When we finally get to the part where we start the healing from our trauma we are a lot more self aware….sometimes, too self aware.
I was a child when the abuse started I don’t know how old or how long. My mind was hard wired for survival. As I have mentioned before I excelled in school, sports, volunteering, and music. In 2013 I had the realization and flashbacks of what had happened. Finally missing parts and questions horribly made sense. I have always been extremely hard on myself. I was a caretaker for my abuser. My emotions had no place, I was scolded for being sensitive and told that I was selfish constantly.
I doubted my character and tried very hard to be the best person I could. I am three years into the healing process. When I initially remembered I hid it and then I fell to pieces wishing continuously for death. Too. Much. Pain.
I finally believe myself. I have taken some very brave steps this week. In conversations with other people who I love and who love me and we support each other I am still hearing things that bring hurt to me. Maybe I need a perspective shift, but I think I just need a lot of kindness after a lifetime of hiding.
Someone I am very close to, who has been through their own trauma, told me this week I have to stop thinking a certain way. The situation that advice was related to pertains to an awareness I just had this week on how my trauma affects my relationships. Sometimes when people are dealing with their own shit, I think they use their stuff to control me, this is because my mother was so manipulative. It’s hard for me to realize not everyone is like that. Sometimes they need space to have their own issues and grow, it just causes friction with me and my trauma. Regardless, I know I have to stop thinking that way. But that takes time. It takes growth and I have to share that with those closest to me. It explains my reactions and that, yes I want to work through it, together. In that conversation I needed to hear, “That’s great you had that realization and I hear you want to be there for the other person this affects. It will be exciting when that is no longer a defensive reflex.” Or something near that.
When I hear “You have to” I immediately feel the pressure to hurry and be better, to please the other person. I am hard on myself. Please don’t tell me I have to do something I already know I have to do. I told you this because I know I have to work on it. Telling you is part of working on it.
Another loved one recently told me firmly to “Stop thinking I am a burden, and questioning things.” I lived my whole life feeling like a burden, my needs and well being were not prioritize. Instead hold me and tell me, “It is awful you feel like a burden, I hope with time you can grow deeper in trust with me. Don’t be afraid to speak up about your needs I am here for you.” I need a lot of reassurance, I am finding more in myself everyday and I want desperately to be there for others. I hope to find a balance soon, but I need understanding to get there.
These people want me to stop and tell me I have to do things because they want me to feel better and they love me. But I believe they also feel uncomfortable with the depth of my pain. Sometimes we have to tell those who love us more than once how we need them to be there for us.
We are all human. I even think they have to stop. They have to stop telling me to stop being a burden and to think differently. But really they are acting the best they know how to.
So maybe I let it slide once, but eventually if these people are closely connected to your healing process and even going through their own. Point it out gently and clearly. I might say soon, “I hear you want me to feel safe and feel better. This is going to take time. Unfortunately the words ‘have to’ and ‘stop’ cause me to react defensively and feel more pressure. Please tell me ‘I want to help you feel less like a burden and it hurts when I feel you don’t trust me, how can we compromise?'”
Every circumstance is different. Get to know your people and yourself. Put your self care at the top of your list, speak respectfully and kindly.
We all need tenderness. Sometimes we totally need called out, but things are a process when people sound or feel demanding it makes it hard.
Everyone has their own journey, choose who you put your time into during the first part of your healing. It’s okay if you can’t meet everyone’s needs. It can be hard when someone says they feel you aren’t there for them the way they need, but it also can be refreshing to know that you are pouring time and love into yourself.
I believe there’s balance, not a perfect one, but one that happens as you keep communicating with your people. Listening to them and learning what you need. As you grow your needs will change too. It’s kind of like a dance but the more you do it the better you will be at adjusting to new rhythms.