Two Things That Stand In The Way Of Happiness For Abused Women

04 Jan 2012

Did you know there are two things that stand in the way of you being happy right now?

According to Alexandra Watson (The Happiness System)  these two things may well not be what you think.  She says:

“…two things hold you back from being happy right now.  The first is a lack of self-awareness or knowledge about your inner self, and the second is a lack of real commitment to yourself.”

Did you nod your agreement when you read that?  Or did you start saying:  “It’s okay to say that but I can’t be happy because…  I’ll be happy when…”? 

If we wait until things are perfect to be happy, or even until things are better, we could be in for a long wait.  If we think about the reasons we have to be unhappy, we can usually find a whole shopping list of them…  If you’re tired of the unhappiness, and want to guarantee 2012 will be your year, it only takes one small step.

These days, I spend most of my life profoundly happy, and give gratitude on a daily basis.  Yet, if I chose to look on the dark side – when I choose to look on the dark side – there are worries and sadness enough in my daily life.

Most recently Basil, my beautiful 18 month old puppy, had a corneal ulcer that ruptured.  Thanks to a wonderful canine ophthalmologist, Basil still has his eye.  But for nearly 2 weeks, it was touch and go, and an exhausting round of administering endless eye-drops to a sick, resisting dog.  Basil (pictured below)has been a great teacher.  It’s unlikely he will ever see much out of that eye, but he has gone back to being the sunny, sweet-natured, loving, lively little boy he was.  Basil lives joyfully, passionately, fully, in the moment –

and so should we.

Abused women are just like other women, except that our uncertainties have free rein.  Our feelings of inadequacies are, as it were, on steroids.

Sure, you’re bound to know the odd exception – pretty much everyone does.  But women, as a breed, are given to:

  • People-pleasing
  • Self-effacing modesty
  • Selflessness
  • Putting their partner on a pedestal
  • Not taking care of their own needs
  • Putting themselves last

And, of course, we love and invest our hope and belief in The Universal Laws of Natural Justice.  The only problem is, unfortunately, that there are no universal laws of natural justice:  giving all our love to just one abusive man doesn’t mean that he will love us back.  Ever.  Extreme selflessness doesn’t mean other people will be obliged to show consideration and selflessness back.

It all depends on the calibre of the person.

Just in case it needs saying, the calibre of an abusive person is, to all intents and purposes, very LOW.  Abusers operate by very different criteria.  And, as far as I can tell, they only seem to have one law, which goes like this:

“You have every possible obligation towards me, and I have none towards you. “ 

But enough about them.  Let’s come back to you.

You really are like most other women, except that your experience and your programming was that much more negative.  You were taught not to matter, and not to factor yourself into any equation – why on earth would you, since you didn’t matter anyway? 

And that is how you learned not to commit to yourself?

Think about it.

Do you really commit to yourself?

When was the last time you truly committed to yourself, and honored that commitment?

When it comes to the wellbeing of children, your abusive partner, or other loved ones, how much more commitment do you show to them than you have ever shown to yourself?

How does it make you feel when you acknowledge how little commitment you’ve shown to yourself?

So, now, when you think back to that quote at the start of this piece, can you see that what holds you back from happiness may well not be quite what you thought?

If you don’t give yourself the message that you matter, is it any wonder that you don’t feel happy?

Sure, it would be really nice if enough other people in your life gave you the message that you matter, and that they are committed to your happiness.  But there are people in your life who aren’t going to do that anytime soon… if ever.

There are people like that who lurk at the corners of my life, too.  They were once big players in my life.  They aren’t now.  I accept the reality.  And I learn from Basil.  

They don’t matter.

The quality of my life matters.

The more I commit to living a joyful life, the happier I am in the here and now.  And, in case you’re wondering, living a joyful life doesn’t mean living a selfish life.

It means finding, and celebrating, what is good in your life – and however hard things may be for you, there are always good things in your life.

And it means committing to being self-full, learning how to experience, nurture and share the gift of who you are.

Of course, that presupposes a bit of self-knowledge.  It means discovering who you are, as opposed to who you think you are.

Or, more correctly, who they told you that you are.

They –  that is your very own Mr Nasty, and all the previous Nasties in your life – really don’t know what they’re talking about.  The only gift they have is the gift of certainty.  They believe they have the right to talk to you that way.  And they are committed to themselves first and foremost.

They just happen to be committed in a toxic sort of way.

And, I’m guessing, that’s your greatest fear: if you commit to yourself, you’ll do it in the same sort of toxic way they do.

Absolutely not true.

You’re two entirely different kinds of people.  They can’t do selfless  – it’s just not in their DNA – and you simply can’t do nasty-to-the-core.  You’d implode first.

So, why not let that fear go.

Make 2012 the year in which you commit to yourself.  For your own happiness, and, also, to generate happiness around you –  because I know how much you love the buzz of selflessnessJ – in people who give back, rather than just taking.

And if you don’t know how to commit to yourself, that’s perfectly understandable.  You haven’t had much training, yet.  My New Year New Start Quick Start program will show you how.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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