Bk1 Ch3: Facing the Dark and Staying in the Light wtss1-005

“When the cost of getting burnt by covert abuse starts to dawn on you, the question becomes how do you grieve your losses without becoming consumed by them?” Discover steps to dealing with negative emotions as you deal with the cost of covert abuse.

The path on the healing journey is not a smooth road. There are bumps, potholes, sinkholes, low shoulders, ruts and obstacles you will need to climb over, dig under or turn around to find another way. In this episode, we take a look at the impact of our own growing awareness of what our relationship with covert abuse has cost us.

We can weep tears over what we never attained in the covertly abusive relationship, but there’s a special kind of sorrow, a deep punch in the gut bitter blow, when we begin to realize what we actually lost in other areas of our life — with family, our children, maybe our goals, the places we were going to go, the things we were going to accomplish. This varies from person to person, but anyone who invests themselves, their money, their time, their hopes and dreams on a manipulator is bound to find some kind of price tag attached to that.

We can get stuck here. Or we can accept the emotional impact and carry on… but only after we’ve spent the time we need to acknowledge and express those emotions.

Also, the spiral nature of the healing journey, healing in layers, bringing us back to where we thought we had already done our work can be very discouraging if we don’t realize that this is what progress looks like.

Have you had your own experience of “Didn’t I already deal with this before?” on your healing journey? Did you find the sorrow you felt over the cost of the relationship heavier than the loss of relationship? Please, share your thoughts below and any ideas you used that helped you. I’d love to hear them.

Stay strong and stay true!

~ Keeping the Dream


Opening and closing song is an original piece by Demian and her friend and music partner, Stacey Young, the title song of their first CD together, “DreamSinger – For the Sake of Love”


Demian’s Website: www.keepingthedream.com
Demian’s Patreon Site: www.patreon.com/keepingthedream


[0.0] Music & Intro

Episode 5; Chapter 3, Bk 1 Covert Abuse and the Art of Discernment from the Where There’s Smoke Series
Written and narrated by Demian Yumei of KeepingtheDream.com

Intro and closing music composed and sung by Demian Yumei and Stacey Young


[0:35] Trigger Warning

If anyone knows about the dynamics of covert abuse, the gaslighting, the denying and recreating of reality, it’s a child of sex abuse. I’m Demian Yumei, and if you haven’t listened to the other episodes, I want to let you know I’m a survivor of incest.

Although the topic of this book is covert abuse, I do draw upon my experience as a survivor in this series.

Triggers are personal. What can trigger one person may have no impact on another. So use your discretion and know that even though I will share very little if any details of my abuse, the topic of sex abuse and some personal sharing will be brought up as appropriate and could appear in any episode, as in this one.

This is Episode 5: Chapter 3, Facing the Dark and Staying in the Light


[1:28] Tea & Conversation Commentary of Last Episode

Before beginning Chapter 3, I’d like to comment about something I said in the last episode, episode 4, about being groomed for sex and my father calling our relationship “special”.

You might wonder how I, even as a child, could perceive sexual intercourse as part of anything “special”.

First, I have no memory of sexual intercourse. I do have memory of enough sexual transgression to know that it crosses into the legal definition of rape. And I now name it as such.

These memories didn’t come to me in a therapy session or through hypnosis or from leading questions. They were always there, floating somewhere in my head but disjointed, disconnected, mostly out of view. It’s not like they were forgotten as much as not recognized.

“Remembering” then, for me, consisted of connecting the dots and naming them for what they were.

I believe it’s possible for parents to isolate and control a child to where that child believes the abuse he or she experiences is normal. I believe this extends into sexual abuse, including rape. I believe that a parent can groom a child to such an extent that he or she can use that child abusively and not diminish that child’s love for them.

And I believe that a child can recreate his or her parents into people who love them in a way that every child longs to be loved, regardless of how they’re treated.

That doesn’t mean the child doesn’t suffer. They do. Whether you can articulate the pain you’re going through doesn’t determine whether it exists.

I struggled under massive amounts of guilt and shame, while worshiping the ground my father walked. Never able to comprehend, never mind admit, that he was the source of it.

There is more than what I shared in the previous episodes or will share anywhere. And maybe more than I may ever be able to face.

I’m fine with that. All I need is to know enough to heal, to remove whatever is holding me back from my living and embracing a full life.

I feel no need to fill in the empty spaces. I know enough to know I was sexually abused. If I need to know more, I will.

