Clasp your hand in mine for the next fifteen minutes and read with me. By the end of it, you will feel 100% better about yesterday, today and tomorrow. Ready? Here we go:
It is hard to face the truth about any deliberate action meant to cause you continuous pain. Another word for that pain is trauma. Whatever the trauma, it stems from betrayal. From the sense that you can't trust people to do the right thing, even when they "love" you. You can't trust the organizations meant to protect you either, or, meant to bring justice for the crimes committed. So, you are not just betrayed by the individual or group who initially hurt you, you are also betrayed by society. You are betrayed by family and friends, too--the ones who ignore what happened. The ones who somehow find a way to blame you. The ones who call you "a problem," talking over you, and treating you like you are "crazy" and "negative." Those people are wrong. Dead wrong. Do not listen to them. Do not let them devalue you or your experience because it makes them feel uncomfortable. When you experience real trauma, it does not go away. It sticks with you. But that doesn't mean you are damaged. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
Your survival of any trauma makes you a miracle. A positive person who feels connected. A strong person. A loving person. A compassionate person. Those who do not recognize that about you are not worth your time. Only make room in your life for positive people who exhibit compassion, kindness, love, generosity, and joy. When surrounded by toxicity, it's impossible not to get sick yourself. That's why you may find yourself stuck in a pattern of constant victimization. You are connected to abusers who keep you vulnerable. Nothing will really change for you until you recognize this.
You can't be expected to forgive yourself or others when society blames you for being victimized. When I say "society," I'm referring to the dominant social group. The prevalent hegemonic discourse, or the social message you receive on multiple levels, originates from that group. Unfortunately, there's not much we as individuals--especially those who have been victimized--can do to change a socio-political culture that has been in place for millennia. All any of us can do is decide to be more mindful. Become self-aware. Be self-responsible. Because, it's the only way you will escape the hell you're currently in.
When you've survived trauma, it is a feat just to be alive, but being alive with no momentum only leads to more sadness. More loss. If you've been victimized, it's highly likely you were targeted because in your early life, abuse convinced you that you were unworthy. Bad. Evil. Divisive. Difficult. And, my personal favorite, "rebellious." As children, everything is magnified because you are completely vulnerable to your parents, or whoever you happen to reside with that provides you with food, shelter, clothing, and opportunities to educate. You are new to the world. Every child is therefore innocent, reflecting only what is learned from the adults around them. No one with six years on the planet should be seen as a problem. It's just not possible. The problem is with those in charge of the child. For any adult to blame a child for the adult's disconnects is part of mental illness. That does not make those of us who grew up under such scrutiny feel any better, but it at least can shed light on how and why you ended up in a place--as an adult--that keeps you vulnerable. Makes you a target. And ultimately, keeps you sad and stuck.
Whatever happened, it's in the past. But our past a/effects our future. And if we do not deal with our very real, very legitimate feelings connected to the past, we will continue to stall ourselves and our efforts for a better, brighter future. I don't want that for you, dear readers. Or, me.
My blog is read by people who are abusers, too. People who intentionally cause trauma. When an abuser traumatizes another person through intentional violence and/or abuse, using fear as a weapon (among other things), the abuser causes irreparable hardship. "Irreparable" means something that cannot be repaired. It also means that the consequential pain is there for a lifetime. Those who have been abused are more prone to depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, addiction, and poverty. If that makes any abuser reading this smile, perhaps you may wish to note that smiling at causing pain and suffering is a weakness. Abusers are, therefore, weak. Cowardly. Abusers are broken--not their victims. The temporary power an abuser feels when causing pain is the only way the abuser achieves a sense of control. But it's artificial. Frustration and anger are the excuses for abuse, but it is only because the abuser refuses to take responsibility for their own life and instead, blame-shifts onto others--usually people who are vulnerable to the abuser, like spouses, elderly parents, employees, and children.
Despite decades of abuse and things like abandonment, my voice now reaches over two million people from 124 countries (for which I am humbled and grateful). No one and nothing can diminish who I am. It's the same for each and every one of you who have been victimized, treated as less-than, and traumatized by abuse. The only power abusers will ever have is what you give to them. And that's what I'm talking about today....
Every time you want to give up, give in, make excuses, think you can't do something, feel unworthy, contemplate suicide, believe you are less-than, or, that you don't matter, you are making choices that sabotage your today and your tomorrow. That's a sign that your abuser is still in control, even if you are no longer connected to that person. When you self-sabotage, you are unwittingly giving power to those who hurt you. And, you've suffered enough, don't you think??? Being mindful and self-aware are your best weapons in what is an absolute battle for your survival.
