During my book-writing shenanigans, I’m happy to say I’ve encountered many beautiful lives. Lives that are in different stages of their healing; some at the beginning and some well past the finish line living in a peaceful, beautiful and happy place. I’ve asked the question before, what is the difference between a woman who stays and a woman who leaves? And what does it take to become a woman who leaves? In talking with survivors and current victims, as well as pulling from my own personal experience, a strong root that needs to be snipped is routine.
Routine grows from habit. Habit, studies say, can take anywhere from 18, 21 or even 66 days to form. Many abusive relationships have lasted much longer than this and in fact, they sadly last for years, years and years. The habits that develop in a chaotic, abusive and destructive relationship have the power to blind even the strongest of woman. Allow yourself to take, not just a step back, but steps back. In fact, step as far back as you can. Look at your big life picture. The routines (meaning actions, thoughts, words & feelings) you’ve allowed yourself to fall into need to be re-evaluated and reanalyzed. Bring it all to your awareness.
How? By simply being aware. Most importantly being aware by the way you respond with:
- Your immediate thought
- Your immediate verbal response
- Your immediate emotional response
- Your immediate action
Catch yourself. Ask yourself why you do what you do. Especially if it’s been something you’ve done your whole life. Even more so if it is something you do, say, think or feel because of what someone else did, said, thought or felt. Be quicker than yourself, essentially.
Why did I say that? Why did I do that? Why am I getting so angry? Why would I think that? Are all questions that will probably open windows and doors into problematic areas you didn’t realize have been functioning on a routine. Don’t dive into a black hole of self analysis beginning to diagnose yourself or search Web MD for all your behaviors. No. Instead simply start by becoming aware.
The next time you find yourself in the emotional, behavioral, cognitive or verbal ruining routine that’s kept you hostage for who-knows how long, CHANGE IT! Start with Imagery. Imagine what you would actually want to see yourself doing. What do you actually want to say? What did you really want to do? (Hopefully these are all positive rather than negative changes, btw.) Start with Awareness and move into Imagery.
If you feel like you can’t even begin to imagine making changes, then look outside yourself because obviously you’ve let this routine go on much too long. Counseling, ask a friend/family/coworker you trust or research credible sources. (Notice the emphasis on credible. Though I read it too, People magazine sadly doesn’t count.)
The hardest part is implementing the change itself and setting those Images into Actions. Action, Action, Action, in many cases, means more than what you say. It’s 50/50. As all my posts are also for the beautiful woman in/ from violent relationships, trust that I understand it isn’t always possible to make the changes you want. In fact, sometimes it’s nearly impossible because of the abuser and the sensitive dynamics. I highly recommend seeking counseling if in a position where you want to make change, but do not know how or simply can’t.
Most importantly, visiting the autopilot place you’ve been in will give you insight. Insight is the fuel your Actions need in order to be set into motion. And unlike any absurd amount you’ll pay to fill up your car’s tank, Insight-fuel is free.