There come flashes of awareness from the sleep of denial. Many times these flashes or flickers come from the voice of a compassionate friend or our own inner voice. “You don’t deserve to be treated like this.” “He is out of control. This is not who you are.” These signals of denial may also come from the body.
There is a very real link between emotional pain and physical pain. The body screams for our full attention, but often we do not listen. Many times, the body is signaling that we need to examine our emotional state more closely. Other times, our bodies are attempting to pull us into the present moment and into what is really happening.
When we are in the toxic relationship, many times we detach and deny with poisons to push down the reality. We sometimes think we can fix the toxic one, we are strong, we need to be responsible, we fear being alone, we do not admit to ourselves that the relationship has gone way over the line into complete dysfunction. We are embarrassed, and we don’t see a way out. It is a deep feeling inside that we ignore and refuse to acknowledge and shine a light on. It surfaces in other ways through the body.
Unless experienced first-hand, the trauma and resulting symptoms of the emotional abuse and control are very difficult to understand. It is actually quite amazing how the body holds the memory of the trauma.
The fact remains, however, that the resilience of the human spirit is quite astounding. Self-awareness, a commitment and belief that healing is possible, conscious action, and heartfelt compassion for ourselves can lead us beyond the limits of the past.
Some of the indicators that can emerge from the body:
- tears that quietly fall down the face
- the constant tremble in a hand
- the teeth grinding
- the lack of restful sleep – not the sleep that comes from numbing ourselves, popping pills, over eating or over indulging in booze.
- The body aches, the neck pain, the stomach pain, the back pain – the pain that just won’t go away.
- sloth-like lethargy
- scattered thoughts
- relentless judging of ourselves and a sense of self-betrayal
- over the top anxiety
- lack of trust
- seeing Narcissists everywhere
- negative spiraling and catastrophe spinning – thinking that the worst is going to happen
- Limited sense of self/co-dependence
- lack of boundaries
For myself, after an 18-year marriage to a toxic, abusive other, I can attest to the fact that it is possible to change and shift our old relationship patterns. It is possible to trust again.
It is also possible to pass by a mirror and not constantly worry about how you look.