Forgiving Yourself after Abuse

Forgiving Yourself after Abuse

42 days of Teresa- day 8

I find it so hard when I see or hear of a person that was abused and broken for so long, that they  appear to have lost themselves to the lies told to them, probably for years. When a person loses the capacity to love themselves, that’s where the healing has to begin. A person may be in that beginning for the rest of their lives if they choose to hang on to their past as some sort of definition of who they are in the present. That sort of pain is only healed by the individual. My heart breaks for them too.

My capacity to love is also tempered by my capacity to hold adults accountable for their own behavior now. It’s never too late to be who you always have been. Move forward, love and forgive yourself and you will find a world waiting for you and all that you have to offer. Somewhere it all comes down to love and forgiveness. A person needs to love themselves enough to let old pain go and to find forgiveness for those caused the pain. If, somewhere along your journey you hurt yourself, forgive yourself also. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of people looking for a way to fill the void in their soul without starting with love and forgiveness.

I’m not saying it’s easy. What I’m suggesting is that through forgiveness and gratitude, a solid foundation is created and then anything is possible.  Sometimes it’s about remembering who you really are. You are Love.  Love is never broken.  <3

How may I compromise Myself for You today?

How may I compromise Myself for You today?

42 days of Teresa- day 7

I read this picture of a post today and it got my brain spinning.  It’s not just about how we make decisions so that the guys in our lives happy but how we are socialized to compromise to ensure everyone else around is comfortable.

tinder post compromise

 

It’s more of a self realization type post.  How many decisions do we make because we’re supposed to consider everyone else’s feelings? How about, what will my parents think if I chose to tell them that I actually don’t want to come home for Christmas?   Will the neighbours gossip about me if I don’t pretend to care about their designer handbag and granite counter?  Should I tell that co-worker that their constant complaining about work policies is boring me to tears? Why do I care about that complete fucking stranger that we’ll never see again thinks about my outfit? (Should I go change? ) It’s a good time to realize just how much pressure is on us to compromise and consider others to the point that we don’t even know who we are.

About two years ago I found myself asking where do I fit into my own life? When do I get to be “selfish”. Funny how it’s selfish when a woman makes herself a priority.

I thought I was over this.  Really I did.  Clearly there is still a deep part of me that’s a pleaser.  I don’t want to disappoint anyone.  I allow myself to be manipulated. (at least now I recognize this in the moment)  I found myself in the lane of least resistance in my own life.  I don’t want the argument, the eye roll, the sideways/ passive-aggressive “oh” that is thick with disapproval.  I avoided the confrontation and put myself last. Once I realized that I just threw myself under the bus so that others could feel good about themselves, I got mad at myself.  It was more of a full face palm in my mental dialogue.  How did I allow this to happen….again?!  I’ve found myself doing the full face palm a couple of times this past year.  Now at least I laugh a little at myself.  I cut off the process and, if possible, I cut out the people that can’t recognize how hurtful they are.  If they are not willing to allow me to be who I am without forcing some sort of dialogue where I find myself defending my choices, why keep them around?  

 

Keeping it Simple

Keeping it Simple

42 days of Teresa – day 6

Today was about keeping it simple.  After a busy week, with all kinds of ups and downs, I enjoyed some chill out time.  I spent the day with my kids and otherwise did the minimum amount of adulting possible.  (there is a minimum)  The boys were happy to have only the tiny bit of tasks and structure and the rest of the time was fun time.  Happy weekend.

 

I stopped caring about what you think

I stopped caring about what you think

42 days of Teresa – day 5

I grew up in a household where everything was about how it looked.  The house was to be kept in a way that people could arrive at any moment and all would be presentable, because “what would people think?”  Even our play clothes were always in good repair, no stains and otherwise clean, because “what would people think?”  I had to have good grades, smile, behave as expected in school, at church, with family or out in restaurants because, “what would people think?”  It just didn’t matter that my dad was on a drunken tirade the night before, throwing things, beating us or basically bringing his family to tears.  In the morning, we all got dressed and put on our smiles.  People had to think that all was well.

Once I got to high school age, I saw the true purpose of it all.  It was all an illusion and a game of sorts to ensure attention wasn’t drawn to my father and his horrible behaviour.  Maybe he thought he was fooling everyone.  His police record and multiple jail sentences weren’t exactly secret.  His friends were mostly assholes he found in jail.  Who was he kidding?  I spent my whole life worrying about what people would think of me.  I was always insulted, told I wasn’t enough, told that I couldn’t do anything right right from when I was as young as 4 or 5 years old.  I was always worried I’d say the wrong thing, have the wrong posture, have poor grades, not be fast enough, smart enough. I was told not to embarrass my family (my dad really) or else….   I was made fun of for being too skinny, too smart, for having the good grades, for being too slow, for being ugly by my classmates.  My father was right, I wasn’t good enough.  I had learned to hide myself, my voice and who I really was all the while waiting for the validation that I was finally enough.  It never came….at least not from family.

