“I don’t want to sound ungrateful … the BLEEP work you’ve done with us has literally saved our marriage! Everything has turned around! But somehow, I feel left behind,” she said with crocodile tears falling to her sundress.
I nodded with tender loving care, and she continued: “It’s like a friend of mine told me. She had aggressive chemo for 6 months, and everyone was celebrating that she was cancer-free. Yet she was left with no energy, feeling fragile, weak, and weary and no one noticed.”
Another moment of silence and she resumed: “I am so, so grateful but I have so many questions … and I hope you won’t be offended that I need help!”
I understood completely. Those left in the aftermath of many years of drowning in floods of stress hormones initiated by the BLEEP of someone they love … now need compassion, healing, and encouragement.
If you are one of those, please stay with me. I chose her questions, as well as the questions and concerns that I heard repeatedly from many during the BLEEP series, hoping that they might be helpful to you.
I, too, have been the victim of professional BLEEP’ers, starting at birth with a dad who BLEEP’ed all over all of us … continuously and heartlessly.
Not only have I helped hundreds and hundreds of boys, girls, teens, men, women, wives, husbands, sons, daughters, sibling, fiancés, employees, and friends heal, but I had to find the path myself.
I know that the recovery from being BLEEP’ed on for a long period of time takes time, and lots of compassion and tender loving care to heal. But I hope you’ll find hope in the answers to these questions.
You deserve healing, so take great care of…YOU!
1. What if the BLEEP’er doesn’t believe they are BLEEP’ing?
Although this was not the question the wife of the client I had worked through the BLEEPING came with at the time of the conversation above, I wanted to take some time to answer that question, because it was a part of our work in the beginning. Before I ever worked with her husband.
And dozens and dozens of people have reached out to me via phone, email, direct messages, and even letters to ask this question. I heard and felt the desperation in each inquiry.
When we first began our work together, she was very concerned that her BLEEP’ing husband would never believe that he was a BLEEPer. Or how badly the BLEEP’ing had affected her.
I told her several key things that I would like to share with you.
Whether this is a relative, a friend, or any important person in your life, the first thing you must remember is that complaining or criticizing will not convince them that they are a BLEEP’er. She reminded me that I had said to her: “As a matter of fact, it will put ‘fire starter’ on the blazing BLEEP within them!”
I always recommend, as I did with my client, that you begin to understand that the person is not a BLEEP’er because they are a bad person. They are normally a BLEEP’er because of the environment that they grew up in.
There were several things that I suggested that she do:
- Inform the BLEEP’er that you have read about “BLEEP’ing.” Perhaps even share one of my early blogs on the topic. (https://bit.ly/YourBleep) Be curious about the topic and ask them if they would read about it.
Blaming and shaming is not effective. Get yourself to a place of curiosity prior to the conversation.
- Ask them if they would be willing to watch some videos about it, read about it, or even get some coaching about it.
With my client, I learned it was near a significant anniversary date. He was aware she was seeing me due to some struggles with depression and anxiety (very common with the recipients of ongoing BLEEP).
I suggested that she invite him to a few sessions with her as his gift to her for the anniversary. She did make that offer, but when he realized that the problem truly was his BLEEP, he gave her another anniversary gift as well.
- Ask the BLEEP’er if they would be willing to hear your heart about how the BLEEP’ing affects you, and ask if they would be willing to help you with it.
Although it’s very difficult to get to a place to be able to do so, do it without blame, shame, or vitriol. When you can do it from that place, it can be quite effective.
When you realize that the BLEEP’er is probably unaware of the extent of the negative impact, you will find them much more open and willing to discuss the situation.
Recently, one of my A+ rated long time BLEEP’ers explained that in his family growing up, your BLEEP was the way showed someone’s importance to you. You put on your smile and “fake nice” with people who didn’t matter…and BLEEP’ed the hell out of those you love.
Learning that his BLEEP actually damaged his wife (instead of showing the depth of his devotion to her) came as a revelation.
Give your BLEEP’er a chance to understand its impact without blame, criticism, or shame…yes I know…that’s a tough assignment but a must.
(PS. This is not usually the case, but I will say that if the BLEEP’ing is escalating to a point of verbal, mental, emotional, or physical abuse, please make sure to get yourself to a safe place.)
BLEEP’ers are not bad people. They are unaware, and often willing to be a part of learning and growing. Then being a real healing partner to you, for all the damage done.
As I reminded my client of how we began with her husband, she admitted: “I was so hurt, and wounded deeply by his BLEEP that I simply did not have a belief that he could or would do it. When you helped me believe that he might be willing, and that I had nothing to lose, it wasn’t as hard as I thought.
I am hoping and praying the same for you, my friend.
2. What if I feel damaged (like a shell of the person I once was)?
This is actually the first question that my client came with after we had completed the BLEEP work with her husband.
I cannot tell you how often I hear these exact words.
Although I told her I was honored that she would trust me with that, I encouraged her, as my dear friend, Vikki Burke encouraged me…
“Do not use those words with anyone but me. I want to know because I want to help you heal. But I do not want you to speak that into existence!”
Our words have power. And one of the things that we need to do to begin to heal the damage is to speak about healing, health, and mental health.
Anytime, you find yourself in a situation such as this, I do what my mentor, Vikki Burke, taught me to do many years ago.
To write a proclamation, and to speak truth.
I began by asking my client to give me some short words and phrases that describe how she felt damaged so that we could begin to speak powerful words of healing.
She responded with:
- I don’t have the energy I used to.