As a child, spending time with my father and talking with him — whether on long walks in the hills of California or during the early part of the evening — those were the things that characterized to me my relationship with him. They became the foundation for everything I needed to believe about us.

To me, that was the specialness of our relationship. Within that focused perspective, I trusted him completely, believed he loved me, cared for me, that our relationship was very special and I was very, very lucky.


[4:50] Chapter 3: Facing the Dark and Staying in the Light

When the cost of getting burnt by covert abuse starts to dawn on you, the question becomes how do you grieve your losses without becoming consumed by them? How can you survive being poisoned without becoming poisonous yourself?

This has been the biggest challenge for me. Not the challenge of analyzing covert abuse or identifying its dynamics but the challenge of retrieving and keeping the better parts of me during this process.

It’s been hard. The insights and perspectives in these writings are mostly extricated from my life — looking at my family of origin, digging through stuff I’d rather forget or not know, forcing myself to truly see the effects not only on me but on my children; looking at how my naiveté and trust had been used… and acknowledging how I perpetuated that cycle in my adult life, only half aware of what I was doing, if that; unable to stop myself.

On this healing journey, as you may have already discovered, sometimes each new level of awareness can bring with it a new level of pain. It’s hard to tell yourself the truth. It’s even harder to make peace with it.

I cannot overemphasize the devastating effects of covert abuse, the chaos reeked upon your life or the damage inflicted, some irreparable — like losing whole stages of your life or your children’s. Or burning bridges with people you cared about. Or turning away real love for illusions of love. Or losing money, lots of it or all of it. Or losing opportunities — creative ventures sidelined, dreams unrealized.

And worst of all, losing yourself, the dove of you dead or dying — the idealism and optimism you once held — all belonging to a person you no longer are, all given to someone only concerned with satisfying his or her own voracious self-serving appetite, to be eventually spit out like a bone — meat gnawed off and marrow sucked dry.

Realizing all this, even in increments, can a bitter pill to swallow.


[7:24] The Price of Truth

The truth may set you free, but before it does it can tear you apart.

The healing journey is an on-going process, because healing occurs in layers. Your growing awareness doesn’t happen all at once or in all areas of your life simultaneously. In the same way, your healing isn’t going to happen all at once or in all areas of your life simultaneously. And what you become aware of may only be a top layer of awareness. Which is fine, until you’re ready for more.

In a way healing in layers or increments can be merciful, sparing you from being overwhelmed, but it can also feel like picking a scab you thought had healed only to have it bleed again or walking in circles when you find yourself back in the same place emotionally.

Being aware of the layer by layer characteristic of healing can be helpful, but it’s, also, important to be aware of the impact that awareness, itself, can have on you. Realizing the impact of covert abuse, seeing the consequences of its presence in your life can cut you off at the knees.

You can so become tunnel visioned on the losses and the cost, that you forget who you are and why you are on this journey. Worse, you may want to quit or feel you deserve a life sentence of the guilt and grief you now hold.

You don’t.

It’s normal to feel this way. As you grow in awareness, there are four things you can expect when you hit this leg of your journey, and it is a part of your journey, so that means you’re going to move through it. You may feel stuck, but you’re not.


[9:20] Expect to be Angry at Others

This is not positive affirmation time. It’s not the time to tell yourself that you’re centered, surrounded by love, willing to let go. All that may be true. But right now you’re angry.

It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be angry at the abuser. It’s even okay to blame him or her in your anger.

I can almost hear some people gasping at that statement, like I just said something sacrilegious.

Look, your anger isn’t going to last forever. It’s not going to become a permanent part of who you are and neither is blame.

Your initial blaming may, in fact, be what’s necessary to break the habit of protecting your abuser. Many targets of covert abuse do this. Your initial blaming the abuser may be the first step to genuinely holding him or her accountable for their actions.

The fact is the cost of covert abuse is high! Its impact far-reaching. To not allow yourself to be angry at the people it hurt, the lives it disrupted, the losses that you suffered is not only disingenuous but insulting to what and who was affected.

Covert abuse, by its nature, has no regard for human dignity, including yours. When the illusions begin to fall and you start to realize the extent of another person’s disregard for you, you’re going to get angry.

Feeling angry is not going into victimhood. That’s a lie people use to get you to shut up.

First of all, being targeted by covert abuse is to be victimized. You not being okay about that is not whining or refusing to take responsibility for yourself. It’s the healthy part of you saying, “No, this is not okay.”

