Tag Archive | Mental Health

Sometimes

sometimes

 

 

I got this off of a Facebook page that I go to when I can because I have Fibromyalgia….

https://www.facebook.com/pages/What-is-it-like-to-live-wFibromyalgia-Chronic-PainFatigue/312593338824037

Sometimes it is very hard to do both. Especially if you are like me and have to look at scars every day. I do my darndest to forgive him because I am a christian woman, but it is very hard to forgive and forget with the scars staring at you daily. What are your thoughts?

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10 Early Warning Signs of an Abuser

warning

EARLY WARNING SIGN #1: COMMITMENT DRIVEN. This abuser claims to have fallen “heads over heels in love” with you, suggests it was “love at first site,” and believes you are soul mates. They will likely compare you to their ex’s, claiming that they have never felt so at comfortable, so “right,” or that they have never loved anyone as much as they love you. These individuals may propose marriage within the first 6 months, might pressure you into engaging in sex prematurely, and will fail to respect your boundaries and argue that your boundaries are unnecessary because you are obviously “made for each other.” Initially their professions of love are flattering, are intensely romantic, and seemingly mirror a childhood ‘fairytale love story.’ But in reality, these sentiments are only used so as to cloud your judgment, gain undo trust and confidence, and aides in the abuser’s ability to manipulate and control you in the future.

EARLY WARNING SIGN #2: DECEITFULMinor deceit, or the ‘telling of white lies’ frequently occurs in the beginning stages of a relationship. Even in healthy relationships, it is common for one to emphasis their positive qualities while also minimizing shortcomings so as to appear more “likable.” However, the abuser is blatantly deceptive in his portrayal of self and because it bears little resemblance to reality, great conscious efforts is expended in order to maintain their lies. The abuser is often superficial. He will be preoccupied with acquiring status symbols (car, boat, Rolex watch, et.); spends excessive time “perfecting” his image; craves attention, praise and reassurance; appears be overly-confident and gloats about his super-ambitious goals. Warning: the superficial abuser lacks empathy for others and experiences limited emotional responses. If you question his apathetic response, he will either blame his lack of expression on machismo, avoid expressing emotion by giving lavishly, expensive gifts in their place, or he may even demonstrate his talent for faking the desired response

EARLY WARNING SIGN #3: MINOR JEALOUSY.At first their jealous behavior doesn’t seem excessive, so there is no immediate ‘red flag warning’ indicating a prevalence for controlling or possessive behaviors. In fact, even though you notice he is uncomfortable with you talking to other men or even when you engage in activities without him, you likely perceive his response as “sweet,” or tangible proof of his devotion to you. Unfortunately, this minor display of jealousy is only the tip of the iceberg for an abuser; it will increase in intensity as the relationship progresses, and has the potential to manifest into a lethal attack. According to Stosny (2008), “jealousy becomes dangerous once it turns into obsession. The more we obsess about something, the more imagination takes over, distorting reality and rational thinking. Jealousy is the only naturally occurring emotion that can cause psychosis, which is the inability to tell what is really happening from what is in your head.” When their jealous behaviors are questioned, the abuser will claim that they are a direct result of his genuine love and concern for you. But, excessive jealousy is not a sign of love, rather it stems from his insecurities that suggest he must control or possess you, in order to keep you.

EARLY WARNING SIGN #4: VICTIMIZEDWhat do you know about his childhood? Did he experience abuse or neglect? If so, do these experiences continue to have a negative impact him? An abusive childhood in and of itself should not be considered a deal-breaker, however, if he uses his history of abuse as an excuse for his poor attitude or for feeling a general sense of resentment and entitlement; then this behavior should be on your radar.

Entitlement. Individuals with a sense of entitlement believe they should receive special treatment or considerations not afforded to others. They have an unjust sense of superiority and assume that their wants and needs are more important than those of others. Believing that everyone “owes” them preferential treatment; they often feel offended and/or disappointed when special considerations are not made, and as result then feel they should be compensated for their sub-par treatment. Stosny (2008) suggests, “After the glow of infatuation wears off, the entitled person will regard his feelings and desires as more important than yours. If you agree, you’ll get depressed. If you disagree, you’ll get abused.”

