Archive for #abusedwomen

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

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!

BEDTIME FOR BENZO

Posted in Tranquillizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2013 by Karen unrue

bedtime for bonzo

While I lived in the US
Ronald Reagan,
somehow, managed to become
The President of the United States of America.
I say “somehow” because
in his preceding
career he was
best known
for playing side-kick
to a chimp
in some forgettable films,
which included
“BEDTIME FOR BONZO”.
It interested me
that this same Mr Reagan,
who later rose to
such dizzy heights,
was
while associated
with Bonzo,
ADDICTED TO MEDIOCRITY.
And that putting
“Bonzo to bed”
was key to him
reaching his
potential.

ronald reagan

WHY DO I MENTION THIS?

Well,
I’m not saying
I aspire
to be President.
but I am sick
to death
of the mediocrity
in my life.
I wish to leave
it behind,
to get on
and reach
my potential –
whatever that might be.
I WANT TO PUT MY BENZO TO BED
But I am stuck,
and I can’t.

question

LET ME EXPLAIN.

Just over 2 years ago I was seeing a therapist who for several years listened, and talked me through the “why’s” of the debilitating “anxiety” that I experienced at times since ending my abusive marriage. She also taught me the “how’s” of managing these times until they buggered off completely. She was terrific and I worked hard.
I have not needed to see her for 2 years now which is wonderful.

HOWEVER

During the time that I was seeing this therapist my well-meaning doctor put me on lorazepam to help ease the anxiety. She did not tell me it was addictive. Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. It is called Ativan in the US. Benzo is a shortened name for benzodiazepine.

I have, for the last 2 years, been attempting to come off Lorazepam – my benzo.
I HAVE FAILED.
Here is why –

“It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin. It just seems that the dependency is so ingrained and the withdrawal symptoms you get are so intolerable that people have a great deal of problem coming off……..” Professor Malcolm H Lader, Royal Maudesley Hospital

Here is a photo I took that, for me, captures how it feels to be addicted to a benzo

IMG_1687

YOU FEEL HUMAN BUT NOT QUITE HUMAN

There is a strong feeling of disassociation, like living in a fuzzy mental bubble.
communication is difficult because short term memory fails you and words are hard to recall.
Also it sometimes just feels like too much effort to hold a conversation.
It is impossible to concentrate for long periods of time.
Fatigue is all consuming.
Muscle aches and cramps, joint pain and swelling are SO painful.
Occasional numbness and tremor in the hands.
Walking is difficult sometimes.
Coordination is off.
Vision is impaired.
Bloating and nausea.
Irritability.
Over reaction to small things.
The need to withdraw, be alone, or sleep is often overwhelming.
All sorts of problems with digestive system.
Bouts of insomnia
etc etc etc etc etc

lorazepam

For the last 2 and 1/2 years I have taken 1 mg of lorazapem 4 times a day because it’s so hard to come off.
I now know that this dose means that I am taking the equivalent to 40 grams of valium each day!

THAT IS A HEFTY DOSE OF TRANQUILLIZER

I asked my GP to see if the NHS provided medically assisted withdrawal.
She looked but could find NOTHING.
I searched the web for charities, support groups etc that would assist me to come off my benzo.
I found ONE and this turned out to be so utterly useless it made you want to take more drugs!!!!!
I TRIED TO COME OFF ON MY OWN –
I followed on-line advice to reduce the dose by shaving minute bits off one pill over several weeks.
I got down to 3 pills a day but the side effects were so awful I had to return to 4 a day.
I then tried another on-line method.
My doctor gave me the equivalent dose of valium for the lorazepam I would shave off. The plan being to eventually transfer to valium altogether which is easier to withdraw from.
Again I got down to 3 pills a day but the side effects knocked me for six and I had to go back up to 4 a day.

I WAS AT MY WIT’S END

BECAUSE

The symptoms described above were taking their toll on my:-

Ability to reliably turn up to my job and be able to do it when I was there.
Ability to connect effectively with my partner of 12 years.
Ability to turn up to planned events with friends and family.

I eventually had to quit my job.
My partner, understandably, experienced a lot of stress and resentment owing to my behaviour.
It has put a lot of stress on our relationship – and this is not yet resolved.
That is worrying.

another-anime-theories-blog-eyepatch-girl-deaths-parakeet-final-destination

WHY AM I TELLING YOU ALL THIS?

There are several reasons

This last month I have reached crisis point and have been so unwell that My partner has graciously paid for me to go to a private clinic to withdraw from lorazepam.

