My friend, Amanda, posted a post on Facebook that made me think about the life journey to loving yourself a couple of days ago. It made me think about my last two years and what I haven’t really talked about. Healing. We use the term a lot in therapy but we don’t talk about the application of healing. I am unashamedly open about therapy. I apologize to no one for getting counseling, but there are plenty of people who dropped their bullshit on me, who should apologize for themselves being the reason I’m there! But seriously, the journey is my choice to either heal or stay sick.
Healing for me came from a difficult route. I wish I would have been courageous enough to go years ago and avoid a lot of the pain that was really unnecessary. For as forward thinking as my father was, he was obtuse when it came to mental health. He was a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” guy. I grew up thinking that I had a serious character flaw because I am an emotional person. I feel things to the deepest parts of my heart. The old “I’ll give you something to cry about” fell on my already teared up eyes because I cry when I’m happy, sad, angry, hurt, you name it! That doesn’t work when you are healing from generational abuses. If you are a cycle breaker, being able to step back and see it for what it is will kill your insides without the voice of reason to point you to health. I’m so thankful for that hindsight!
Self care and self love do not coexist for me. I am getting so much healthier about self care that I enjoy the alone time that being laid up has given me. I have released 84 pounds, I have become healthier, not because someone else pressed me to, but I chose to. I have accepted that my truth frightens people and while the memories of neglect and trauma are painful, I don’t need to “get over it, it’s in the past” or “let it go, you lived through it, didn’t you?” These are the gaslighting ideas of others trying to dictate my healing, but now I recognize the tactic and I can ignore the crap. Healing doesn’t mean “forgiveness” to me. For me it means forgiveness to myself for my hyper vigilant behavior that hurt others while I was fighting to survive. What others do about it is none of my business. I am worth that! I spent years protecting everyone but myself. Today, and after working through many hours treating CPTSD, I find myself less anxious, more calm, present, learning to accept joy and good things in my life. I find myself talking to my children about my “mistakes” in parenting, my alcoholism, my addictions, my immaturity as a new mother even into my 40’s, and how I hope that they take my lead in dealing with the trauma that literally every human carries. I think that had I not been so damaged that I would have been a better momma. But the gift I give them now is permission! Permission to fix the hurt and become who they want! We all carry it with us. Every single person alive has something and they also chose the path of healing or survival without change. I have said for years and years that trauma and hurt or abuse (verbal, mental, sexual, physical it doesn’t matter) all feel the same and wire our brain for protection. That’s the truth. The road to peace is long and arduous and you are constantly looking at it and deciding how your reaction will pave the road for your life choices.
During some of my sessions I will say “my rational brain knows this…”. I can’t understand where the trigger fires from during something that hurts me. The adult in me expects it one way, but the little girl who still lives in me is hurt. She reminds me all of the time that “The injury or wound happened way before you were capable of the rational thought process!” Wow. Wow. No wonder the reaction becomes so childish at the time. I didn’t have the tools in the box to make it feel different, well until now! That’s healing!! That’s doable!! That’s freedom!! The problem gets worse when you deal with emotionally immature people who don’t clean out their closet. They don’t know how to handle the improvements you make, so they try to drag you back into the game! If only they could see how much better it feels to toss the garbage out and move toward peace! I pray that everyone comes into their “golden years” trying to do better! If that were the case this old world would be so awesome!
Self care comes with knowledge and education. There is a book that I listen to on audible that I highly recommend!!
This book is a book for everyone I know!! It’s for everyone I don’t know!! Audible allows me more freedom than being tied to the book, and he’s hot!! Easy to look at! I mean he’s easy to listen to!! But really, he is dead on and gives tons of examples that make it easy to see yourself!
Self love is way more difficult. I don’t know that I will ever feel worthy of compliments, safe with goodness, or that I will ever be ok in my earth suit. I am working on seeing that glass half full. That’s a big stretch for me. I was not raised with the confidence to know that I can do anything I set my mind to. I have become that, to some degree, but that was because I took the hard path and had to rely on me. Not easy. I think my body receives the message that it is loved and worthy by the other actions I take to cut it some slack. This past 18 months of hell has forced me to stop, take inventory and decide what it’s gonna take to get healed. Physical healing is nothing without God and the emotional healing. In fact I would tell you that I don’t believe healing comes without grace. Either healing self care or healing self love. Maybe I shouldn’t separate the two and just call it “whole body/mind work”. In fact, if you want to heal and feel, in order to gain ground , you have to let some people go. That’s hard. But the reward of peace is more important than a connection that is toxic. The body keeps score and carries all we tell it. All of the negativity we feel settles in our very bones. Each time you take abusive behavior from someone, it hides out in your hips, your shoulders, your organs and you die a slow death. Take back the power! It’s glorious!!
I have no idea what your journey will look like! I just know that time is racing by and I don’t have time to waste. I wasted years trying to be someone’s vision of who I should be. I wouldn’t be loved until I was …. (Fill in the blank) They won’t hurt me when I become…… I will be better when…… and the worst one of all, “I will be happy when….” That is the biggest tragedy of all! Now is the day and now is the hour. Where do you want to be when you are 35? 45? 55?!! I am working on it, but I’m a whole load happier with me than I ever was. I’m still growing!!
On this cloudy cold day I wish you peace!!
Until next time, get the book. You can thank me later!!
4 thoughts on “Changes!”
This is my first visit to your blog. I loved the raw honesty. I felt like I was listening to a friend over coffee. When I got to the picture of the cover of the book, I immediately went to my library website and ordered a copy to read. I am on my own journey of healing, self-care (new to me) and self-love (is that permissible for me?). I live with my adult son whom I lost custody of when he was a young teen, because I was caught up in my drinking to numb what I hadn’t addressed. So there is much healing to do all around.
Thank you for your post.
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Oh Kate!! Good for you!! Your journey will be riddled with ups and downs and facing our past is often hard. But… facing it, owning it and learning from it is what it’s all about!! I am a child abuse survivor, recovering alcoholic who is finally figuring it out! Others stories inspire me to be better too!!
Thanks for the nice compliment! I typed this one, and many, on my phone, so ignore the typos!!
My best to you!! E
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You are just beautiful inside and out and you touch my soul! It amazes me that your story can be so similar to others and the healing is something that we all seek. Hugs my friend! Kimberly
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Thank you. Life is a beautiful journey most days!! Hugs to you!