Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In which I find a new mantra . . .

I said it again yesterday. "He makes me feel . . . " And I was reminded that no one can make me feel anything without my permission. I give someone power over me by not recognizing and validating my own feelings and beliefs. 

It's been a very difficult lesson for me to learn. I'm still constantly working on it, and it's hard not to criticize myself for the continuing struggle. After I said it yesterday, I looked at my therapist and said, "I said something wrong, didn't I?" I could tell from the look on her face, but I had no idea what I'd done. She was quick to reframe it not as my having done something wrong, but rather as an opportunity to see things from a different perspective.

Needing someone else to validate my feelings and beliefs has been one of the toughest aspects of healing from childhood sexual abuse. Trust is broken and often lost as the result of abuse -- not surprisingly. But one of the things I'd never realized until I began to work through it myself, is that trust in self is one of the primary losses. It's obvious to me that victims/survivors would lose trust in the abuser, and maybe in people in general. That makes perfect sense. I couldn't trust people who had previously been trusted because now they had become abusers. It made me wary of other people. Strangers for sure, but even people I already knew, because I couldn't be certain they wouldn't turn on me as well.

Perhaps the greatest loss, though, is trust in myself. Abuse made me question everything I thought and felt, and a lot of what I believed. Retraining myself to trust me has been so difficult, especially when there were times that other people couldn't understand my feelings. Just because someone else doesn't "get it", doesn't invalidate my feelings. (A new mantra for me).

So I'm working on trusting myself more each day. Taking my feelings out for a test drive, as it were. Asking myself why I feel certain things without needing (as much) for someone else to validate those feelings.

It's a bit scary, but like everything else on this path, I'm trusting it's worth it.

linking up with Just Write

1 comment:

  1. I totally get this. Am I right? Is it okay for me to feel .....? Finding worth, value, and validation in what others think over what I think (about myself or what I am/have doing/done. ) I think when you are robbed of any validation and identity during abuse and then told what you want or to think it totally pulls any ground of self assurance/trust out from under you.


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