Is gratitude damaging your health?

Develop-an-attitude-of  Gratitude is a complicated issue for the co-dependent because gratitude is one of our struggles. We are much too grateful to be healthy. When our abusers smile in our direction we are relieved and grateful. An apology is almost worth getting onto our knees and thanking the powers that be for a universe that is generous. We are grateful for every compliment, every invitation to attend or participate in any part of his life. We are sometimes just grateful to have gotten out of that one with only a slap and not a punch.

Now something beautiful is beginning to happen to me. I am NO LONGER GRATEFUL. My relationships with everyone are changing. I receive e-mails from so-called friends that previously I would have read as this person extending the proverbial olive branch. I would have grasped and been delighted at any opportunity to reconcile with anyone despite anything. No betrayal was too much and no insult too deep. All anyone had to do was smile or make contact. I was grateful to have them back.

Something has changed. When those e-mail and calls arrive I find myself thinking – “That is simply not good enough”. Nothing has been addressed and so nothing has changed and so I refuse to ignore the past as though it never took place.

This is a truly exciting time for me because I see that without conscious decision on my part I have found standards. My inner voice states clearly and resoundingly to me that this is SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I elect to ignore a message or an e-mail because it fails to address the problem and seeks to slide past the issues. I am no longer the accomplice to the crime of failures of integrity because I was so happy to have a full social calendar that I allowed people to do what they liked.

When I delete and dismiss I am no longer afraid that I have lost a person. In the past, each person in my life was a validation of who I was, that I was. The absence of any one of them would have made me afraid. I would have assumed that somehow and somewhere I had been the cause of the problem and so should be grateful that they had elected to keep me anyway.

Notwithstanding my sense of appreciation for other things is in no way diminished. I am so grateful for so much but right now my greatest appreciation is of this inner voice that says “NO. That is simply not good enough.”

I see that healing manifests itself in different ways. I find myself being the one who’s choosing instead of the one grateful to be chosen. People’s rudeness or insensitivity is no longer hurtful it serves simply to clarify that this is a person I no longer choose to be with, socialize with or do business with. Their behaviour says nothing about me and everything about them.

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I was married to not one abuser, not two, but three. I fled from South Africa and from an extremely violent and traumatic marriage to a very well-known Johannesburg personality and resolved to learn a lesson and be more careful next time. In America I met a man who, on the surface, was everything that my second husband was not. Until I owned her own contribution to the dance of abuse I was destined to repeat the pattern. My story exists as proof of this. I am driven to help abused women as I know all too well what it feels like to be misunderstood and ashamed of my inability to let go of a relationship that was killing me. “It’s like wanting to hug a shark – why on earth would anyone do that?” I understand because I have been there, emerged damaged and broken from there and then – heaven forbid – went back! I know what it feels like to yearn for the love of a man who pulled out your hair, spat in your face and tried to choke you. I know what it feels like to tell people you are back there and watch their faces and see them thinking, “then you deserve what you get!” By telling my story, I hope to lift the veil of shame off abuse and encourage women to do the same. Un-silencing the voice is where true healing begins.

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Posted in abuse, codependency, domestic violence, gratitude, healing, love, marriage, obsession, relationships

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