My Journey Recovering from Abuse and Why I Try to Be as Real as Possible on my Blog

One of the things I try to do in writing on my blog about my experiences and lessons in life is that I like to be real.

I try to counter what I talked about in my last article about our culture being narcissistic and based on appearances. That we are shallow, we try to keep up with the Joneses, paste on a smile and say we’re OK.

These behaviours above serve us in some ways because we don’t necessarily want to spill our guts to people we don’t know. It gives us privacy and the right to project an image we want so that we can grieve in private, or feel the way we feel, but in private.

But the appearances based culture and the culture of silence also works for the abuser and the oppressor, not the abused.

One of the common characteristics of narcissistic, dysfunctional and abusive families is that no-one on the outside can know what is going on in the inside. There is a culture of secrecy and also often, denial.

“You may not speak about this to anyone.”

“You are twisting it – I did not do that to you.”

“We don’t air our dirty laundry in public.”

Another aspect of how I was raised was image management and ensuring no-one ever gets to see your weaknesses or vulnerabilities. This is another feature of dysfunctional families. We don’t talk about abuse, addictions, mental illnesses, because it makes us ashamed. We’re different from other people. And we keep that secret, and paste on the smile and pretend all is well. We keep it locked away.

So the aim of my writing is to counter that.

It’s hard being honest in what I write. It makes me freak out – did I share too much? Did I show too much vulnerability and my clients will think I am a train wreck for having had issues? It’s a fine line between being real and over-sharing.

The main difference between the two for me is that I don’t share when I’m in the middle of something. I don’t use this blog for therapy. I write when I have worked through something, and I can help others see they might not be alone, or when there is something useful I learned that came out of it. I won’t share my struggles as they happen – I will give you the sanitized version with the lessons.

The times when I have written about the past, and problems I’ve had, I invariably get an email that demonstrates little understanding of what I’ve written about. In response to articles like:

I’ve had the following from complete strangers:

“Any time you want someone to smack you back into positivity, I’m here for you.”

“I don’t understand why you should be sad when you ‘have it all’?”

“Maybe you should try some form of healing? Here are my recommendations for you.”

Messages like that can be irritating and at the same time I understand because it’s just gaps in peoples’ experiences or knowledge of me and my experiences. And it’s a common thing to want to help and support.

I’ve also had responses from people that show that they appreciate other people writing about hardships because it makes them feel they’re not alone.

But I want to go back to the emails such as ‘let me help you smack you back into positivity’.

I want to talk more about my path and explain why smacking someone with this particular family background back into positivity does not work.  I’m going to share what I’ve learned recovering from my abusive family and talk about my healing work with adult children of narcissistic families and abuse victims. This is really my niche in healing.

First of all, some details:

When I have told the details of my childhood to people (there are a few who know all of what happened and some of my friends don’t know), the usual response is “how are you still sane?”

Even my therapist couldn’t believe that I would appear so high functioning in the light of what happened in our household growing up. Some members of my family are not high functioning at all.

I don’t want to give too many details because the people it involves are still living, and I don’t want to infringe on their privacy so I’m not going to name names or name relationships.

But this is what went on in our household:

  • Drugs
  • Stealing and other “unethical” activities
  • Violence and physical abuse
  • Misogyny
  • Alcoholism
  • Suicide attempts
  • In my opinion, emotional stuntedness, emotional neglect, and emotional cruelty
  • Narcissism
  • Co-dependence and enabling
  • Controlling and enmeshing, a stealing of self-determination and personal power

I have been battling the demons that I inherited since I left home. Back then I didn’t know why the demons were there, because I was told every family has problems and this is all normal.

I was also told by them that I had a loving family, who provided everything for me (it’s true that I was well provided for materially), who were doing their best.  This is a viewpoint that is upheld by everyone in the family. The confusing thing about my childhood is that it wasn’t all about the above. There were also good times. I had toys to play with, friends to play with. There were efforts made towards happiness but there were some crucial elements missing that ended up being, in my opinion psychologically and emotionally abusive. A compliment would be given or a nice thing would be said, then in the next breath, you would be cruelly put down. It was crazy making and for a long time I learned to ignore the critical input. But I felt despair for much of my childhood. I knew something was not right or I thought perhaps it was me who had something wrong with me.

When I realized that I didn’t have an easy childhood or time growing up, and I realized what it did to me, then I started working on the healing in earnest.

What sort of problems do adult children from dysfunctional, narcissistic and abusive families face?

Believe it or not, the effects of an abusive childhood are not something you snap out of.

The American poet Sharon Olds said about her childhood:

“It is a lifelong labour trying to turn away from lies such as that one is worthless.”

(Feeling you’re worthless can result from physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse. Any kind of abuse leaves you with the core belief that you are worthless and you’re a ‘thing’, not a person.)

Anyway, what she says about it being a lifelong labour is true and there is a reason for it.

There is a very crucial time in a child’s development which is roughly between birth and the age of 3. The brain is still forming and neural pathways are still forming. This is true of course throughout all of childhood but especially during those toddler years.

