Archive for #abuse

POP A PILL OR GROW A POTATO?

Posted in emotional health, mental health, recovery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Karen unrue

food_pills_finlay

Ever see those sci fi movies where no one eats food anymore –

they all pop pills instead?

Its sort of happened already

dont you think?

I mean

WHEN DID YOU LAST GROW A POTATO?

We all eat crisps and french fries

but I have never planted a potato

or dug one out of the soil.

Are you kidding?

Why would I?

sounds far too much like hard work!

Someone else does that for me!

potato-picker-ngv

As a result –

The source of my nutrition

is as far removed from my everyday experience

as Jupiter!

It may be easier but it sure aint healthier!

 

We do the same when it comes to feeding our souls.

We may lack nutrients

from emotional malnutrition

in our childhoods,

or because of toxic relationships later on.

So what do we do?

Go organic?

Get our hands dirty in the hard work of growing our own?

NO

We go to our local pharmaceutical supermarket –

the doctor –

and try to get our emotional nutrition in a pill.

hirst_pharmaceuticals

PLEASE DON’T MISUNDERSTAND ME –

I am an advocate

of anti-depressants and mood stabilisers –

when they are needed.

I have used them myself

and I still take Prozac today.

 

What I’m talking about here is

stuff like –

silencing

the critical voice in our head

borne out of abusive

or unhealthy

relationships.

And

replacing it

with a

Barry White

type

voice of loving encouragement

and affirmation.

barry white

Breaking habitual negative and anxious thought patterns

and learning

to make

more positive,

confident

habitual thought patterns

that enable you

to live a life without fear.

A life you love living.

Unknown

Yes it’s hard work!

Learning to live free from anxiety

by re-sculpting my plastic brain –

re-shaping my neural pathways,

has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.

And it took time.

But let me tell you –

IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE !

 

So get out your gardening gloves!

Over the next few posts

I’m going to teach you

how to grow a potato!

SIGN POTATOES

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

Posted in our thought lives with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by Karen unrue

drawings_and_paintings-brains-brains01

I thought my brain was a stone,

set hard.

I thought I was stuck with it

just the way it is.

But hey –

guess what?

Its plastic,

malleable,

and I can,

with time

and patience

make it a shape

that serves me better.

I can streamline it,

make it aerodynamic

so it flies

faster,

safer,

to destinations of my choosing.

Jet-plane-in-flight231

I’m not stuck with it

just the way it is.

Ok!

What am I talking about?

Well,

Our thought lives

determine our behaviour.

Right?

It is our

habitual

negative,

thought patterns

that make our lives

anxious

and scary.

self-portrait-or-desperate-man-gustave-courbet

It was always assumed

that

we are hardwired

from birth.

But now,

neuroscience tells us

we are not

and that we can

Sculpt

our neural pathways,

our thought lives,

into shapes

and patterns

that serve us better

that make life

more enjoyable.

Malvina Hoffman 1885-1966 - American sculptor - Tutt'Art@ (24)

“THIS IS JUST THE WAY I AM!”

is not a painful

frustrating,

truth

you have to live with anymore.

you can change who you are

by changing how you think!!

You are not just human beings –

you are human becomings!!

You can become who you want to be.

This is not a glib “power of positive thinking” motivational speech.

This is science

and psychology

and it can change your life –

It changed mine.

In my next post I’ll talk about how how to start this process, and how to keep going until your life is less anxious and negative, better, easier, and happier.

I am talking from personal experience here

and

It can be done!!!!

hope

HUNGRY ?

Posted in feeding the hungry child, learning to love yourself again with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2014 by Karen unrue

sap_605x300_baby_012

Parents are supposed to feed their children.

Did yours?

Parents are supposed to make sure their children eat healthy food.

Did yours?

If they didn’t

then you are malnourished.

It’s a fact.

This creates a physical effect.

It impacts how healthy you are

as an adult.

This is isn’t rocket science.

It’s common sense.

You will have vitamin deficiencies,

an underdeveloped immune system,

fatigue,

and other assorted issues.

If you have any sense at all

you will address this

absence of nourishment

in your early years.

You will visit a nutritionist

and

discuss the matter.