Resentment. Individuals who feel like they have been or are currently being unfairly treated are typically resentful of others. Although everyone experiences incidents of unfairness in their life, he contends that no one has helped them, or understood his needs, or taken his issues into consideration, nor have they been bestowed with appropriate levels of praise, recognition, or affection. Abusers tend to feel that they are not in control of their own lives, are incapable of rising above maltreatment alone, and blame their past mistreatment for all failures or areas of incompetence. Additionally, abusers are so focused on themselves that they are incapable of considering others’ needs. If you find yourself in a relationship with a resentful individual, you will spend considerable time reassuring, praising, and accommodating your partner; and in return your resentful partner will surely be insensitive to your needs, feelings or rights, and will leave you feel insignificant.

EARLY WARNING SIGN #5: LACKING CUPLABILITY. While presented as an early warning sign, generally “blaming others” is also a red flag behavior, whereas individuals who fail to take responsibility for their emotions, behaviors, and/or life outcomes should be avoided at all costs because of their destructive nature. It is likely that they also have endured an abusive childhood, therefore tend to label themselves as a victim and blame past abuses for current inappropriate acts or behaviors. There are two types of “blamers, those who shift responsibility for their problems and those blame others for their emotional response.

Blames Others for Problems. This individual appears to be attacked constantly, punished unjustly, prevented from success, and repeatedly victimized. They will almost never take responsibility for their problems, but are insistent that someone else is at fault. As the relationship progresses, he will eventually blame you as well for his mistakes, shortcomings and failures, although these claims are without merit.

Blames Others for EmotionsHe seems defensive all the time and reactive to his perceived maltreatment. Clearly depressed or angry, he will claim that he was “fine” until someone treated him unfairly by his or her words, attitudes, or behaviors. As this relationship progresses, communication will decrease; you will find yourself “pussy-footing” around him, fearful to say or do things that will set him off; and you will spend considerable amounts of time trying to make him happy. The abuser will claim that you alone are responsible for maintaining his emotional well-being and happiness, and vise-versa will blame you when he feels angry or depressed.

EARLY WARNING SIGN #6: SUPERIORITY. This individual has an attitude of self-righteousness, truly believes that he is better than everyone else, and will have no qualms telling you this. According to Stosny (2008) “potential abusers tend to have hierarchical self-esteem, i.e. they need to feel better than someone else to feel okay about themselves. They need to point out ways in which they are smarter, more sensitive, or more talented than others. This, too, can be seductive in dating, as he will point out ways in which you are superior, too.” Predatory, hierarchical self-esteem has been considered the most abusive display of superiority, whereas the abuser will intentionally attack others’ self-esteem, seeking to make others feel bad about themselves, and does this solely to increase his self-esteem. Not surprisingly, he will maintain very rigid, stereotypical sex roles. Eventually, he will refer to you using derogatory female terms, insisting that ‘as a woman, you should know your place.’ He feels you are inferior, will expect that you stay at home and forgo any career aspirations. He will argue your ideals, insist that you assume traditional roles, and/or use guilt to get you to agree with his point-of-view. These behaviors are ALL highly predictive of an abusive personality.

EARLY WARNING SIGN #7: LONER. At first, it might appear that he really enjoys spending time alone with you, or that values solitary and is uncomfortable around others, or maybe it is just that he loves being one with nature; but eventually you will want to get out and do something. The abuser’s insistence to hang out alone only serves one purpose, he wants to isolate you from the outside world because he is vested in keeping you all for himself. This individual will either outright refuse or offered excuses as to why he cannot meet your family or friends, but similarly he has not introduced you to his friends either. He might question your motives for wanting to hang out with your family or friends, or suggest that those closest to you are immoral and potentially toxic to your relationship, and insists that you go everywhere together (after all, that’s what you would do if you were truly committed to him) but then rebuts all efforts to engage in outside social interaction. When you talk of the future, he shares that he would like to live a minimalistic lifestyle, in which: he would work, you will stay at home; own a small home out in the country, the closet neighbor being miles away; possess only the basic necessities, i.e. no phone, cable, internet, and survive with only one car. WARNING: His fantasy life would completely isolate you from the outside world, strip you of any resources, and place you squarely under his control.

