coming back and the leaving again, no matter whether this is emotional, mental, physical or sexual abuse, all of those things we still come back until, all of a sudden, we decide it's enough and we're we've hit our threshold and something either big enough happens, we get backed into a corner, or we wake up one day with a newfound understanding and awareness that we're done. It really takes something or some big change, some big shift in us not in the person doing the abuse, but in us ourselves to stand up and say I'm fucking done, I'm done and I'm never coming back. And I'm never coming back to this situation, to this energy, to this person, and I'm done trying to help, I'm done investing anything in them, and the only thing I'm willing to invest in is creating safety for myself, for my children, my environment and everything else around it. And when we get to that point, that's when things really start to change and that's where we start to be fueled by the action and we start to be fueled with momentum of and drive, and that's when people start to actually come out of it and hopefully, with enough self reflection and healing, they start to recognize the patterns that got, put them here in the first place so they never, ever have to do it again. They no longer protect people that hurt them, they no longer hide from the truths in front of them and instead they're willing to bring truths to light, to bring the truth of their experience out into the world, out into at least within their safe circle, so that they can start to heal. I truly believe that the more we keep all of these truths in the shadows, in the closets, in the darkness and hidden away in these secret pockets of what has happened to us, the harder it is to heal and to change, and the more these truths come out into light and are shared, and the more people who recognize they're not alone in these experiences and they're not alone in these cycles and they're not alone in these choices or these addictions and these patterns, the easier it is for them to see them in themselves and to recognize that, if somebody else got out, I can too. And oh my god, I thought I was the only one when I was being interviewed, when I first launched my book. I have a vivid memory of one of the interviewers who was telling me when she first started reading my book she just she had this moment. She said oh my god, I thought I was the only one who was that stupid. She's like I'm not calling you stupid, but I thought I was the only one who was that stupid not to see that, not to see what was happening right in front of my face. And I laughed a little bit, not because she called me stupid, but because I think that's so true. We think we're the only ones. We think we're the only ones who were put in this type of situation. We would. Nobody else would ever be that stupid to make a mistake like that. Nobody else would ever put themselves in a situation like that. Well, I'm here to tell you that is absolutely, 100%, not the case, and that there are so many people out there who have lived similar experiences maybe not in detail, but in energy and so many people out there who are experiencing this cycle and who are experiencing this pattern with somebody in their lives. And sometimes it started from childhood and this is a pattern they experienced with their parents or caregivers. And sometimes it's a pattern that experience started in teenager years or in adulthood. It doesn't matter where it exactly began or how it manifested, but once it's installed and it's there. It is really really, really hard to get out of until you can see it and to recognize that you're not alone and that there is a way gives people hope in a different way. It gives people inspiration in a different way, and I think it's so, so important to talk about our stories and to bring these truths to light and to share these cycles and what we went through and what we thought and why we stayed and why we were drawn back in and why we left, and all of it because people get to go on that journey with us and they get to understand in a very different way than they previously had. And so if you're somebody out there who has gone through something like this, has gone through a pattern of abuse and you've broken the cycle or perhaps you're not quite there yet, but you're recognizing it at least, and you see some parallels in your own lives perhaps this is an invitation for you. I'm not saying you need to go share your story on the World Wide Web or have a podcast about it, or write a book about it even, but I am suggesting and I'm inviting you to think about how, if you felt safe, sharing your story with one person, one person who could be safe, that you maybe haven't shared some details with or the full truth with. I would invite you to try to share your story, the full weight of it, with somebody somewhat close to you that feels safe, who might actually be able to see you in a new way, who might be able to see themselves in a new way, but really see the power and the strength of what you've been through and really honor who you are today, in this moment, and what you've not only been through but perhaps still processing and going through, and can see who you desire to be, but also hold space today, in this moment, for the beauty of the journey that you're currently on. I invite you to find that person, share your story in a different way and see what happens, see how it feels in your system, see how they respond and see what maybe might start to shift in your world once you've gotten it off your chest a little bit. That's my invitation for you today. Next week we will dive in to the power of sharing your story and, for those of you who are ready to start sharing even more broadly, I will have another invitation for you then. Lots of love everyone.

Understanding the Cycle of Abuse
Addiction and Trauma in Abusive Relationships
Unraveling the Cycle of Abuse
Recognizing and Ending the Abuse Cycle
Breaking the Cycle
The Power of Sharing Your Story