The conversation about women who stay in DV relationships, with average of 6 or 7 times to leave, is one I’m familiar with. I believe it’s probably true and it also seems true that our ability to impact their leaving is weak, at best. There are lots of reasons, I know, to include that it may be in the woman’s best interest to stay because she could well get killed if she does leave.
However, from the nondual perspective, I would suggest that the problem is that we are not impacting the ‘causal point’ of her dilemma. (The ‘causal’ point is where the ’causes’ for something to happen come together. For example, where the cue ball hits the other balls and ’causes’ them to scatter, is the causal point – and we aren’t impacting that.) The causal point usually happens outside of awareness because it happens in the present-moment and we’re all stuck in our minds (me included) in the past or future – missing the present moment. By the way, talking about being present and actually being present in our lives are two different things and one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other.
There are three ‘bodies’ – the ’emotional body’, ‘mental body’ and ‘physical body’. Helping her move to a new location is physical body stuff; teaching her to think about it differently is mental body stuff; and resolving the ‘feelings’ that are generating her returning time and time again are ’emotional’ body stuff.
True, they are all important. DV Women Shelters (physical) are important; teaching her to write letters about the abuse she has suffered (mental) and ‘addressing-her-feelings’ (emotional but mostly mental) are all important. But the one that is the driving force (again from nondual perspective) is the emotional body; and to the extent we don’t address effectively her ‘negative emotional charge’ then her external behavior (how her life is showing up in the dream) won’t change, i.e. she keeps going back because there is an emotional resonance that is drawing her back to her abuser.)
Another way to say this, lovingly, I suppose, is that cognitive-behavioral therapy is ineffective because it is in the mental body. Thinking that getting better at doing cog-b to solve the problem is like thinking we can drill more oil wells to solve the energy crises; again, it’s not addressing the causal point, although it may be the best we can do for the time being.
So, how to address the causal point? That is, how to impact the ‘causal’ point? The answer is to work at the level of ‘felt-perception’. And, what’s the best, most effective way do to that?
Well, it’s not ‘talking-about-feelings.’ If we ask client, “How did it feel when you left? (‘feel’ meaning both emotional (fear/anger/grief) and/or physical (body sensations) and they say something like: “I had a knot in my stomach and was afraid but could really feel how much he loved me” then that is fine. But, the minute we start ‘talking-about-that-feeling-awareness’ (‘knot-in-stomach’, ‘fear’, ‘love’ ) then we are going into the mental body and moving away from the causal point which is where the ‘felt-perception’ is pointing. We are close but no banana. Talking ‘about’ feelings (embellishing the story) and thinking we are doing something is just another way to masturbate. Making mental causal connections – e.g. “your dad abused so you found a husband to abuse you” is okay on one level, but it does not address the energetic knot that is binding the woman to the abuser.
So, we use the EMDR protocol to awaken the felt perception (make a picture, what does that tell you about yourself, what are you feeling, and where do you feel it) and then invite them to sit with the discomfort and if we’re trained in EMDR then we use bi-lateral stimulation, if we’re not trained in EMDR then we don’t us bls, but we still sit with them in the resonance of discomfort. We let the ‘felt-perception’ inform us, (me, the therapist and her, the client) and not the other way around! (I would use the same strategy with the abuser, as well – but NEVER, of course, with them together.)
Hey, I made it all the way to the last paragraph before saying EMDR.