EARLY WARNING SIGN #8: PETTINESS –or- HYPERSENSITIVITY. Abusers tend to have low self-esteem, thus they are easily upset or insulted. Also, he tends to make a big deal out of nothing, focus on insignificant details or comments, and assume that any difference of opinion is a direct personal attack on him. These abusers are highly inpatient, excessively critical of others, and lack the ability to forgive others. He often claims that you have ‘hurt’ him; even your smallest infractions cause him emotional pain. While his petty attitudes and outrageous emotional responses seem unfounded, you will eventually feel devalued and question your sensibilities; but of course, you will often find yourself apologizing for things you may have said or done, that he misinterpreted or blew out of proportion.

EARLY WARNING SIGN #9: CONTEMPTUOUS. He his always joking around, or so he claims; but his “jokes” are ripe with malicious sarcasm and condescending undertones. While his jokes, albeit poorly timed, seem genuinely innocently intended; other times his hostility is as unmistakably purposeful. When he is not poking ‘fun’ at others, his direct conversations will likely be condescending, cruel or rude in nature. Importantly, listen to the way he talks about his ex; does he become angry, call her names, or use insulting descriptions in an effort to blame her for the demise of the relationship? Considering these interactional patterns, understand that for now, these are directed at others; but as the relationship progresses, you must realize that the attacks will shift onto you.

EARLY WARNING SIGN #10: AGGRESIVENESS. The words ‘abuse’ and ‘relationship violence’ immediately conjures up mental images of physical fights, bruises, cuts, broken furniture, et. We really have been cued into the tangible aspects of relationship abuse, we recognize it when we see it; we can identify it, when we hear it directed at someone. However, aggressive individuals never end the first dating by punching her in the eye; instead these behaviors manifest over time. Clearly, acts of aggression toward animals or children or verbal assaults would be considered ‘red flag’ behaviors. However, the abuser may act out his aggressions in other ways that will indicate his abusive personality. Aggressive individuals often have little patience, can be triggered into violent rages by minor frustrations, have a tendency to throw, smash, or obliterate objects that irritate him. These aggressive behaviors will likely present in regards to issues of intimacy, i.e. he will pressure you to engage in acts that make you uncomfortable or use ‘playful force’ during sex. He thoroughly enjoys being in control and likes it when you play the helpless victim; unless all other areas of the relationship are in perfect balance, you are dealing with a potential abuser.

While extensive, this list is certainly not exhaustive. The single most important tool for identifying an abuser is YOU. You must listen to your inner voice that tells you “something’s not right,” trust your instincts, and then act upon them. Don’t look for alternative excuses or conjure up an argument for why he exhibits such bad behavior; the reality is that he does, and has been, and will continue to behave this way regardless of any alternative explanation you might offer. Require more of yourself and more of a potential partner; do not settle for someone that would cause you to be fearful, defensive, or diminished. Understand that ‘if’ these abusive personality traits present at the beginning of a relationship, they will be followed with dangerous levels of anger, hurt, and resentment that will eventually be centered solely on you. Don’t take a chance on the potential loser; Get Out, Get Safe, Get Strong!

The Healing Process

healing

I will go through and type in purple my experience and thoughts about some of what is said here:

 

 

 

 

 Victims of Abuse

Domestic Violence: Healing the Wounds
Millions of people are in abusive relationships, or directly affected by one. After living in an abusive relationship, problems don’t end when victims escape the nightmare. The abuser’s psychological and physical attacks leave deep wounds that are difficult to heal unless carefully attended to in the aftermath of such trauma.

There is hope for survivors of domestic violence. Although difficult and painful, recovery from abuse is possible. The healing process starts with recognizing how domestic violence impacts its survivors.

The impact of abuse on survivors
Survivors of domestic violence recount stories of put-downs, public humiliation, name-calling, mind games and manipulations by the abuser. Psychological scars left by emotional and verbal abuse are often more difficult to recover from than physical injuries. They often have lasting effects even after the relationship has ended. The survivor’s self-esteem is trampled in the course of being told repeatedly that she is worthless, stupid, untrustworthy, ugly or despised. (Mine has lasted 7 years. The name calling and the put-downs are very hard to get over. I am not ashamed to say that I felt (and still to some extent)lower than dirt.)