If you are nursed or looked after by someone without empathy, someone cruel or critical or if you are not given enough physical touch, left to cry, emotionally or physically abandoned, or if dangerous or frightening or traumatic things happen to you, it affects the way your brain grows and forms.

The two main effects that I have studied involve the stress hormones such as cortisol and the bonding hormone oxytocin.

When anxiety inducing things keep happening in childhood or adolescence (traumas, etc.) your cortisol and adrenaline responses become skewed and stop working the way they should. This means that later on in life, when you perceive a threat to your wellbeing, your nervous system goes into overdrive. You produce more of hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine and adrenaline than a person who wasn’t exposed to such traumas growing up. This results in anxiety and an over-response to stressful events. If you had a difficult childhood, it’s likely you will end up more stressed more easily and more often than the average person, and you will need to find ways to counter this such as deep breathing and meditation. You may also end up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/or panic attacks.

The other part of the brain response that gets stunted if you have an insensitive caretaker or parents you cannot rely on emotionally, is the oxytocin response.

Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that encourages us to seek intimacy and companionship (because biologically there is safety in packs.)

Without proper mirroring and empathy in childhood, the oxytocin response becomes stunted meaning that abused and neglected children do not get a warm rush of oxytocin on the same scale as children who were cared for and empathized with. As a result from an early age, we stop trusting people and we don’t want to be around people because we don’t have as much of a biological incentive to. We don’t feel as good from doing it because the brain wants to protect us from others. We may develop overactive empathy (also known as hyper-vigilance) in order to be on high alert, to give us an edge in surviving, so that we can ascertain where the next physical or emotional threat will come from.

In addition, having higher levels of cortisol running through your bloodstream (as a result of trauma and abuse) opens you up to depression, major and minor as well as the anxiety I already mentioned, and a greater likelihood of chronic disease.

So in order to overcome the effects of this trauma and abuse, you need to heal, retrain your brain and nervous system responses.

In addition, all of the above interferes with relationships.

Codependent and abusive relationships

When you have abusive or dysfunctional relationships with mum and/or dad, expect to have a troubled romantic life.

The repetition compulsion sets you up for seeking out the same kinds of relationships with men or women, as you have with your parents.

In my case, I loved narcissistic and emotionally avoidant men, or men who needed a rescuer. I jumped from one abusive relationship to another since the age of 17. I have been single for three and a half years and this has been necessary for my healing. My first boyfriend was verbally abusive and a misogynist (I’ve had this more than once). I’ve been called a whore, slut and bitch by men who said they loved me (for no reason apart from being a woman they were annoyed with). I’ve been hit. I’ve had cruel and abusive things said about my character, appearance and body that have taken years to heal. I’ve been abandoned emotionally and expected to have no feelings or needs. I’ve been used. I’ve been a victim.  Some people have had maybe one treacherous partner who they later found out was a bad egg. I’ve had several. Basically, I’ve trusted the wrong men. There have been a few good ones too that ended eventually but weren’t abusive. This abuse that I sought out could have destroyed me after what I experienced in my childhood and adolescence. It didn’t.

But this is a result of the dysfunction I grew up in. I looked for relationships that felt familiar. I was trying to resolve what happened to me. And I kept as much of it hidden as possible so no-one would know what a train wreck I was.

Healing

So this is why Sharon Olds is right. Have enough trauma or damage done in childhood and indeed it is a lifelong labour turning away from it. It’s not negativity or sadness that you can be smacked out of.  You work at it in your own time and you rebuild yourself.

I have tried many things – cord cutting is a favourite.

Therapy, in my view, is essential.

Matrix Re-imprinting for old traumas.

Bodywork such as massage to reconnect with my body.

I’ve had hypnotherapy for the earthquake and intend to explore that more for present and past life traumas.

The good things about all of the above?

I am not a trainwreck or a victim – I am a survivor. In spite of all the above, I’ve built a successful business that gives me great joy and supports me financially. I managed to get through my education. I worked out where I want to live and took steps to live there. I cut myself off from the people that hurt me last year and I have some great friends.

All that I have been through has helped me as a healer. I don’t have any training as a conventional therapist but I can smell co-dependent and narcissistic family systems a mile off.  I have a good understanding of attachment theory, abuse, grief work, and various personality disorders. I have compassion and empathy for other peoples’ struggles. And I also understand that we are all on a spiritual journey. I don’t tell my clients to buck up and snap out of it. I truly understand that life can be hard because I’ve had really low points. My heart today is more open than it has ever been, and these days I know how to lay down boundaries and tell abusive people to get lost.

Did you relate to any of this?

The issues above are ones that can affect us all. Maybe your story is more extreme than mine or not as extreme. For example, we may have a co-dependent parent who is not cruel but smothering. Or we may have one issue but not the other.

Either way, the answer is healing. And love.

Philip Larkin – This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn

By fools in old-style hats and coats,

Who half the time were soppy-stern

And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

And don’t have any kids yourself.

