Posts Tagged ‘survival’

I believe you need to love yourself first and foremost.

That concept does not come naturally to me. So I had to come up with a couple tricks to teach myself to take care of *me*. The process for me was slow, but I persevered, and succeeded.

These are the things I fall back on when I feel down on myself, am not as confident, or feel a generalĀ blah-ness.

Positive Posts!

I write positive messages to myself and tape them onto every reflective surface (not just mirrors!). Anywhere I can see my own reflection is a message like, “I am beautiful, inside and out”, “I am worthy”, “I am a strong and capable woman”… The point of the exercise is to pause and read the message to yourself. Look yourself in the eye and tell yourself aloud, with conviction, that you are a worthy person. When I started, I could not look at myself at all. I could not look at any part of my face. I started out looking at the frame of the mirror, talking to myself in my head. But I eventually graduated to looking at my hair, my forehead, my chin, my lips, my nose… And finally, looking at myself straight in the eyes. This exercise forces you to reconnect with yourself, and face yourself on a level that many people neglect. Highly recommended.

Self-Talk!

I have no idea how many others do this, but I have a tendency to narrate my day to myself in my head. The writer in me, perhaps. But I am used to talking to myself. Changing the self-talk to a more positive tone, however, was a struggle. I made a deal with myself: For every negative thought about myself, I would consciously think something positive. I still stick to that. Might sound a bit ridiculous, but consciously forcing yourself to become more positive will create more positivity within yourself over a period of time. It is simple, and works brilliantly.

Fake it!

I faked confidence and self-respect until it became real. I would go out for walks, and dress up, put some make up on, all for the purpose of walking tall and confidently, and to teach myself to walk with my shoulders back and my head held up high. I respected myself by asking myself “Is this what I really want, or am I doing this to please others?”, and by learning to look after myself first and foremost. I reclaimed my dignity by cutting off all the toxic people who had been in my life.

Substitute!

I learned to substitute self-destructive behaviours with ones that were caring and loving towards myself. Instead of lashing out my anguish on my body, I pampered it instead. I read to expand my mind. I write to unburden myself, and to try and help others who might be in similar situations as myself.

Balance!

I do what I can to maintain balance in all things, but especially with my emotions. I consider myself a relatively happy person, but I guess it all depends on your definition of “happy“. To me it means freedom to be my true self, to express myself as I wish, and to live as I want to live as a free person. That, to me, equals happiness.

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What does it say about the abused that we end up with such huge guilt complexes?

I used to think it was proof that we were in the wrong. That everything all the brainwashing was true. After all, why else would I wind up with all this incessant guilt??

I now believe it is because the victims of guilt tend to have such big hearts, that we end up trapped and imprisoned, and are unable to leave, and blame ourselves for not leaving the toxic men we love.

But knowing the reason for it, and stopping it from happening are two separate things.

Like I said in my previous post, sept is a difficult month for me, and it seems like all my coping skills fly right out the window. It is like I am once again beginning healing all over again, and I regress in the progress I have made.

I have a theory as to why this happens to me each sept…

My shrink explained it to me from a medical standpoint: something about the time of year, the weather, and brain chemistry all aligning to do mischief for me certain times of the year.

However, I think differently. There may be something to what my p.doc has said. After all, he has the schooling to back up his theory. But I have the life experience. And there in lies the difference in the validity of opinions.

Anyways

I believe a major event happened in late aug/sept that I cannot completely remember. I suspect it has to do with the beginnings of being a trafficked victim. My sense of time and space is awful at the best of times, but my subconscious knows. And I know it knows. And no matter how well I am doing – and this year, I was doing wonderfully in june, july, aug… I honestly thought it would mean this sept would be different.

But then everything came crashing around me.

The shame, the guilt, the burden on my shoulders… It feels like the weight of all the years past is upon them.

No wonder I have been weepy.

The way I have been dealing with the guilt, currently, is to not suppress my feelings, or dissociate, like I usually do. As much as I hate crying, I let myself. I also continue doing the things that I know are good for me: school, reading, therapy, talking to friends and my support group, resisting any self-destructive urges by doing good things for myself.

I know the intensity of the feeling will pass. I know I have survived much worse. But it would be nice to get a break some time.

This month has been a roller-coaster of emotion. September is always a trying month for me, it has been for as long as I can remember.

That tends to get in the way of re-entering life. One year, going back to university, I ended up overdosing, having a psychotic break, and wound up in a psych ward.

