Listen to a reading of this article:

People don’t generally leave abusive relationships in egoically satisfying, Hollywood-friendly ways.

I point this out because those of us who are watching the people’s abusive relationship with predatory power structures and hoping for revolutionary change often tend to envision the status quo ending in an epic way that will make for a good story and let us feel good about ourselves and how right we were. And that just isn’t how these things tend to go.

One of the most shameful things about being in an abusive relationship is how much longer you’ll let it go on for than an outside observer would expect. How much brutality you’ll put up with and the ways you’ll justify it to yourself.

The shame of this can be soul-crushing. A friend once said, “The worst part wasn’t when he raped me, it was having to make him breakfast afterward.” The shamefulness of the abuse and degradation you’ll put up with because of where you’re at in your mind is why people don’t discuss this aspect more, which is why the loved ones of people in those relationships often have such a hard time understanding it. People don’t talk about it, so many don’t understand how common it is.

Generally when someone leaves an abusive relationship it’s not really because they were hit one too many times. It’s not because it got worse than it used to be. Sometimes it will be because the abuser started to assault the victim’s child, but even that will often happen in ways that are a lot more complicated and shameful than the victim acknowledges when telling the story later on.

Generally when someone leaves an abusive relationship it happens for the same reason flowers bloom: because it was time. Something just shifts, and suddenly you’re seeing things you weren’t seeing before. You start noticing patterns, noticing manipulations, noticing the malice in the abuser’s face that you’d previously compartmentalized away from seeing.

And then when you leave the reality of it doesn’t often make for a great Hollywood movie or Hallmark TV special. It doesn’t fit well into egoically gratifying stories. A process just kind of plays itself out, some things happen in ways you probably didn’t anticipate, and then one day you’re not waking up next to the same person anymore. You might try to tell heroic stories about it, or others might do that on your behalf, but really it just kind of happened when the happening was ripe.

Spiritual enlightenment often happens in the same way. Zen Buddhism is full of stories of sudden awakenings where a monk meditates for thirty years while remaining locked in delusion and then suddenly experiences satori after slipping and falling or hearing a teacher say something unexpected or whatever.

It happens when it’s time. A good teacher might offer some spiritual practices to help “lay the groundwork” for awakening, but one person can take those practices and never awaken while another can awaken very quickly. It’s not like building a house or learning a new language where you set to work and do certain things in a certain way and then eventually you have what you set out to obtain. Awakening doesn’t work that way. It’s not the product of personal will. It happens when it happens.

A pot of water can sit there on the stove for minutes without looking like much is happening. When people look at our current environment of murderous exploitative status quo systems and deeply propagandized populations they’ll often despair because it’s very much the same: it doesn’t look like much is happening.

But then the water begins to boil. But then the battered wife escapes to safety. But then the spiritual aspirant sees beyond the veil of illusion. But then the people rise up.

Humans are storytelling creatures; that’s why it’s possible to gain such a tremendous amount of power over us by controlling our stories. We are storytelling creatures whose primate brains weren’t evolved for the purpose of giving us any absolute understanding of ultimate reality, whose senses only take in a tiny fraction of our surroundings, whose minds don’t process what’s happening in the ways science tells us things are actually happening.

What do you get when you have a storytelling animal with a very limited capacity to perceive life as it really is? You get a lot of things happening in ways that the creature did not expect, because none of their mental stories told them to anticipate it happening in that way. And then probably telling a bunch of stories about what happened which don’t truly reflect reality.

If and when humanity does wake up from its propaganda-induced coma and push for the changes needed for us to evade extinction and create a healthy world together, it will happen in ways we’re not expecting. It will happen in ways that aren’t pleasing to the ego. It will happen in ways that don’t allow us to stand up and say “Aha! You see? I was right all along!” It will happen in ways that don’t form a compelling narrative.

And how could it? If humanity is to survive into the distant future we’re going to have to transcend the egoic mental habits which led us into this mess. We’re going to have to transcend our unhealthy relationship with mental narrative which made us so easy to manipulate and propagandize. We’re going to have to transcend our self-destructive patterning, which will necessarily have to come from an unpatterned, and therefore unexpected direction.

It will happen when it happens, in a way we couldn’t possibly have predicted it would happen.

So don’t despair if it looks like things aren’t headed toward change. The boiling water, the escaped abuse victim, and the deeply enlightened mind all looked the same at one point.

