Every time I received a guest blog post submission, I’m in awe of the amazing act of bravery and advocacy on the part of the survivor who wrote it. Opening up and sharing about your traumatic past certainly is not easy, but it is so unbelievably therapeutic and healing. There’s a true sense of freedom that is often felt when you decide to open up in a real, honest, vulnerable way.
Jason reached out to me not ago and wanted to share some of his stories, and after checking out his blog, SolaceInnerHealth.com, it was easy to see his passion resonate throughout his writing.
Through my lifelong experience with abuse, shame, depression, anxiety and many more inner health struggles, I feel it is my purpose and goal to share my learnings with you. I’m hoping you’ll help me as well by relating and finding that ounce of bravery inside of you to share your experiences with depression, anxiety, childhood trauma or maybe you have been abusive and controlling as well and want to change but unsure how to take the first steps.
Thank you again Jason for sharing so openly and bravely, and in such a unique and relate-able way.
I love to eat eggs. It is the simplest and most practical food that I enjoy. With approximately 13 grams of protein in each of those oval shaped goodies, I get a satisfying and nutritious meal or snack usually within minutes.
Here’s my top 10 ways I love to eat my eggs:
- Hard boiled. Dip them in a bit of mayo and that’s my go-to breakfast while I’m traveling for work.
- Soft boiled. The runnier the better. I drizzle soy sauce on it and slurp it like a freshly shucked oyster. My ex-girlfriend was grossed out by this as most people would be I suppose, but that’s my routine breakfast in the morning. Extra large eggs please.
- Scrambled. Put a splash of milk in it if you’d like but make sure I get some ketchup on the side please.
- Egg sandwiches. Sure…these are another form of hard-boiled eggs, but with clothes on. A bit of mayo, some bread and that could be lunch.
- Frittata. My colleague brings in this lovely treat once in a while. She loads it with stuff. I mean good stuff: a variety of different types of cheeses, spicy Italian sausage, peppers and whole lot of flavor.
- Sunny side up. Whenever I’m at Denny’s it’s such a dilemma when the waitress asks me how I’d like my eggs done. I’ll cut around the yolk and eat the white first just because I love to slurp the yellow goodness.
- Over easy. This is a craft just to make it right without breaking the yolk but if done correctly, the yellow surprise is waiting inside. Put this over rice and my mom’s curry and I’m in heaven.
- Poached. Soft please with hollandaise sauce!
- Omelette. I don’t have these often but when I do, please load the sausage, cheese and veggies.
- Liquid eggs. Great for camping although my friends will criticize me for using ‘fake’ eggs. It’s quick, easy to clean up and tastes great.
The term “walking on eggshells” is often used when there’s a feeling of caution or fear being around someone who might appear threatening. It’s a phrase often used to describe abuse and those who have been abusive.
Here’s 10 ways I have been a perpetrator of abuse that I am not proud of but accountable for:
- Shouting. I reamed my son out in the car when he was about 7 years old for losing his sandals at the beach. He cried endlessly in fear and sadness while I blindly thought I was teaching him a lesson about ownership. I am disgusted with myself when I think back to this story. Though I’ve deeply apologized, the scar will always be there.
- Shaming. I told my son many times when he was younger and forgot something or made a mistake that “you should know better!”…no…he shouldn’t.
- Imperatives. I remember an argument I had with my ex-wife who was out having dinner while I was at home with my crying son and telling her “you SHOULD be here right now!”
- Control. I used to be a clean freak and demanded that my ex-wife kept the house a certain way. Her fruitless attempts would never please me.
- Emotional abuse. I would challenge my ex-girlfriend of her love and often times convinced her that she was still in love with her ex-boyfriends. I even went as far as throwing out her old photographs with them. I was so fucked up.
- Scaring. Just because I’m louder, doesn’t mean I’m right. I can be frightening in an argument because my voice elevates and resonates. I would argue like a baseball umpire right in my ex’s face.
- Mood swings. There’s days when I would come home to my ex and not feel anything despite the biggest smile from her. I would be icy cold and relentless and could quickly turn her smile into tearful eyes. I would be disengaged and anxious over mundane things such my need to do laundry and make dinner.
- Crankiness. Don’t talk to me. When I was cranky for deeper reasons, it was best to avoid me or I would snap with my vicious words of displeasure. But if you ignored me, I would say you didn’t love me and start an argument.
- Demanding. I used to sometimes demand we had sex. If not, it demonstrated my ex’s lack of love for me. There was a deeper lack of self-worth and love in me.
- Spite. I won’t fight fair. If my ex ignored me, I’ll ignore her tenfold with a scowl ontop. If she forgot to pick up something from the store, I would forget something for her deliberately to make her feel how I felt. Eye for an eye was an unhealthy mindset.