It is common for an abuser to be extremely jealous and controlling, and insist that the victim not see friends or family members. The victim may be forbidden to work or leave the house without the abuser. If the victim is employed, she often loses her job due to the chaos created by such relationships. (Mine was VERY jealous! I could not have friends and he made sure that my family wanted to have nothing to do with me. I can’t tell you how many jobs I lost because of him. Always calling, or stalking, or sending other people to check up on me.)

This isolation increases the abuser’s control over the victim and results in the victim losing any emotional, social or financial support from the outside world. This increases the victim’s dependence upon the abuser, making it more difficult to leave the relationship. If she does leave, she often finds herself totally alone and unable to support herself and her children. (ANY little chance I got, no matter how much it was, even it was just change, I put it away. In the end it was just enough for gas to get me to where I needed to be and that was it.)

A traumatic experience
Domestic violence is a traumatic experience for its victims. Traumatic experiences produce emotional shock and other psychological problems. The American Psychiatric Association has identified a specific type of mental distress common to survivors of trauma called post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Common reactions to trauma include:

  • Fear and anxiety — While normal responses to dangerous situations, fear and anxiety can become a permanent emotional state without professional help. Memories of the trauma can trigger intense anxiety and immobilize the survivor. Children may express their fears by becoming hyperactive, aggressive, develop phobias or revert to infantile behavior.
  • Nightmares and flashbacks — Because the trauma is so shocking and different from normal everyday experiences, the mind cannot rid itself of unwanted and intrusive thoughts and images. Nightmares are especially common in children.
  • Being in “danger mode” — Jitteriness, being easily startled or distracted, concentration problems, impatience and irritability are all common to being in a “heightened state of alert” and are part of one’s survival instinct. Children’s reactions tend to be expressed physically because they are less able to verbalize their feelings.
  • Guilt, shame and blame — Survivors often blame themselves for allowing the abuse to occur and continue for as long as it did. Survivors feel guilty for allowing their children to be victimized. Sometimes others blame the survivors for allowing themselves to be victims. These emotions increase the survivor’s negative self-image and distrustful view of the world.
  • Grief and depression — Feelings of loss, sadness and hopelessness are signs of depression. Crying spells, social withdrawal and suicidal thoughts are common when grieving over the loss and disappointment of a disastrous relationship.

I have PTSD and have all the above except for the suicidal thoughts. I have children and don’t want to die. I want to live for them.

Recovery
To recover from domestic violence, the survivor must:

  • Stop blaming herself for what has happened — take responsibility for present and future choices.
  • Stop isolating herself — reconnect with people in order to build a support network.
  • Stop denying and minimizing feelings— she should learn how to understand and express herself with the help of a therapist. I am working on this one right now….it is not easy either.
  • Stop identifying herself as a victim take control of her life by joining a survivors’ support group.
  • Stop the cycle of abuse — get herself and her children counseling to help heal psychological wounds and to learn healthy ways to function in the world.

Recovery from domestic violence is a step-by-step process; a journey no one should take alone. The first step toward becoming a survivor is taken when victims call for help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-SAFE. ( I did it alone for years! I was abused most of my life. But just recently decided I can not deal with this on my own anymore. I am not good at expressing myself and my therapist is finding this out. But she is patient and is helping me to learn to express my feelings without fear of some sort of retaliation.)

Writing a Letter You Will Never Mail

I was doing research online to help me write my letter and ran across this from a Counselor/Psychotherapist named Patricia Burnett and thought I would share.Wastepaper basket with crumpled paper

 

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child or an adult is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

 

Writing a letter you will never mail

Patricia Burnett – Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear Abuser. . .

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

Some perspective

As a child, you were voiceless and powerless. You were small, and your abuser was large; physiologically, you didn’t stand a chance. Your brain was not yet fully developed, and you were intellectually unable to meet the abuse with adequate resistance and creative response. You lacked the vocabulary and the logic to confront and defend. You did not have a full knowledge of the world and your place in it. You did not know there were people beyond your family who wanted you safe; you did not know how wrong this abuse or neglect was, from a sociological view, nor from a loving and kind view in which every child is sacred.

