Deciding Not Stay Where You Are

The first step towards getting somewhere is to DECIDE that you are not going to stay where you are.”  (Anny Jacoby)

I just love this quote.  It reminds me of what we have been talking about now for months—since I began the Living the Gentle Life series, which has been about the recovery from PTSD and Pathological Love Relationships.

I get emails that say, “I can’t leave him because_________.”  There are lots of reasons that people, both men and women, feel trapped in pathological love relationships. It could be

* Finances

* Children

* Health

* Lack of employment or education

* Religious beliefs

* Family’s attitude

* Fear of harm

* Or your own damage from PTSD

But the first step toward an internal shift, where something else might be a possibility, is beginning with knowing you are not going to stay where you are.

The external reasons of ‘why’ you are still there are just that—external.  The paradigm shift starts with the internal, the decision you make that you are not going to stay where you are, whether emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, or sexually. Just one shift can start all the other parts shifting as well.  Externally, things begin to happen when you simply make the decision that at some time in the near future, you are not going to stay where you are. That doesn’t just mean that you are going to move out, or get away. It means, you are going to move towards something, inside.

What happens outside of us in recovery starts with the shift internally, before it is ever manifested in our lives.  We won’t follow a path that isn’t first developed internally.  We’ll end up only seeing roadblocks of the external, which doesn’t help us.  The first thing that has to happen is the decision for internal movement.

Over the 20 years of working with pathology and hundreds and hundreds of its victims, I have heard every kind of story about pathological relationships—everything from the most deviant kind of mind control-to attempted murder-to actual murder.   I’ve heard of financial hostage taking, rape, assaults, stalking, women put into comas, people alienated from their children, people being medically harmed, reputations and career ruined, and people locked in their homes or psyches for decades.  I’ve heard it all.  The emails start with, “But, I can’t“–and then they give the reason for their inability to leave.

But don’t be discouraged–there is movement happening in you that you might not see! Why do I think that? Because you have read our magazine, our newsletters, or are emailing us; so obviously something inside is shifting!  This is the first step.  Somewhere, you are deciding you are not going to stay where you are!  Even mentally you are moving and changing.  Your “yes, but” might be a reason to you, but you are already deciding to not stay where you are. You are reaching out which undoubtedly will at least change where you are emotionally.

For some of the more common road blocks to change remember:

Yes, there are safety and housing barriers.

* Remember, every community has DV services, or DV housing most likely exists in your area.

Yes, there are emotional barriers—you have PTSD.

* Remember most communities have DV counseling services that are free; churches have support groups, and community mental health counseling for you or your children is free or very low in cost.

Yes, there are starting over barriers when you leave with only what’s in your suitcase.

* Remember, DV services and other non-profit organizations offer furniture, clothing and household item to those starting over.

Yes, there are legal barriers—you don’t have an attorney.

* Remember self-help, non- profit and women’s organizations.  DV agencies have information on legal aid and OTHER types of pro-bono services if you don’t qualify for legal aid.

Yes, there are other case-specific barriers—there are so many issues to manage at once.

* Remember women’s organizations, DV agencies and other non-profit organizations have case workers assigned to you so you don’t have to do it all yourself.

You only have to first decide, “That you are not going to stay where you are at” whether that is emotionally, physically, or spiritually.  That’s the first step to the rest of your life.  That doesn’t mean you leave tomorrow—that means you shift internally—that you open the emotional door of possibility that you will not always be where you are today.

Susan Murphy-Milano, our Expert Violence Strategist, works with women to help them design exit plans.  Please check out her information on our website.

October is DV Awareness Month, and I stop and give tribute and memory to those patients of mine who have died because they believed they couldn’t do anything about their situation, or they underestimated his pathology (or her pathology).  In honor of all those who have been harmed, alive or not, we remember you this month, and send ‘possibility’ to those living in a pathological situation that your life can and will be different.  I don’t say that flippantly—I too have experienced a lot of pain when I see patients further harmed, so I say it from my own experience.

The Institute has helped thousands of people make that paradigm shift internally so they could eventually make it externally.

(**If we could support you in your recovery process, please let us know.  The Institute is the largest provider of recover-based services for survivors of pathological love relationships.  Information about pathological love relationships is in our award-winning book, Women Who Love Psychopaths, and is also available in our retreats, 1:1s, or phone sessions.  See the website for more information.)