Abuse and trauma naturally increase fear. But it also increases your sense of self-loathing. No more! When you feel yourself slipping into a downward spiral--which can be triggered by exposure to people, places and/or activities that you connect with trauma--you must recognize it. Forgive yourself for feeling that pain all over again. Give yourself a day to recover. Eat lots of chocolate, hydrate and do not drink a drop of alcohol or take any kind of chemical depressant. For the Harry Potter fans out there, think of trauma (and the connected self-sabotage) as a "dementor." You have to think of your happiest moment. Imagine yourself someplace safe. Then, visualize a time when you were truly and utterly happy. Chocolate helps increase dopamine. I recommend people who have suffered any trauma always keep a Hershey bar nearby. Not to eat it all, just to break off a square as needed. Within a few minutes, you will feel better. Working out is helpful, too. But if you don't feel like facing people at the gym, just turn on a radio and dance for 30-60 minutes. You'll feel better. A lot better. Listening to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," is also helpful. Or, any music that makes you feel good. Watching a 30-minute sitcom or funny YouTube video can be equally effective.
Another coping strategy is something I call "proactive constructive visualization"--basically, visualizing (and focusing on) anything that promotes positive action by imagining realistic solutions to whatever obstacles stand between you and your best life. Just considering the possibilities is a powerful act. You can speak what you visualize into a recorder or use a recorder app on your smart phone. You can write it out in a journal or on your "Notes" feature or similar app on any device. No matter what method you choose, using the power of your own voice creates solutions that can and will change your future for the better. Practice this kind of active meditation at least once a week--every day if it makes you feel better. When you begin to visualize what you want for your future, and speak those next-steps into the Universe, you are in control--not your abuser(s). You are empowered, giving yourself a road map to success. I'll sometimes do this while biking on a stationary bike or using some other piece of cardio equipment. Or, while cleaning. Even driving. It's one of the best things you can do for yourself--because, no matter what has happened to you in the past--by imagining a better future, you take away power from your abusers and give it back to yourself. That's what I call closure!
We hear the word "trauma" a lot and I use it a lot, but what "trauma" really means is the inability of a given individual to assimilate social betrayal. "Trauma" is the power you give to those who hurt you by allowing whatever intentional pain they caused to stall you as a human being. Human psychology is programmed for connection. For companionship. For love. So when a person acts against their instincts because of fear, leading to the traumatization of others, the individual being victimized is taken by genuine surprise. Betrayal just doesn't compute. The fact that we know betrayal exists does not make accepting the unacceptable any easier. And, why should you have to accept it in the first place? You shouldn't. Never accept abuse of any kind. It is never okay and never will be. You betray yourself when you accept the abuse of others--it's just another form of self-sabotage. And, another sign that you are not in control of your own life, your abuser (still) is.
Being mindful and self-aware allows your light to shine amidst darkness. Nothing can or will diminish that--even when you feel defeated. Even when you feel ugly. Fat. Stupid. Tired. Old. Worthless. But that's just the trauma talking. Listening to the voice of trauma rewards your abusers for their negative behavior. Do not give those people one more ounce of power over your person. Anyone who hurt you is not your friend and never will be. Even an unkind word shows a lack of true friendship. When someone places limits on you--for any reason--that person is not your friend either. Distance yourself and do not feel badly about it at all. You have a right to defend yourself from any negatives. When you begin to recognize the pretenders in your midst, your life will improve. Those who emerge as users and takers are your future abusers if you allow it. We are sometimes too polite to end a friendship, not wanting to hurt people. But, you are hurting yourself when you stay connected to toxicity. People who demand more of you than they ask of themselves are actively trying to hurt you. Trying to sabotage you. Don't let them!
Next week sees the end of January and the beginning of February. Make February 1st your new January 1st. Use the coping strategies I talk about here to free yourself--forever--from the negative consequences of trauma. We will utilize the next 11 months to empower ourselves, not to give power to people who belong behind bars...agreed?
Below are 18 affirmations that will help. Take a screen shot and try to repeat them during your AM shower or before you go to bed at night. At least once a day, remind yourself of who you really are, not what the people who hurt you want you to be. You do not have to concern yourself with destroyers ever again. Because you now know that you matter more. Happiness matters more. Joy matters more. Love matters more. When you choose unconditional love of the self over abuse and violence, you are living an honorable, ethical life. That's when real love and real friendship are possible. An end to drama and trauma, and the beginning of a lifetime of peace. You will even find opportunities to earn that repair the world rather than create chaos through the exploitation of others. Being mindful or present starts with remembering these very important FACTS. Please say it with me:
1. I am beautiful.
2. I am strong.
3. I am resourceful.
4. I am talented.
5. I am worthy.
6. I am valuable.
7. I have good ideas.
8. I deserve happiness.
9. I deserve real love.
10. My life has meaning.
11. No matter what, I will not give up.
12. I will use my voice to protect myself and others.
13. I am responsible for creating my best possible future and for living my best possible life.
14. I choose solutions over problems, compassion over judgment and kindness over cruelty, regardless of how others treat me.
15. I will not allow the negative behavior of others to hurt me or my future, nor will I reward it by reacting or allowing myself to be manipulated.
16. I am committed to improving my life and will take one action each day that creates opportunities for growth--no excuses, because excuses decrease my power, not increase it.
17. I will be proactive, not reactive--fear is the only enemy I have to concern myself with
18. #EMMA: "Everything In My Mind Awaits."
Sending each and every good soul healing, light, luck, peace, and joy. I believe in you!!! And in 2018, you will start to believe, too.
#Arise, my friends...it's time.