Book recommendations for adult children of dysfunctional, abusive and narcissistic families:

Meet Anna

Hi, I’m Anna Sayce! My purpose here on this website is to provide practical techniques and information to help empaths to understand, and fix the root of their energetic overwhelm & also to help sensitives to embrace and develop their intuitive gifts. I believe that developing our spiritual & intuitive side is very powerful and allows us to improve our own lives, and if we wish, even make the world a better place for others. Discover more >

46 Comments

  1. Avatar

    This is something that I struggle with, myself. Once I decide that “I won’t be silenced!” Then I have to rediscover that privacy is also a right that I can claim. And then sometimes I don’t know anymore if I’m quiet because I’m claiming my right to privacy or I’m quiet because I’m comfortable with silencing and oppression. This would be easier to compartmentalize if one were in a profession where it would never come up, but spiritual and psychic development has a lot to do, I think, with life experience and one’s personal journey, so it seems like a very fine line.

  2. Avatar

    My god….i have never encountered someone putting my life and psyche into words….I am still speechless after reading this article.

    I will be in contact. I feel you can help me heal.

    Thank you.

  3. Avatar

    I love that you’re so willing to share this part of yourself despite the risk it takes to be personal. I think a lot of people expect spiritual practitioners to be perfect or in some elevated state such that they don’t ever deal with real world issues, and your sharing the hard stuff is both healing to those of us who can very much identify and a reminder that spiritual healers are human too!

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    Anna,

    I applaud your courage!! I believe it takes courage to be vulnerable and to face your fears, wounds and all, but ultimately this is what it takes to really know and understand yourself, to accept yourself, to love yourself and those around you and to heal. I’m on this journey myself and it’s one step at a time. It’s these types of lessons that make us more compassionate towards others. I remember reading the book “Codependent No More” when I was a teenager….What kind of teenager reads books like that? Now I know. You are a beautiful soul!

  5. Avatar

    Thank you so much, Anna, for being so open and honest. It’s been inspiring and enormously helpful in my own struggles with finding balance between being authentic and wearing my wounds on my sleeve, so to speak.

  6. Avatar

    Anna,

    Thank you for opening up and sharing this with us. I really appreciate your honesty and bravery!

    So much of this resonated with me, as my childhood wasn’t the childhood of unicorns, rainbows and sunshine either. Healing from our childhoods is a lifelong process. I truly believe that when we experience abuse or other less-than-positive things, it makes us more compassionate, empathic and able to help others heal their own scars and traumas, too.

  7. Avatar

    I’ve had girlfriends coming from dysfunctional families. Unlike you, though, they’ve never admitted their problems and are still stuck in their repetition compulsion. I think what you’re doing is amazing and I admire your strength and determination. I can’t imagine how hard your path can be.

    I can definitely relate to the part where you say that you used to find partners who needed a rescuer. I used to do the same but last year I finally realised that it’s just a waste of energy and of time (especially because, in my case, they didn’t want to be rescued).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    Thank you for sharing your journey!. It is in sharing our own truth that we not only heal but also open the door for others to look inside for their own healing. Your posts inspire me and I am grateful. Blessings to you Anna!

  9. Avatar

    Thank you Anna…what courage you have to share that with everyone. I can personally identify with everything in your post. Another book that I’d like to add to that list is called “Understanding the Borderline Mother” by Christine Ann Lawson. That book (and a lot of therapy) helped me to wrap my mind around it all which was a necessary step for me to healing. I still have intimacy issues even with a 14 year marriage – that is the toughest part for me (thank god I have a patient husband). Letting down that guard is a lifelong battle and one that I may not finish in this lifetime. I also struggle with holding myself (and others) to extraordinarily high standards – being “good enough”. I am also an idealist so I’ve always had this dream in my head of what a family was supposed to be like, so my childhood family never measured up in my own mind. Relinquishing those fantasies has been hard to say the least.
    Our path is a gift though (albeit a sick, twisted one at times) and there is no better healer than one who has lived through it all. Thank you for your inspiration!
    Gina

  10. Avatar

    Great article, Anna. Your transparency is inspiring.

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    These articles have been so informative and helpful to me. You said: “I’ve been abandoned emotionally and expected to have no feelings or needs.” For ages, I’ve wondered why others get emotional support, lots of leeway, the benefit of the doubt, etc., in their relationships but I am expected to just deal with things on my own and be perfect. Someone once offered the idea that I must “teach” others to treat me that way. I’m still pondering and working on this, especially now while I’m single again.

  12. Avatar

    Dear Anna,

    I second Heather’s comment — you are so courageous to put this out there. Thank you for sharing yourself in such an intimate, raw, honest way, so that others can be helped. And thank you for everything you write at the blog and do as a healer.

  13. Avatar

    I appreciate that you share yourself and your experiences with us. You might not believe how many others have lived through similar absolute crap and don’t know how to rise above it.
    Break the chain! At some point each of us has the opportunity to physically leave that environment and find the ways in which we can heal and thrive. Then, if you are in a place in yourself in which you can still have a relationship with your family, you do it on your terms, not theirs. You get to choose.
    Possibly the fact that it bothered you enough to fight it in your own way was indication that you were meant for so much more and you intrinsically knew it.
    It’s wonderful that you discovered and embraced your spiritual gifts and allowed them to strengthen you and see things from a better perspective. Thank you for helping so many of us, too, to discover our own and go on to thrive despite the past. Blessings to you Anna!