You will

take her advice,

take her supplements,

and

learn how to feed yourself

now

with what you lacked

as a child.

There is no stigma attached to this –

You are simply hungry!

gustav klimmt

gustav klimmt

Parents are supposed to love their children.

Did yours?

Parents are supposed to make sure their children are nurtured and validated.

Did yours?

If they didn’t

then you are malnourished.

It’s a fact.

This creates emotional effects.

It impacts how whole you are

as an adult.

This isn’t rocket science.

It’s common sense.

You will have emotional deficiencies,

an underdeveloped sense of self,

insecurities,

and other assorted issues.

If you have any sense at all

you will address this

absence of nourishment

in your early years.

You will visit a therapist

and

discuss the matter.

You will

take her advice,

take her prescription,

and

learn how to feed yourself

now

with what you lacked

as a child.

There should be no stigma attached to this –

You are simply hungry.

 

A therapist is really just an emotional nutritionist !!!!!

It is only ignorance in our society that tells us there is any stigma attached to addressing the mental/emotional needs that arise out of lack in our childhoods.

DONT BUY INTO THAT LIE !

FIND OUT HOW TO FEED YOURSELF NOW !

food

Are you aware of any consequences in your adult life of a lack of validation or nurturing in your early years?

Please share the ways you have discovered to feed and nurture yourself now – it will help others in the same boat.

BITE THE SNAKE

Posted in bite the snake with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by Karen unrue

EXCITING NEWS!!

I have written a book!

BITE_THE_SNAKE

“How to extract the poison from your past and enjoy playing in the present”

Click here to sign up for updates about Bite the Snake

It is my passion in life
to work with people
that life has trampled on.
Whatever big boot
it was that
squashed the self-belief out of them –
damaged childhood,
domestic abuse,
bullying –
I consider it a privilege
when I can help them
understand,
through the work I do,
that they did not deserve
the treatment they received,
and show them how
to regain
their self-worth
and learn to
love themselves again.

loving herself 2

I speak out of my own experience.
After a “big boot”
crushed me underfoot
I had to learn
to live again,
believe again –
that I was worth loving.
Trust again –
that I had value.

I wish I had had a book
like this to read
when I was
trying
to figure it all out.
I am so happy
that I have been able
to write this
and help others on their way.

smiling hand

THE SURPRISE PARTY

Posted in THE SURPRISE OF RECOVERY with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by Karen unrue
painting by Fahad Hassain

painting by Fahad Hossain

Have you ever had a birthday
when no one remembered ?
A birthday when no one rang
to wish you “Happy Birthday”,
no one at work brought in a card,
and only acquaintances,
and your boss said anything at all?

It sucks right !?
It makes you feel
alone,
unloved,
unhappy,
it can even make you wonder
what life is all about.
Make you
doubt yourself,
doubt your self-worth,
doubt the people you thought were friends,
doubt your judgement.
At its worst
it can even make you feel
depressed,
despairing.

BUT THEN

You arrive home,
the windows are dark,
the house is silent.
You put your key in the front door –
and the moment you walk in
the house lights up like a firework!
A crowd of people
are cheering
and shouting out
“SURPRISE!!!”
as they
jump up and down,
throw streamers
and set off party poppers,
and then they –
run at you,
hug you,
kiss you
with big smiles on their faces.

surprise party 1

Suddenly the sadness is gone.
You know you are
loved,
valued,
cared about.
Loneliness leaves,
self doubt is dispelled,
despair dissipates.
The present,
and the future, look
BRIGHT.

HEALING
is often like this too!

It can seem far away,
even impossible.
We can be filled
with the feeling
that we will never recover.
Pain,
depression,
despair,
self-doubt,
self-loathing,
loneliness,
seem to be our only companions.

depression

I have been there.
I know that feeling.
I wanted to –
give up,
let go,
stop fighting for survival.
stop hoping for a better day to come.
I even contemplated
suicide
at times.

BUT THEN – out of the blue –

RECOVERY SURPRISED ME!!!

Hope lit up the room
and threw party poppers.
Joy ran at me and held me
in a welcoming embrace.
The present
was not so scary,
and the future not so dark.

drawing by holymoocow

drawing by holymoocow

Here’s the thing!!
If I had given in
to the feelings of despair –
NOT kept hoping
for a better day,
If I had given up
and checked out –
even just the day before –

I WOULD HAVE MISSED THE PARTY!

