For the majority of my childhood, teen years and early adulthood, I grew up with abuse in my life. At the time I did not know it for the abuse it was because it was accepted in society as the norm.
The abuse I’m talking about is self-abuse and it is rife throughout society at present, in all age brackets.
I read Susie Williams’ letter to Esther Rockett and it took me back to when I was 15, nearly 20 years ago now. At first I felt it wasn’t so bad when I was 15 because there was no cutting and not many kids that I was aware of who were on anti-depressants, but the more I got pondering the more I realised there was more to uncover here.
The truth is that at first I didn’t want to admit how empty and self-harming my teen years were, and I didn’t want to see that at that time I didn’t have the same strength as Susie to step up and make my life different. I now see the harm of not admitting what was there, and that not being honest about what has truly gone on in my life would prevent me from fully appreciating what teens like Susie Williams are choosing and inspiring in others.
Just to give you a small intro to the abuse I have lived with…
- I played excessive amounts of very rough sports like football and basketball to be seen and to feel better about myself because I had a deep lack of confidence and hated who I was and thought that if I could be seen to be a winner then I must be ok.
- I saw that I could get recognition for doing well at school, so I was obsessive about being better than everyone else and studied obsessively.
- I thought I loved school, but in truth I felt empty when I was alone and was looking for anything that could mask this fact.
- I learnt to fill the emptiness with exercise. I would run before school and ride to and from school, giving me at least 1.5 to 2 hours of time that I didn’t have to feel alone or empty.
- At age 15 I dislocated my shoulder from over-training and pushing my body too hard. I tried to keep playing sport but it got so bad it would dislocate some nights when I rolled over in bed. I didn’t want to stop playing excessive sport and I now know why – because I was afraid of feeling the emptiness if I was to stop. At this point I started drinking alcohol instead.
- By age 16 and 17 I would drink a couple of nights on the weekend and many Thursday nights for Uni night cheap drinks. I would also go out until 3am or 4am in the morning to night clubs and pubs.
- I would drink myself silly. My motto was ‘go hard or go home,’ which I would say proudly. It was common for me to vomit in public on the floor in clubs, in the street, on a public bus or my friend’s bedroom floor and all over myself when I was still out on the town.
- One night I fell asleep on a park bench at 3am; I would often walk home 30 min at this time on my own wearing a short skirt, a shirt and strappy shoes in temperatures around 5 degrees.
- On top of this there were random partners and one night stands because it made me feel liked, but it was a way of avoiding the emptiness or loneliness within. I know of some friends who by the age of 30 had had over 300 sexual partners.
- I lived on sugar and caffeine to give me energy throughout the day; I would crave it and always have a bag of lollies with me and every day have frozen coke, ice cream, chocolate and meals full of rice, pasta and bread with cakes for desert. I was addicted to sugar.
In my early 20’s I tried to stop many of these behaviours because I was so ashamed of how I was living, and because of this I would beat myself up even more, further increasing my lack of self-worth.
I tried settling into a long term relationship and taking up endurance sports and exercising to get into shape. Although the binge drinking began to decrease in frequency and I didn’t have random partners, I still found it difficult to completely stop, and tension would build up so much that I would need to go out on a bender and would end up cheating on my partner. I lived with constant guilt about the choices I was making and for what I had become.
The reason why I’m sharing all of this is because many people live lives like this. I had a so-called normal family life – my Mum and Dad would do absolutely anything for me. They looked after me, gave me the best schooling, drove me all around the country for sport and would take me on extended holidays. They didn’t physically or verbally abuse me, they loved me to the best of their ability. The fact is that I did not like myself one bit. I would have horrible thoughts about myself and be in constant comparison and competition with others to try and feel better.
If you were to picture your sweet teenage daughter or niece or friend of the family doing any of these things it is horrible – but the truth is these stories are normal and pretty tame to how some teens are living today, where they are cutting themselves and having competitions like ‘splitting’. Splitting is where the young boys will see who can have the roughest sex with a girl to make them bleed. These are girls as young as 10 or maybe even younger.
Meeting Serge Benhayon
Unlike Susie Williams, in my teen years I didn’t have any role models to show me that there is a way to self-respect, to start to like who I was, to develop true self confidence and to truly look after my body.
It wasn’t until I met Serge Benhayon when I was 26 that things truly began to change.
By this age I had a failed long-term relationship, had given up on and left a PhD mid-way to surf and live my weekends in Byron Bay. I never had full-time work, I was addicted to sugar and extreme endurance sports, had lived in 5 different locations in the last 12 months, had a fair bit of debt from travelling overseas and was in abusive relationships with men 10 years older than me who were unable to hold down long term jobs and had been smoking pot for 20 years, or who continued to sleep around whilst I was with them.
I allowed this because I was too afraid of being alone if I left them. I started taking risks and hanging out with people with alternative lifestyles trying to find what I felt was missing in my life.
Understanding Self-Care & Learning How to Not Self Abuse
In my first meeting with Serge Benhayon and other Universal Medicine practitioners, they suggested that I could develop a positive relationship with myself by being more gentle and caring with myself in the way I treated my body, and in the type of thoughts I allowed. At first I didn’t understand what this meant but bit by bit, after attending a few Universal Medicine events and observing Serge and his family and other practitioners, I started to understand what self-care was. I saw it in the way Serge moved gently, spoke calmly, dressed caringly, ate healthily and the way he held and conducted himself with such consistency, warmth and humbleness all of the time.
