July 08, 2008

Stop The Abuse

Circle of Dosso DossiItalian, Ferrara, 1525

This may not be my typical and norm message, but it needs to be written. I’m not afraid to write bluntly, despite the marshmallow softness of a chastened heart. Marshmallows don’t melt when the heat rises. They only melt if they’re skewered on sticks and roasted over open fires. So listen to a piece of advice from someone who knows how hard it is to face reality, how frightening it is see sticks and fire, how challenging it is to fight the good fight by refusing to put up with abuse. From anyone. Especially from someone professing love while acting in hate.

Now I don’t care if the abuser is a parent or your siblings, your church leader or your partner. I don’t even care if the abuser is a neighbor you deal with everyday. It doesn’t matter if your doctor, shaman, psychic or spiritual leader of global repute took advantage of your trust. In fact, I don’t care WHO is abusing you or why. Your job is to STOP THE ABUSE. Even if you struggle understanding why people hurt those who love them, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if they have malignant narcissism, clinical codependence, sociopathic traits, or even if the only thing they have is a bug up their ass. Your job is to STOP THE ABUSE---to refuse to allow your integrity to be sullied by nasty, icky people.

Maybe your partner or parent comes from a long line of generational abuse you can trace back to Methuselah; including a genealogical graph complete with specific disorders and mental illnesses corroborated by diagnostic criteria and irrefutable brain scans. It simply doesn’t matter why someone abuses. What matters is that you stand up for what’s right and true and refuse to pass the buck or pay it forward.

I believed and continue to believe that human beings have come to a crucial point in history when we are the ones who have everything we need to STOP the legacy of abuse. We are strong enough, intelligent enough, conscious enough to face reality, as ugly and fearful as it may be. We are asked...no, wait, we are required to say, “Dammit, the abuse stops with me. I will not offer excuses as to why I can’t help myself and I won’t give excuses to the abuser who refuses to stop.” We step up to the demands we’re forced to face even if we feel like puking our guts out, we STOP THE ABUSE. No excuses. Not for you or me or our grandparents, not for our children or anyone. The only people who can stop abuse are the abused. We are the ones who’ve been prepared to overcome our all-too-human struggle: to rise above the summation of terrible things people have done to us, or to our predecessors. We are the ones who can make a difference. We’re ready to do this. We are the only ones who can do this by refusing to put up with abuse or becoming abusers ourselves.

Let me tell you something about reality. The world in general doesn't give a shit about your abusive relationship. Not that the world condones abuse but because it isn’t anybody’s responsibility to stop abuse. It’s yours. You are the only person who can do that for yourself.

Now, I’ll bet most people reading this message have more enlightenment than the Dalai Lama and fifty Bodhisattvas crammed together in a Tibetan stew pot. So take your compassion for all god’s chilluns and do something that will crack a wedge in the world’s indifference.

Write a Compassion List.

Yes, that’s right. Get a piece of paper and do it. Write down all the people you know who’ve been harmed and are suffering. You can include narcissists on your benevolence list if you want. Heaven’s knows marshmallow hearts are loath to deny charity to anyone. Now take that compassion list and number it from one to five thousand or however many people you feel sorry for. And put yourself at the top. YOU are numero uno, top of the list, crème de la crème, and the first person to take comfort in your merciful heart.

I remember several years ago when the shock of the Devalue & Discard finally reached a point where even a tender mender like myself could no longer deny the truth. I lay in my bed for weeks, forgetting to eat, forgetting to drink, forgetting about everything I needed to do to save myself. Thirty pounds later, I walked from the bed to the bathroom and my pajama bottoms fell off. That's when I witnessed my own self-punishment for not feeling worthy of a partner’s love. That’s right. All my years of concern for a suffering man, tending his wounded ego with compassion, understanding, forgiveness and kindness and still, none of it had made a dent in the global capacity for abuse. Why not? Because now I was abusing myself. I was dying like a martyr on the cross of unconditional love, believing another human being should validate my worth.