  14. Avatar

    My dad passed away when I was 7, the only reason I have come this far, is because I was always surrounded by caring people. People felt others pain, they helped out… even though I had no access to a psychiatrist, I had a spiritualist who healed me of a lot of mental problems at no extra cost, even though here in Canada my first session would have cost me C$700 minimum.

    Western Society needs to change its ways and be a lot less materialistic and be more human. If we all help out one another, talk a lot more about everything then we all feel happy.

  15. Avatar

    I have to say that this has to be the best thing that has ever landed in my email inbox since the inception of emails. You absolutely hit the nail right on the head with what you were saying. I have also cut out people from my family because it is just not worth it to me. It has taken me a very long time to figure out who I am and who I am not. I was always told I was not worthy and it has played out HUGE in my life. Everything in my life was affected by this, especially my finances. Looking back now, I can see that being hit hard in my financial area was the only thing that was going to jolt me back to me. Things got so ridiculous that I ended up homeless for three months and had to live in my vehicle.

    This is still shocking to me to this day. After trying hard to figure out how I created all of this mess, I finally figured out that all my life I was looking for vindication. This played out in my career big time (and everywhere else for that matter) ..and I wondered why my career was not going the way I wanted it too! It all boiled down to lack of self worth and I am astonished how poor my decisions have been in the course of my life. Yes, vindication. I never really understood what that meant until I looked it up in the dictionary and digested it for a few days.

    I have always thought that grand parents should be raising children but only if they have worked on their pile of poop that was handed to them. Grandparents are mature and wiser than we of baby making age could ever be. I opted out of having kids because of my background and I thing that was one of the best things I could ever have done. I broke the cycle just with that alone… how did I know it was so wrong at that young age??

    Thank you for confirming to me that I am indeed on the right track. I asked the “Universe” to show me if this was a core issue and there you were. You articulated what I could not find the words to say.

  16. Avatar

    Thank you for sharing your story Anna. My story is similar with great emotional suffering in terms of sex, love and honestly. In fact when we change our behavior / with hypnosis, meditation, magick,ect. / for the better people change towards us. With much Love and Light-Stefan

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    This is wonderfully brave of you and I think it will help lots of people. You seem to me to be a truly lovely authentic person.

    At this stage in your own healing journey, what do you think has helped you most – cord cutting or therapy? I can’t help wondering whether our family influences are so intense and massive that they outweigh the slights we may have received from other people.

  18. Avatar

    well, you just described my family of origins and summed up my current experience of life in incredibly accurate detail. I’m trying to get the kind of help you are talking about, but it’s hard to afford. I’ve become so low-functioning. I’m aware of what’s happening and why, and that’s an asset. I too am a survivor, I just want to be a thriver too. It’s so frustrating and so unfair, but I know life isn’t fair, it’s just life. Everything started to surface all at once when I turned 40, turned my marriage upside down, I’ve pretty must lost or given away everything I had going for me since then, just crashed and burned. Anyway regardless of the naysayers you encounter, I’m grateful for your honesty and openness. It’s the old “walk a mile in someone’s shoes”. I totally understand where you are coming from and really think you offer a lot to other people who are trying to cope with the same level and type of psychic damage. Some people blame the abused because it’s too threatening to their worldview to face the reality that terrible things do happen and it could be them. It’s far safer to blame than to empathize. And, some people are still in denial about their own issues. They too will react negatively. Anyway I finally cut off all contact with my family because maintaining those relationships was not worth feeling crazed and miserable after every conversation. The problem I face now is since my divorce, I literally can’t form new relationships. I’m sailing stormy seas in a little raft and praying for landfall. May we all find the peace we seek.

  19. Avatar

    Anna, I think it is marvelous for you to be not only utterly honest, but brave enough to do so – it takes a lot! While it sounds that my childhood experience is somewhat less intense, I cannot explain how much damage that this can still do – so I hear you! I remember the kids where everything went rather well for them, where their parents were present to nurture and teach them to become healthy balanced adults in equally healthy relationships – not through cajoling or demanding, but demonstrating so that the kids could see themselves. I also remember the households where (like mine) it only looked OK, sometimes even to us kids! At least the kids from the really-intensely abusive or neglective backgrounds KNEW there was something wrong, and very darn often exactly what that was (even if they didn’t know how to handle it once identified). I remembered in hindsight when I was ridiculed and receiving no validation from others for the feelings I had where I knew something was wrong; to everyone not looking for the obvious, I was just being rebellious, selfish, and even “crazy” when in fact I was the most grounded one. I realize this tempered my strength but before that could happen, I had to figure out if there was actually something wrong with me. So as a young adult, I tested out what I was told – and I discovered (duh!) that it was me that was right, not them! While I had made an unwise relationship choice early on, I vowed to not allow my kids to experience the invalidation that I had. We cannot change other people, but we can certainly call them on their crap and create healthy boundaries for ourselves accordingly. My children today are grown and very self-reliant, happy and balanced adults who thank me daily for seeing, then showing them, what others do not see. I always wanted them to honor themselves and they learn this by being honored. Go Anna!! You are an inspiration to many! It is my greatest hope that your resources here will help those in a wide range of unhealthy household situations so that we become emotionally and spiritually abundant!