I met a young woman,
in the clinic in Cape Town,
who is 29 years old.
She became a heroin addict
at a very young age
during a time of trauma and abandonment.
She is beautiful,
both inside and out.
When I met her
it was her 21st time in a rehab clinic!!!
SHE REFUSES TO GIVE UP!!
She believes that one day
she will get clean
and stay clean.
And do you know what?
I believe she will too!
I believe she will one day soon
attend her own
SURPRISE PARTY!

drug-rehab-center

The damage
done to me by my loving
but unwitting parents
during my childhood.
The damage
done to me
by an abusive husband
over 10 years
during my twenties.
It has taken until
the age of 54
for me to be really free of it.

THAT’S A LONG TIME!

That’s 24 years!

But if I had given up,
checked out,
at the times I was tempted to
during those years
I would have missed
THE SURPRISE PARTY
of recovery
that eventually came.

So I urge anyone reading this –
If you are tempted
to give in
or
give up.
DON’T !
Keep on keeping on.
Look for people to –
support you,
walk with you,
give you hope,
pick you up when you fall down –
but
KEEP GOING!

Your SURPRISE PARTY
Could be just around the corner!!!

hope

Please know that you can chat to me about any aspect of recovery you like – if I don’t know the answer I will find out for you
DON’T WALK ALONE!

————————————————————————————–

TALKING OF WALKING – IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL IF YOU COULD CHECK OUT THE DONATE PAGE BELOW AND SPONSOR ME IN A WALK I AM DOING FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY I WORK FOR – THANKS

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

OUR INNER CRITIC IS A LIAR

Posted in unhelpful negative thinking with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2013 by Karen unrue
The West End. London theatre land.

The West End. London theatre land.

An actress
has just
performed
her heart out.
Opening night
in a west end show.
She was
great, and
received
a standing ovation
from
the filled auditorium.

ovation460

The morning papers
come out.
The whole cast
has stayed up
all night
to read what
the critics
have to say.
They nervously
open the papers
to the
relevant page.

newspapers

As she reads
she sees
that
nine out of ten
critics
state she was
wonderful ,
“Miss Sinclair
brought the role to life
and made it her own.”
One critic
is disparaging
“miss Sinclair
lacked the lustre
the role required.”

SHE IS DEVASTATED.

Woman-grief-painting-640x480

No matter
how much the others
point out
that nine out of ten
good reviews
is terrific
and tell her to
pay no heed
to the idiot
who said
negative things,
all she can think about
is
the negative,
the critical
the disappointed
voice.

negative words sheet

WHY DO WE DO THAT? ALL OF US DO IT!

There is something in each of us, for some reason, that more readily believes the negative thoughts that come at us and fill our heads than the positive ones that get spoken as well.
It’s because we tend to already have distorted perspectives about ourselves and we cherry pick the thoughts that most easily fit in with them.
The negative thoughts are easier for us to believe!!!

BUT MOST NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ARE LIARS.

Even though we are convinced that they are valid most of the negative thoughts that make us feel bad are:-

DISTORTED AND UNREALISTIC

IMG_3445

They are the blah, blah, blah that fill our heads automatically from what we have been conditioned to believe about ourselves.

For those of you who have begun to write down some of your negative self-talk as you have become aware of it– here are some of the distorted thinking patterns they will fit into. See if you recognise any of these in your negative thoughts.

CATASTROPHISING

This is when we take something and blow it all out of proportion.
We make it bigger in our minds that it should be and then usually use the
thought to hammer ourselves with.

“I forgot to invite Emily to my daughters birthday party – OH NO – now her mother will think I’m horrible and won’t speak to me in the playground when I pick the kids up. OH God I bet she’ll even turn the other mums against me. I will have to get someone else to pick up the kids – I cant show my there face again. How could I have done that I’M SO STUPID, SO THOUGHTLESS, SO USELESS.”

painting by Guillame Le Tual

painting by Guillame Le Tual

MIND READING.

This is when we assume we know what others are thinking.

