Betrayal Hurts

 

It has been a really rough last 4 months. I thought things had finally turned out my way. I started to relax. I started to make plans for the future. I started to have faith again in humanity. I started to believe that I had finally cleaned and reset my magnet enough to attract what resonated with my strengths, skills and talents. I thought I had finally been given the opportunity, respect and compensation that synthesized my past, stabilized my present, and supported my future.  

And then out of the blue, like a Giancarlo Stanton home run, I was launched out of the park, to splat on the hardtop outside the gate.

At first I just rolled with the punch and picked up where I had left off before that organization had come knocking on my door inviting me to help them. Unfortunately as time went on, the effects of such a blow started overtaking my life.

First it was the arbitrary stomach pain that landed me on the floor writhing in pain for half an hour, until I realized my system could no longer tolerate my favourite spices.

Then it was the anxiety that paralyzed me at the thought of offering myself publicly again.

Recently it’s been the depression that makes me want to either stay in bed all day or crawl back in 3 hours after I’ve gotten up. I numb myself with food and reruns. I brace myself to step outside the house to move my car back in the driveway to make room for my partner’s vehicle when he returns from work. I manage to get dressed every day but sometimes only to save face with my partner. I cook dinner. I read. I intake social media and occasionally post. That’s it. That’s what my life has devolved to.

My therapist tells me I need time to recoup from the assault.

The difficulty with recuperation is the reactivation of the effects of past psychological assaults and betrayals. The difficulty gets compounded because I don’t trust myself again. I don’t trust life again. I don’t trust God again. And I most certainly don’t trust humans again.

I had worked so hard. I had felt so good. I had regained my optimism. I had regained my faith. I had reintegrated socially. I had found a new community that I could collaborate with and share my gifts. I had developed many strategies to achieve my mandate goals. I had poured my energy, heart and creativity into the project. And everything fragmented back into the universe, including me, because someone couldn’t control her own rage at me standing up for myself and was compelled and enabled to abuse her power.

Hurt people hurt people. Many of us know that. Unfortunately all of us don’t know that or continue to be in denial of it. Otherwise we would be motivated to protect our own reputations by dealing with our pain so we didn’t display it so publicly anymore when bullying others. I get that we’re not there yet as a species.

But when hurt people hurt hurt people, the effects can be even more devastating.

I’ve recovered before. I’ll recover again. No doubt I’ll be even more jaded now than I was before this experience. But most meaningfully, I am even more convinced and committed to encouraging hurt adults to deal with their sh*t. My whole life has been an accumulation of experiences of people in authority (starting with my mother) abusing their power over others rather than internalizing their power and helping themselves.

I understand how helping ourselves can be difficult, particularly when our society benefits from us being powerless, and enables power abuse in every realm of life.  

Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we can gather the momentum needed to propel us even higher than we’ve risen before.

I tried to roll with the punches, just go with the flow, not skip a beat. But I couldn’t tolerate that path this time. I’ve let people get away with hurting me before with impunity. I can’t do that this time. I’m fighting back in many ways, one of which is by actually letting myself experience the pain caused by callous, irresponsible, unprofessional, unethical so-called leaders.

I am not alone in the effects I’ve experienced as a result of a reactionary use of power. Many people are hurt daily by decisions by immature, intractable, selfish, obtuse leaders. Many of us have been hurt repeatedly throughout our lives.

Matters are made even worse when systems put in place to protect and help are inadequate or stacked against you, and bystanders back as far away as possible so they don’t get tarnished through association.  

All this contributes to isolation, and seeks to invalidate the legitimacy of the outrage.  It makes recovery even more difficult because even though you’ve been beaten down you’re required to pick yourself back up. There is no one reaching out a hand to help you along. This has been the most difficult aspect of my recovery - having to create it all for myself.

I often recall what I consider to be the most ridiculous comment I ever heard. “The greater the trauma, the greater the opportunity for growth!”

So now I’m learning the greater the isolation, the greater the opportunity to develop independence. Unfortunately the actual effect is more reactivation of feelings of childhood neglect, of invisibility, of rejection. But I’ve risen from rock bottom before. I’ve been the strongest one before. I’ve been the one who deals and moves on before.  It’s just inordinately frustrating to repeatedly have to be the one who has to survive and process the consequences while the perps carry on unaffected.

Lately, I’ve retreated to recover. I’m regathering my strength. I will bounce back higher than before. I will use this experience to learn and to teach others. Hopefully one day I’ll be immune to betrayal.

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Elizabeth Perry posted:
Natalie Kirk posted:

Hi Liz. I'm very sorry to hear that this is happening to you. I wish you strength and peace.

I wanted to pull out a line from your post that really struck me: "It’s just inordinately frustrating to repeatedly have to be the one who has to survive and process the consequences while the perps carry on unaffected."

This is the exact feeling that I've been wrestling with, both in how to express it and how to get passed it. As a trauma survivor with a high ACE score, life is starting to feel more and more like I'm the only one bothering to take responsibility, the only one who always has to be "the bigger person." 

Of course it isn't true; I have an amazing partner, sister, and friends who are there and are decent people, and not everyone in the world is terrible. I guess I don't know the best way to stop outside stresses and betrayers from bringing me back to this feeling, but I was so struck by how you articulated it that I just needed to respond. Thank you for sharing and I hope that things begin to look up quickly.

