Wizard of Oz Series, Part 1 – Leaving The Home of Abuse

Running from Life

Running from life is what Dorothy did at the very beginning of her journey into her Dark Night of the Soul, as she ran from her Auntie’s house with the definitive hope that someplace has got to be better than the place she has found herself in.

“The Wizard of Oz”, is an enticing and long lasting story that encapsulates so much about life. Join me in a series of weekly blogs that root themselves in the Zen of this story while you grasp a greater understanding of you and your relationship to your soul’s journey.  Each week a different aspect of the relationship this tale has with interpersonal and emotional issues will be delved into.

Have you ever felt like you wanted to run away? Run from your family of origin, run from your work, run  from the internal voices that push you to try harder, do better or even to give up?

That is what Dorothy did at the very beginning of her journey into her Dark Night of the Soul, as she ran from her Auntie’s house with the definitive hope that someplace has got to be better than the place she has found herself in.

What is it that makes us feel that the home we know is no place for us to be. What pushes us to run away in the hope that another path or another facsimile of a home will take away the internal pain we are running from?

In the home where abuse was experienced by you as a child, no matter what type of abuse you experienced, I am sure you thought that as soon as you got out of there all  the wounds would heal—you would finally find safety.  Then, somewhere along the path of life, you realize that the haunting moments of that home, cannot simply be wiped out because of your leave-taking.

The emotional and physical scarring that took place erupts throughout your life looking like anger, fear or with you embodying the very role you ran from, the abuser. The eruption is like a volcano that lays dormant for years, building its internal steam until it erupts, at first a little bit of the eruption takes place and then there is an internal trigger that may come from left field yet affects your very being.

In trying to understand why this is happening to you, at this time in your life, you might begin to look around taking note of the people around you, what your professional life is like,  who you have relationships with and how you are living.

  • Are there any parts of your life’s baskets that remind you of the home of your youth?
  • Does your current environment feel as if it is out of control?
  • Are you out of control?

Time to take a breath. Be mindful that each breath you take allows you to feel “you” and begin the journey to the internal home that you want to create. You have the ability to create that sense of safety and security when you dialogue with you, the adult, and you, the child.

The child that lives deep inside of you and has never left you.

Once you begin this dialogue between these two very integral parts of you, the sense of loss, confusion and angst will begin to have a voice.

Once you meet the voice you will be on your way to the ownership of wearing the ruby slippers.

Once you try them on, feeling their power, the abuse of the past will not need to continue to erupt in the present.

Comments

  1. Chris says:

    I Love the analogy. Very interesting. Please continue.

  2. From the very first sentence on I felt the compulsion to read the whole series on the “wizard of Oz”.From Dorothy to the tin man, the cowardly lion, the straw man and Oz himself. When completed it will make a wonderful book, or least a short story. Keep up the good work!!

  3. Very intriguing comparison. I really enjoyed it! I’m a survivor myself and experienced what I and many others would probably consider to be extreme abuse (both physical and sexual) at the hands of my father (biological) from the age of 4 until nearly 17. It was the worst experience of my 41 years of life, no question.

    I had my ups and downs in my 20’s where I rebelled, experimented with drugs, got into a little bit of trouble, but nothing too terrible. In my 30’s, I went head on into therapy, though I really didn’t feel the need to go more than about a year or less. After re-living the events (which I remember nearly every detail), discussing/processing my feelings about them, I really didn’t feel there was anything left to discuss. I was ready to move on. I’ve never blamed myself or felt that any of it was my fault thought at the time it was happening I did. It was only after I was out of there that the guilt left and turned into anger.

    I was abused alongside 2 of my cousins. We lived and grew up together and are still like sisters (one of my cousins passed at the age of 35 from the birth control patch). I noticed that they really seemed to have had a harder time “getting through” all of it even though I endured the abuse the longest and most severely. Keep in mind that our abuser was also my own father as opposed to their non-blood uncle…not to ever downplay any of their pain, of course. I know they suffered immensely. I give this comparison only to try offer as much information that might help answer this question.

    Which is…

    Is there something wrong with me? Is this typical? I feel like I’ve been able to work through things and truly feel “done” talking about it. Even 15+ years after therapy, I don’t feel any further need to delve into any of it or really even think about it. In fact, the only reason I was even on your page is because I’m really interested in the paranormal and love your work with the children. I saw you had some info on childhood abuse and decided to see what was there. If it wasn’t for that, I’d say the last time I even “Googled” anything about childhood abuse was probably 5 or more years ago.

    I know it happened to me, I’m not disconnected or disassociated from my pain. I lived it, relived it and in some ways felt like I really endured it again.

    Today, I’m happily married and have 2 beautiful step-children (my father caused internal damage to my reproductive system and I was never able to have my old children.) Yes, I was very angry and depressed about that for some time, but have since come to terms with it. I run my own ASL Interpreting agency (both of my parents are Deaf–interesting little twist there) and have grown my businesses slowly into a pretty solid company. I also sing and play guitar/piano in a rock band (my husband is my guitarist) and write nearly all of our songs. http://www.reverbnation.com/crimsonjuliet if you are ever so compelled to see what we sound like. (No, I’m not here to promote my band–again, I think it’s relevant to the question.) You may notice some interesting themes in some of my lyrics. Music has been a wonderful outlet for me to release any negative energy and embrace a hobby/semi-professional career that fulfills me immensely. Don’t worry, I’m don’t mind giving identifying information. I’m not ashamed of what was DONE to me–nor should anyone else with similar experiences be.

    Maybe I’m a success story…but why do I question whether or not something terrible will happen later? Am I really NOT over any of this and some hidden pain is going to pop out all of a sudden and consume me? Maybe THAT’S the remains of my abuse and in fact nothing is going to happen other than me worrying that it will.

    I must apologize for rambling. In some ways, I feel I needed to give a lot of details for you to be able to understand where I was coming from.

    In summary (really, I‘m going to shut up soon, promise), do you see a lot of survivors of severe abuse move on and live full lives? Am I an unfeeling freak of nature? Ok, I don’t believe that, so I’m not quite sure why I even asked -though in some ways I feel it’s a valid question.

    In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that what has saved me is my personal insight and ability to see things for what they are: My father was a really sick bastard and my cousins and I were the victims of his terrible illness (btw, I haven’t spoken to him in years though he is still alive.) I feel no need to. I’ve had my closure with him. Others have told me that I’m strong (many times I’m not, but put on a brave face–but not necessarily about the abuse, per se, but just good at hiding my feelings in general), logical and rational.

    Could being rational and insightful be the key to overcoming the longer lasting effects of abuse or am I just kidding myself? Is it all just a matter of time before I end up in the looney bin?

    Thanks for listening. I’d really enjoy any comments from Edy or anyone else who would like to share.

  4. To Jen-I can relate to your comments and concerns. I have abusive memories of my dad that start at age 2 or 3. My brother and I learned to hide emotion because expressing it would only escalate the situation. In time, not showing emotion became more about mental discipline and not giving others the satisfaction of our tears or control over us. People’s lack of concern in our youth validated that we were unworthy. We were treated as monsters and that’s what we became – unfeeling, uncaring freaks with no regard for ourselves or others. It wasn’t until I was completely broken that I realized my actions weren’t serving anyone. I wanted to see the beauty in someone or something. Isolation and community service work was respite from the chaos in my home, my life, my mind. I began to see beauty in the calm of that environment and compassion of it’s people. I was hooked on kindness, being valued, and contributing to the greater good. I developed an affinity for the underdogs – those like me. I was encouraged to get on with my life and live up to my potential. I chose a career in rehab. It was one in which I could experience joy, make enough money to live and not hurt anyone in the process. I can relate to my clients’ experiences and understand their behaviors, actions, and intentions without being surprised, reactionary, or judgmental when things get crazy. I’m also not easily manipulated. I stare conflict in the face, take calculated risks, and always asks “what if?” These are ways hiding emotions and being reasonable serve. These characteristics that root in my past serve in my relationships with others because situations don’t get escalated on both ends; however, they can hinder me because I really don’t understand the reasons for peoples’ emotions very well. Consoling makes me uneasy. People close to me think I don’t care or feel when in fact, I feel so much that I need to set boundaries and change my mind to turn those feelings off so they don’t consume me. Like you, Jen, I do worry that maybe I think I have it all under control when I really don’t. I have done a ton of personal work and feel OK. I feel I don’t need a therapist to tell me what’s going on. I have a journal and the internet to do that. Like you, I wonder if that which I think is resolved will eventually destroy me with serious physical or mental health issues. Sometimes I worry that no one will be there for me if it does happen simply because they haven’t been before, and I don’t have strong bonds with people now. It’s beautiful that you see the beauty in your step children. I don’t have kids. If I don’t have time for myself, how can I be a parent of quality? If I can’t meet my own expectations, would I project that on to them as my dad did? If some of the most compassionate people I’ve met don’t think I’m worthy of a loving embrace or that I don’t care, wouldn’t my kids feel that, too? – as I did and do now. Kids may fulfill that need for connection, but my mom pointed out that was the hope but not necessarily reality. Based on our relationship (to include my siblings), that is truth. Who am I to continue that cycle of lack and carelessness? So for now, I’ll rescue others and myself in the process. Regarding bravery – Yes, I think it comes with the trauma package. Courage and strength arise from fear. Courage is required for the personal work of reflection and awareness that sparks inspiration to take actions to change the patterns and addictions of a victim mindset; to admit weakness and feel humility over and over again to evolve; to show up despite our fears and feelings. Discovering the truth of who we are can be painful, but it aligns us with authenticity which sets us free from self defeating thoughts and the need to become what others want us to be. The human experience is hard enough to survive and thrive in the present. Worrying about the future causes too much stress and anxiety because there are too many unknown factors that I can’t predict or plan for. Trying to do so would consume all my time and energy. I have to accept that all I have control of in this moment is the meaning I give to the circumstances and situations I find myself in and the lessons I extract from them.

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