Many emotional abuse victims have been accused of having a victim mentality—as if the abuse isn’t real. Some victims don’t like to be labeled a “victim.” It sounds weak and powerless. Recently, one of my listeners asked this question: “How do we accept the reality of abuse without living as a victim?”
Exploring Survivor Identity
How Understanding Your Personality Can Help You Get Unstuck in Your Life Part Two: Interview with Stacey Wynn on the Enneagram
Last week we explored the Myers-Briggs personality typology, and today we have a special guest, Stacey Wynn, talking with us about another personality typology: the Enneagram. Not only will the Enneagram inform you about who you are as a person and what motivates you, but it will also help point you toward where you can grow and develop.
No matter what you’ve heard about the Enneagram in the past, come along for an authentic conversation about the history of the Enneagram, its benefits, and how it can help you heal after abuse.
How Understanding Your Personality Can Help You Get Unstuck in Your Life Part One: Interview with Becky on Myers-Briggs
Who are you, really? And how do the different parts of you work together to create the whole you? What makes you tick? What makes you un-tick? (That’s not a word, but you know what I mean, right?)
Our resident Myers-Briggs expert, Rebecca Ferris, is here to talk all things Myers-Briggs (surprise surprise). This episode is jam-packed full of golden nuggets about what each letter in the Myers-Briggs system actually means, what those letters mean about you and how you function, and of course, how the topics of abuse and personality types meet and mingle.
Even if you have never taken the Myers-Briggs test, you will absolutely fall in love with Becky and this whole “secret code” once the episode is over. If you would like to take the test either before or after the episode, we highly recommend taking it through Personality Hacker (for free!)
I’d like to introduce you to my friend Myrtle. She’s a backseat driver. The kind you can’t ignore.
She’s MY backseat driver. And yours. Myrtle thinks she’s the help-iest thing ever.
She’s a big reason behind many of our behavior patterns. The places and ways we’re stuck. Our self-sabotage. Myrtle is the explanation for a lot of our recurrent fears. She’s loud, proud, and she never shuts up. She provides the same old thoughts that plague us, day after day, year after year.
What do we do with Myrtle? (Not to mention the bus full of other backseat drivers, in this case, younger versions of yourself.)
It starts with realizing there are “no bad parts” in us, including Myrtle. I’ll tell you all about it in this episode, one of five upcoming sessions featured in the Flying Free program.
Abusers who leave a relationship are as rare as steak tartare.
In fact, waiting for an abuser to leave is similar to waiting for them to change.
Or asking for a hippopotamus for Christmas. Riding a unicorn. Losing weight on a cake-only diet.
If abusers are so unhappy with their victims, why don’t they leave first? Because staying fits within the point of abuse: to control you. And unless he’s discovered an excellent and easy alternative, you’re an endless supply for your emotional abuser’s selfishness.
On top of that, if you’re a Christian woman, he knows you take your vows seriously. He’s counting on you to stick it out, no matter what. He’s got “God” on his side.
Finally, when he mistreats you, like any sane person or hurt puppy, you react, and it ain’t pretty. You’re so ashamed of your behavior. He knows it. So instead of focusing on the harm he’s doing, you’re consumed by what a failure—a raging, bitter wretch of a person—you feel like. And you wonder: Am I the abuser?
You’re stuck between a boulder (an impossible, destructive marriage) and a hard place (your paralyzing beliefs).
It’s a thief.
Abuse robs us of the truth about ourselves.
Abuse steals our sense of safety.
Abuse consumes our time and energy.
And when we’re overwhelmed by all that abuse has taken from us, we can’t focus on the future or growth or discovery—the things that feed our soul and nurture our lives.
So how do we find that little girl full of dreams again? How do we connect to the young woman who had stars in her eyes? Where’s the door to a sense of belonging and self and fulfillment? How do we build a future on a busted-up past?
I’ve led many women through these questions. And we have to start by getting very precise. Because we don’t find our lives…we create them.
I have a confession.
I’m a recovering asshole.
Years ago, I had a friend. Her husband cheated on her. Then, he did it again. He kept cheating on her. He wasn’t sorry.
Do you know what I told her to do?
Stay with him. Pray and stay. Worse, I was proud to tell her this advice. Because I was God’s girl scout, and I knew best.
Now, I can easily imagine the grief and further pain my words and assumptions added to her heartbreak. I thought everything was black and white. A + B = C, every time. Life was a math problem, and I had the answer.
Boy, did I eat crow (and that’s just one example).
But in many ways, I’m no different than everybody else. And there IS an equation that applies to us all:
Our thoughts make our feelings. Our feelings make our beliefs. And our beliefs make us.
We become what we believe. We are like the god we worship.
What’s your god like? And what do you do when someone else’s god says you’re bad?
If you break abuse down to the nitty-gritty, at its heart is something called “emotional childhood.” Abusers think everybody should make their life work. Everyone should cater to their whims. Everybody is responsible for their emotions. For fixing them, moment by moment. They shouldn’t have to do anything. Like a stunted emotional child.
If you’re a wife in this situation, you come to believe that you are supposed to fix your husband. You think you’re the only one who can (and that “fixing” him is even possible).
Any movement to protect yourself, to detach, to assign responsibility to him for HIS OWN LIFE and CHOICES, feels like betrayal and selfishness and just plain gross. Your husband and many religious people would agree.
Which leads us right back to: Am I responsible for fixing my husband? Is detaching from him to protect myself wrong?
I’ve been asked these questions hundreds—if not thousands—of times, so I’ve fleshed out an answer that addresses them AND all those icky rabbit trails in your mind.
And unlike what you’ve been told in church, online, or by your husband, this answer doesn’t require you to throw yourself in a pool to save a person who wants to drown…and drag you under too.
Is the last thing you googled, “Am I crazy?” or “Why does my husband hate me?” or the literal title of this episode?
Bleh. Living in such horrible, constant confusion can make us obsessive. Not crazy obsessive. The “desperate for answers” kind. The “I’m living in purgatory and I hate it!” kind. The “Is it me even though I’m trying so hard?” kind.
If you’re looking for a fixed point of reference—a way to know what’s real and true, then you’ve stumbled across something better than 6.84 million Google results. Because I’m going to answer your question in incredible detail.