Updated: Aug 14
If you grew up with trauma, then you know how much of your time and energy is spent on wanting to feel safe - or wanting to get away from the people who are hurting you.
When I was younger, I spent so much time thinking about what I didn't want, because my life was so bad, that I hardly knew what I DID want. It is important to know what you want more so than what you don't want, otherwise you are just going to be trapped in a vicious cycle of running from things you don't want.
If you read statistics about family violence, you will read about how many people who grow up in violent households go on to be in violent relationships as adults. This was the case for me.
In trying to get away from my parents and their control, I settled for a relationship where I was needed very badly, instead of where I was loved.
My partner at the time had also come from a violent household, and had seen a template for violence growing up.
When you come from an abusive household, abuse is normalized. You think that violence is tied up with love. You think that it is normal for people you love to hurt you, and that it is normal to go on loving them anyway.
So, it is important to not just move on from the abuse, but to get healing and learn that what you experienced growing up isn't normal, it isn't ok, and it isn't what you deserved.
You deserve to be treated with real love, kindness and respect.
Real love isn't violent, it is giving. And, as adults, one of the best things we can do is to heal enough to know what real love is, and to give real love to our children.
Law of Attraction
According to the Law of Attraction, Like attracts Like. That means, our thoughts create our reality. Whatever we are thinking about is going to come into our lives. This is true even if you spend most, or all, of your time thinking about what you don't want.
I know this was true for me. I spent so much time thinking about what I didn't want that I brought more of it into my life. I thought about how I wanted to get away from feeling judged, hurt, rejected and insulted that I unwittingly created more of that.
Are we just blaming the victims?
No. We are saying, the victims didn't know what they really wanted, so they created (unwittingly) more of what they didn't want because of the strong powerful feelings associated with the thoughts of not wanting something.
Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation. ~ Exodus 34:7
I would argue that family violence fits the bill for this in what is being discussed in the Bible. People who act violently create their own generational curses, which are passed down to their children. When people abuse, this creates a generational cycle of abuse. Abuse becomes normalized as the way the family works and operates.
Being a cycle breaker
In order to be a cycle breaker, we need to treat our own children differently.
We need to treat our children with real love, kindness and respect.
We need to love our children in a much more whole and healed way than we ourselves were loved as children.
Often, this will mean needing to separate ourselves from toxic and abusive family members. You may get judged harshly from the outside for doing this, but people in normal families with normal childhoods can't understand what it was like to be abused as a child, often by multiple family members.
When I was a teenager, I ran away from home. I spent the entirety of my 20's and into my 30's trying to run away from harmful and painful relationships until I realized that I deserved better.
I started to notice red flags. I said to myself, "If I was going to accept being treated this way, I may as well have stayed with my ex."
As a cycle breaker, you learn to set boundaries. You learn to say no to things that aren't serving you. You learn to eliminate people from your life that don't treat you with kindness and respect. And it may come as a shock just how many people who are like that are in your life.
The more you heal, the more strong you become, and the easier it becomes to say no to things that aren't right for you. You develop your own standards and your own internal compass. You learn to trust yourself and your own decisions.
You start to pursue more positive things in your life. For the first time, it may feel like you are going towards something good, instead of always running away from something bad.
This is where Law of Attraction comes in
You are finally doing things that are good for yourself. You are thinking in a different way, and you are treating yourself better. This is often when your life begins to get dramatically better.
You're The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With ~ Jim Rohn
That means, if you are around negative people all the time, then you are likely to be a negative person too.
This is even more profound if you think about a child in an abusive family. Likely, the five people closest to them are going to be their family members. So, is it any wonder that children grow up to be like their parents and extended family members?
Because of this, we need to do better with our own children. We need to teach them that positive thoughts create a positive life. We need to really love them, and give them a safe environment where they can grow. This is the only way to help them truly thrive.
People talk about some pivotal moment where things changed for them. For me, it was my 10th anniversary. Instead of celebrating, I realized that I didn't want to spend another 10 years being that miserable. I didn't want to go on as I had been anymore.
That was my moment. That is where things changed for me. From that point on, I started surrounding myself with different people. With people who wanted the best for me, for people who kept me safe and encouraged me to grow.
If you apply the law of attraction to my situation, you will see that when I began to think differently, my life began to manifest differently.
That's not to say I didn't have problems still, but if you have dug yourself down a deep hole, it takes a while to climb out. So while you are climbing, it is important to think positive thoughts, and surround yourself with good people.
Support groups can be very powerful for this. We are all people healing together from the same wounds, and learning to live life differently. So having a support group can make a huge difference in your life. So can having a therapist or a coach. They can help you look forward, think about what you DO want, and to make positive changes.
Learning to change your mindset can literally change your life.
Getting out of the trauma mindset
What happened to you doesn't have to define you forever. You don't have to spend the rest of your life living in survival mode and fear. You can learn to move past what happened to you and into a bright and beautiful future.
When we are in a trauma mindset we feel powerless.
That is frequently the case especially if we were abused as children, or had someone gradually scrape all of our power away from us in a relationship. It can also be true for the trauma of generational poverty. We are constantly living in a state of fear and lack.
We have to learn how to regulate our nervous system, how to feel calm, and how to move on before we can begin to have a better life. If we are only thinking about safety, we aren't always going to be making the best decisions. Our decisions will be fear based.
That means, we just keep running without stopping and looking where we are going. We could run right out into the street into oncoming traffic, so to speak. That is easy to happen when all you can think about is what you are running from.
Being able to feel truly safe somewhere, and have time to regulate your nervous system is the best gift that you can give yourself. Once you feel safe, you can feel calm. Once you feel calm, you are out of fight-or-flight mode and your higher level thinking can function again.
That means, once you feel safe, you are able to start making better decisions for yourself and your life. You can create something that is so much better than the past. What it takes is getting out of fear-based thinking and into a different mindset.
If you are in a dangerous situation, all you can think about is getting out of danger. That doesn't lend itself well to intentional future planning.
If you are still in a violent relationship, there is help out there for you! You can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline at 800.799.SAFE (7233). There are people there 24/7 who can help you with safety planning and getting out of a violent relationship. For a list of International hotline numbers, it is available on my Resources page. You can also find a list of child abuse hotline numbers there.
Once you are in a safe place, it is easier to recover. You can't get well in the same environment where you got sick. Getting away from your abuser and into some type of therapy is the first step. Whether that is counseling, group therapy or coaching.
Having someone else who can help you and understand what you are going through can make such a big impact, and help you learn to think differently about what has happened in your life, and about where you will go from here.
Once you are able to feel more healed and start thinking about the future, you can stop living in the past. You will realize that there is so much beauty and love in the world, and that you deserve it all!