And my message for you about acceptance.
Acceptance is one of the things that can have the biggest impact on where you are now. Our life can’t always be how we want it, there will be good times and bad or there might be people that rub you the wrong way but how you feel about these things will shape your present life and how you ultimately feel on a day to day basis.
From my experience acceptance works hand in hand with forgiveness at times and I probably could talk about them together but I will discuss forgiveness next week, as in my journey there were many things I had to find acceptance for, before I could move to the forgiveness stage.
My lesson on acceptance
While in the relationship with my ex-partner I was not accepting of his behaviour and remember often referring to it as abusive. I vowed while pregnant with my daughter that I would not bring her up in that kind of environment. So at the first sign of it after her birth we were out. It was best for my kids and I. It was hard and while I had made this decision I don’t know that I had really accepted that this would be my life. I hadn’t intended to be a single parent and I had a view of how I wanted things to be even if this was to be the way it would be.
I think the first step in accepting this reality was to accept responsibility for my own life, for the way I felt and looked after myself and the way I behaved. I had to accept that I was 100% responsible for my own life (as The Happiness Hunter says). When I think about this concept I believe it’s what has contributed to my depression over my life and how I view the negative things from my childhood.
When you blame other people for the way that you feel or the way you behave, you’re putting your life in another person’s hands and saying that you don’t have control of yourself. Which is most definitely not true. But I do know, that is often the way it feels when you’re living in a domestic violence relationship.
You might not have a choice about what you wear, what you do, or who you see but you do have a choice about the way you feel about it and the way you behave toward it.
After leaving the relationship it was really hard to remember that I had 100% control over my life now. That I could do what I like, when I like, with who I liked. I distinctly remember feeling closed up in my home, we rarely went out and did anything. When I started my self-care habits that I talked about last week it helped to remind me that I had this control but I was also still living in fear and experiencing the cycle of violence on a regular basis. Why? Why was this happening, I couldn’t understand it. I had left to escape this and to live a free life.
There being one of the biggest and toughest lessons of acceptance I had to learn.
I had to learn and accept that he will never change. That he will always try to control my life, my emotions, my reactions and responses.
Remembering the old saying that “the leopard never changes their spots” was what has allowed me to find acceptance for this continued manipulative behaviour. And it’s made all the difference to my present happiness.
As you know if you read my story, I am a single parent, so I’m not saying that you should accept the behaviour as such. No Way! It’s not on and I will be the first one to tell you to get the hell out of there and never go back. Don’t by any means accept abusive, manipulative, controlling and narcissistic behaviour towards you. But you do need to accept that it may never stop! At least if you have kids it many never stop!
Once I learnt to accept this fact, I was able to work on myself, how I reacted to it, how I allowed my feelings to be effected by it and in doing this I also took that responsibility of myself that I needed to take.
How things changed with this acceptance
Since accepting that the cycle of violence will continue in our lives I have experienced it several times over, but I no longer get drawn in by the dramas he tries to create. The break through really came after a number of discussions with my counsellor and her repeatedly telling me to not respond to his text messages or comments unless they were specifically about the kids and access. Each time I had the discussion I became a little bit better at this. It took changing the message tone to something quite and putting my phone on silent often so I didn’t hear the messages, now I just close the messages without even reading them. But I always keep them just in case.
I realised after the initial round of shutting him out that I was actually holding on, maybe because I wasn’t sure how I would live without the drama in my life, maybe because I had hoped that things would change. But when I thought about it, I knew I needed to accept that I had made a decision, that it was a good one and that I really didn’t want to take it back.
I needed to accept that this was my life now!
That it wouldn’t always be like this!
That it will get better and that I will find happiness!
I needed to let go of him,
Of the family dream I had
And accept the reality of our situation!
I think it was about mid 2013 when this happened and I know that shutting him out but not responding to his messages was what freed up my mind to move on and turned things around for me. I read lots of quotes on Pinterest daily (you can follow my inspiration board here) and I returned to doing things I enjoyed.
Acceptance is not something that just happens on its own.
You may need to use forgiveness with it as I mentioned earlier.
You also need to be self-aware, to be able to recognise your thoughts, actions and feelings. To know when you’re being drawn in and dropping your guard or to know when you need to say to yourself that you are not bound by this but you will accept that this is the way it is/they are and you cannot change it/them.
You many need to create a little mantra that you say to yourself each time a situation occurs or every day until you believe it and live it. I know I used to say often to myself “he will never change but I can change how I let it affect me” and now I say “here we go again”
I might initially be annoyed or aggravated and emotional about it but often I’m just amused, I laugh out loud and I get on with my day and…
this is the ultimate goal behind acceptance.
Particularly in a DV situation, it’s to not have the manipulation and control ruin your happiness. For it to not consume every part of your being, for you to be able to move forward and put that shit behind you!
My message about acceptance
Learning acceptance for the rotten things that you might still encounter and being able to graciously and calmly put it behind you without it affecting your happiness is exactly what you want.
Non-acceptance causes anxiety because you are then always worried about what might happen. And this is no way to live. ‘Let it go’ I say whenever I find things taking over my thoughts and causing me anxiety.
I have realised this week just how grateful I am that I have this acceptance and how little his dramas mean to my life now and little I am effected by them. It may seem cold and callous to him but I am a warm loving mother and person, I just have no space in my happy life for him.
So my finally words are accept it, move on, stop blaming yourself, you don’t have control over others but you do have control over yourself. Refocus your thoughts away from the negative and let that shit go! It serves no purpose in YOUR HAPPY LIFE
Until next week…