Don’t despair, and don’t fear the unknown. The unknown is the only direction humanity’s salvation can possibly come from.


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34 responses to “Revolution, Awakening, And Leaving Abusive Relationships All Happen In Unexpected Ways”

  1. Thanks Caitlin. Byron Katie also mentioned in this recent very interesting Tim Ferriss interview with Boyd Varty:

  2. … memory failed me…a correction…..”here we are, the dead of all times, dying once again, but now in order to live”. subcomandante insurgente marcos e.z.l.n jan.1994….
    …..”if you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine”. dr. ernesto “che” guevara…..

  3. ……the ingredients of despair…..
    ……can be used in the repair……
    ……of what we so care…….
    ……about, and so willing to dare….
    ……others about, and bare…..
    ……witness to and stare……
    ……down the rockets red glare….
    ……of our egos that tare……
    ……the fabric of humanity, so rare….
    ……expressed in the present scare..
    ……of our despair………

    ……..”here we are, the dead of all times, dying once again in order to live”…..subcomandante marcos, e.z.l.n. chiapas, mexico, Jan.1994……

  4. thorsjackhammer Avatar

    Cognitive Dissonance, Trauma Bonding, Psychological Dissociation, Learned Helplessness, Gaslighting, Parasitic Relationships, Sociopaths, Megalomaniacs, Supremacists …..

    “Do not expect justice where might is right”.
    “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  5. Sure, an “Awakening” of sorts might be the way and you have of course spoken about your own experiences with relationships.
    I have helped people leave abusive relationships several times in my life and my personal impression was, that the one thing you had to do, was to help them overcome their fear. Terry Pratchett wrote “What people want most, is that tomorrow will be about the same as today.”. Fear of change is, in my opinion, much stronger than hope for something better. Also fear is much easier to exploit in the mass manipulations of our elites.
    Therefore, what i believe would be necessary, would be to get people used to constant change in the desired direction. Unfortunately, at this point, that would mean a U-turn.
    What propaganda has achieved, is to establish constant fear as a driving factor which turned us into sheep, guided by the shepherd dogs barking at the behest of their masters. No fear, means no control, so maybe an alternative could be to cause fear of what lies ahead of us if we remain on this track. But apparently that backfires, as you can tell from those who simply deny the change that is obviously happening (meaning climate change).
    I guess, what you could call an awakening, is when you accept the fear part of your animal brain, but are able to control it rahter than the other way around.

  6. Desmond Connellan Avatar
    Desmond Connellan

    Well I hope humans are not the crayfish in the pot on the stove.

    1. For the Reptilians from Orion and Their Grey allies Earth really has been an experimental Genetic Kitchen for about 450,000 years .

      And Yes we humans really are the Grayfish boililing in the pot. Do you finally get It. Moron.

  7. WOW, Caitlin. Of course… are right….thank you!!

    What could we do without you????


  8. Caitlin, I’ve been trying everything I can think of to find out how to send you a book. We’re seeing and saying so many of the same things that I think we should know about each other.

    I think that you’re nearly unique in your ability to 1) see what’s really happening, 2) describe it accurately, and 3) do so with appropriate feeling. But what appeals to me the most is that underneath (“behind”? “within”? “despite”?) the astonishingly critical level of threat into which we’ve allowed human affairs to drift, you intuitively feel the promise of this situation if we can see it as it really is and react appropriately. Which means awakening spiritually.

    My latest book “The Choice” attempts to put all this into a comprehensible framework (you can google it); if it interests you, which I dearly hope it does, you have my email here; send me a snail address and I’ll fire off a copy. Go well, Peter Childs

