Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Critical look at "Self-Help" by Trista Hendren

Painting by Arna Baartz

After spending the better part of 15 years working toward “recovery,” I have to wonder why the onus is on women to recover instead of on men to stop abusing us in ways that necessitate recovery.

Self-help is obviously an industry; one that is primarily targeted at women. And what do we need the help for? There is nothing intrinsically wrong with being female—although we are certainly made to feel that way from birth.

In my case, I was seeking self-help to recover from male violence.

We know statistically, if we look, who is committing violence on this planet—and it is primarily the male species. Why don't men stop verbally, physically, sexually and financially abusing females?

Men not only get away with this on a massive scale—while often still being lauded as “good men”—but females are then left with the mess of trying to recover from their abuse.

In retrospect, I would advise my younger self to be much more selective about what sort of people I gave any of my time or energy to. And there would be fewer males in that mix.

While we cannot completely protect ourselves from rape and murder, we do know now from looking at patterns that most abuse happens at the hands of men who know us—perhaps who even claim to love us. I think we should—both individually and as a community—cut these men off completely.

I used to think that all male-female relationships had some element of abuse in them. I had built up defense mechanisms since childhood to protect myself from that. I now know after being in a relationship without abuse for the last 5-6 years that it is not actually a component of all relationships. I have had to replace my unhealthy behaviors with new ones—which is not always an easy or automatic task. Embracing Goddess has helped me through that.

Goddess has been a guilty pleasure of mine for the last twenty years, although it wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I was able to fully embrace Her. She had been hidden and demonized throughout my childhood in a way that took me a long time to get over.

Once she was fully unveiled, there as no turning back on the rage that I felt and the power that slowly returned to me. This awakening cost me several of my primary relationships. Despite the loss that I felt, I could not revert to the person I once was. I had to live in the power that I intrinsically knew instead of pretending to still be weak.

Goddess does that. Once your eyes have been opened to what has been suppressed, you cannot close them again. She empowers in a way that no "self-help" can.

-Trista Hendren, an excerpt from Hearts aren't Made of Glass: My Journey from Princess of Nothing to Goddess of my Own Damned Life.