I like to think that I have a pretty good grip of reality at present time. Self discovery happens to us when we very least expect for it to, and in the lives of those who can call themselves “survivor,” it is nothing for us to be able to reach back into the past where it was dark and ugly and recall the times in our lives when it seemed like life was one long dark night of the Soul.
We all go through times when it seems that there is nothing in life that will permeate the darkness of our Selves. In the case of those of us who have suffered needlessly at the hands of another, whether it is your spouse, other family members, a friend or perhaps a coworker or employer – anyone, really – the dark night can last for years and years and we end up spiraling into the miry stickiness of not being able to see any light in the soul whatsoever, including the proverbial light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. It seems at that point that we are so alone and so very deep into the darkness that we cannot see our way out of it.
Abuse victims and survivors know well the conditions of our lives warrant that much of it is meant as a dark night, as a time when we are meant to rise above what it is that we have been through and to feel every little bit of the pain that seems as though will never end. The Dark Night of the Soul is meant to help us stretch ourselves to the limits so that we can emerge brand new, like a baby chick emerges from an egg and how a butterfly stretches itself out of its cocoon.
Being a survivor of such travesties means that you have been through this dark night, that you have made it through it and that you are better and stronger for the experience. This is not to say that it is ok that you had to go through all of what you or I did, and neither is it to say that you deserved any of it, but only that we go through what we do because there are things about ourselves that we do not know, that we need to know, and experiencing tragedy – namely tragedy which no one else hears about until one of us opens our mouths and says something – is the only way that we will ever learn it.
We begin to see in our mind that what we are at the time we are being treated like garbage that even as our fear is what has kept us safe, it is our soul which cries. We did not know that this person with whom we have forged a bond would be so terrible to us, and we hope upon everything that it is a phase and that it will pass, and it never does, and we sink deeper into the depths of our darkness. We wish for the light, but the light is far in the distance and not reachable by us. No matter how much we try, we can never seem to get out of the blue feeling which permeates our lives. We feel like we have opened the gates of hell, have opened and peered into Pandora’s Box, and now, because of our actions we are made to pay, Karmically, for things that we could not have ever imagined as being part of our everyday lives.
It is that feeling one gets when they see a card reader and the card pulled is the Death card, only at the time we are not aware that this particular card denotes change and not actual death. It is like waking up in the middle of the same bad dream for months on end where all you want to do is be able to sleep and then wake up and look forward to something, anything, being easier to deal with than what is the normalcy in an abuse victim’s daily life. The Dark Night of the Soul is meant to teach us, to mold us, to help us shed the unwanted and unneeded pieces of our Selves that were placed there by someone else’s need to control you.
I know this. I lived it. I still live it, but the coughed up pieces of lung tend to help ease me. However, we are not all privy to an early widowhood, not all strong enough to take legal action, not who we are for real, enough to carry us through whatever it is that Spirit is trying to help us grow through.
The Cold Loneliness of the Dark Night of the Soul
Abuse survivors look back to where they have been and can see where it was and more, WHY it was that they chose to stop the maddening cycle of self abuse, and we look back and take a long pause, long enough to stare into the eyes of the child we were and realize that the time we’d spent in our own private purgatory was spent not realizing that everyone experiences turmoil and that what we’d been through was much like our very own personal experience with the Devil himself.
Well meaning loved ones remind us that “there are always plenty of fish in the sea” of Life, that we will meet another person, one who will turn the hurt into the scar that proves we have healed, and then we take a look at who we have become and accept that we never needed anyone else – all we really needed was ourselves and our ability to make it through this, the Dark Night of the Soul.
It takes but one moment for us to change our lives by changing our perspective of things.
It is hard to imagine that someone in the throes of what can be thought and assumed as being the “end” result of an overblown ego that there is a way out and that the way out is not a physical way out, at least not at the beginning when we think and believe and know that being hurt is not something that we can deal with for a long time, that we should never have been hurt to begin with, that what we are going through or what we have been through was somehow for our own benefit. Maybe it’s a bad way of putting it but at the moment is the only way that comes to mind, that we were chosen to experience such a horrible Dark Night of the Soul at the hands of another for a reason and a purpose – our higher purpose.
Yet this is where the fear in us prompts us to try hard to see ourselves out of a situation that we did not ask to be placed in but that we very dearly need a way out of. The first thing that abuse survivors need to understand that just like smoking cigarettes or becoming addicted to pills, addicted to anything, really, so, too, have we become addicted to wanting to get from our attackers that which we know we will not – approval, real Love, support, caring and the things that all those dreams of love and happiness are made of. We go through the usual feelings of guilt and shame, and then one day we find ourselves tired of the guilt someone else gave to us and sick to death of feeling the weight of shame that does not belong to us. We find ourselves restless and at that point are fully aware of the fact that this mess has become ours to clean up, starting with our very selves.
We see to it that as our soul ails, it is not without that which it needs to become, again, the thing that it was meant to be in each of us.
That one thing is whole…we pine to become Whole again, and the only way to get to Wholeness is to travel the Path we have chosen as our own, even through the Darkest Nights of the Soul…
I Love You All !!
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. send an email by clicking this link . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)