Of course, I was also being severely abused at the time – but I did not make the connection until I was free. Then, I simply blamed myself for my own misery and simply wanted to end the hell I found myself is as I did not know how to cope, and was told I did not know how to cope, and that I would be better off dead.

Anyways, September is also the month of my birth. Which has also made it more trying for me the last ten or so years. I always dreaded my birthday: it would remind me I was still alive and still in the same place as the year before, or in an even worse situation.

Last year I tentatively celebrated my birthday, and was successful. I attended a couple college classes, with limited success, but the point is, that I managed to *go* to the class, without breaking down, or freaking out, or otherwise making an a** of myself. Yet I sabotaged myself nonetheless with my thinking that I must be perfect, as whatever I did in *this* class *now* would dictate my success for the rest of my life…

Needless to say, my thinking did not work out for me.

So this year, I have been working on changing things so I will not be in the same place as I was last year, and so that I will not be in the same place come next year.

To the untrained eye, it might not look like much has changed. But as anyone who has had any type of hurt or tragedy or difficulty in their lives know, healing is a long arduous process.

I am once again enrolled in school, but this time, my goal is to have fun in class. So far, it is going well. It required a lot of self-talk and pep-talks to myself to get myself to go, and convince myself that this will not impact my entire future. I have only myself to rely on to build myself up, and that is a role I have become comfortable in.

The difficult thing is that for me, September really sucks.

I had a blow out with a friend. He verbally assaulted me over a period of a few days, and thankfully, his knowledge of my life was limited, and so the attack on me was limited as well.

It was a good lesson on being cautious about letting people in. But it brought back a lot of past memories that I would rather remain dissociated from.

I am not normally someone who sheds tears. Even when I feel like crying, or need to cry, I simply cannot. There is a part of me that is a tad dissociated from myself.

But not the last two weeks.

I’ve been crying at inopportune times…

Not heaving sobs, or even a steady stream of tears… They just come and go in bursts I cannot control.

And I wonder to myself – is this some sort of delayed reaction? Am I somehow reconnecting to what happened to me?

So I have been hiding out at home for the last two weeks. Besides school and therapy, and occasional walks, I have been feeling very protective of myself.

I apologize for the somewhat disjointed post. But my thoughts are somewhat disorganized.

I don’t have the time for tears, nor do I want to suddenly reconnect with myself and my past.

To be continued…

This last week it hit home to me just how far I have come in my healing journey, and far I have yet to go.

I just broke contact with someone I was in a very brief and intense ‘relationship’ with (I use the term loosely, as I did not take him seriously, nor was my heart investing in the man).

Hindsight is 20/20, right?

Well, I soon was able to reflect upon what I should have seen clearly– the red flags that were waving high and brightly in my face. The insistence that he was such a nice person, or rather, that he used to be, and that his ex ruined that side of him by cheating on him and breaking his heart.

He soon insisted he just needed someone to heal him (me, obviously). He wanted me to text him repeatedly throughout the day to give him updates on what I was doing (I refused to on principle). He kept insisting that I was cheating on him (I was not). He was soon saying things that cut me, using my vulnerabilities against me in verbal manipulations.

I wound up feeling worthless, crazy, guilty…

And I recognized those feelings.

I had been there before.

The last straw came when he blamed me for getting sick, insisting it was all my fault as I had been the *only* one he had seen all week (he lives with others though).

Yet *I* was and am not sick. Not at all.

I finally told him that I would leave him be if he would please do me the courtesy of doing the same.

Even though I did not know this man very well. Even though I did not have much of a romantic attachment to him…

Doing that was extremely hard, and I am still a bit depressed over the whole incident. I found it very triggering, and very reminiscent of a previous relationship with another man of a similar vein who I was with for a long time who I *was* deeply in love with. After verbally abusing me severely in a way that still haunts me today, he strangled me in a hotel room, and yet I returned to him, only to become burned out from the repeated abuse, and I finally left a few months after.

Anyways…

My point is this–

In the last year, I have worked hard to build up my perception of myself. I hardly ever talk down to myself anymore, I am confident, I walk tall, I take care of myself, I nourish my mind and my body… I have worked hard to change my life from what it used to be.

I will NOT allow anyone to make me lose the self respect I worked so hard to garner.

I am capable

I am strong

I am fierce

I don’t need a d*amn white knight because I am my *OWN* hero

~Hugs~