  20. Avatar

    Thank You…

  21. Avatar

    Anna, I am so proud of you- for the work you have done and the work you continue to do for your own personal healing.

    I have come to know, along my own journey in healing, that we souls who choose this more than challenging path in this lifetime, are some tough, strong, beings! Several modalities have helped me, and without doubt, the most effective ones have been what I call Energy Healing: meditation, running my energies, becoming a Reiki practitioner and having Reiki done on me, Pranic Healing, cord cutting, hypnotherapy, Akashic Record Healing, psychic readings that were healings, and other types of Energy Healing that have no specific name, and massage. Reading a ton of books about soul growth, life lessons, about energy work, and other similar topics, gave me great understanding about my life from “the bigger picture.”

    One day, I can see myself using what I have learned about my own healing, to help others on their path. I look forward to continuing to follow you.

  22. Avatar

    Anna, I applaud your honesty, and your eloquence is a real gift. Thank you for writing so openly about what so many struggle to admit and express.

  23. Avatar

    Anna you are very special. Raised by a narcissist I was strongly attracted to them. They still find the blind spots in me. It will surely be beneficial to be alone for an extended time and develop an authentic self for me and not be in a constant battle for existence. I encourage all to take any path to find your truth. A murderer’s hands were pulled off me at 19 days of age. That was never going to come out of the many psychologist consultations I have had. Whilst that awareness didn’t come from your work with me your input has been a valuable consolidation of the awareness. Thank you for your contribution to healing.

  24. Avatar

    Anna,

    Shocking enough to have grown up this way – I had similar experiences. I would like to share several things that have helped me significantly on my journey toward wholeness and spiritual/psychic development.

    First, when developing psychic/mediumship abilities, it is imperative to ‘know oneself’ in order to separate out self energy, self thoughts, self feelings (both shadow side and non-shadow side) in order to be able to know what one is picking up from guides, a sitter, their guides, a crossed over loved one etc.

    The more I started asking who I am really got me ‘down the rabbit hole’ of exploration. After digging into shame and guilt issues, I came across this great website to help me heal what I call ‘root’ and ‘core’ stuff that cause all the anger, guilt, shame, other emotional masks etc.

    http://www.eqi.org

    It is emotional intelligence. Sounds simple but it isn’t for those of us who grew up in similar environments that you describe. Those of us who are Empathics, Psychics, etc. get hit the hardest with emotional abuse – Invalidation is a big one and the comments you posted that were sent to you were VERY INVALIDATING. Also for those on a healing journey, look up the MOOD GYM on a search engine. This is a free to register, free to use self guided website that will also assist to learn about yourself. The EQ For Everybody is something I have to refer to frequently until I bring myself from Kindergarten level emotional intelligence up to speed with my age. It is difficult to peel layers of the self and realize that we mimic behaviors and learn positive traits where we find them but we never learned to incorporate them and truly ‘feel’ things. Seems crazy since I am highly Empathic and my strong psychic ability is a clear sense of knowing things to say that I have trouble feeling. The trouble is first sorting out what I am feeling vs. what I am picking up from others’ energy, the atmosphere etc. It can be quite frustrating!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Kathleen

  25. Avatar

    Anna,
    Thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to recognize our less appealing behaviors, but even more to share them with others. Reading your list is very healing. I have also been through many of the things on your list. It is what we do to try and cope with what we do not understand. Unfortunately, a lot of the “habits” we develop can be very hard to break. But it is never too late.

    I am going to be 57 in February. And I have never felt better. So many things happened to me in 2012 to finally make me see all the blessings and gifts that I was given through the years. I’m talking about spiritual blessings and gifts. I truly believe that spirit led me to the circumstances that gave me one more opportunity to listen, reflect, and remember. Honestly, what happened to me last year gave me no choice but to try and figure out what was going on and why. And I am so thankful for that.

    However, time and time again through the years I would forget what I learned, what I knew to be the truth. The truth being why we are here, why we go through trials and tribulations and why this journey helps us to discover our true spirit, our soul, the essence of who we really are and why this life was given to us. I now appreciate everyone that has been a part of my life. I don’t feel angry anymore, I don’t feel put upon by them. They were a gift to teach me what I needed to learn. My lesson in this life was self-love. And as you have stated in your articles, that is a tough one to learn in this society. We are constantly bombarded with messages that we are not good enough. And the men in my life were good at reminding me of that.

    It is very difficult to look at ourselves and reflect on our behaviors. We don’t always like what we see. However, by accepting what we have done and knowing that it was all a part of the plan that we put into place when we decided to come into this life sets us free and allows us to move on and enjoy life they way we were meant to.

    Thank you for sharing with us and allowing us the opportunity to share with you.

  26. Avatar

    Thank you Anna for your honesty and authenticity. I strongly resonated with some of your experiences and feel like it has shed a light upon my next step of healing. You are a gift and please continue to shine the light that you are.

