A true test of increased awareness is recognizing abusive situations quickly. Since childhood trauma is abusive, we learn to falsely believe abuse is normal. As we grow and gain more confidence we can prevent further trauma by recognizing abuse and stopping it in its tracks. It can be very helpful to become aware of some of the symptoms of abuse. Physical stress: your body may be more tense, you will likely feel stiffness, aches and pains even at the thought of engaging in the abusive situation. Safety: many times people who use manipulative tactics will work hard to build a facade with the intention of luring you in but you may find yourself feeling confused by just how unsafe you feel. Devaluation: abuse can be very subtle and disrespect can come in many forms, one of them is feeling unheard. You know you are communicating efficiently but it may have little affect or garner any results when abuse is present. Disrespect: Abuse can escalate for various reasons and blatant disrespect can become more evident as it does. An example of this would be disdain. When a person looks right at you with a look of disgust (they may even deny it), this is disdain. They may leave clues for you to find to prove how little they value you as a person.
As we continue our personal growth work, we often continue to face larger tests, sometimes even where you’d least expect them. The key is to maintain awareness and continue to process and move into deeper levels of conscious behavior.
- To increase awareness start noticing daily drama – There are many bothersome things happening around us often that we ignore. A few indicators of this are when we find ourselves reacting emotionally rather than responding calmly, or we complain about a person or situation rather than assess our issue with it.
- Remember that you are safe – Emotions can be so overwhelming we can panic which serves to add to the duress. Get more grounded in the moment – ask yourself what the actual threat is and if are you physically unsafe to shift to a new calmer perspective.
- Get it out of your head by talking it out. If choosing to talk you will need a trusted empathetic active listener, who can mirror back what you say, acknowledge and validate how you feel without telling you how to fix the problem. It’s your problem to work, not theirs.
- Or choose writing – either way, now you can gain awareness around the actual problem with this assessment: 1. what happened, describe, or write down the incident that caused the concern. 2. Get descriptive about the actual feeling. This is the first step out of the loop, when you can name it, but it the descriptive word must resonate with you fully. Some examples: we feel nervousness (this is new, and my inexperience is making me very uncomfortable), stress (this person or situation makes me feel pressure) or anxiety (I always feel like there is a problem and may or may not be sure why). This will begin to help clarify your thoughts.
- Understand specifically why it bothers you. You know what happened and what you feel but go deeper into why it bothers you. This points back to a hidden trigger which is the key to releasing the block/pain/fear. Keeping in mind that this could be a complex trigger which may need more work. Emotional baggage needs to be broken down fully and cleared so it won’t reoccur. That’s a life lesson.
- Linking it to the past – ask yourself when the first time was you remember feeling a time like this that caused this feeling. This will take you to the core root of that trigger. Most all core damage has roots in a false belief of not being good enough or having little or no value.
Taking care of your emotional health has to be your first priority. Don’t feel badly if you’ve invested a lot in a particular situation only to realize it is an unhealthy place for you. Don’t hesitate to remove yourself for your own wellness at that point.