It took me a few years to begin to deeply care for and appreciate myself but I found that the more I did this the more I truly began to like who I was, enjoy my day and feel that I was worthy of bringing something to society. The negative and self-destructive thoughts started to decrease and I started to feel a strength inside that enabled me to say no to 20 years of self-abusive and self-harming behaviors.
9 years on and at age 34 I’m a completely different person.
- I not only no longer hate myself, I truly love and adore who I am.
- I don’t feel any guilt or shame about my past because I understand that I didn’t know how to cope with what I was feeling in my life and did all I could to try not to feel. These choices were a consequence of not knowing how to love and care for myself.
- There is much less to no focus on others and how I compare to them, and no need for approval from others to see myself as ‘doing good’ or ‘being good’ in anything.
- I haven’t touched alcohol or caffeine for over 8 years and I don’t eat sugary foods or foods that stimulate or numb my body. In fact I have found how they prevent me from feeling what choices I need to make to truly care for my body.
- I spent 4 years alone with no partners and realised that nobody could make me feel better about myself or feel loved. Now I am in a long term and deeply loving relationship with my husband who respects, adores and cares for me.
- I went back to University and finished my PhD and only recently for the first time in my life I have a full-time job. My husband and I own our own home and live a very stable and loving life.
- I feel more open, caring and loving in all of my relationships, including my family, and genuinely want to spend time with them and enjoy it when I do.
- I also look younger now, and feel stronger and healthier in my body then I did 10 years ago.
This enormous change in my life has been inspired by just one man Serge Benhayon and in turn many practitioners at the Universal Medicine Clinic who were also inspired by Serge, who have all shared with me how to truly develop a caring and loving relationship with myself.
From here I have healed a lot and developed my way of living that truly supports and honours this. I now also inspire others to see and feel that there is a way out of the inner turmoil, emptiness and loneliness.
Standing Up and Saying No to Abuse
In the last 8 years I’ve learnt that carrying self-abuse makes it more difficult to call out other forms of abuse that we either personally experience from the outer world, or that we see happening to others around us.
In the last three years I have witnessed Esther Rockett, Lance Martin and a few others abuse Serge Benhayon and his whole family with the most horrendous lies and bullying.
These are not obvious forms of physical abuse or verbal threats that would result in a police arrest, instead these are the most vile and insidious plotting and planting of lies, stories and misrepresentations of Serge Benhayon and his family online, in the media, to various authorities, in government submissions and to many businesses and organisations in the local community, nationally and even internationally.
I’ve even heard of stalking and offensive pictures or letters being delivered to people’s homes and workplaces, or bogus phone calls to people’s employers. The legal system is only starting to catch up with systems to deal with this form of online and offline abuse and stalking.
There have been people who have been willing to stand up and say no to this abuse, to call it out for what it is and to write the facts as they stand on a website for all to see. I deeply appreciate these people and they deserve much more credit than many have been willing to give, because of our own hurts, shame or guilt of not doing the same.
The truth is it’s difficult to speak up against abuse, especially if our lives have been/or are full of it, as I have written above.
When I see someone like Susie Williams so freely and so confidently speak up against abuse I know she has truly been inspired from a very young age to say no to abuse and to deeply care for herself and her body.
The ridiculous part in all of this is that Susie Williams, myself and thousands of other people have all been inspired by Serge Benhayon to say no to abuse in our lives, and to begin to choose lives that are founded on love, self-care, self-respect and truly appreciating the beautiful, wise and confident people we actually are. However, because we have chosen this and because we are appreciative of and associated with Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, we have received abuse from people such as Esther Rockett and others in our community who have chosen to believe her lies and manipulations.
I have had lies posted online about me, my husband and my work, been called abusive and offensive names, lost work, been looked down on by colleagues and asked to not associate myself with Universal Medicine by people in my community when they find out my involvement with them.
Until recently I allowed this to affect me and chose to be one of the people who lay down feeling a victim of the abuse, actually deeply hurt that the one man who has inspired me, Serge Benhayon, who is so very dear to me, has copped so much abuse not only from Esther Rockett and her fake gang (the different pseudonyms she uses) but also from many in our local community who haven’t chosen to look at the facts and call out the lies and instead believed Esther Rockett and Lance Martin’s vicious lies and stories.
This brings an end to my letter.
For the last three years I have avoided speaking up against this abuse, because of the crushing fear of the online onslaught from Esther Rockett that could potentially follow as she has done with many others, illustrated in abusive and crude tweets, comments, blogs, cartoons and photos with offensive speech bubbles attached. However if we do not speak up what do we allow?
Today my self-worth and self-respect are solid and my commitment to truth too much to not speak up and say something. In fact it is a wonderful feeling to now be able to call out abuse, and say it’s not ok knowing that all of us deserve so much more.
It is worth taking the time to ponder on our relationship with abuse as individuals and as a community because this abuse affects us all: speaking up in truth offers an empowering moment to say NO and share this with the world.
|Danielle Pirera enjoys working as a PhD qualified health professional exploring how lifestyle choices, movement and exercise influence physical and mental health and wellbeing.|
|Serge Benhayon is an author and presenter and the founder of Universal Medicine. You can learn more about Serge Benhayon at his personal website www.sergebenhayon.com|