“I can’t go to my husband’s work “DO” because I know that all the other wives look down on me. I know they don’t think I’m good enough for Mike.”

crystal ball

NEGATIVE FILTERING

This is when no matter how well something might be going WE will filter out the positive things and see only the negative.

“was’nt that a great evening. The food was delicious and the music was great.”
we say,
“yes darling but why did it have to be outside? It gets so cold in the evenings this time of year, and did you notice that neither Rose nor Mary spoke more than two words to me the whole evening.”

confectioners-sugar-being-sprinkled-with-a-sifter

BLACK AND WHITE THINKING

This is when we take everything to the extreme. It tends to make us hard on ourselves and come to some harsh assumptions.

“I am ALWAYS the one who ends up washing coffee cups after church. NO ONE EVER helps out. I am FOREVER taken for granted. I am NEVER appreciated.”

BIAS AGAINST YOURSELF

This is when we fail to see the good in ourselves, even when others do, and we focus instead on the negative.

“Thanks for coming shopping with me and helping me choose an outfit for the wedding. You have a really good eye for colours and what things go together well.”
We say,
“Don’t be silly, no I don’t, I just know what you like”

These are just a few of the negative thinking patterns that hinder our enjoyment of life.

Now that we are becoming more aware of what they are we will look at how we can challenge them and exchange them for more rational and positive thinking.

dont listen to negative words

Do you recognise any of them in your own thinking?
How have they prevented you from enjoying life more?

THIS IS NOT A CLASSIC LOVE STORY.

Posted in learning to love yourself again with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2013 by Karen unrue

_Marriage1

I was not in love with
the man I married.

In December 1977
I was
19 years old
and
doubt and confusion
clog-danced in my brain
behind
the FIXED SMILE
smile 2
that beamed
to perfection
the whole bloody time,
and filled
all the photos
on my
wedding day.

It was not a shotgun wedding.

I was not Muslim,
Indian,
or a Moonie.
moonie wedding

This marriage was not “arranged”.

So what was going on?

That’s what I want to talk about.
Because
what was “going on” then
is still “going on” today.

And what “was going on”
is that :-

CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM
PRIMES YOUNG WOMEN
TO ENTER
ABUSIVE MARRIAGES.

Wow that’s a controversial statement.
Many will disagree.
images
However,
From my own experience
and those
of many other women,
I KNOW IT TO BE TRUE!

Let me tell you how it works.

A – Girls in a fundamentalist Christian home will grow up in a sheltered environment. Their social life will revolve around church. They might attend only Christian school and in the most severe cases – be home-schooled.

B – The world outside of church is considered secular, and all things secular are to be feared.

C – Unbelievers live in this secular world, and they are only to be befriended with the sole purpose of “getting them saved”. To simply be friends with an unbeliever will expose a Christian girl to the dangers of secular ways.
(Or to put it another way – non -Christian friends are a gateway drug!)

D – This sheltered life leads to girls being naïve and uninformed about a lot of life’s realities. It makes them more idealistic and impressionable.
good christian girl 1
E – Girls are taught that men are the head of the house, men are the spiritual “covering” of women, men are responsible before God for the women in their care. In fact, lets face it girls are taught that men are superior to women.

F – Girls are taught that men are more important to God than women; that he listens to them and speaks through them.

E – Girls are taught that they are not equal to men. They may be smarter or more artistic, more musical, more practical, more lots of things – BUT not more spiritual, and certainly not on an even footing with men in the eyes of God.

F – This being the case, girls are taught to defer to men and to be subject to men. (Now, no matter how much common sense a Christian girl might have, no matter how flawed she may recognise many of the men in her life to be, this common sense will be in conflict with her conditioning – and conditioning always wins.)

G – All fundamentalist Christians are taught to fear being out of God’s will. No matter how much God might love you he REALLY does not like it when you step out of his will and you will incur His wrath.
(Just what His will is cannot be easily defined but it has a lot to do with obeying rules, and for a Christian girl one of the big rules is that men are the ones God’s put in charge and so she must be subject to them.)

H – Dating – (oh don’t get me started!!! Girls are taught all manner of silliness when it comes to dating – far too much silliness for me to go into all of it here.)

