Can I ask you a question? It’s personal. And it’s okay to say “no,” but try to answer it.
The question is this: When you were growing up, was there ever a time when you felt “something” was wrong in your house? You didn’t know what that “something” was, but you knew it wasn’t you. If that sounds familiar, how old were you when you sensed that? I was twelve years old, and this was an experience I had about the same time.
Every night about nine o’clock, I customarily let out our family’s black Labrador retriever, Panther, for a bathroom break at the basement/garage door.
One night before letting him out, I had an ominous feeling that something was about to happen—that I needed to get out of the house. After Panther went out, I stepped into the darkness onto the cemented area just outside the door. I waited. Panther did his business, and I kept waiting. Nothing happened.
I waited a bit longer. Still nothing. But after I took Panther inside, that ominous feeling came over me again, so we both went outside again. Nothing.
I did this five times. Each time, the same feeling came over me as I stepped back into the house. Eventually, I said, “Enough!” I turned to go upstairs to the kitchen. Then one step away from the bottom step of the stairs, my legs froze. Although I could move from the waist up, from the waist down my legs felt heavy as if stuck in cement. I couldn’t lift them at all!
I knew others were home, but I didn’t yell for help. I just stood there. Nothing changed. So, I worked with one leg at a time to see if I could get it to move. Finally, one leg did. Then the other gave in and let me place my foot onto the step. Gradually, I experienced less and less resistance. All that time, I was thinking I had nowhere to escape to but here—there were no aunts or uncles or trusted friends I could turn to.
The only family members I had lived in that house—and they were the problem.
(This is a shortened version of the ‘Legs of Cement’ story, page 166, in Abuse & Energy, Book 1 in the Abuse & Energy™ Series.)
Did something like this ever happen to you? If you answered YES, you may have experienced emotional abuse, as I did.
Emotional abuse is an abnormal use of energy meant to inflict pain to gain control or submission over another. In fact, abuse of any kind IS emotional abuse. And emotional abuse feels like a hammer to the Soul.
I’ve been told many people have experienced “cement legs”—where they literally can’t move signaling something is wrong and making a physical statement of “No, I won’t go.”
A move back to the place where I grew up at age 35 started my recovery toward restoring myself. Attending law school at age 40 was part of this. So was leaving a 25-year marriage at age 47. Ending a nearly lifelong allergy to chocolate at age 52 was part of this recovery, too.
These events were all related because I was coming out of something I didn’t even know I was in. I had reacted to emotional abuse in many ways. I was indeed coming back.
If you have felt emotionally hammered, understand that people important to you caused you to react. Do not hate them for it. Instead, consider that someone had likely wielded “hammers” on them early in life. In fact, how you responded to that emotional abuse probably saved your life.
Emotional abuse results from someone abusing their power. It attacks your Soul’s need for safety, and it reduces your ability to feel. If you’ve ever experienced it, how did you react to it? How did it feel? If you had “legs of cement,” what did you do next?
By asking yourself these questions, you’re on your way to discovering your true authentic self. That discovery will make a meaningful difference for you—and for the world. Who knows all the good you can do when you are all here and present!
Learn more about one woman’s path for healing after abuse, trauma, and dissociation in Peace & Energy, Book 3 of the Abuse and Energy™ Series. In particular, read Chapter 7 about reactions to emotional abuse: Call It By Its Name—Survival Mode.