I stood buck-naked in front of my mirror taking stock of a miserable woman and wondering what had become of the girl who believed in everyone’s capacity to change and heal. Why wouldn’t I believe that? I had done it for myself. I had witnessed other people do the same thing. I had accepted my role as a wife living UP to her commitments even when they got me down. I drew myself up full-height and said, “The ABUSE stops with me. I don’t care whether or not his childhood was miserable. I don’t care whether or not he’s on a temporary fugue with another woman who’s on a fugue from reality, too. Look at yerself, CZ. Now there’s a healthy dose of reality for ya. You’re wasting away like a loyal collie whose master walked into the sunset, leaving her as a living testament to his power. You don’t have to follow him around or lie in your bed hoping he’ll return a smidgeon of the compassion he received. He isn’t going to. He doesn’t know how to. But you do. So be kind to yourself. STOP THE ABUSE.”

And I did. And so can you.

When you take action to protect yourself from those who DO NOT CARE and will not change, you are doing the RIGHT thing. You are living up to the expectations you were born to face. You have everything you need to change the future by refusing to participate in power & control relationships, subjecting yourself to spiritual degradation, and the heartless trampling of your vulnerabilities. If what you’re getting in return for your high-minded principles is abusive, STOP IT. You’re the only person who can do that. Do it for yourself.

Maybe there comes a time when you’ve completed your compassion list by offering a healing dose of kindness to every suffering soul you’ve ever met. If you’ve done that and if you are inclined to understand ‘why’ people do the despicable things they do, then offer residual compassion to narcissists: egotistical sadists who know very well what they do. Sure, they deserve compassion but they’re way down the list from all those who merit compassion first. So Stand Up. Get a Grip. Take charge of what you believe the right thing to do might be. Don’t allow your love to be degraded by martyrdom and endless suffering. Love yourself enough to STOP THE ABUSE by refusing to ABUSE YOURSELF.

Love your children enough to STOP THE ABUSE.

Love the future enough to STOP THE ABUSE.

Grant clemency to yourself and step out of the prison with both feet clad in combat boots, ready to do battle with fear & self-doubt.

Feel sorry for yourself, cry a river, go to Costco and get a case of Kleenex but the first step towards a humane society is STOPPING THE ABUSE. Refuse to pass the buck or offer excuses as to why you deserve to be a grease spot. Get yourself up, dust off your skinned knees, hold your head high and rise above the wicked things you’ve endured. You are the only one who can show by your actions, that you believe in your self worth. You are the only one who can stand up for what you perceive to be true about humanity: that we are capable of love; that we are more than savage beasts fighting for dominance and control. Don’t ever allow abuse as an excuse, nor sacrifice yourself on the alter of unconditional love. It ain’t love if it hurts and there’s no such thing as unconditional in a conditional world.

What good is your death if the abuser continues abusing even after you’re pushing up the daisies? If you believe in the human capacity to care about one another, then prove it. Be compassionate to yourself and STOP THE ABUSE.

Much hope for a kinder future,


  1. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  2. http://galewarnings.blogspot.com/2008/07/antidotes-to-groupthink-part-one-inner.html

    "The members must have genuine psychological literacy; they must be able to 'see' the group process as it is taking place. And each member must be able to understand and verbalize group processes, with strong emphasis on seeing one's own contributions to them, and their influence on one's own behavior." (Antidotes to GroupThink-Part One: Inner-directedness, GaleWarnings)

    Dear Stormchild,

    I posted my Stop the Abuse message today just prior to reading your entry about Inner-Directedness. What you have written corroborates my hopeful view of our current psyche-literate culture. You comment struck me as being relative to my perception that WE are ready to confront injustice (abuse) because of our knowledge about human beings and unhealthy relationships.

    While spiritual guidance has been useful for defining, encouraging and maintaining higher principles than the dog-eat-dog reality we live in, psychology now offers essential information about normal and abnormal behavior. If we erroneously assume everybody wants to be a Good Person and do The Right Thing, we're gonna end up in a world of disillusionment and pain. Normal people are not abusers. Period.