These are a few examples:-

1 – You absolutely CANNOT date an unbeliever – it will cause you to lose your faith. (Apparently this is one of those things that most definitely takes you out of God’s will.)

2 – God has already picked out the man you are to marry. All you have to do is wait and listen for His leading to show you who he is.
chosen man
3 – you can do nothing but hold hands until you are engaged. Anything else will automatically tempt you to have sex.

So here she stands –

THE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN YOUNG WOMAN !

And here he is –

THE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN YOUNG MAN

And he fancies her!

If he is a fundamentalist Christian young man who despite his better self will end up being an abuser of women –

WHAT HAPPENS THEN?

Well, here’s my story.

The only men in my social world were chinless, spotty, youth group teenagers, and I definitely did not hear God telling me any of them were my CHOSEN one.
Then along came K.
23 years old, six foot tall, and with a chin.
He was an American airman from the nearby US air force base.
He arrived on 1000cc motorcycle, wore cowboy boots,
cowboy boots
and most amazing of all – was a Christian.
I didn’t fancy him, he wasn’t handsome, but he was here, he was different, and in the very small fundamentalist Christian pool I was fishing in he looked like a dolphin.
A couple of his mates from the base also began coming to church, and soon my sister and I were spending time with them on the weekends.
It was exciting.
When K asked me out I said “no”.
When he asked why – I was truthful,
“you’re nice but I don’t fancy you.”
This just made him more determined.
He showered me with gifts, took me out to dinner,
we had fun together alone as well as spending time with the whole gang.
But each time he asked me to be his girlfriend I was honest.
I didn’t want to lead him on.
I was a good Christian girl remember.

Then he began asking me to marry him.
It was absurd, and I told him so.
“No I will not marry you – I don’t love you”
But still, for weeks he persisted.
And each time I said “no”.

BUT ONE DAY

He said to me that God had spoken to him,
told him that we were to get married,
that He had missionary work for us to do together.
Again I told him “no”
How could I marry him when I didn’t love him?

THEN HE SAID SOMETHING THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF MY LIFE FOREVER.

“How can you say NO? You don’t want to be out of God’s will do you?”

KAPOW ***!!!**??**BAM**!!!**??**WALLOP!!

All my common sense went out of the window.
My fundamentalist conditioning kicked in.
NO – I DEFINITELY DID NOT WANT TO BE OUT OF GOD’S WILL!!!
That would be terrifying!
AngryGod-300x188
Getting married to K didn’t feel like the right thing to do,
but this was a Christian man,
and God had spoken to him.
He must be the man God had chosen for me.
I wrestled with my common sense but eventually
I allowed my better judgement to be subjugated to my conditioning,
and to the fear of God’s wrath.

I said, “yes.”

My parents were thrilled.
He had wooed them too.
How could I share my doubts with them?
God had spoken.

So I married him.

And on the honeymoon night the abusive behaviour,
of which I had seen no previous clues,
began.
3 days later we were in America at his new posting,
and for the next 10 years
I endured his ever escalating abuse.
And, blaming myself, of course,
I stayed.

It has taken me many years , to recognise that my
FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN UPBRINGING,
WITH ALL IT’S GOOD INTENTIONS,
PRIMED ME TO BE VULNERABLE
TO SUCH A MAN AS K.
And that my leaving and divorcing
aroused a legacy of guilt that was
disproportionate and unnecessary.

It has taken years of hard work to unlearn this fundamentalist conditioning
and to recognise that God loves me unconditionally,
just the way I am.
Unknown
But at long last I am free.
Free to use my common sense.
Free to trust my own judgement.
Free to befriend who I like and not try to “save” them.
Free to know that men are not superior to women.
Free to love whoever I choose.
Free to be me.

Does any of this resonate with you ?
Have you had a similar experience?
Did you narrowly escape such a situation?
Or maybe you aware that you are caught up in an abusive marriage with your own version of K?
If you would like to chat in confidence – my email address is karenunrue57@gmail.com
You are NOT alone.

PEOPLE GROW IN THE STRANGEST PLACES

Posted in transformation through trauma with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2013 by Karen unrue

chick and egg
Did you know that you are not supposed to assist a baby chick
as it chips its way out of the shell of the egg its hatched in.
Poor thing looks so weak and helpless.
Looks like he won’t make it.
It looks traumatic.
But apparently
the very act of working his way slowly out of the shell and into the world strengthens him.

