BODY MIND AND SPIRIT. What could they possibly have in common with domestic violence?
It seems that most victims of domestic violence fail to take into consideration the damage it does to the body mind and spirit. It’s pretty obvious when bruises, broken teeth or bones appear the body has taken a blow. But what about the other affects brought on by the stress and turmoil of DV? Studies support findings that women who were sexually abused as young girls, or who are/were victims of domestic abuse are at a much higher rate of having heart disease. So, the stress of domestic violence affects every part of us: Body mind and spirit. Let’s look at each part of this important trio.
BODY: Reports confirm women are at a higher risk of heart disease if they were abused as young girls, or grew up in a house where abuse was prevalent. Fibromyalgia is also a common ailment, as well as irritable bowel syndrome, along with obesity, high blood pressure and increased levels of cholesterol. Domestic violence affects many more parts of the inner body than we realize. No bruises, cuts or swollen lips are visible. That does not mean the abuse is not taking its toll on the body of the victim. It is important we let victims know we are here for them. It is also important for the victim and the medical caregivers to work together in this matter. If you are having chest pain and, at the same time enduring abuse by an intimate partner, see a cardiologist. Do not wait to be asked. Tell them you are abused. If you were molested as a child, mention that, as well. They can’t play guessing games with you. Start right up front by getting reassurance of doctor/patient confidentiality, if you are afraid of possible ramifications. Don’t expect your cardiologist to treat you in the best manner if he/she does not have all the information necessary to see to your proper healthcare.
MIND: Domestic violence almost always drives the victim to depression. Some even go so far as becoming suicidal. A few take it to the limit and attempt/succeed suicide. Many abusers throw terms around like, “Crazy, stupid, ignorant…” and tell their victim they are not remembering correctly. “That is NOT what happened. You’re out of your mind!” I lived through it. During my second marriage there were many occasions that I knew what I saw, heard or even smelled. I had definitive proof of my suspicions. But a sociopath can talk a smooth line, and this one convinced me I was becoming very forgetful. Once out of the relationship, the truth surfaced, and I was right all along. Well, almost right. Everything I called him out on was right. I just missed other minimal things like he had a second wife living in another state at the time we were married. If you have been a victim of mind games, please see a counselor. It will only do you good. I promise. It saved my life! I still go back on occasion for a “booster” session, just to clean the pipes, air the dirty laundry in strictest confidence, and get myself centered again. It is of utmost importance that you find a counselor that makes you feel comfortable and at peace. If it doesn’t feel right, find another one. It took me three tries before I found the jewel I now consider one of my greatest assets in dealing with the monkey wrenches life throws at me. And don’t dismiss group sessions. They were extremely valuable to me many years ago. They helped me open my eyes to the fact I was not the only victim being abused in this town.
SPIRIT: Let’s get this straight, make it clear, right up front. Spirituality and religion are not the same. They may often join together, but religion, when it stands alone, is not always the spiritual support a victim seeks and needs so desperately. Yes, domestic violence and abuse attack and sometimes destroy our spirit.
I separate the human psyche into three parts: The first is our mind. This is where we process our thoughts and ideas. Secondly, the heart is where our emotions reside. It is important to know that all emotions are not good, and it is not always good to follow after them. Third, deep within your gut, is what I call your “knower.” When you have a churning or you feel so inclined to move in a direction that your “knower” is going off full tilt, that is Spirit trying to get your attention, to set you on the right path, to give you direction. It may be just the message you have been waiting for to find the courage to break free and find your way to truth and security, a way to bring your body, mind and soul all into alignment.
Others may be able to share inspiration, motivation, Holy Scriptures and the like, but sometimes there is a place in our life where only we can get the true, entire message. Listen to and follow after your “knower.” Perhaps setting aside time for prayer and/or meditation is your answer. Attend a service at a house of worship of your choice. Some prefer yoga. This is a perfect opportunity to truly and honestly get to know yourself—REALLY get to know yourself—your heart’s desires, your dreams, wishes and goals, and maybe even the purpose you are here to serve. Once you know where (and who) you want to be, you will be better capable of getting there, free from baggage of abuse. There are so many avenues out there to help in this area—pastors, clergy, prayer partners, abuse shelters, Bible study groups, spiritual retreats, books on such topics, the list is endless. Again, be selective who you trust with your spiritual wellbeing. We surely do not want another Jim Jones or Rasputin to take charge of your spiritual oversight. Beware if you are told to get ready for the space ship to come and take you to your Mother Planet. Seriously, use wisdom. If your “knower” says “No,” then don’t go!
There you have it—body mind and spirit—the three parts of you. They each need proper care and attention, and they all need to be considered. You deserve to be whole—3 in 1!