  9. Truer words have never been spoken. I might add that the revolution won’t be televised because the revolution doesn’t exist. Revolution is a thing of the past or a thing of the future. You’re looking back on a revolution or looking forward to one. But the past and the future don’t exist. Life only exists in the present, here and now. Therefore these things are only projections with more or less accuracy, aka illusions. As far as the past goes, we reckon the French Revolution left 300,000 to 600,000 dead depending on the sources. That’s a helluva lot of difference! We don’t actually know. We speculate. And there’s no existence in speculation. A future revolution is even more speculative. If the past and the future don’t exist, neither do therefore past and future revolutions. They have the reality of a Hollywood movie, period. So what about the present? Well… there’s no revolution in the present. Not only in our present but in any present whatsoever because while people are involved in what historians will later call a revolution (which will be a myth synthesizing in an acceptable way the research of the pro and anti-revolution chroniclers), said people will be looking for a gun, for food, for water, making love, bread, the day, trying to keep their loved ones safe and their safe ones loved, washing their hair, their shirt, their blouse, cooking dessert, shooting someone, dressing wounds, trying to find antibiotics… Just as when there is no revolution, they’ll do what they think is the most urgent thing to do in the present moment as new present moments unfold here and now. Nobody will be left in the past. Their entire surroundings will move along with them in the unfolding new present moments. And then, in these new present moments, there and then, there will be consequences and they’ll deal with them as best they can here and now. Because there and then is just here and now in another time frame. Nobody actually lives there and then. We all live (in a yellow submarine :o), have always lived and will always live here and now. Which is why the revolution will not be televised – even if that’s not exactly what Gil Scott Heron meant. It won’t be televised because the cameras will at best film people shooting at each other, being carried away in ambulances, screaming, crying, laughing on barricades… They won’t film a revolution. They’ll film individual experiences, each different and when the protagonists later learn that this has been called a revolution, they will be the first surprised. Their experiences won’t match those of others involved in the same collective lunacy and they’ll soon stop talking about it because they can’t communicate on it. Because what the historians call a revolution never actually existed in a one fits all garden variety format. Like wars. People who’ve fought wars hardly ever talk about them. They say folks wouldn’t understand. What they experienced was not a war. It was an extremely weird here and now unfolding in particularly unusual, often monstrous ways.

  10. I consider all relationships with government to be abusive and somewhat intimidating. A relationship with the court system on the other hand is very intimidating and somewhat abusive.

  11. Where is the past?
    It’s in our heads.
    The only place it can be.
    Where is the future?
    It’s in our heads.
    The only place it can be.
    Where is now?
    We are feeling, looking, hearing, tasting and smelling it. In this moment.
    History is relevant to living, but not to Life.

  12. I’ll take the relationship analogy, but here’s my spin: nothing ends a lousy relationship quicker than finding a new love. Relationships beyond repair are hard to leave unless we have an exciting option…just moving on with no certain place to land is a dismal prospect at best. So… stop with criticizing your current relationship…describe to me your new love!

  13. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. Everything happens when the conditions are right for it to happen, not a moment sooner (or later). It is too big for our human minds to comprehend. I so needed to hear this today in exactly the way you wrote it. Much gratitude ❤️

  14. Try Socrates, Phaedrus, Thoth

    1. That’s for Rob’s question. Phaedrus

  15. Don’t ask why me. Ask what you can do to be the change. What was the abuse giving you that was so hard to break away from.

  16. Malcolm McKinney Avatar
    Malcolm McKinney

    Shame is taught. Courage isn’t.

  17. Here’s the most obvious, most important question of all. Just exactly WHAT, and I do mean WHAT, should people do AFTER they’re all woke up, spiritually enlightened and decide to metaphorically “leave their abusers” in Washington? Just exactly HOW do they “leave”? Should they pick up a gun and run? Should they guillotine some VIPs? Should they march hand in hand down Penn. Ave. forever and demand, demand, demand that the Elite behave better, or else? (“or else” just exactly WHAT?!)
    Here’s what you are eventually going to HAVE TO DO because
    there. is. no. other. way. to remove 536 Rs and Ds from the federal government’s elected seats of power. (If you know of another way, please spell it out, right here, right now and, BTW, wishing upon a star, dream, dream, dreaming; hoping and praying and deep, deep, deep self-study and drug-trips are not going to do that job.)
    If you do not want More Of The Same that you’ve gotten after every election in the past, do not vote for another R or D, ever, no matter what an R or D promises! Jimmy Dore explains EXACTLY why.

  18. Beautiful article, agreed, IF and when humanity awakens. Tim Leary thought LSD would do it. Macrobiotics and Aikido promised world peace. Even old Marx thought class struggle would lead to a nationless planet of hippies. I’ve seen people awaken, sometimes at the end of their lives. With extinction looming, I don’t think we can roll the dice on mass awakening. Some action may be in order.

    1. Action at sufficient scale won’t happen without mass awakening. Mass awakening isn’t our best hope, it’s our only hope.