    And really Stormchild, I am sick of the mentality that negative people attract abusers who can teach them a lesson they couldn’t have learned otherwise. I frankly don’t care WHY someone ended up in an abusive relationship; in fact, it doesn’t matter if they were depressed, OCD, emotionally stunted, codependent and bipolar all rolled up into one. It’s far too easy for people to blame the victim whom they see as powerless, which makes them uncomfortable about their personal security in an uncontrollable world.

    We have to keep our eye on THE TRUTH and the truth is: Abuse is a choice the abuser makes. And anyone who might not be capable of protecting him or herself requires INCREASED social responsibility securing their safety, not less.


  3. "While spiritual guidance has been useful for defining, encouraging and maintaining higher principles than the dog-eat-dog reality we live in, psychology now offers essential information about normal and abnormal behavior."
    ~ CZBZ (CZ is busy LOL!)

    I have attempted to get this through to a real great girlfriend of mine.
    I recently said to her..USE ALL OPTIONS...NOT JUST CHURCH.

    I am always amazed that we can be at a party together where she is laughing and being absolutely gracious and kind...fun loving and way over the top supportive and then I meet her in a private place and she collapses to tears.

    "I am sick of the mentality that negative people attract abusers who can teach them a lesson they couldn’t have learned otherwise. I frankly don’t care WHY someone ended up in an abusive relationship;" ~ CZBZ

    HA! Abusers teaching..Now that is a new one in my ears.

    CZ I sometimes lose my patience and am unable to tolerate tension from existing opposites as well when I run into ignorance.(there is that duality again which comes from the mechanics of rational thinking).

    Mostly because I know this ignorance is what is voting and driving hummers to the corner market as well as treating others as less than which upkeeps and is abusive.

    Not too long ago I was visiting my mother. I responded to her to something she said. She turned and looked at me and said ..."that doesn't matter".

    Now, how far should I take this? Where do I place the ignorance of devaluing another persons voice...mine in this case, it could have been someone else.

    So when someone says the opposite of what I would like to hear...what I have learned to be true to my values or insights or understanding aka knowledge or simply my experience...where do I put it and how do I deal with it.

    I resolve it by going forward with my truth and not giving too much heed (energy/attention) to the lack of awareness in others. I am well aware that I live among all kinds of humans with various levels of awareness and education. When i say lack of awareness that can stretch in many directions as well as on different layers.

    I do not give the other persons voice the strength I give my own. I am responsible for my own and not theirs. END of deal. To play with a fool, to play with a narc..to play footsie with some ones hate really does nothing but create war. It doesn't solve a thing or open any gifts.

    Just think of all of the revolutionaries who were tired of the mentality that kept the soul in a cage. It helps me to see the larger "CONTINUUM" in order to keep on the path and not waste my energy with my attention on ignorance.

    Ignorance is a small place..to tight for me...I don't live there totally. I am know other people do.

    I LOVE your energy in this entry.



  4. Ugh CZ,

    Yesterday I wrote a long response congratulating you on this amazing post -- lol -- and it was lost!

    Needless to say, the words have evaporated into thin air just like my post has vanished into cyberspace.

    Great words, CZ. You are a Wondrous Woman of Worth! A double WOWie!



  5. Well, dear Eyes, when it comes to religious ideals and reality, Woody Allen summed up DENIAL fairly well and he ought to know:

    “The lion and the calf shall lie down together but the calf won't get much sleep.”

    And if the calf keeps sleeping in a dream world of unconditional virtues and humanistic sentimentalisms, the calf will be eaten by the lion and blamed by onlookers for being stupid.

    It’s one thing to have binocular vision into the eternities but we’d better exchange our binoculars with a microscope if we want to live in reality, rather than dream about a life that doesn’t exist. Yet. If. Who knows?

    I hope your girlfriend takes your advice and doesn’t limit her resources to religious instruction only. Abusive relationships are prolonged if religious counselors with good intentions lack knowledge about pathological behavior. I know. I did my best to live a moral life, which meant: not judging others, accepting everyone as a child of God, forgiving, and believing my support role was my ‘highest’ calling.

