Written by Kudakwashe Nyakudya
The impact of Domestic Violence & Abuse (DVA) on survivors take a huge toll on emotional & psychological wellbeing, regardless of whether direct emotional & psychological abuse were experienced or not.
Reflecting on my personal survival, I know that many survivors like me have gone through different phases of negative mindsets & emotions, one of which is self-pity. Others include shame, emotional anguish, self-blame (for the perpetrator’s abuse), and fear.
Self-pity involves being consumed by the sadness and grief the tragedies of DVA brings to a survivor’s life as a whole. This consumption can move from one broken area of life to another, day after day. And if allowed to persist over months, it can end up as a state of life.
In certain cases, some survivors end up experiencing varying degrees of mental illness, and the cause of these – domestic abuse – can be often missed by practitioners and the condition ends up being treated like a generalised mental illness.
I would encourage any survivor of DVA not to stay in the ‘self-pity mode’, but find a way of walking out of it. There is a time to be sad and to grieve, but there is also a time to look up from where you are, find hope and strength, and begin your journey to a new life.
It is helpful to recognise self-pity, as well as understand the ruin it can continue to bring to you. But it is more helpful to the rest of your life for you to walk away from it as soon as you can, otherwise it becomes an obstacle to re-starting life.
Enduring self-pity has many dangers including long-term “victim-hood”. This is when a survivor remains a victim of her past experience of DVA long after escaping from the ordeal. When new opportunities arise, her mentality is usually to focus on what DVA robbed from her or what she lacks because of it, instead of shaking off the past, grab the new opportunity, and arise into a new path of life.
Victim-hood would control this type of survivor many years, and they would they remain subjected to the “victim identity”, instead of embracing new perceptions and other possibilities outside their life centered on their past experiences, sorrows, fears, and stigmas.
Another danger is that enduring self-pity prolongs post-separation stress. This blocks the survivor from accepting what happened to them – understanding and coming to terms with their experiences, and mapping the way to a different life.
It also blocks them from finding their freedom from fear and everything else DVA had trapped them in. Coming out of post-separation stress helps the survivor to find the desire and discipline to move on.
Self -pity is also an obstacle to generating self-renewal, discovering healing from all the pain and brokenness, and building up the courage, boldness and strength to live in a revived reality. DVA does bring multi-dimensional devastation to each and every area of life, but there is hope to recover and thrive.
Whatever was lost, can still be found – be it integrity, peace, wealth, health or friends. At times you will not find what was lost exactly as it was, but you will find something better. Better value of life, better relationships, better achievements, and a greater personality.
So I encourage you today, arise from the ashes of self-pity, and embrace your new identity, new life, new hope, new strength and vitality. Take courage, a world of awesome possibilities awaits you! You are the key to leading your own life again!
© Kudakwashe Nyakudya 2016. All Rights Reserved.