I emphasize that I’m not by any stretch proud nor justifying any of these behaviours and though it’s not easy to talk about, it’s something I have to be accountable for. These are some examples that I’ve been guilty of but certainly not limited to. Seeking professional help and continuing to work with them for a number of years now has helped me get to this point and I know it’s a lifelong journey for me to heal and learn. I’m not born abusive. Like most abusive people, there’s a history of abuse that starts when they’re young.
Here’s 10 ways I’ve been abused as a child:
- Beatings to submission by my dad. He wasn’t an alcoholic and he didn’t use substances. He was just a very troubled man with a troubled childhood from my understanding. One beating that stains my heart was when I was 7 years old. He beat me with a foot long piece of wood from the yard because I was screaming in pain after my older brother had just finished beating me up. My dad beat me with the stick so hard it left bruises and a limp on my leg for days. I writhed in pain like Luke Skywalker pleading for help when the Emperor was killing him in Star Wars. No one came to my aid. My sister and brother stood there watching. My dad then kicked me out to the backyard to clean my dirty socks off with my fingers and demanded that I not return until they were cleaned.
- Bullied by my brother. My brother is 7 years older than me and always out muscled me when we got into fights. I was aged 6-10 when this typically occurred. He would taunt me to get a rise and a fight ensued with me always on the losing end. Oh, and then my dad would show up and either beat me with a belt, his hand or both. My brother would be yelled at told to go to his room.
- Beatings by my mom. Though not as often as my dad, my mom beat me with bamboo sticks or her hand. I would describe her beatings to be more of a sharp piercing pain vs the blunting blows from my dad.
- Shamed and emotionally abused. My uncle in Toronto was someone I feared. He lived across the country and would call my mom almost every night to chat. When I picked up the phone to answer (no caller ID back then), he would immediately shame and lecture me by calling me lazy and useless for not helping around the house…sure, I could have helped more, but that’s some ‘healthy’ parenting skills there…
- Shamed by my aunt. The wife of my uncle was a dragon lady. I spent a summer staying with them when I was around 10 years old and my sister and I had gotten into a fight. I wept on the livingroom sofa and my aunt callously walked by and immediately said, “if you’re going to cry, don’t cry on my sofa!”
- Arguments. Arguing and fighting were the default ways to resolve problems in the house I grew up in regardless of who was involved. There were no apologies but plenty of threats, name calling and roaring voices…and LOVE was a 4 letter swear word.
- Bullies. I was bullied in junior high by boys named Jeff and John. “You fuckn’ chinks are so ugly” still sticks in my head when I think of them. Getting shoved, ridiculed and threatened made me walk on eggshells and perhaps the loneliest 3 years of my life.
- Beatings by my uncles. If it wasn’t enough, I even sometimes got beaten and slapped by my uncles when I was an adolescent. I remember a trip to Singapore when I had the flu and refused to leave the hotel room, my uncle beat me to the floor and demanded I get changed. I was in my underwear screaming and crying while our hosts came by to pick us up and watched me sprawling on the floor.
- Censorship. Shut your mouth! That was my dad’s philosophy when he got home from work and during dinner. I couldn’t be a kid and play around him without getting yelled at or beaten. I remember getting slapped in the face many times during dinner for talking ‘kidstuff’. When I was 16 my brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. My dad demanded that we not tell anyone about it. I held this a secret until 4 years ago.
- Fear. I was probably 4 years old and finished my Mcdonald’s Happy Meal at home. My brother also finished his and didn’t want the fun box that came with it. My older sister and I got into a fight over it and my dad roared into the kitchen, ripped the Happy Meal box out of my hands and crushed it before tossing it into the garbage yelling, “NO MORE HAPPY MEALS FOR YOU!” – My mom whispered to me, “see, that’s what you get when you’re not a good boy.”
It’s difficult to talk about abuse on so many levels whether you’re a victim or perpetrator because of the shame, embarrassment, stigma and judgment that goes with it. It hasn’t been easy for me being on both ends of it, but I know I am learning to understand myself more and can take ownership of my life by being more self-aware of potential triggers. It begins with apologizing to the victims and forgiving myself for the harm I’ve done on others and just as importantly to myself. Also, about forgiving those who have harmed me – as my counsellor once said, “we don’t always need to understand everything…sometimes we just need to accept them.”
One important thing for me is to not get stuck with labeling myself as a victim or perpetrator of abuse. It does not sum up who I was or who I am today – there’s many unknown reasons why things happen and I find purpose in trying to discover those reasons. I strongly believe that there’s a greater good in our journey, otherwise life would just be too literal and I’m not quite willing to accept that.
Jason Lee – (www.solaceinnerhealth.com)
Photo of Jason used with his permission. Stock images courtesy of Pixabay. Social Media and Feature Post image courtesy of PIxabay and Canva.