  19. i am not religious, but i can imagine and appreciate what a young man called Jesus was trying to do.
    this morning i read the report that Joe Biden finally filled the (over-a-year-empty) position of US ambassador for South Korea with Philip Goldberg, the former US ambassador to Colombia, and a former enforcer of US sanctions on North Korea. his predecessor is Harry Harris, a former navy commander who was most hawkish warmonger against North Korea.

    this is fully expected development, after Rahm Emmanuel was recently sent to Japan as the new governor of that colony.

    you catch my drift?

  20. There is no spoon, from the matrix comes to mind.

    “I believe humanity’s foray into fiction began with the breakdown of the bicameral mind, and the insertion of meaningless symbols in between the subject and the seer. In short, back when people used pictographic alphabets, we were limited to discussing things we could actually see in the real world. The invention of phonemic alphabets like this one, which are comprised not of representative pictures but of meaningless letters, provides the opportunity to invent an endless stream of non-sense, the greatest of these being spelled with just a single capital letter.”
    Alphabet vs the goddess lecture:

    “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
    Nahhh the greatest trick the devil pulled was that the devil is someone else, whether real or imaginary.

    1. Try Socrates, Phaedrus, Thoth

  21. I felt abused when I watched a clip with Jen Psaki saying this: “We have a sacred obligation to support the security of our eastern flank countries…It’s important to remember who the aggressor is here…it is Russia who has tens of thousands of troops on the border of Ukraine. They have the power to deescalate.”

    First, she is trying to confuse us about the geography and then history. Then she is literally performing a surgery on my thoughts by planting a story that Russia is the aggressor (and I am a useful fool for not remembering the importance of this thought). Also, she literally steals Russia’s story that Ukraine is on their Western flank and they have a right to have troops inside their own borders, and replaces it with a lie that Ukraine is on the USA’s Eastern flank and the US has the obligation …
    Complete gaslighting.
    Yet, I watched another clip of her from a few days ago where she is interviewed about quitting her present job, and she misspeaks there that she loves working for Pres. Obama.
    And I keep hoping that she will quit. My hope is that she will be replaced by someone less skilled in mental surgeries. I guess I do not believe things (our government) can get better, only that they will become more obviously screwed up.

  22. Great news! You do not have to spend years meditating to experience liberation.
    Suffering comes from attaching to our uninvestigated thinking. So you have to become aware of the stories you tell yourself to justify the status quo, and investigate it.
    This is why we need investigative journalism – to investigate the mainstream stories, which is becoming less common now. Have to learn how to ask questions yourself.

    Byron Katie’s the four questions:
    Question 1: Is it true? (Yes or No).
    Question 2: Can you absolutely know it’s true? …
    Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought? …
    Question 4: Who would you be without the thought? …
    Turn the thought around: …

    1. Here is the article that came inside Katie Byron’s book.
      It describes how Pres. George W. Bush’s extended family profited from him declaring war on Iraq.

      Since in very recent news Raytheon’s stock suffered, the US must start a new major war. ASAP

    2. Elizabeth Keats Avatar
      Elizabeth Keats

      I so appreciate your bringing Byron Katie’s Work into this discussion! Caitlin’s insight and deep knowledge sometimes hit me hard, and then I take my fear to Katie’s Work and find my way back to peace. So thank you.

    3. MY late brother Donald said for years when reading the newspaper ask

      1) Who wants me to know this?
      2) why?

  23. Recognize the despair. Accept that maybe all this beautiful word work is in fact opening us too to the world-work of stepping away from the militarized (for example) and the soldiers of the wars seeing the grotesque pattern of self-destruction without humanity learning; saying it. Getting to “No, folks, we need not enter an evil old pattern. Opens a new path. Thank you for every clearing for our too young species, to choose differently.

  24. A theme song – Crawlin’ from the wreckage, Dave Edmunds 1979 (a Welsh singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer)

    Crawlin’ from the wreckage, Crawlin’ from the wreckage
    You’d think by now at least that half my brain would get the message

  25. Thanks for sharing Caitlin. Having gone through a spiritual awakening experience in July of 2020, I am convinced that spiritual enlightenment should be the ultimate goal for humanity and for society writ large. It is not an evolution of the body but an evolution of mind and consciousness. I do everything I can to help foster it in others and bring them up to show them the light. The view is truly beautiful from up here. I share Buddha’s teachings with my friends and whoever is willing to listen. Keep pulling for spiritual enlightenment. I believe it is effort well spent.

  26. Thank you Caitlin. Here we are lost in a wilderness, and we hear a voice that says “Don’t give up”. And I won’t.

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