The psychological and behavioral damage

As a child or adult, you lived in fear, and this meant that the stress hormone cortisol was ever-present, attacking your immune system and changing your brain chemistry so that you became, lifelong, more vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety than people who did not experience abuse.

Behaviorally, people who have been abused may display some or all of the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty in establishing and maintaining trust in a partner relationship
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger, including road rage
  • Passivity
  • Clinginess and dependence
  • Self-loathing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Self-isolation
  • Guilt and shame
  • Fear of new situations.

How writing a Letter to My Abuser can help

Writing a letter to the person or people who tormented you can have a cathartic result. You know how you feel, but somehow putting it in words, may help you in a number of ways:

  • Just “getting it out” feels good. You may have many difficult emotions as you remember and write, but when finished, most people say they feel better, which is the goal, or course.
  • Exerting the power of expression may lift your self-esteem. A common trait of people abused as children, or as adults, for that matter, is low self-esteem. “Telling off” your abuser feels empowering, across your current life.
  • In the writing exercise you may conceptualize your past in new ways and gain new perspectives.
  • You may process past events in ways that will give you a feeling of release and freedom.
  • You may feel that you can reclaim lost parts of yourself, or your soul.

Overall, a Letter to My Abuser can be a first step on your path to forgiveness. ( I am sorry, but I am not sure I will ever be able to forgive any of my abusers).

 

 

The latest from Patricia

 

Writing a letter you will never mail

Patricia Burnett – Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear Abuser. . .

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

Some perspective

As a child, you were voiceless and powerless. You were small, and your abuser was large; physiologically, you didn’t stand a chance. Your brain was not yet fully developed, and you were intellectually unable to meet the abuse with adequate resistance and creative response. You lacked the vocabulary and the logic to confront and defend. You did not have a full knowledge of the world and your place in it. You did not know there were people beyond your family who wanted you safe; you did not know how wrong this abuse or neglect was, from a sociological view, nor from a loving and kind view in which every child is sacred.

The psychological and behavioral damage

As a child, you lived in fear, and this meant that the stress hormone cortisol was ever-present, attacking your immune system and changing your brain chemistry so that you became, lifelong, more vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety than people who did not experience abuse in childhood. Abuse in childhood is, in effect, trauma.

Behaviorally, adults abused as children may display some or all of the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty in establishing and maintaining trust in a partner relationship
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger, including road rage
  • Passivity
  • Clinginess and dependence
  • Self-loathing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Self-isolation
  • Guilt and shame
  • Fear of new situations.

How writing a Letter to My Abuser can help

Writing a letter to the person or people who tormented you can have a cathartic result. You know how you feel, but somehow putting it in words, putting it in adult language with an adult understanding of the evil perpetrated upon you – using the power you didn’t have as a child — may help you in a number of ways:

  • Just “getting it out” feels good. You may have many difficult emotions as you remember and write, but when finished, most people say they feel better, which is the goal, or course.
  • Exerting the power of expression may lift your self-esteem. A common trait of people abused as children, or as adults, for that matter, is low self-esteem. “Telling off” your abuser feels empowering, across your current life.
  • In the writing exercise you may conceptualize your past in new ways and gain new perspectives.
  • You may process past events in ways that will give you a feeling of release and freedom.
  • You may feel that you can reclaim lost parts of yourself, or your soul.

Overall, a Letter to My Abuser can be a first step on your path to forgiveness.

How to do it

So what goes into a Letter to My Abuser? Naturally, it will vary from person to person, and you are free to write whatever you wish – that’s the point! –but here are some suggestions:

  • Set the scene: Where were you when this happened? Remember your home and your place in it. Were you rich or poor? Did you have supportive family and friends? Were you isolated? Was there food in the house? Was there mental illness in your home? Was someone disabled?
  • Describe your vulnerability and powerlessness. Remember how small you were. Remember how little you understood the world.
  • Identify the abuser and the abuser’s power over you. Was your abuser an alcoholic or drug user? Was your abuser a narcissist or self-centered? A follower of a cult or religious sect outside the norm?  Ignorant?
  • Identify the abuse. There are many kinds of abuse – physical, verbal, controlling, demeaning, sexual, neglectful. Playing favorites among the children is another common and painful practice. Describe the abuse. Try to remember a specific event and use it as an example.
  • Tell the abuser how you felt. Did you live every day in fear? Did you feel ashamed or guilty? Try to remember what ran through your head.
  • Tell the abuser about the lasting effects, the lifelong damage that started with abuse of a child. Look at the list higher in this article. Do you have trouble with stress, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, etc.
  • Tell the abuser off. Tell the abuser exactly what you think of him.
  • And, finally, tell the abuser he hasn’t won yet. You’re fighting for yourself. You have plans to make your life better. In another letter, to yourself, on another day, you can write about commitment to change.

