Editor’s note: The following article refers to spiritual concepts. Please read Lovefraud’s statement on Spiritual Recovery.
As a fellow victim of a spath, I’ve been both heartened and heartbroken by the stories told on Lovefraud. Also, like many of us here, I have a natural inclination to feel for others and to do what I can to support and assist in whatever way I can to help ease others’ difficulties — that’s a key reason we were targeted in the first place, isn’t it? My experience has caused me to try to understand the nature of suffering and what can be done about it. So if the members will indulge me, I’d like to share some thoughts that have come to me as I continue to process, and perhaps help those on a similar path.
In the immediate aftermath of the trauma of victimization, there is a palpable shock, a disorientation and confusion — a feeling of suddenly being lost, without direction or meaning in our life. Combined with the actual physical trauma to our bodies, this period can be at turns, agonizing and terrifying. It is completely natural to seek relief from such pain and torment as quickly as possible in whatever way we think will work, and so we often become consumed by the urge to escape our misery; we may spend our entire lives in this search. We try to escape the pain in countless ways — through analysis, trying to make sense of the senseless, or through some authority, or conversation with those close to us who may impart some perspective or rationale that will ease our minds, or simply through distractions of every sort to just help us get through our days and nights. (Hopefully, this does not include harmful alcohol or drugs.)
What these and other forms of relief-seeking share, and which we all understandably engage in, is a common thread: a belief that if we do something, we will bring about the end of our suffering, even if only temporarily, and restore to ourselves a sense of normalcy, before the storm. We in the West have a cultural bias towards self-determinacy in the face of adversity, and we are heavily conditioned by that culture to act.
I’d like to suggest a contrary approach for consideration to those currently dealing with our particular brand of anguish and misery.
The constant searching for escape from our pain is like digging in the earth again and again, in the hope we’ll harvest the fruit that offers the nourishment we yearn for. Maybe in a time of profound distress, what we really need is just the opposite: to cultivate receptivity and stillness, to simply provide the rich soil in order for peace to take root.
Rather than actively seeking escape, perhaps, as unnatural as it may feel to us, we need to be inactive — to become inwardly quiet and allow the opportunity to focus on the purification of our hearts and minds. Instead of filling every moment with outward activity, chatter and escape, we could benefit from the solitude our situation forces upon us to create a space inside in which to heal. Through subsequent acceptance and openness, we become receptive to assistance from those aspects of our nature that have our best interests at heart, for some a Higher Power, which brings peace. In short, we don’t find it by actively searching, the relief we seek finds us when we create the space through stillness to allow it to happen. Not the space of a “time out,” but the eternal space we cover up and which is inside us all the time underneath our “lives.”
It may be that the infinite forms our searches for solutions to our suffering take, are in fact no more than escapes dressed in productive activity. Paradoxically, perhaps by dropping our active urge to find peace, and becoming quiet and receptive, we consent to allowing peace to find us.