    I also believed (yes, I have to admit this now), my role was to be responsible for the family’s welfare and his role was to be the authority over the family. Where does that patriarchal concept get us? Let me put it a narcissist’s terms: His job was to maintain power and my job was to clean up his messes and make ‘em pretty enough for social consumption.

    I think we err in over-applying spiritual solutions to a relative world. Though our religious leaders are learning about abuse in order to better serve their people, I doubt they fully understand what we’re up against when we come to them for counsel. I wasted too many years of my life with a partner who used my ‘ideals’ to distract, minimize and deny his atrocious behavior. We need to realize the abuser maintains control through malicious use of power over others. We may not be wise to their game until their arrogance and abuse becomes too obvious to ignore. By then, we’re suffering, the kids are suffering, and everyone is suffering except for the abuser who justifies his behavior by condemning others.

    We can resort to using power over them, of course; but that gets us nowhere but engaged in full-out war. The only way to win is not to play, which means: Stop The Abuse by refusing to engage. If it means leaving the relationship, then leave the relationship before resorting to abusive tactics, too. A good-hearted woman can only go so far before she defends herself, sometimes betraying her own beliefs and values. If religious leaders are overly-focused on the after life and ignoring reality, they are encouraging people to Lose Their Souls, not find them.


  6. Thank you for commenting, Louise.

    I know you know of what I speak. We both had to Stop the Abuse before it Stopped Us.

    And here we are, not only surviving but thriving!

    I've so enjoyed getting to know you from the very beginning of our journey to where we are now---five or six years later.

    There's just no stopping a Good woman now, is there?

    Hugs back!


  7. "It’s one thing to have binocular vision into the eternities but we’d better exchange our binoculars with a microscope if we want to live in reality, rather than dream about a life that doesn’t exist. Yet. If. Who knows?"~CZBZ

    I think the ability to exercise both ways of seeing is extremely important. What i mean by this is binocular vision and magnified vision. They both got me out of the hole and into the whole. Why? because I am a part of both. Both collective and subjective are what creates a life experience.

    Yet I will have you know I do not believe in after life so if the eternities you speak of are along those line...got to say...I have no concern of what happens after I am gone. For me it all happens now as a human as I understand it to be NOW.

    It might appear that I am talking about something different than you but I bet you I am not.

    It has to be taken in account the subjective experience such as how one is raised by two very certain parents and ones personal story then there is the story of an entire culture , the times and how those times have developed. why heck just reading the stuff I do I am able to see where certain rituals and ideas were formulated and all of the archetypes that exist for all humans.

    just to let you know that I am seeing a whole new set of ideas/values coming from you and i think it is great. Seems like you are getting the pieces of the puzzle arranged and creatively finding your picture

    Anonymous eyes.

  8. Dear CZ,

    Thank you for the powerful message. I also remember the days of not eating and sleeping, wondering when "things" would change. As I recovered, I regressed, measuring my small increments of improved health on another persons ability to give me what I needed at the time and Totally missing the point - the reality that abusive people are here to stay.

    In early recovery I said the words, It's not over till WE MAKE it over" and looking back I had a glimmer of insight as to the road ahead. Yet, it's been years now and there remains only one fail proof coping mechanism for me...
    if it feels abusive...STEP OUT! STOP IT! Don't second guess it - LEAVE IT ALONE! And, take the risk to SPEAK OUT to the police, judges, co-workers and family...the the nice neighbor and the kind aunt.

    After reading this blog what comes to mind is the "alone" does not mean lonely...it's origin means "all one." So, next time I feel alone as I step away from those I love, I will remember there are many of us and women as yourself that are fearless in their plight for survival and we are not alone.

    Thank you,

  9. Very powerful words CZ.

    It is inspiring to envision you standing before the mirror, depleted, with you pajamas falling down and yet finding the power and courage deep within you.

    That image now comes into my awareness when I start to feel kind of wimpy and pathetic. Then, I stand tall and remember that CZ did it and so can I.

    Thank you.


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