When I first went to therapy back in 2012, my therapist would say to me at least once every session, "Be gentle with yourself." I thought I knew what that meant, but I've been circling back around to it in the last month or so and realizing that I really didn't and still have a long way to go. There are a lot of examples of that, but here is what happened today.
I got to speak one-on-one with a counselor from my depression/anxiety therapy group yesterday about the recent retraumatization I experienced from my personal counselor. She helped me to think of a safe place (actually quite a challenge) that I could use as a mental refuge when I felt overwhelmed, fearful, or anxious.
Today, as I was walking home from work, the thoughts started swirling and getting stronger and stronger. I was feeling the emotional flashbacks coming on. So, I tried this practice of going to my safe place. I could feel my breathing calm and my heart rate slow down. It worked! Then, five minutes later, the thoughts started coming back again, and I wouldn't let myself access my safe place. I blocked it. I knew there was relief and peace waiting for me, but I wouldn't let myself go there. Instead, I let the thoughts grow and start to take over and wreck my evening.
I'm just starting to be aware of how this has been happening for years. The healing is there - maybe even inside of myself - but I am resisting it. I am not being gentle to myself. I am not acknowledging the soft, caring things I need to say to myself like, "I love you." Something about it feels so fundamentally unsafe.
Maybe I still blame myself for the abuse and I can't admit that I love myself because then nothing in life makes sense anymore - how could someone loving have allowed that abuse to happen? And the "someone" is ME, not an external person. This dissonance within myself is so hard to know how to be gentle and kind with.
I want to be well, I think. Healing sounds wonderful. But I've been living with this for ten years now and I don't know how to *be* without the barriers and repression.
#Trauma #EmotionalAbuse #NarcissisticAbuse #Healing #CPTSD #Selflove