Transformation through trauma

Yes it’s a cliché,
but its true!

I never thought I’d be grateful for the shit I went through in my marriage.
Or for the depression and anxiety I experienced
in the ensuing years
as I rebuilt my life.

But there did come a day, some years later,
When I began to realise that all I had been through:
the process of forgiving
both myself and him,
rebuilding my identity
and self-esteem,
learning to live
without guilt and fear.
Had actually caused me to
GROW
as a person.
I had more compassion
more wisdom
a greater lust for life.

I had pecked my way out of the shell.
I was strengthened.

Now don’t misunderstand!
I would NEVER want to go through any of that again!
And it’s been a difficult journey

BUT I LIKE WHO I AM AS A RESULT OF THE JOURNEY I’VE BEEN ON.

journey
It is a strange phenomenon
That people,
like flowers and vegetables,
seem to grow best
in shit!

Here is a poem I wrote about that.

If you could buy what I’ve been through,
I wouldn’t recommend you do.
This is MY life.

The past I’ve had I can’t undo
no matter how I might want to.
THIS is my life.

Not all fairy tale, bedtime story,
or bed of roses always sweet.
There have been times of pain and suffering
that have knocked me off my feet.

But over time as I’ve reflected.
I’ve learnt it’s best that I accept,
This IS my life.

And the question asked, “what might have been?”
Has become redundant now I’ve seen
that by accepting my life is THIS
I get to see what I almost missed –

THAT PEOPLE GROW IN THE STRANGEST PLACES

plant covered people 2

Have you found this to be the case?
In what ways?
What are your experiences?

REBUILDING CASTLES

Posted in rebuilding your life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2013 by Karen unrue

castle pic
My castle had been under siege
for ten years.
Cannonballs,
battering-rams,
fighting on the ramparts,
hot oil,
and raging enemy fires
had all caused it,
over time,
to become –
AN UNINHABITABLE DWELLING!!

What had been a fairly
SAFE PLACE
to live in when I met
my husband,
had, under his
CARELESS,
and often
BRUTAL
Behaviour,
ended up –
A RUIN!
storm 2
I was open to
the elements!
Rain fell in,
wind blew through,
there was no
PROTECTION
from the cold, and
little shelter from the heat.

I WAS VULNERABLE!

Before the bombardment
I had been outgoing –
at ease in company.
NOW I shivered
amongst strangers,
and was TIMID with
friends
and even family.
I awaited,
CRITICISM
and feared –
REJECTION.
shy 1
I WAS VULNERABLE!

How could I
REBUILD my walls?
RE-TILE my roof?
REPLACE
my windows?
Become
A SAFE PLACE
to live in once more?
PROTECTED!
How could I again
become –
A HABITABLE DWELLING?

When I, and my two-year old son, escaped my husband, we left America and came to live in England where I was born and raised.
Most days I would spend some time walking through the countryside, my son in his push- chair, talking out loud to myself (to the amusement of many a grazing cow!)
stroller
I was speaking out my search for clarity, trying to make sense of my vulnerability, figuring out the mechanics of re-gaining my sense of identity, so that I could find some way of building myself up again.

I knew it wouldn’t happen over night, but I had to start somewhere!

My first little breakthrough came on one of these walks.
I realised that in order to feel comfortable in social situations again I had to –

“SHIFT THE FOCUS”

The “ruined” me, the vulnerable me, was anxious at social events.
I did not enjoy them.
I was too busy wondering what impression I WAS MAKING or whether others were FINDING ME INTERESTING, wondering whether or not -THEY LIKED ME!
I was filled with anxiety.
I would leave a party or dinner and analyse MY PERFORMANCE.
“Damn! Why did I say that?”
“Good grief I sounded boring”
“Well, I won’t get asked back!”
Etc. Etc.

THIS WAS NOT SERVING ME WELL!

So I made the decision to practice “shifting the focus”.
I made myself a little mantra I could use to remind myself –

“THINK LESS ABOUT IMPRESSING
AND MORE ABOUT BLESSING!”