There was a point I realized that I was looking for my validation from the wrong places.  It took so many years of therapy and self help to start finding myself.  I slowly started to find my voice.  It was there all along.  I was able to start speaking with my own voice and learning not to worry if I was saying the right thing.  I could advocate for myself and be proud of my ability to articulate how I was truly feeling.

Strangely, I have been finding myself considering those that would tell me that I am selfish or inconsiderate.  My decisions should be mine but…..what about what others think? Could you do something else, at least when you’re here or there….or at least when I’m around?  Qualified support.  I didn’t realize that I still kept some people in my life that would put me in a place of considering how I made others look.  What would people think of them based on the perception of me?  I can only smile, even as I watch my relationships evolve right before my eyes.

This year is going to be interesting.

Tears of Transformation

Tears of Transformation

42 days of Teresa- day 4

Allowing myself to observe the waves of overwhelm that would wash over me this past few months has opened a new kind of door.  There is growth, appreciation, heartbreak and a simple knowing that my strength would still be there at the end of this.

I have found myself with tears flowing for what appeared to be “no reason” .  What I finally realized is that when I have let things go that no longer serve me, the space that gets created brings me so much joy.  I now have room for new and better aspects of myself to present themselves.  Personal growth can actually be painful and be absolutely draining.  When I simply allow this process to happen without resisting it or judging myself, I feel the pain and it washes over me and then it leaves me completely.

Live Simple. Just BE.

42 days of Teresa- day 3.  <3

DSCN6028

Random memory

Random memory

42 Days of Teresa- day 2

I remember one time I was walking home from school towards my house. I would have been in grade three or four.  As I was walking down the hill, I heard a vehicle coming and so I ensured that I was as far to the right as possible.  I lived in the country so it was a gravel shoulder just off the road itself.  I did hear the vehicle honk it’s horn so I stepped even more to the right just in case I wasn’t over far enough.  The pick up truck passed me and continued down the hill.

When I got home, I saw the same pick up truck in my driveway.  As it turns out, my dad was getting a ride home from a friend and the two of them were in the house when I got in.  My father starts telling me how glad he was that I didn’t look back at the truck when the horn honked.  He explained that only sluts look up when horns honk.  I was glad that it turned out that I passed this test even though I actually had no idea what a slut was at the time. (I’m not sure how many 8 year olds do. ) All I really knew was that I avoided getting in trouble simply by assuming I was walking too close to the road.

 

 

42 Days of Teresa

42 Days of Teresa

Day 1

Happy birthday to me!  I’m 42 and feeling like this year has opened up for me with a bunch of fantastic opportunities to grow and explore who I am as a person on this planet. The past several months have been transformational for me and it took these months to process what that amounted to on my journey.  More than anything, I’m feeling like I need to keep things simple and give myself permission to truly shine.

My dreams around how to help others who have survived childhood sexual abuse have expanded and I need to connect with as many of you as possible.  You are all amazing and I am here to tell you that you are not alone and have all kinds of support.  My personal journey has brought me to a place of healing that no longer re-traumatizes me when I share my story.  I can interact with those that have hurt me and not feel like my stomach is in a knot and I have to shrink back from the toxic energy.  I can function from a place of compassion and empathy towards those that have hurt me and can live without the apologies.  I can share my memories, my confusion, my shame and pleasure and own them all without feeling that I owe anyone an explanation of why I am what I am.

I have felt the release of old paradigms and felt the weight of the social expectations disappear.  Even though my my relationships have evolved, I love who I have become because of every one of them.  I have also been able to catch myself in the moment and recognize when I am being authentic and when I’m behaving in a way that is for others before myself.  I have grown exhausted from considering others to the point that I forget to consider myself at all.  I’m no longer interested in the “I’m not judging you but…..” conversations. Fuck it.  There is a funny little jester that starts to dance in me when I hear these sort of words now.  I smile back at my little jester and we both agree that the conversation is now a  one way street. I can’t be bothered to clarify, defend or even contribute.  The other person is on their own journey as am I. I can love and respect them without trying to convince them of anything.  Simple. I move forward. No ill will. I’m just not willing to get emotionally entangled in judgment and societal expectations.  I make my choices.  They won’t all be the best ones but they’ll be mine. I learn from all of them and regret nothing.

I’m adopting a “no filter” approach to my writing. What if my internal dialogue could be transposed into writing?  Let’s see how close I get.