  27. Avatar

    Anna, I read all of your articles, and this one resonated with me the most. I can so relate to all of it, including my previous marriage, and moving forward the same understanding that I will never chose that type of individual again….. I feel such love and respect for you. I am grateful to have stumbled upon your website, your teachings, and your wisdom and sharing….. thank you.

  28. Avatar

    Dearest Anna,
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I grew up with all the things you listed in my dysfunctional family. EVERY SINGLE THING you said was true for me. I knew I had ptsd and that my brain had formed differently due to my childhood, but the specific hormonal responses, I had not know about. It makes complete sense. What led me to you initially was needing to learn more about myself as an empath and how to use it to help others rather than just how to protect myself. I’m also a healer, reiki master, I see energy, am clairvoyant with visions and know that I’m supposed to use all my abilities to help victims of childhood trauma. I’m just now beginning to learn how to use them and allow God to use me in the way He sees fit

  29. Avatar

    I know this is long. I don’t feel safe talking to many people so I appreciate being able to share here.

    I appreciate your courage in sharing your story. One of the best things about taking steps to reveal yourself is the confirmation you get from others that you are not alone. I relate to your story. I feel for your pain and struggle. I applaud you for the steps you’ve taken and the healing you’ve found. I struggle to have the courage myself.

    My life has been one trauma after another with emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, physical trauma and tremendous losses. I wonder some days why I am still standing.

    I have learned that no one can abuse you unless you allow it. I have learned how not to allow it but it’s been a struggle. I give too much, care too much, love too much and I am a target for others who take. I too can now smell an abusive bully from a mile away and I am very careful who I associate with now.

    A clairvoyant I’ve talked with recently told me my aura is mostly pink and purple, the highest spiritual colors and I’m programmed to be this way, can’t change it. It’s why I am so driven from a place of love to give, to be a warrior for others, and also why I have had so many experiences with spirit.

    She said I need to try to allow myself to believe that its ok to claim a little bit for myself. I have no idea how to do that because I have never felt worthy. Hence my difficulties with abuse in the past. But now that I limit myself with others it is lonely.

    And then I met someone last year who I connected with so intensely, I could not explain it, it changed my life completely. And I felt at home for the first time in my life, and not lonely anymore. We somehow knew each other perfectly and were instantly at home with each other even though we had only just met. We knew things that were happening to each other, felt things that were going on, even though we hadn’t been told. We shared an entire life’s worth of experiences in a few short months and then he died.

    This loss has been devastating and yet I know he is still with me, I still feel him, know things, see signs. I’m not crazy, I have heard him talking to me in my thoughts. Sometimes I get a rush of feeling like he is hugging me. Last week I asked if I could just hear him talk to me it would help me get through – that night as I was falling asleep he yelled out my name so loudly twice it woke me bolt upright in bed. I could hardly get to sleep after that, it made me so happy. I’m not crazy but I cannot tell this to anyone, the people I know would commit me.

    I had shared something of a miracle that I had experienced years ago with my friend. Two days after he passed he visited me and touched me, two weeks after he passed he sent me another sign acknowledging that same miracle I had shared with him, it had to be from him.

    All if this has led me to exploring more about psychic abilities, visiting a clairvoyant and reading more – and how I found you.

    I know this was long but I needed to share with someone who I hope won’t judge me harshly.

    I wish you peace in your journey to healing. And I thank you for opening yourself to share and offering this as a safe forum for those of us who desperately need it.

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    I appreciate where you are coming from and appreciate deeply your honesty.I did not wake up to what was going on until my 4th decade, the trauma was ervasve.

    As the chosen whipping post of my entire family, I still get angry when family tell me I should just get over it.
    I get tired of getting the word “bitter” thrown in my face, when trying to talk about it.or repeatedly told hw selfish I am…yes any actual legitimate needs are “selfsh” to these people. Don’t feel don’t thin don’t talk..just sit there mutely and take the crap we dish out without fighting back

    The GASLIGHTING is the worst of it..

    That and being treated like the abuse never happened.

    After being thrown to the floor and beaten with fists by my dad, regularly as a child, because I am female, and he was taking out all his rage at his mom and sister out on me, the last straw for me came last year when my mother was whining about another kid they had taken in and were putting through college (they never mentored me or took an interest in me in any way)..i sat and listened to how “abused” this kid was and how mean his aunt was to him..

    As far as I am concerned a culture that does this to its own chldren does not merit survival.

    I don’t believe in karma, I think it is a premiere tool for victim blaming…the natural extension of it can be seen in the caste system of india.

    and I did not get therapy because most forms of it have a pretty shabby success rate (all therapies have very limited to no success)

    It is something you live with..the feeling of terror or feeling of being off balance..most of it is body reactions, some of it conditioning..

    Anyway, than your post, there are so many out thre who can relate to what you are saying..western culture is built y psychopaths for psychopaths

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    Thank you so much for sharing this Anna. It is very helpful in many ways. But especially for me the part where you discuss how our brain and behavior patterns are influence by childhood circumstances. That just helped me cut myself even more slack for the fact that these patterns have been so difficult to correct!