Cheesy – I know.
But it helped me remember to –

• Focus on the person/people I am talking to
• Really listen to what he/she/they are saying.
• Let them know by words and body language that I’m interested in THEM.
• Ask them questions.
• Put them at ease.
• After the event DO NOT analyse WHAT THEY MIGHT THINK OF ME.
• Focus, instead, on WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY AND WHAT I THOUGHT OF THEM.
conversation 2
It took time and practice.
I didn’t always get it right.
But gradually I began to enjoy the company of other people again as I re-learnt the freedom of unselfconsciousness.
And because I made others feel good about them-selves – they enjoyed my company and invited me out again.
This began to improve my self-esteem
and, in turn, enabled me to dare be a bit more my REAL self.
And so I began again to establish my sense of identity

Little by little bricks got added to my walls,
some roof tiles went on,
a broken window got replaced.

I WAS BECOMING A SAFER PLACE TO LIVE!
yellow castle

This is only my story, my experience.
I realise that everyone has his or her own unique story to tell.
Has an unhealthy relationship left you feeling vulnerable?
How have you found a way of building yourself up again?
Maybe you are only just leaving a bad relationship and feeling quite lost.

I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT!

Posted in learning to soothe yourself with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2013 by Karen unrue

I was a child/teenager

with a vivid imagination!

It’s impact

On “bed time” varied.

Some nights,

weary from the day’s activities,

I’d drop off

to sleep

when my head hit the pillow.

child-sleeping

 

 

 

 

Other nights

I would wrestle with

VERY REAL,

but imaginary,

THINGS

that arrived,

uninvited,

when the light was off.

These were usually

ANTS OR SPIDERS.

Sometimes other monsters.

nightmare

 

 

 

 

 

The only way to survive

their onslaught,

was to lie still

flat on my back

with my sheet and blankets

pulled over my head

and tucked up tight

under,

and around,

my body.

Eventually, exhausted

by their attempts

to penetrate my defences,

the ants or spiders

died in droves

and disappeared.

 

I must have looked

ridiculous.

egyptian-mummy

 

 

 

I was an ancient mummy,

or a murdered body,

ready to be placed

in the back of a car

for disposal.

 

I DIDN’T CARE.

It worked.

It was my

COPING MECHANISM.

 

In later life,

dealing with real

fears and anxieties,

in very real situations,

this cocoon method of coping,

YOU WILL NOT BE SURPRISED TO LEARN,

was of very little use.

It no longer SOOTHED me.

 

WHAT NOW?

question

 

 

 

 

 

What this example from my childhood/early teens shows is that the coping mechanisms we develop when we are young become “not fit for purpose” when we are adults.

It is the same with coping mechanisms we develop in the abnormal atmosphere of an abusive relationship. They do “not serve us” well once we are learning to live again in the fresh air of freedom.

We need to develop new ones that DO serve us well.

This takes time, testing out what works best, and, I would advise the input and assistance of someone who understands. This can be a good friend who has been on her own journey of recovery, or a professional experienced in the subject.

abuse2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me a breakthrough was having it explained to me that my abuser had not been speaking the truth when he demeaned me, criticised me, verbally attacked me.

He had been voicing his opinion of me.

And his OPINION WAS DISTORTED.

(Remember the tilted room!)

His opinions were voiced out of his own damaged past,

or he was simply a bully who enjoyed

causing pain.

He was not speaking the truth about me.

 

I WAS NOT WHO OR WHAT HE SAID I WAS!

 

I could begin to emerge from under the covers.

Because the ants and spiders (the things he said)

Were not real,

NOT TRUE.

 

I could begin the journey

Of UNBELIEVING

his distorted words,

and start learning

how to love myself again.

How to SOOTHE myself.

 

I will talk more about this in my next blog.

I WOULD REALLY LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU !

What were some of your childhood/teenage coping mechanisms?

How have you learned to find ones that “serve you well now”?

What are they?

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

I’d be happy to have a go at answering them –

To begin a dialogue with you.

Ramblings of Ruin

The inevitable overspill of what's in my head.

Life In Detox

Breaking down. Building up.

smarterfitter

Recipes and stories by Monica Shaw

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