You can write in longhand or on a computer. Either way, be sure to safeguard your letter so that other people in your household cannot access it. The letter is for you alone, or you and your therapist

You can write in sentences or bullet points or just stream of consciousness. You can swear, or not. You can YELL in capital letters, or not. You can cry as you write. But if you become too emotional, please take a break, have a cup of tea or talk a walk. You can work on the letter over a number or days, or set aside a day when you can devote all energy to it.

What next?

You will want to keep it only as long as you need it. You may need to look back on it a few times for the letter to fulfill its potential promise of release. Sometimes letter-writers then choose to burn the letter ceremoniously, a metaphor of burning up all the bad things that happened. Another option is to bury the letter, as in burying the bad. It’s up to you.

Good luck if you decide it is time to write your abuser a letter….get it all out! Let him/her have it! They deserve it after what they have done to you! It is time that I write mine….and I can assure you, he will get the brunt of my pent up anger that I have been harboring for years!

Starting My Recovery From Abuse

a new beginning

I don’t really like talking about my past a lot. But today I HAD to. And I am hoping that it will be the start of a new beginning of helping me to getting rid of the memories of my past.

Thanks to a wonderful person in my life I am now seeking help for getting rid of my memories. He understands what I am going through and lends me ALL of his support. Which in itself is kind of scary. I am not used to that. But it is getting better.

Today I went to go see a Behavioral Health specialist. I will not lie, it was VERY hard for me. She had me talk about things that took me years to to put out of my mind (so to speak). I felt a lot of anger that I had suppressed over the years. I felt ashamed because I am not that kind of person at all. But she told me to let it all out. That keeping it in is bad. I told her I don’t want to remember, that it was bad enough that I had to look at the scars every day. I started shaking, and trembling with anger, and I told her everything that happened all through out my life. I have been abused in one way shape or form since day one of my life until 2 years ago. 

My therapist told me that she is amazed that I am still standing and taking control of my life. And that it will take a long time but that I WILL get through this. No more nightmares…no more flashbacks…..no more depression….and no more crying spells due to the abuse. She PROMISED me.

But for now she gave me HOMEWORK. Can you imagine a 41 year old having homework…lol. #1 – I am supposed to write my second ex a LONG letter explaining what he did to me and how it made me feel. And how it has affected my life. And at the end of the letter I am supposed to write…LET IT GO, I AM AT PEACE! I don’t think I will be at peace after the letter but will give it a try.

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You Are Beautiful

I got this off of another blog called…http://theanonymousdiva.wordpress.com

beautiful
My ex boyfriend and I broke up late last year.

The last few months have amounted to one of the most emotionally arduous times of my life, as I was left to cope with the aftermath of ending something I thought was set in stone. However, I hadn’t initially realized that the pain, the sadness and the sudden blast of insecurity that I was presented with stemmed from the actual relationship itself.

My ex boyfriend was verbally abusive and emotionally unstable, the extent to which is difficult to measure in a few short words. The psychological scars have made the healing process that much more convoluted, with numerous highs and lows along the way. The relationship and its inevitable end had atrophied my spirit. I was left lost, confused, resentful and, deeply hurt. I was broken.

The most debilitating outcome of a verbally abusive relationship is its fatal impact on one’s self esteem. I lost complete confidence in myself; from my decision making skills, to the ability to communicate properly, to my mannerisms, my accent, my vocabulary, my lifestyle, my cultural background and upbringing, to my friendships, my family and, the value of my life. Taking that back on one’s own terms is difficult due to the insidious nature of the abuse and the manipulation on the part of the abuser. In reality, my mind had already fully consumed the toxicity of the words.

