For most of us, we just want to be done with it …
Once the abuse has stopped.
It seems to make sense to:
- Push what happened down.
- Try to forget about it.
- Just get on with your life.
It seems like that should work.
But for most survivors, it doesn’t.
- Your abuser not only abused you.
- They most likely said things to you.
Second, if you told anyone, they probably said things like:
- Just forget about it.
- You must have imagined it.
- You must have done something to cause it.
- If you hadn’t … then it wouldn’t have happened.
- He/she would never do that.
Third, your mind told you things about what happened to you.
- If only I hadn’t …
- I deserved it.
- I did something wrong.
- I did something to cause this.
Forth your mind stored the memory of what happened to you.
All of those are why walking away, moving on, trying to forget doesn’t work.
You see all of the above is stored in your mind as:
- Facts about what happened
- Thoughts about what happened
- Feelings about what happened
And almost instantly your brain begins to combine and confuse …
The facts, thoughts, and feelings until …
Finally, all of it seems true.
Part of your brain’s job is to watch out for danger,
To keep you safe.
So sometimes you hear, see, smell or experience something …
That something triggers your brain.
Your brain thinks the abuse could be about to happen again.
So, it reminds you “Watch out, this happened before, it could happen again!”
As a survivor, all of this can seem overwhelming and hopeless.
But it’s not.
You not your brain, not your thoughts are in charge.
You can retrain your thoughts and your brain.
It takes time and practice, but you can totally retrain your brain.
Here is how:
- Beginning by writing out what happened to you. Don’t censor. Don’t judge. Just write. I know this can be a painful experience. But I want you to consider that everything that was left inside your mind about the abuse has been festering like an infection. Writing out what happened is like draining the infection. So, write and write until there is nothing more to write.
- Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel as you write. Cry, be angry, feel sad. Whatever feelings come up are normal and ok.
- Look at what you wrote. Take a yellow highlighter and highlight only the facts. Facts are not what you thought or felt. They are not your guesses or assumptions. They are the specific thing that happened or the exact quote that the person said. Example. “I know she didn’t believe me.” is not a fact. It is a thought. However, She said “I don’t believe he did that to you.” is a fact because it is the quote of what the person said.
- Now, look at everything that is not highlighted. These are your thoughts and feelings. You can’t undo the facts of what happened. But you can change how you think and feel about it. I want to be clear. This isn’t about forgiving. It isn’t about being ok with what happened. This is about retraining your brain to think about what happened in such a way that you are not blaming, shaming, judging or beating yourself up.
- Now take one thought at a time from what you wrote and ask yourself: When I think that thought how do I feel? When I feel that way what do I do? When I do that what is the result I am getting in my life? Is that how you want to feel and act? Is that the result you want?
- If not what could you think that would have you feeling better? Here are some thoughts to try out and see if they help you feel better: It was not my fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. I did not deserve it. I did what I had to do to survivor what was happening to me. There isn’t anything wrong with me. I am whole, perfect and complete. I am worthy just because I am. I am lovable just because I am. I know how to keep myself safe.
- When you think one of your new thoughts how do you feel? What do you do? What is the new result you get?
This is not a quick fix.
It is only the beginning.
Abuse is like a water leak.
Left unchecked it runs everywhere.
It damages areas of your life that you didn’t realize were being damaged.
Committing to doing this healing work will stop the damage.
It will give you back:
- Your power
- Your self-worth
- Your self-love
- Your ability to take back your life.
- Your ability to create the life you want.
Often this work can be daunting to attempt alone.
So if you would like help to heal from abuse, just click: Schedule My Consultation With Cindy
I will help you!