Hi Natalie, 

Thanks for your response and support. The only thing I've found peace with is to finally make the effort to hold the perps accountable. All my life I've accepted the advice to just move on and have faith that they'll get theirs eventually, But as Olivia Benson says on SVU, the only way we're going to be able to move on is to make them pay for what they've done to us. It's not revenge, it's consequences. 

We who have been abused live with the consequences everyday. It's post traumatic growth for me to finally stand up for myself and expose the truth. The systems aren't always ready to back us up, but by raising the awareness of where they fall short, we can work to change them. 

People who hurt people have to own their actions and their results, and make amends. To do so they will have to face their own demons and recover from them. I truly believe it's our unresolved traumas that make us hurt others. Now that I've gained enough stability in my own identity I realize if I don't hold them accountable I'm enabling them to keep their delusions and continue to hurt themselves and others. I haven't been able to protect anyone in the past because I was too fragile myself. But I'm starting now to feel strong enough to start calling out bad behaviour and make the effort to hold perps accountable. I have to stop abuse by showing abusers their broken mirrors and helping them repair them.  That's what I've figured out  for now. 

It's scary but support from people like you helps. Thanks for connecting. Take Care of You. Elizabeth

Liz, you nailed it. We have to just let things slide and overlook wrongs done makes us enablers. Yes, it is scary to call out the perps of this world. Take care.

Natalie Kirk posted:

Hi Liz. I'm very sorry to hear that this is happening to you. I wish you strength and peace.

I wanted to pull out a line from your post that really struck me: "It’s just inordinately frustrating to repeatedly have to be the one who has to survive and process the consequences while the perps carry on unaffected."

This is the exact feeling that I've been wrestling with, both in how to express it and how to get passed it. As a trauma survivor with a high ACE score, life is starting to feel more and more like I'm the only one bothering to take responsibility, the only one who always has to be "the bigger person." 

Of course it isn't true; I have an amazing partner, sister, and friends who are there and are decent people, and not everyone in the world is terrible. I guess I don't know the best way to stop outside stresses and betrayers from bringing me back to this feeling, but I was so struck by how you articulated it that I just needed to respond. Thank you for sharing and I hope that things begin to look up quickly.

Hi Natalie, 

Thanks for your response and support. The only thing I've found peace with is to finally make the effort to hold the perps accountable. All my life I've accepted the advice to just move on and have faith that they'll get theirs eventually, But as Olivia Benson says on SVU, the only way we're going to be able to move on is to make them pay for what they've done to us. It's not revenge, it's consequences. 

We who have been abused live with the consequences everyday. It's post traumatic growth for me to finally stand up for myself and expose the truth. The systems aren't always ready to back us up, but by raising the awareness of where they fall short, we can work to change them. 

People who hurt people have to own their actions and their results, and make amends. To do so they will have to face their own demons and recover from them. I truly believe it's our unresolved traumas that make us hurt others. Now that I've gained enough stability in my own identity I realize if I don't hold them accountable I'm enabling them to keep their delusions and continue to hurt themselves and others. I haven't been able to protect anyone in the past because I was too fragile myself. But I'm starting now to feel strong enough to start calling out bad behaviour and make the effort to hold perps accountable. I have to stop abuse by showing abusers their broken mirrors and helping them repair them.  That's what I've figured out  for now. 

It's scary but support from people like you helps. Thanks for connecting. Take Care of You. Elizabeth

Hi Liz. I'm very sorry to hear that this is happening to you. I wish you strength and peace.

I wanted to pull out a line from your post that really struck me: "It’s just inordinately frustrating to repeatedly have to be the one who has to survive and process the consequences while the perps carry on unaffected."

This is the exact feeling that I've been wrestling with, both in how to express it and how to get passed it. As a trauma survivor with a high ACE score, life is starting to feel more and more like I'm the only one bothering to take responsibility, the only one who always has to be "the bigger person." 

Of course it isn't true; I have an amazing partner, sister, and friends who are there and are decent people, and not everyone in the world is terrible. I guess I don't know the best way to stop outside stresses and betrayers from bringing me back to this feeling, but I was so struck by how you articulated it that I just needed to respond. Thank you for sharing and I hope that things begin to look up quickly.

After attending training hosted by our state's Attorney General's 'Trauma-Informed Services' training as well as having attended training in "(Trauma-Informed) Intentional Peer Support", and finding myself concurring with the 'designated' values, and 'believeing' (having 'faith' in): 'Mutuality', 'Connection' etc., ... I experienced two consecutive 'betrayals'...in December of 2011, and in January of 2012.... I was told  by someone employed in an executive Peer Support agency position (where I assumed the 'Direct Communication' policy applied) that at least two people had told him they didn't want me talking about 'Trauma-Informed' at statewide (Trauma-Informed Intentional) Peer Support meetings..... (I'll have to finish this later, or edit it)....          Since that state-wide group had set Goals in 2009, one of which was a position paper on "Coercion", my "Revenge" was to raise the issue of that [Coercion] position paper on our Executive Committee's monthly agenda, every month, until the end of his Chairmanship....

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