How does one detoxify? Initially, I sought solace in the comfort of friends and family, I abided by healthy living guidelines, I read, I wrote, I listened to music, and I opened my heart to the healing properties of creativity and mindfulness.

But that wasn’t enough. I struggled. He popped sporadically and constantly into my stream of thoughts; he was everywhere. Every moment I thought I had achieved an inkling of happiness, I thought of him, and just like that, I’d remember the insults and viral words he spat to hinder my self-worth. My memory worked against me. Without fault, I’d delve deep into that feeling of worthlessness that I had grown accustomed to during our year-long relationship. I wasn’t healing. Something deeper, within me, had to change – the perception and belief in myself.

During this time, a colleague (mentor) of mine had been helping me daily in keeping me on track with staying positive, optimistic and confident. After one of many nightly conversations with him regarding my struggle, I arrived at work the next morning to find the following painted on the ceiling above my desk:

 

This was my colleague’s gift to me.

When I find feelings of sadness, anger and worthlessness creep up due to a memory of my ex boyfriend, I look up and repeat those words to myself. That is, I take myself back to that place which my colleague calls, “the truth.”

To those that currently struggle in abusive relationships and those that have struggled and are healing, remember that you are beautiful. As words will bring you down, words can also provide you with the means to rise above. Beauty does not lie in another’s control to affirm this for you. You just are. Believe it, and you are. Once you believe and forget that someone may have been convincing you of otherwise, you will find yourself moving forward and, fundamentally, healing. This is where I find myself right now and it’s a nice place to be. The right people, the right frame of mind and the personal self-worth that I control, are allowing me to heal.

Here is my mentor-ish affirmation for you, fellow survivors, to reference during those times you’re feeling down: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

 

Low Self-Esteem (for children)

How can you tell if your child has low-esteem

BY IMCONFIDENT ON MARCH 19, 2013

girl hold hands over face

Does your child have low-esteem?    Esteem is something that we learn starting in our early childhood.  Esteem is how we feel about ourselves.  It is an evaluation of our own worth.  We can develop good esteem if we live in a mostly positive environment surrounded by people who show love and appreciation towards us and others.  We can develop poor esteem if we live in a mostly negative environment surrounded by people who show little love and treat us badly.

If we have low esteem ourselves, we might not realize that our children also have low esteem.   Following is a quiz that will help you figure out if your child struggles with esteem issues.  It might help you understand yourself better also.

Have you ever heard your child say any of the following statements:

  • I’m stupid
  • I’m a loser
  • I’m too fat
  • I’m ugly
  • I don’t do anything right
  • Nobody likes me
  • I have no friends
  • I’m worthless

Does your child do any of the following:

  • Avoid group activities
  • Put themselves down
  • Blame others when they fail
  • Try to control or bully
  • Make excuses a lot
  • Always worry about what other people think
  • Think they aren’t important
  • Fear making mistakes or failing
  • Lie or cheat to win at something
  • Give up easily
  • Have no friends
  • Doesn’t talk about feelings
  • Want other people to fix their problems
  • Insecure about self
  • Believe they are always wrong
  • Easily influenced by peer pressure
  • Get into trouble

It is natural for children to feel bad about themselves sometimes, but if they feel this way a lot of the time, it might be a sign of serious problems.   Low esteem can be the cause or result of depression which can lead to serious problems in life.  If you feel that your child has low esteem, it would be a good idea to talk to your family doctor and discuss ways to build their esteem.   If you think that you have a problem with low esteem, discuss this with your doctor and work on building your own esteem, so you can help your child.

According to the National Mental Health Information Center, things that you (or your child) can do to raise self-esteem can include:

•Pay attention to your own needs and wants

•Take very good care of yourself and take time to do things you enjoy

•Get something done that you have been putting off

•Do things that make use of your own special talents and abilities

•Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself

•Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself

•Make your living space a place that honors the person you are

•Display items you find attractive or remind you of your achievements or of special times or people in your life

•Make your meals a special time

•Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills

•Begin doing those things that you know will make you feel better about yourself

•Do something nice for another person

•Make it a point to treat yourself well every day and give yourself rewards when you deserve them

It can also be helpful to change negative thoughts about yourself to positive ones, avoid using negative words, and develop positive affirmations.