Domestic Violence and Dealing with the Past.
Warning. This blog is about domestic violence.
I was on Facebook tonight and someone I had reached out to during the day had messaged me back. Let me call her Bronwyn.
Bronwyn accepted my request to connect, and I had responded thanking her and inviting her to like my Facebook page.
Then the following brief messaging conversation occurred (as cut and pasted from Facebook).
Bronwyn: “Why do you want me”
Keith: Hi Bronwyn. As I mentioned in my connection invite, I am reaching out to connect with new people. As a Relationship and Marriage Counsellor have been working with many individuals and couples helping them with their marriage or relationships. Some I have helped people get back together, some their relationships have ended. With everyone we work to create better connections with others and our self. I have seen many common themes, and this year have focused on giving back and sharing more of my experience to help others, many who are in relationship pain. So this is a simple invite to connect and I will be posting regularly to my page and aim to put out a blog a week. I believe we are here on this planet to contribute to the lives of others around us, and while I am alive and breathing that is what I plan to do. Take care and thanks for asking… Have a great evening and rest of the week. Cheers Keith.
Bronwyn: Keith i want to asked you something can you get over something bad happen to me from men. Relasionships herts (That’s pasted away without answers)
Keith: Hi Bronwyn, The short answer is yes. Often in relationships there can be a lot of pain. Like anything it takes time, effort, a new way of being and good support ….
Bronwyn: Stops me to move on scrade
I am a little confused by the last couple of replies and am typing a response. My laptop begins ringing with a Facebook video call. I answer and am looking at Bronwyn.
Bronwyn starts to tell me a bit about her life. She is currently caring for her mother and living with her. She had left her previous husband a few years earlier, at times he had got very abusive and one time she had ended up with a knife in her leg. It had been many hours before she was able to get it treated. Bronwyn tells me of many other times she had been physically threatened and abused from a previous husband, what had happened to her children, and what had happened to her.
I share with Bronwyn that I have not had any personal experience of Domestic Violence. Certainly not to the extent that she had endured. There were a few times in my relationships where things get heated and some yelling happened and a few things got broken, but never physical abuse.
I am sitting here, listening to Bronwyn and thinking of who are the best people that I know that could possibly help. She appears quite stuck, trapped, retelling the past in such detail that it was like watching highlights from the worst of a “Today Tonight” show. So graphic at times it is almost unreal and unbelievable that someone could be treated this way.
I am thinking to myself. ‘I am way out of my depth here. This is so far out of left field. This is not what I normally deal with when I am working with people on their relationships. How can I help Bronwyn?”
What I normally go through with people to help them with relationships simply is not appropriate here with someone suffering and struggling to understand how she can be lied to and abused so badly by men that she had loved. So I listen, and listen as Bronwyn talks through facebook video on her phone. I guessed it was her phone as it keeps moving as she moves around her room.
Bronwyn starts to slow down and I feel I have an opportunity to ask a question. So I ask “What are your spiritual beliefs?” I am curious to see what people’s belief are. Bronwyn replies that she believes in God and the bible. It was God and the bible that had got her through these tough times of abuse when she was bringing up her kids. She believes that she was and is being looked after.
I ask what is most important to her, in fact what is the reason she was still living today and what is she living for? I could imagine for some going through what Bronwyn had endured, it would have been easy just to give up. Bronwyn replies, first her mother. Her mother had an accident, has some health issues and needs to be cared for. So Bronwyn is helping her mother get back to better health. Next reason is her children. She does not want to see her grown up children go through what she has been through. Her children have already had relationships that weren’t that healthy. Bronwyn said “I am a parent and just have to keep going.”
Bronwyn shares she wants to write a book so she can help others handle domestic violence. She has practically no trust in men and relationships.
I am listening to a woman in a lot of pain. Who has been to many counsellors, is on antidepressants and still fighting to a have a meaningful life.
Earlier in the day I put up a blog titled “Who Am I Really?” So I follow through with the questions: Are you your body? Are your emotions? Are you your mind and thoughts? Who are you? ( you can read the blog to get the gist of that part of the conversation). In short we agree that we were Soul here having experiences. And that some experiences are very painful. Bronwyn has had a lot of painful experiences.
Resolving the Past – Creating your Future
I ask Bronwyn if she had started writing her book. And she replies ‘No’. She is working on getting herself better this year. This gives me an idea. I suggest to Bronwyn that she goes and buys an A4 exercise book and whenever she thinks about the past, she is to write it down.
This for a number of reasons:
First to get it out of her head and down on paper. Rather than painful events being continually being relived and retold.
Second is that the past is only good for two things: To learn from and be grateful for. So after you have written down what has happened and what you are feeling, write a heading “What did I learn.” and leave space to write down your learnings. The a second heading “What I am greateful for.” These need to be in the positive as we want to take these learnings with us into the future.
Third that this would form the start of her book and
Forth she can CLOSE the book after she written stuff down. So that she can physically and symbolically CLOSE the book on these events.
I now ask “What happens if you drive your car always looking in the rear vision mirror?’ Bronwyn replies, “You will probably crash.” I point out that is how a lot of people live their lives, always looking to the past. And every time you look to the past it fires up in your body and you have to relive it again and again and again.
I suggest Bronwyn buy a second book for the Future. And that every time she writes something in the Book of the Past, she closes the Book of the Past and write in her Book of the Future about how her life will be like. And leave the Book of the Future OPEN.
When you write in the Book of the Future, you write, “I am….” or “I have..” statements and only in the positive. Even if you just start with “I am Happy.” and write that a number of times. “I am successful and love what I do.”, “I am in a wonderful loving relationship.”. We can not put anyone else in here as we can not control the desicions others make only the decsions we make outself.
I am now looking at a very different person. I see someone alive, smiling, I see hope. Bronwyn says “This is simple and I can do it, and I wonder why in all my years of counselling and going over the same stuff again and again that someone had not suggested this before”.
I have to be honest, I have never thought of this before until now. It is amazing what can happen when we run out of options, reach out and trust there is an answer.
Thank you Bronwyn for reaching out. Bronwyn is my age, 56, and here is how our messaging finished tonight.
Bronwyn: Thankyou very much for taking your time with ill let you know how i go thankyou god bless you keith
Bronwyn: Have a safe trip for mother
(I am heading to NZ for my mothers 95 birthday)
Keith: Thanks Bronwyn. I look forward to hearing how you are going….. and what life is like for you and your family when you are 66.
Keep tuned for updates…….. And what is your vision for what your life will be like 10 years down the track?
So if you've got any questions regarding this blog or any aspect of your relationship, why not take advantage of the complimentary 30-minute session I offer. Contact Me to see how I can help you have more healthier and happier relationships. Until next time.
Keith Flynn BSc, Dip. Hyp.