    Just last night I suffered a lot of anxiety and emotional turmoil due to my *perception* of my boyfriend’s behavior. I assumed I knew the motivation behind some of his actions and words. But when I actually confronted him about it, turns out my negative projections and assumptions about him were totally false. It has been hard for me to just trust him and his straightforwardness and lack of ulterior motives. I am so happy to have manifested him into my life, partly because it means I have made some good headway in healing my own childhood traumas within close relationships.

    Currently my experiences in childhood and as a teenager affect what I manifest more within my career, causing patterns of self-doubt and insecurity. I can see even more clearly now how this has been a big block to creating what I want. Part of me senses my potential, gifts and talents so clearly, but at the same time the lack of validation I received for my true self growing up left me with the pattern of not really believing in myself and my value. I have made a lot headway with this… but, it is definitely still something I’m working to correct.

    Thank you again for using such a public format to set this positive example of authentic sharing!

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    Great article, and you are brave for sharing this in a positive way.

    From the vantage point of my age (I am 59) I now believe there is an advantage to the stresses some of us endure at an early age. Much as fire is used to temper steel, the dreadful experiences some of us are forced to endure make us use ALL of our talents just to survive. I believe these are what make us psychic.

    My mother, who was a talented psychic, was brought up by a highly abusive mother who I had the misfortune to know as a child, because she made my life hell too.

    So yes, heal by all means, but everything has a dark side and a light side. The light side of this is your incredible talent.

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    Your beautiful. I am also in the process of healing. It has taken me 20 years and moving forward to deal with the lies and physical and emotional abuse I have received when I was a child. I am single and swore I would never have any children; not because I did not want any- I knew I was not myself.

    Today, I am not the same as I used to be. I dont hide anymore, I am freely expressing myself, to those I am comfortable expressing toward. I have more self-esteem than I did before, and I am beginning to see a balance when it comes to securing my boundries. I to have separated myself from my family as well. If I dont want to be bothered, I dont have to be.

  34. Avatar

    Anna:

    Beautiful article. I enjoy reading stories, articles, blogs or whatever that have depth and truth. That is what you created here, an exploration into truth, healing and the big picture.

    Peace to all of us survivors!

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    Beautifully written, Anna. Well done.

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    I was wondering if you would talk more about the “retraining your brain” part. The oxytocin and overactive empathy part. We seem to be from similar backgrounds, tho mine was just one member of my family and not the whole family.

    What have you done in your healing to deal with your skewed adrenaline responses.

    any input would be helpful.
    best.

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    thank you for this, for sharing your light and truth in the world. I know you *know* how many of us can resonate with these truths, this journey, this healing – and as a nurse and artist and healing-helper of spirit, and a survivor myself, I can say that I have seen deeply how this type of compassionate transparency is exactly what is needed. We are each others medicine. Blessings.

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    Hi Anna, I’ve been following your posts for some time, and as a healer and spiritual counsellor myself, I so admire your work. I am a 48 yr old dude with years of dysfunctional relationships, a dysfunctional childhood and all the pain and suffering that went with it, I do all I can to stay strong and focused but still there are times when the wounds open up again…I’ve done a lot of hard work on myself the past few years and still there’s a way to go but I will never stop working on it. Your article brought tears to my eyes! I have never read anything that explained and verified my experiences so much, and reading through the above comments, it seems I am not alone….although most of the time I feel I AM alone, none of my family ‘get’ what I do, I sometimes feel intense guilt and I still get told I am a disappointment and a failure 48 years on! I am currently in the process of writing my own book and articles on healing from the past, out of my own experiences, and I’m still flexing my ‘mental muscle’ to strengthen myself against the pain and trauma that I’ve experienced most of my life. I have been betrayed, cheated on, lied to, physically and emotionally abused, beaten, burned and strangled, and through all of that pain I have had several times in my life where suicide seemed the only option, a way out of the pain and feelings of worthlessness and guilt that I DO NOT OWN!!…but I’m still here because I believe I can use those experiences to help others through my deep empathy. I am at a stage where I can detach from my own traumas and help others to empower themselves to take positive steps towards freedom from the past, and so far have done it successfully. You are a true inspiration to me, and thank you with all my heart. This is a long post, I know, but I had to get as much out as I could! Bright Blessings to you, Andy x

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    WOW..all I can say is all of this you wrote relates to me exactly and explains so much of things I didn’t realize…no wonder I suffer from anxiety, panic disorders and am not hyper sensitive/…I didn’t realize how I respond to things I always think are potential threats because of things that happened. I am going to write down these books and get them..THANK YOU!

  40. Avatar

    I am reading the posts to this blog as they come in and one thing strikes me. Something essential is missing from all of them – including yours, Anna.

    Psychic healing will never take place without forgiveness. I am not talking about forgiveness in a religious sense, but in some sense of understanding and compassion for the perpetrators of your hardship.

