This is my story; the start of my awakening into empowerment.
16 years ago I was dumped by my first girlfriend who I was completely co-dependent on. She had convinced me to stay in the super toxic relationship by threatening to kill herself if I left. I felt obligated to stay, because I feared I would be the cause of her suicide if I left, & because I thought I'd be able to 'fix' her through my unyielding 'love'. The relationship lasted 2 years and only ended because she left me for someone else. She was 10 years older than me, and I was 20 when it ended.
During the relationship, the physical abuse had gotten so bad I felt I needed to stay home from work for days on end & make up stories to explain the bruises and gashes in my face, so my co-workers wouldn't find out I was in a violent relationship. I've always been tiny & petite at 5'2", & she was much bigger and stronger than I was, so as much as I tried to defend myself, it didn't work. She had me thinking it was my fault she would go into psychotic rages. That if I hadn't had drinks without her on my day off or said something that sounded like I was trying to be 'intellectually superior', she wouldn't be triggered into a rage where she 'saw red' and beat the shit out of me. The cops were called a few times & she was charged for domestic violence.
I grew up with a psychologically & physically abusive father, so I was continuing the dysfunctional cycle of co-dependency as the victim of violent rage. My punishment for 'acting up' was intense & disturbing violence. I was taught obedience through fear. The religion I was raised to believe in coincided with this energetic pattern perfectly, as the punishment for disobedience was the threat of eternal torture in a lake of fire.
My co-dependent role was one of the savior, fixer, nurturer & self-sacrificing caretaker. I learned it from my mother. I would put up with intense violence & psychological abuse in order to show 'compassion' to the emotionally volatile partner at my own expense. I was dependent on being needed as the provider of emotional support. I thought my sacrificial 'altruism' proved I was a good person. I thought my unending love could save my first girlfriend from her emotional turmoil. This I later translated into thinking I needed to 'save the world'. My lack of healthy balance & self-compassion fed into the dysfunctional pattern of co-dependent abuse, enabling projections of pain & being the submissive victim as a form of trying to validate my worth.
I was utterly traumatized to be left for another by my girlfriend after all I had put up with. I felt used, naive & totally pathetic. She left me? After all I did for her? I sacrificed my entire experience for another who just threw me away? I was mortified, didn't know who I really was or even my own preferences & wished for death to ease my pain.
When I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself, maybe 3-6 months later, I determined I needed to 'find myself' so I could make sure I didn't get in another relationship like that ever again. I started reflecting deeply inward to figure out who I really am at the core of my being, what I actually enjoy & what makes sense for my life. This was the beginning of my awakening into empowerment.
I soon realized our parents, teachers, priests & our culture as a whole condition us towards making imbalanced, unhealthy & self-destructive choices in the name of 'love'. We are taught to be co-dependent & participate in dysfunctional relationships with ourselves, others and all that exists within the world around us. We are conditioned into dis-empowerment as we sacrifice our own creative flow & doubt our own inner knowing, to instead follow those who are of 'greater authority', like certified 'experts'. I started finding out our government poisons the air, the agricultural systems feed us toxins, our schools indoctrinate us into confusion & our churches help us to be obedient through the fear of punishment.
I intuitively started doing intensive inner healing. What some call shadow work, embracing the inner child, integrating the shadow & walking through fear occurred organically without me knowing those terms or expressions as they exist. I didn't read about any of this in books. I knew what to do & just followed that knowing. Making the unconscious conscious became my sole focus. My heart, each moment's experience and the universe itself my only direct teachers.
I realized we are taught to serve others at the expense of our self to prove we are loving enough; to validate we are decent & kind. Because of our societal conditioning, we don't offer ourselves the compassion we so freely give to everyone else.
We are taught to hide our less acceptable emotions, so we don't appear vulnerable, negative or angry. We suppress our wounded innocence until we explode; our emotional reaction is to project our inner pain onto all those around us. Shame, blame, guilt & coping become the unhealthy cycles that continue instead of processing our emotions & gaining the clarity to resolve the root core of our pain & insecurities.
We are taught confusion. But the time of awakening into empowerment is Here Now.