Second, holding someone accountable for their choices and holding you accountable for yours are not mutually exclusive. You can do both!

You need to do both if you want to grow into empowerment and true responsibility.

And then there are other people — collaborators or enablers who in their own way perpetuated and sustained the abuse. Maybe they still are. A covert abuser’s reach extends way past their own arms and it’s unfair that you not only have to contend with your abuser but others influenced by your abuser. It’s not shocking that this would make you angry.

But the judgement of others isn’t the only judgment you’ll have to contend with.


[12:18] Expect to be Angry at Yourself

Self-judgement — that’s what this anger is.

With 20/20 hindsight we’re all wiser. Knowing that we now have this advantage of insight from experience, we might think we’d be a little kinder to the mistakes we made without this new awareness, but more than often we’re not.

Why didn’t I leave sooner?

Why did I even pick this person to begin with?

Why didn’t I listen to my friends, my family?

There were red flags! Why didn’t I see them?

Or Why did I ignore them?

Or How could I have… ? Fill in the blank.

If you ask these questions for self-awareness, personal growth and responsibility, then they are good questions to ask. But if you ask out of judgement toward your self, then they’re not really questions. They’re indictments.

When you catch yourself doing this, stop.

Telling yourself the truth is hard enough. Don’t beat yourself up over it too.

You’ll want to.

Be on your side.

Because covert abuse isn’t.

If you find yourself angry at you, it’s normal. Don’t deny it. Just set a timer. A figurative one, perhaps, or even a literal one where you give yourself a specific amount of time to purge your emotions. Let it out. Rant and rave about what a fool you are or were. Have at it.

But tell yourself this truth — it is what it is.

For whatever reasons, you didn’t know then what you know now. Even if you think you should have known or you really did know but made the same mistakes — again, it’s already happened.

It is what it is.

Learn from the knowledge you now possess or possess in a deeper, more real way and go from there. The question to remember to ask yourself, always, on this healing journey is this: How helpful is this?

If beating yourself up is going to make a positive difference in your life and the lives of those you love, then I guess… have at it. But still, I’d personally recommend something else that will work even better. And almost anything will.

Don’t berate yourself.

If you accept that forgiveness is a good thing, then you’ve just been given the perfect opportunity to practice it with yourself. Use it.

If you need to rant and rave against yourself for a bit, that’s okay. We all do it, and it can be cathartic, but don’t overdo it. Every time I hit another level of awareness and another consequence of my relationship with covert abuse sinks in, I find myself dancing around a bit with self-judgement.

But it’s a dance, not matrimony.

And if you feel you don’t deserve forgiveness or a second chance or a reprieve, because whatever you did or think you did is that bad? Someone else in your life must.

Someone who needs you to be present. Someone who is depending on you to show up ready to love and be all that you are. Whether you already know them or not.

Or maybe Some Thing. Something that’s been waiting for you to say yes to it — a dream, a goal, a wish you once made upon a falling star.

Someone, Something needs you to get your act together, to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made so you can show up in life.

If you can’t forgive yourself for you, then do it for them.


[16:09] Expect to be Afraid

And with this anger toward yourself is a little bit of fear (or a lot) — the fear that you’ll never learn, that things will never change, that your journey is less a journey than a treadmill or a twisted kind of not-so-merry-go-round.

Short answer:

Yes, you will learn. You are learning as we speak. Things do change and your journey is moving you forward, even if it feels like you’re going in circles.

In fact, it’s your learning that has brought you back to deal with things you may not have been prepared to before or perhaps at a greater depth of which you are only now than capable.

The healing journey is not a straight shot. And that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about revisiting a situation or experiencing a deeper layer of it, because we’re growing in self-awareness.

Going backward is a bit of an illusion away. This situation that you’re wondering why you’re back here again, because you thought you already dealt with it is actually on the path in front of you, not behind.

It feels like you’re going backward, because the situation appears the same, but you’re different. Even if you can’t perceive it, you are. You are a different person handling a familiar situation that calls for who you are now.

And you’re in good company. On this healing path, you might run into me hightailing it to some perceived safety or struggling with a challenge I didn’t anticipate or thought I had already handled.

I can’t tell you how many times I have found myself in this very same place. There were times I thought I was actually running in place.

But looking back over 30 years of this specific journey I’m on now, I can clearly state that I am nowhere near where I first started.