    I once stood up in front of 100 people and said that the nicest thing my mother ever did for me was die while I was still young enough to enjoy my life. Many of you no doubt feel the same way about various people. However, it wasn’t until I realised that my mother was like she was (a bipolar alcoholic, amongst other things) because of HER mother. My grandmother had gone out to work at the age of 12, was the sole domestic help for a doctor’s wife, was probably abused at a young age by a house guest – I could go on.

    Everyone is trying to survive in their own way, including the sad souls who drink, take drugs, and hurt other people, even their own children. Only when you come to terms with is will you begin to heal.

  41. Avatar

    God, life can be a bitch.

    But it can also be the making of us. How much do we want that though. Hmmmm…
    My abuse was more psychological than anything else. Have often wished that it was more physical, then maybe I’d have gotten more of a handle on it. It’s only been later in life that I’ve realised…careful what you ask for buddy!

    Appreciate your vulnerability, Anna. Will be in touch in a few weeks (When I’ve got the money) to book a Cord Cutting session.

  42. Avatar

    hello Anna,
    I didn’t stumble across your website, I’m pretty sure I was led to it. I have been researching attachment issues due to an emotionally distant parent (Susan Anderson’s articles on abandonoholics are very interesting) as I have yet again met someone who is a commitment phobe, which has turned into a painful life long pattern for me. Your article re. cord cutting – wow, bingo!

    Anyhow it is my responsibility to find out why I am attracting these men into my life and I want to understand it and sort it once and for all. I was looking at counselling, psychotherapy etc all of which I am open to, but just feel it is not going to deliver profound results (esp on a vibrational level).

    Then low and behold, I type in to google ‘why I am attracting unavailable men’ and your site comes up. I was skeptical at first, thinking it’s some random site wanting to sell me something, then I just about fell off my chair as I am a Kiwi, here in southern spain. I have been teaching English. I am a bit isolated here so these similarities feel quite profound.
    I feel that so much has already become clearer by reading thru your website. Thank you for sharing about yourself, as now I know that you are the right person to help me with this. I will be in contact soon about a session, I am actually on my way home to Aotearoa soon.
    Mil gracias Anna.

  43. Avatar

    Thank you Anna, and everyone else who wrote,
    I hit the big 6-0 in 2 months and it’s been 60 years of pain & struggle from a background like yours- very violent, scary, unnurturing, controlling, etc. I collapsed at age 43 with severe Chronic Fatigue and its cousins- adrenal depletion, universal allergies to the world (I now know allergies are the body’s way of setting boundaries and saying NO when we won’t/don’t; they keep us safe).

    Fast forward through 16 years of almost every energy modality out there- some resonated much more than others – and I am high functioning much of the time- no allergies, bouts of severe suicidal depression are gone, physically very healthy. On the outside I look good and no one would ever have even a clue of what I’ve been through. I still have a lot of anxiety and sleep problems but I use those early morning hours to use the tools I have learned.
    Synchronistic events led me to this site a few days ago, and I had just decided it’s time to develop my abilities. I’ve spent the last few days exploring all the courses and trainings out there, felt overwhelmed. I decided to read a book I had, and I “failed” at the first exercise of feeling energy between my hands, which triggered another mid-night anxiety til I traced it back to 2nd grade when I cried in class because I didn’t understand the lesson and felt like a failure. You see, I had to be perfect or die (mom wouldn’t love me).
    Anyway, I still doubt my abilities even though I “know” certain things. I want SO badly to have/be these suppressed talents & abilities, but afraid that maybe I don’t really have them.

    Then when I went to your site this morning and read your article, ahhhh…..she’s the perfect person to help me sort this out. So thank you for sharing and I’ll be in contact in a few minutes to set something up. Sparkles & magic to you all

  44. Avatar

    I completely agree with Jennie in regards to the comment of forgiveness. But in order for me to forgive, I must first understand. It has taken me along time to understand what I have gone through and deal with the abusive I received. Now, I am begining to heal and work towards forgiveness. Its slow, but I am beginning to see the light.

  45. Avatar

    Anna…Yep. I’m another one. I haven’t had some of the experiences you’ve had, but I’ve had the cruel words and put-downs that should never be given to a child. “I’m just trying to help you.” is the response I got when I called them out on some cruel things. After all of these years, I finally realized – and admit – I’m from a dysfunctional family. The doo-doo hit the fan this past year and every contact with family members creates such anxiety that it takes me days to get over. I’m the one who’s missing something, they say. They deny saying or doing this, that and the other thing. So, I meditate, pray and move forward knowing that I may never see an immediate family member ever again. It doesn’t bother me so much now, but it sure is a sad thing that people have to act this way and be in denial about how they make others feel. Thanks for sharing your story. You are definitely not alone. Take care, all of you.

  46. Avatar

    Wendy – I think that therapy and cord cutting are beneficial, each in their own way. I don’t think I could say one is more beneficial than the other. I think psychotherapy is very good for repairing the oxytocin response over a longer period of time.

    Jennie – People often say you need to forgive in these circumstances because it is part of the healing path, I don’t necessarily agree. I think understanding why something happened and why someone is the way they are is different from forgiving. I’ve got so much to say on this topic I would need to write another article.

    I wish I had time to reply individually to every comment on here, but thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and for your insights and supportive words.

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