- I still feel like I’m walking on eggshells.
- I have a knot in my stomach all the time.
- I find my hands shaking at times.
- And too much of the time, I feel weepy.
Although there was more, we started with that.
I asked her if there were scriptures, quotes, or encouraging words that she had heard, or read around those things.
We wrote them on the whiteboard, and from those, we wrote this paragraph for her to begin with as a power proclamation:
“With help from above I will keep going like the Energizer Bunny. Instead of walking on eggshells, I will sing the song I learned when I was a little girl: ‘And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own!’ I will breathe in the peace that passes all understanding to calm my tummy. I hold on to faith with all my strength. And I will allow my tears to clear out the toxic stress hormones. I am strong and healthy!”
Another thing that will help you heal from ongoing BLEEP is to remember who you really are.
I have a belief that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. When we’ve been through trauma, or we’ve been BLEEP’ed all over, we forget what those things are.
I had her write words about who she really was up on the board. She wrote words like:
Then I asked her to add three words to the list daily.
Unfortunately, when we’re drowning in the stress hormones, that result from being BLEEP’ed all over, we forget those things.
I asked her to design a graphic with photos, artwork, and words. Because she was creative, she painted a pillowcase that was a beautiful reflection of who she is. She said that she thought if she slept on the words, they might just get back into her brain!
What can you design with the words, art, and photos to remind yourself of who you really are?
Finally, if you have a loved one who is willing, do some healing work together.
My client brought her husband back, and he had no idea she was struggling with the aftermath of the BLEEP. He was more than willing to help.
I had helped her prepare a list in advance. I asked her to list the top 10 distressing moments of BLEEP…however, we did not go over that list with him.
I had helped her develop a list of things she needed to heal each of those distressing moments.
So instead of having her say what she had written on her first list: “It broke my heart when you told me that you regretted ever marrying me when you were BLEEPing all over me.”
I had her read what she needed to heal that moment: “It would mean the world to me if you would tell me that you are glad you married me and that you regret anything you have said to the contrary.”
He immediately grabbed her hand and did just that.
When you have a BLEEP’er who can do that with you, it is incredibly healing. That’s when you know you have a healing partner! You might need to get someone to direct you through it (a counselor, a coach, a pastor, a mentor). But it is powerful for both parties!
Speak positive things about yourself and about your healing and enlist some help from your BLEEP’er if you can!
3. How do I forget what has happened in the years of BLEEP’ing?
You will never forget. But the memories will become less toxic and less intense if you do some of these things I did with my client. It’s all a part of the forgiveness process.
The first thing I did with her was to have her begin a gratitude journal where daily she wrote three things she was grateful for about how her husband was acting and handling his BLEEP differently.
This is not to deny what has happened in the past, but gratitude is soothing oil over the memories.
I hope you will begin to keep such a journal, and to expressed gratitude to the BLEEP’er when they do it differently.
The second thing that we did was to initiate some healing exercises.
This may seem a little new, but it’s an exercise that we know begins to initiate healing over the memories stored in the brain.
Because she was doing so much better, I had her write letters to herself through various times in the previous years where the BLEEP was occurring.
To encourage herself that he would get help eventually, and things would get better. To offer words of encouragement and compassion to that person, drowning in stress hormones. Words that she needed during that time but did not receive.
She wrote a series of letters to herself from some of the critical damage done during BLEEP sessions. Then I had her bring photos of herself from those time periods and imagine reading them out loud to herself at those critical times represented in the photos.
We shared many tears as she read these letters, comforting herself, assuring herself, better days were ahead.
I would encourage you to write some of those letters to yourself.
Finally, because she was a woman of great faith, I also had her write letters to herself from God, assuring her that he was with her, and things would get better.
The last week, I asked her to bring her journal she had been keeping of memories that came up about the hurtful things that had been said during the BLEEP’ing years.
I asked her what that journal felt like symbolically, and she responded: “Mountain after mountain after mountain. And I am trying to move them with a spoon!”
We had a little bonfire with the journal, so that all that was left were ashes. What once seemed like hugemountains were now a small pile of ashes.
What can you do symbolically to rid yourself of the memories that keep popping up?
After that session, I received an email from her that said: “The mountains are gone and the horizon is beautiful. I feel like I am rising again!”
I know it is hard to recover from years of BLEEP. I want to help you recover. Because wouldn’t it be a shame if your BLEEP’er turned things around and you were never able to enjoy it?
I know you don’t want that.
I know you’ve been traumatized. My heart goes out to you. But I love a song that my Mamaw used to sing to me:
“Wake up! Wake up! It’s a brand-new day.
God’s mercies are new and they’re here to stay.
Don’t let yesterday’s trials put clouds in your sky.
When the joys of today can take you so high.
So, fly my little one, let your dreams soar
And you will find blessings and favor galore!”
Don’t allow the clouds of yesterday to steal today’s joys! Do these little exercises and allow yourself to heal, my friend!
My client asked me in our last session: “What did you do when you felt you couldn’t go on?” I grinned because I knew she would laugh at my answer:
“I danced! I literally danced! At the time, I had a condo on the beach, and almost every weekend, I put on my headphones and danced for miles down the beach! I didn’t care who saw me, I didn’t care what they thought! I was dancing for my healing!”
She laughed, but said she was too shy to do that. So, I did what I often do. I turned on some music in my office, took her by the hands, and we danced to Kelly Clarkson’s: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” We had a great time, and she left energized.
Dance, pray, sing … whatever works for you! But keep reaching for your healing! The healing you deserve!