Crescent+Clinic+Cape+Town+-76233_l_6fc5a6aec6df1e85a74427e2196f505f

I leave on Saturday 24th August for Cape Town, South Africa for 3 weeks.
It is cheaper than to go to any private clinic of similar quality in the UK.
I am NOT looking forward to it – I understand it is a very unpleasant experience

BUT I LONG to be free of this toxic substance that has me addicted to mediocrity, it is:-
ruining my health
ruining my working life
ruining my ability to be independent financially.
ruining my creativity and ability to fulfil plans
and most of all – potentially ruining my relationship with my wonderful girlfriend.

I could have quietly skulked off and pretended I was going on holiday,
BUT I wanted to be honest and transparent on this blog
BECAUSE
there are loads of people going through this.
It SO important to know that we are not alone.
IF my being open helps someone then that is great.

hug 1

So – I will not be blogging for 3 weeks as I undergo treatment.

But please if you have read this and you too are suffering on a benzo
do get in touch,
share your experience if you want to
and I will reply on my return.
I am not wise
I do not have the answers
but I have been there,
I do understand
and would love to have a chat.

so it’s

“BEDTIME FOR BENZO”

and remember

DONT GIVE UP!

hope

LEMONADE FOR THE SOUL

Posted in dry days. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2013 by Karen unrue

IMG_2701

During these hot summer months
It’s important
to keep hydrated.
When you travel
on the London underground
you hear regularly
over the platform
loudspeakers –

“IN THIS HOT WEATHER PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED TO CARRY A BOTTLE OF WATER WITH THEM.”

Its good advice.

Do you know what else is
good advice?
Always carry with you
something you can read,
listen to,
or just glance at,
to remind yourself that you’re going to be ok!
That you are strong even though you feel weak.
That you are acceptable,
good enough,
someone of value,
and lovable.
That there is
HOPE,
and to not give up
or hang your head.
That in this moment you are in –
YOU ARE SAFE
and even if it feels like a storm is raging
KNOW
it will grow calm –
over time –
and you will find –
A QUIET PLACE AGAIN.

THIS IS HYDRATION FOR YOUR SPIRIT –

This is –

LEMONADE FOR THE SOUL!!!!!!!

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.

SOOTHE

Posted in learning to soothe yourself with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by Karen unrue

A baby cries.
A mother wakes,
and takes the baby in her arms.
She coos,
she sings,
she sways.
And soon
the baby,
soothed,
sleeps again.

soothing mum 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A child falls.
A mother stoops,
and takes the child in her arms.
She talks.
She tickles,
She wipes tears.
And soon,
the child,
reassured,
plays again.

Mother Tickling Son Outdoors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A child that is soothed by a parent when growing up knows how to self-soothe as an adult.
A child whose experience has been indifference, neglect, or outright abuse; a child who has not been soothed, will not know how to self-soothe as an adult.

It is a “hole-within” that a child carries into adulthood.
And many, otherwise self-sufficient adults, will find that when troubles come it is a hole into which they fall.
In the darkness and the loneliness of it they find they lack the resources to light a candle and be reassured.
They lack the vocabulary to form words that soothe and encourage and lead them into daylight.

candle_in_the_dark_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And even those of us who were soothed as children can be robbed of the ability to self-soothe as adults.
A “hole within” can open up if we find ourselves in an abusive relationship.
This is because the abuse, be it emotional, mental, or physical, will, in time, erode our self-esteem and replace sound judgement with self-doubt.

Everyone of us is different.
Each one of us reacts differently to such a hole.
But in one thing we are all the same –
We will have to fill it with something.

Alcohol
Co-dependency
Over-work/ambition
Sex
Shopaholicism
drugs

The list is endless.

I found myself co-dependent.
My identity, sense of worth, became utterly subsumed.
Unless my husband was pleased with me –
I was nothing
and afraid.

After I had left him I remember clearly realising
that never again
would he tell me
“Its ok.”
That from now on I had to learn to
Feel it was “OK” for myself.
I had to learn again how to
Self-soothe.

It took me years.
It wasn’t easy.
But I did it.
Don’t despair.
You can too.

learning to soothe yourself

learning to soothe yourself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll talk about it some more in my next post.

Please remember you are not alone.
It is not your fault.
There are many of us.
You can be whole again.
DO NOT GIVE UP.

Life In Detox

Breaking down. Building up.

smarterfitter

Recipes and stories by Monica Shaw

MyGraine

Because life's a pain in the head sometimes

Two Angels and a Black Dog

The journey of a single mum with bipolar

%d bloggers like this: