Determination in the Life of a Survivor

I’ve seen the look many times–hundreds of times over the past 20 years working with (mostly) women who are surviving a pathological love relationship. There ‘is’ a look. Initially, it’s a timid look—before she grasps that she really CAN survive and thrive. Then the look begins to change, morph into real belief and real power.

Ironically, I saw the look this past week in an unlikely but stunning face. I saw her gentle-ness—as did the pathological who is in your life. Your ‘super’ traits of empathy, tolerance, caring and compassion are what make you the wonderful girl you are. It has also been target traits for pathologicals. You can see the gentle-ness even in the face.

Then I saw her powerlessness.

The look like you don’t know if you will ever get out, ever survive, ever find your power back again. It feels as if you are being held there against your will–when you remember once that you were so different–so self assured, confident, and capable.

And many people have seen the face of unbelievable stress and worry—when you no longer trust your own judgment, ping pong back and forth between loving and loathing him. When you can’t concentrate, focus, sleep, or even want to get up each day.

But the greatest thing about doing this work is when women really ‘get it’ about pathology–when they understand that what’s wrong with him has nothing to do with her, what she did or didn’t do–when she gets that ‘wild eyed look’ that says her reality has shifted–she realizes that what has happened to her is simply she’s been knee deep in pathology and she is powerful enough to walk away.

I love that part–the paradim shift when women turn the corner in understanding and her whole future opens up like a flower blooming.

Over the years I have watched hundreds of women storm off into their future having recaptured their lives, their dignity, their ability to function well, their self belief. It’s a beautiful and strong presence when you get to witness that.

(Link for Powerful Look)

Why all the horse photos? This is Rachel Alexandra–I love her expressive face. She is a reminder to me of all of the women I have worked with. She is the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness. It awed me to see her many faces of gentile-ness, powerlessness, worriedness, thriver-hood and powerfulness. It reminded me that even though so much is often against you in your race to recovery from pathology, that you too, like Rachel Alexandra, can defy the odds even when they have been stacked that way for 85 years! There really is something to be said for the power of belief, destiny and desire. I believe in you!