[18:14] Expect to Grieve

When your illusions die, it’s a loss. Even if they weren’t real, you were.

Your love was real, your faith and loyalty were real. You made decisions based on what you believed to be true, embarked on courses of action, gave up some things, kept others, all based on a reality that wasn’t, but nonetheless were real to you.

Someone’s duplicity doesn’t render the reality of you invalid. That they lied, doesn’t make you an untruth.

That your good faith was taken advantage of doesn’t lessen the worth of what you offered.

The facade of covert abuse is just that — a facade. It’s not real. But you believed it was and the loss you feel at the discovery of its fakery is real.

We don’t just have things. We have ideas about things. About everything. And when the ideas are revealed to be false, that can be as heartbreaking as the death of a real person, as devastating as a fire that guts your home.

Your history with them is gone. The future you thought you were going to build together is gone. Everything, up in smoke.

You would never tell someone who lost everything in a fire not to grieve, because it all turned out to be ashes, anyway, right?

Don’t do that to you.

Let yourself grieve. Don’t feel foolish about “crying over nothing”. Your dreams and hopes and aspirations aren’t nothing.

Some people feel chagrined to mourn the loss of someone who was abusive to them. Don’t be. You aren’t mourning the loss of the abuse. You’re mourning the loss of the love you thought they were or hoped they were or believed they were — deep down inside.

But it wasn’t real.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Give yourself the time and space to deal with your very real, beautiful, broken heart.


[20:28] Something to Think About

The main idea I want to gift you with from this chapter is to let your healing journey be yours. So the question you may want to contemplate a while is this:

“How imperfect (or messy) am I willing to let my healing journey be?”

You know, in our multi-tasking world, we want to make a decision, follow through and be done with it and move on to the next thing. It doesn’t happen like that. The healing journey isn’t efficient… at least not in the way we think of efficiency as in fast.

What it is is yours. It’s your growing relationship with yourself and by extension with the world around you.

Let it be real.

A big part of covert abuse is the pressure for you to comply with someone else’s expectations — expectations of what you should feel, what you should think or do or be. You should not now have to labor under other people’s expectations of what your healing should look like.

Or your unrealistic or unreasonable expectations either.

Don’t let your impatience rush you and don’t let your fear paralyze you.

Emotions are not appointments to be met and checked off your calendar. And they are never as neat and tidy as we would have them be.

Just know that nothing lasts forever, including your anger and grief. They are not bottomless pits that you can fall into and never get out.

You can ride this out, and you will love, so much more, where you find yourself after. Let your healing journey be messy. Let the route be unpredictable at times, frustrating at others. It all works out. Hard to see when you’re in the midst of it, but there is a higher ground that you’re walking towards and from there you can look back and see the beauty of your path.


[22:34] Outro:

So I just discovered in October that this podcast has been available in iTunes since the beginning of September, evidently. If you find this podcast, Bk1 Covert Abuse and the Art of Discernment from the Where There’s Smoke Series helpful, could you leave a review? I’d really appreciate that.

The more reviews I have, the more others can become aware of this series. And I’m new at this, so I’d really appreciate the feedback to help me learn and grow as a podcaster so that I can improve these episodes for you.

Our next episode will be Chapter 4, Fire Behind the Smoke, where we take a little closer look at what covert abuse is, the two basic dynamics behind covert abuse, the violence of covert abuse and the stages of covertly abusive relationships and more. Please be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.

Visit me at my website, keepingthedream.com — I’d love to see you there — and if you’re so inclined, consider becoming my patron at Patreon.com/keepingthedream.


Until next time, stay strong and stay true,

This is Demian Yumei, Keeping the Dream


Support Demian Yumei on Patreon

Tags: , ,

About the Author

About the Author: Greetings, fellow dreamer, and welcome! I’m Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist. Some of my creative projects are a CD of healing music, “For the Sake of Love” and a children’s book on the interconnectedness of life, “Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes” published by Illumination Arts. Currently, I’m in the process of creating podcasts for my book series on covert abuse. My commitment is to the creative process especially as it relates to the healing journey. Whether I’m singing at a vigil for asylum seekers, memorial for political activists or sitting around a table sharing tea and conversation with friends who just want to talk heart to heart, I am always deeply moved by the human spirit to love and live with authentic beauty. Thank you for being here, for reading my posts and/or listening to my podcast. There’s much to share, much to create and the journey has just begun! Meet you on the path. .


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.
%d bloggers like this: