The Solution is Available Outside the Old Mindset
We have this ongoing social problem labelled ‘domestic violence’. Our response is like that old story of the man searching under a street light for his lost keys. Someone comes to help and after a time of both of them searching, he asks, ‘are you sure you lost your keys here, as we have searched everywhere’. The man points to the darkness and replies, ‘I lost them out there, but the light is better here.’
Keep reading if you want to address the whole picture, and if you want to benefit and grow personally, no matter what your relationship or profession, and want to discover how change can happen quickly in communities through informed connection and becoming activated.
When people develop within their own community, they become the influencers for government and social change. We need to stop being passive and saying that it is someone else’s problem, waiting and blaming, and start connecting and being active in our own life, before we change the world or our own community! We can’t change the world or community if we’re not willing to look at our own life without saying, ‘this doesn’t involve me, or there is nothing I need to know here.’
People want to stay under the street light, because it feels more simple, clear, contained, less personal, and less impactful. “Let’s make gender equality happen, stop homelessness, create awareness campaigns and increase pay and positions of power for women”. All these responses are bandaids despite being valuable strategies. These attempts are piecemeal and superficial and offer global, generalised solutions. They don’t look at relationship abuse through the personal lens of the specific details, yet we’re talking about a personal and individual experience: which involves personal choices and beliefs which either protect us, keep us passive, or harm us or others.
When you have trust in your skills and resources, your body provides the instinct to take the necessary steps to develop A Better Way and negotiate the hole/whole, in your personal or professional world.
We are social creatures, and our friendships, family, partner and workplaces all benefit from A Better Way. If we think of a relationship continuum, abuse is at one end and as you progress down, there is toxic behaviour, conflicts and then love and acceptance at the other end. We need to get personal or we can’t address the social.
We can’t fix an old problem with the old mindset. There are 3 core problems which are not being addressed by the current conversation and action. Within each problem lies the solution. When each area can come out of the dark ages and darkness, and no longer be seen as ‘far away’ and foreign to consider, lies the solution.
“Every woman I have spoken with who escaped abuse, always had early warning signs which became buried in their unconscious - due to conflicting feelings, beliefs and threats to their wellbeing. It was only on becoming safe and receiving support to trust her body and inner sensings that what was known in the unconscious could surface and be known consciously”.
We have been taught that the unconscious is ‘woo woo’ and unscientific, yet marketing agencies, elite sportspeople and con men take full advantage of the unconscious. We are not modelled how to be with our mind, body and unconscious. What we don’t have the skills to be with becomes buried. We are not taught how to prevent, intervene or heal from abuse, yet there is a practical and effective way based on working with the unconscious and the body. After all, abuse is based on denial and delusions of entitlement. It relies on manipulating someone’s unconscious, their perceptions, beliefs and feelings. Abuse is often hidden, deceptive and a manipulation of reality, so people don’t know what to believe or trust. We rely too much on ‘black and white’ proof which is dangerous when abuse happens behind closed doors. This social gap leads people (personally and professionally) to either stay silent or unintentionally say, do or assess the ‘wrong’ thing.
People have lost connection to their body and unconscious, and so are manipulated by the mind and environment. We have lost the natural art of being human: embodied and connected to our mind, body, unconscious, instinct and soul - our whole being. Instinct and soul are not valued in our modern society which values left brain qualities. Read three articles to understand why this approach is important and how it addresses the gaps in our current culture and why gender equality is not the solution: Feminine Principle Hemispherectomy, Feminine Speaker Approach and New Voices and Answers.
When people have internal conflicting beliefs and don’t know how to notice or respond to them, clarity of response becomes buried in the unconscious and people remain vulnerable to dominant responses irrespective if they are the best response. We have been shaped to listen to others as our reference point and deny our own intelligence and perspective. People remain unconscious without mind body skills to connect between their own conscious and unconscious knowings, and how to negotiate the involuntary responses of overwhelm, stress, trauma, conflicting beliefs and involuntary defences.
When involuntary responses are involved we know the unconscious is involved. Unconscious bias can not be addressed without a response which assists every individual to reconnect to their unconscious. If leaders and professionals are not doing this in their personal lives, how they can model and implement this in their professional roles? If families do not have access to their unconscious how they can respond to that sense that something is not quite right - they are susceptible to the environment around them instead of trusting their instinct.
Abuse occurs to 1 in 3 women, and so in every group there are likely to be people with past or current experiences of abuse, and most probably unresolved trauma that is indirectly or directly shaping what they see and how they act. Most professionals do not receive adequate training about trauma and abuse. It is all surface level, yet trauma and abuse is deep and has many involuntary aspects.
Individuals are not shown how to respond to involuntary stress and trauma responses beyond will power, positive or rational thinking, all of which are overridden by the involuntary stress or trauma responses.
There are practical and easy ways of activating the brain body system out of the stress/trauma response so there are more options to hear and respond, in prevention, intervention and healing. We all benefit from understanding and having the tools to respond to our own mind body system when under stress or trauma, because no matter what we will experience in our life we won’t necessarily some type of stress or trauma, when we realise that trauma is any experience when we feel overwhelmed.
Most women do not realise they have a unique female stress response which is activated under stress and is influenced by their hormones, shaping their choices and behaviours, or how to engage with this involuntary response for their benefit.
People who use abuse choose not to contain themselves, and they live in a society which minimises what they do and does not contain them. We teach children to live with the consequences but we either turn a blind eye or excuse adults… because we don’t have access to key 1 and 2 we lack emotional muscle to have uncomfortable conversations and the courage to go outside of our comfort zone, and explore our whole self or take risks with others. We mislabel abuse or toxic behaviour all the time. We don’t want to address abuse because it will bring clarity about what we tolerate in our own lives. Whether it it is abuse, or toxic or conflictual - it is all damaging. Read When toxic and conflict relationships get confused with abuse blog to know the difference between them.
No one wants to see how they are tolerating toxic or abuse in their own personal or professional lives. People outside of abuse, walk on eggshells so as not to get on the wrong side of people, including family and professionals. The victim/survivor and person using abuse are a reflection of the shadow in our family, community and systems. We are missing family, community and professional emotional muscle to have the uncomfortable but necessary conversations. The thing is that having these conversations when we have developed keys 1 and 2 mean that our connections have increased intimacy and positive outcomes.
This is particularly important when we look at the research which shows women speak to their friends, family and neighbours 76% of the time and only contact domestic violence and other agencies 16% of the time. Addressing the first two keys will enable people to become activated in their own brain body system and in their connections with others. These steps increase empathy, self care and connection and create the capacity to have uncomfortable conversations and explore choices and reach out for support. We build healthy communities which is useful not just for domestic violence, but for mental illness, addiction and other life traumas.