Healing From Childhood Abuse – My Lesson #1

When I walk for exercise or to reach a destination, when I stand to speak to someone or to wait in line, when I sit in public to wait or rest, I am used to doing these things with a spirit of not wanting to take up too much space.  I inwardly shrink, which sometimes reflects in my posture and, I fear, a stance of submission that others may pick up on.  Unfortunately, I have experienced this stance to be exploited often, as have many others who were abused as children.

We tend to not want to be like our abuser/s, who were “larger than life” in the stances they had to us and others in their lives, whether by attitude or physically.  My maternal abuser was a shouter and loud speaker, puffed up when angry or proud, walked with an air that everyone just needs to get out of the way.  I learned to take up as little space as possible, also physically and by attitude, in order to stay under her radar, as well as that I saw her example as a way NOT to be in life.

On my most recent walk/jog around the neighbourhood I realized I often feel self-conscious and more aware of how I may come across to someone who would see me.  It occurred to me that I was attempting to hide even though I was walking in broad daylight, and that I always move in the world this way.  I prayed and asked God for an understanding of how others who are more healthy see themselves in relation to the environment around them.

Whether in answer to that prayer or just in a general work of healing God has been doing for me lately, this thought occurred to me: I reacted to my abuse by trying to be smaller than I am and to not take up even the space allotted to me.  When I am more healed, I thought, I will walk, stand, and be in the space my body and self need to take up, and without apologizing for it.

Those who are not meek take more than what is needed or allotted to them, thus taking from those who also have need of those things.  To be meek in Christ is not to be cringing and apologetic for being here, for needing things, for speaking, etc.  To be meek is to take up with gratitude what God has given us, not more than, and not less than.  “Give us this day our daily bread…”  May all our brothers and sisters receive today what they need, even space and a sense of belonging in the world, without rejecting what has already been given us.484169951

We are not of this world, but we are in it nonetheless.  May I learn to know my legitimate use of the space my body takes and the influence my soul has on the world.


12 thoughts on “Healing From Childhood Abuse – My Lesson #1

  1. I hope you don’t get tired of me saying “wow I relate” — but –WOW, I relate again! It’s amazing to me how well you capture the things I feel, in just a few short paragraphs.

    I love the idea of healing to the point where you will take up your rightful space in life, without feeling like it’s wrong somehow or too much. I think I have mostly healed to that point. But sometimes not.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I love the relating – I’m at the point where I can read your posts and totally know where you’re coming from in all of them.

    I was just thinking now, when reading what you wrote here, how funny it is to walk on eggshells within one’s own rightful space. It’s encouraging to hear that you’re mostly confident with the space you inhabit and I hope this lesson is a quick one for me to incorporate.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re in sadness from the passing of your friend. He sounds like he was a good egg, alright. {hug}

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is beautiful and a revelation about our sacred value and how we denigrate it because the if we didn’t disappear we’d be an object of abuse. I noticed myself stepping off the sidewalk to get out of the way of people that walk in groups, or a male or other person that demands a large share of the sidewalk to the point I have to move. I noticed this one day and thought why am I the one getting off the sidewalk and stepping into the street apologizing while I do it because of group of friends walk to walk side by side? I noticed this one day and thought, people can reveal their narcissism even in the way they walk. I want to put on sun glasses and a hat and disappear behind them when I’m in public just for that reason that getting noticed in my family was going to result in pain. Best to be invisible as possible. But what a lie that is to our value! I think you are right, our posture can change as we heal, not as people that demand the whole sidewalk but as people that are not ashamed to take the space that is theirs

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I have moved off the sidewalk when I shouldn’t have, too! I hated it when I did that – and I’m hoping to keep that in the past tense now. I think people are generally becoming more vicious and uncivilized, though, further enlarging our feelings of wanting to protect ourselves.

    Your last sentence summed up my whole post perfectly!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Prairie Girl, what began my healing was realising that normal people hold themselves as Worthful – as healthy people should. I realised that I, too, am Worthful and then the anger was the spark that released me from that self imposed prison. Even just holding yourself tall, with your head up, will help – even if you are not feeling all that confident.
    Sending you Love and Friendship. Keep safe my friend. You, are so Worthful and I greatly appreciate your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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