5 Sure-balm Heal the Heart TipsJanuary 12, 2017
It’s a bit like the Phoenix Chronicle.
Sometimes, when one is going through a really bad time in one’s life, it is difficult to think that things will ever get better. When even a smile seems like a gargantuan effort, to believe one will laugh and love again seems like an impossibility. Today, circa 2016, I am the happiest I have ever been. I live with a friend, we have two dogs who we consider to be our kids, and I work from home, which leaves me with enough time with my dogs and an occasional afternoon nap.
Ten years ago, this was not the case. I was in the throes of unimaginable pain, getting over a really bad marriage, domestic violence and the psychological after effects of the trauma. To this day, when I talk about my ex-husband, I get nightmares and panic attacks. I still jump in fear when anyone walks past too close to me. My mind has blanked out incidents of violence and fights that happened.That should give you an idea how bad my marriage was. He lived in Sydney, Australia and we were introduced online by a mutual friend. The marriage was a disaster from the word go. He had anger issues with his stepmother, an obsessive relationship with his best friend that bordered on the homosexual; and, he was abusive – verbally, physically, mentally and emotionally. I tried everything I could to make it work – from speaking my mind to being a complete pushover – working long hours at call centres, earning the money to pay the bills (he was always in and out of jobs).
Volatile and unstable, we had frequent fights… it was getting worse. The violence was increasing and I was extremely depressed. We finally decided to part after 18 months of being married, but he had kept my precious jewellery, gifted by my parents, in his parents’ locker. Despite pleas from me, my family, and his family friends –he and his parents refused to part with it. I finally took legal help to get it back. I did lose a huge sum of money that he owed me and refused to pay up.
I am surely not the only one who has had a bad marriage with an NRI. And though I was close to suicide at that point, alone in a foreign country, today, I am happy, at peace with myself and I forgave my ex-husband a long time ago.
For all those of you out there, dealing with a broken marriage, an abusive boss or even a breakdown in relationships with family or children … these are my tips for surviving the worst that life can throw at you – and rising like a phoenix from the ashes:
1. Pray: Nothing works like prayer. I chose to stay back in Sydney so I could heal myself – and I used to pray every day, listen to spiritual music, and talk to God before I went to bed each night. I would ask Him for help in getting over the pain, shame, anger, sadness and every other negative emotion that follows life’s turbulence. Hymns, shlokas, bhajans – they all helped.
2. Take life five minutes at a time: A close friend advised me to just take deep breaths and try and get through the next five minutes, when I had the urge to commit suicide. Taking life five minutes at a time for months helped me get over the suicidal thoughts till they went away for good.
Talking to a trusted friend, one who will not judge you, can be one of your biggest pillars of support during a bad time.
3. Learn to forgive and let go: I asked the universe to help me forgive my ex, because – to be happy again, it was vital for me to do so. I had so much anger against him and his family – but I did forgive him. The letting go helped me release all the bitterness and pain I held inside of me and gave me peace.
4. Affirmations help: Talking to yourself, dressing well for work or to go out, taking good care of yourself, and writing or saying positive affirmations to yourself help in a major way. Doing this at night before going to bed make them more effective.
Essentially, if you are going through a heartbreak, treat yourself like you would your best friend. Be as gentle with yourself as you can – it really helps to heal the wounds.
5. Love yourself plenty: I no longer wrongly whip myself for being an idiot, fool, unwise imbecile. I have learnt to accept and love myself completely, only after this traumatic experience. My self-esteem had taken a huge beating during this time; it was an uphill challenge to restore it – but by treating myself with love, cooking my favourite foods, and pampering myself –little steps towards being whole again – I regained my confidence and positive outlook towards life.
Making a life with a loved one can be exciting. But, if you want to rebuild your life from scratch, it needs to be done on your own, and you need to believe that it can be done. Only this time, the rose tinted glasses are off, so you view people and situations with a completely different perspective. Not necessarily negative, just more realistic.
There are a few things to remember along the way, because trauma changes you forever. You can never go back to being the person you were, please don’t even try to. Accept the new you – and believe me, it can be a better you! – and lay a foundation for a future that is to your liking.
Take your power back, and even if you don’t have illusions about people any more, it is possible to trust and love again.
Make a few promises to yourself and live by them daily. I promised myself that I would not let anyone ever treat me badly ever again, no matter who it was. I realized you can only get treated badly if you accept bad treatment. When the universe challenged that promise in the form of an abusive boss at a well-paid job, I walked away from it, even though I did not have another job, and I was living in a rented apartment.
6. Forgive yourself – we all make mistakes at our workplace, in our relationships… no one is perfect and post mortems on failed marriages are a sheer waste of time. Chuck the ‘should have’ and ‘could have’ and ‘if only I had’ out the window and focus on the present.
7. Pay it forward – it was the kindness of colleagues and friends that helped me get over this nightmare. You can be kind to someone else in a similar situation.
8. Get a pet – nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you feel good.I didn’t think I could ever love anyone the way I had loved my ex-husband. But, my two dogs changed all that. They have healed me in countless ways and are the source of limitless happiness.
It’s simple really. We all start out on even ground. We all wanna go to heaven. However, sometimes the way to heaven is through hell. That’s all there is to it.