Sometimes, it’s the people who hurt us the most that turn out to be our greatest teachers. Whether connected to these people by birth, love/marriage or ‘circumstance’, I like to think of them as ‘angels in disguise’.
Perhaps we made a soul contract together before incarnating, where we agreed that they would play a role in our lives that would eventually wake us up to a deeper understanding within ourselves.
Perhaps, at soul level, they love us so much that they agreed to take on a persona that would abuse or betray us, pushing the buttons of our biggest insecurities and fears.
And, in the cases where people leave us feeling emotionally abandoned, maybe that is simply their ‘part’ in the greater scheme of things – leaving us so hungry for acceptance and love that there is nothing left to do but start meeting our own needs by accepting and loving ourselves.
Dr Wayne Dyer, the late spiritual teacher and prolific self-development author, said his father - a man he never knew - was his greatest teacher. He described his father as a drunk and a womaniser who left his mother alone to feed and raise three children under the age of five. And yet, he credited him with teaching him the most powerful lesson he learned over the course of his awe-inspiring life – the lesson of forgiveness.
Not only was it a lesson that changed the direction of Wayne’s own destiny, leading him “away from pain toward self-actualisation and God-realisation”, he went on to spread the lesson of sending “love in response to hate” to millions of people around the world through his books, videos and seminars.
According to Melanie Tonia Evans, author of ‘You can Thrive after Narcissistic Abuse’, the purpose of relationships is “to show us what we have got right within ourself, and what we haven't got right within ourself”. She believes that what we are willing to accept in our relationships is a direct match for how we treat ourselves.
Melanie uses the term ‘A.I.D’ or an ‘Angel in Disguise posing as an abuser’, to explain how even the most toxic relationships can actually serve us.
While those who have been in a relationship with someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) describe the experience as one that destroys their self-esteem, has them questioning their reality and constantly ‘walking on egg shells’, Melanie says it can also be “the wakeup call of a lifetime”.
Whether the abuser is a spouse, parent, child or even boss, she believes the abused is given an opportunity to work out what it is that they can heal in order to grow into a more empowered person who will never accept the same treatment again.
Speaking from personal experience, being the target of narcissistic abuse forced me to take radical action to heal. The alternative would have been to lose my sense of self completely.
The only way out was to turn within, to release the trapped trauma from my body and free myself from the energy of constraining beliefs that lingered from my past. I had to reconcile my ‘inner life’ and my ‘outer life’ to create my real life.
I can look back now with gratitude because I came out the other side much stronger and more authentic. To endure such an agonising lesson from such an unexpected teacher was exactly what I needed. It instigated the commitment I had to make to myself to be my own source of love and approval. It taught me that we never need to look for external validation of our intrinsic worth.
When Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances”, might he have been referring to this grander, divine plan?
I believe that all relationships, even the most painful, are meant to be. Because, what we learn in our relationships with others, helps us grow into a better, more enlightened version of ourselves.
However, we have to be willing to take our focus off the other person’s behaviour, let go of having to prove ourselves as ‘being right’, and do our best to stop feeding the energy of victimisation.
Instead, we must take the necessary journey inward, to discover the deeper truth of who we are and the new way of being that wants to emerge from us. It’s only from this place of expanded awareness that real forgiveness becomes possible .
A quote that Dr Wayne Dyer often shared to capture the transformational power of forgiveness is this one by Mark Twain: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it”.
It seems the more hurt we are, the more we continue to hurt ourselves and others. Whereas, the more healed we become, the more we naturally emanate love.
This article was published in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Connect Magazine, North Queensland.
About the writer: Kerrie Womersley is the owner of Find Yourself Qigong and Coaching. In addition to training with internationally-renowned Qigong expert, Lee Holden, Kerrie is a Master Practitioner of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and a Conscious Uncoupling Certified Coach. www.findyourselfnow.com