Highly Sensitive People are Scapegoats

Our perceptions about what we see and hear are influenced by the beliefs we hold. Sometimes feelings come up about what we think we know to be true that do not seem to match what is happening.

There is an incongruence between our rational thinking brain and our feelings. When this happens, we want to resolve the difference.

The tendency is for us to repress any feelings that do not logically fit the situation. Most of us have been conditioned to believe what we see and hear, over what we feel.

This conditioning is like a computer “program” that has been installed into us from an early age. Depending on your family, you may have been taught to keep your feelings to yourself if they do not match what others want you to feel.

Even what we see, and the meanings we attach to what we see, is influenced and interfered with by this programming. Many of the core beliefs you hold did not originate from your own mind.

Any feelings about yourself which are negative were programmed into you. Shame and feeling that you deserve to be blamed for things was programmed into you.

Not listening to your own feelings was programmed into you. People that perceive things very differently from the rest of their family are often forced to alter their perceptions.

Society tends to discourage allowing your feelings and intuition to guude you. If you were brought up in an emotionally abusive environment then you were trained that there are consequences for trying to have your feelings validated.

Highly sensitive people are scapegoated by abusive families. They are often criticized or mocked by society. The pain of being rejected can make highly sensitive people shut down emotionally.

Highly sensitive people, empaths and anyone who perceives the world differently than they are told to, are treated harshly by many others. The ones who like the status quo to remain in place, without being tampered with, highly dislike anyone pointing out faults in the system of thought that are being maintained by the group.

Many people are able to go along with the crowd, even if it involves a shared psychosis…meaning that someone created a narrative that is not true and told everone that is was true….and out of fear of rejection, everyone followed along. Over time peoplle who blindly follow others, begin to trust that their own perceptions are not real.

You cannot see anything that conflicts with your core beliefs, if those beliefs are firmly wired into your subconscious brain. You will only see, hear and perceive things in your environment that make sense with your beliefs.

It is not the conscious beliefs that really drive us, but it is the subconscious beliefs. Your subconscious holds certain things to be true and others to be either impossible or highly unlikely.

In emotionally abusive, and otherwise abusive households, the child that resists accepting the narratives that the abuser creates, is scapegoated and told they are “difficult” or that they are mentally disturbed. No one acknowledges your perspective or the fact that your feelings matter.

Maybe you grew up only to find yourself in situations with toxic people, that played out this scenario of you being invalidated and unheard over and over again.

You were programmed to see these things as proof that there is something wrong with you.

There isn’t anything innately wrong with you. Your heightened perceptions about the feelings and intentions of other people are a gift. A gift you may have cursed a time or two…..but a gift nonetheless.

The more you try to act like and be like other people, the more miserable you will be. Highly sensitive, empathic people have a strong need to be authentic.

You must embrace your authentic self without shame. You do not have to feel weird or out of place.

There is an impor purpose that only you can fill. You can learn to tell the difference between what you “are supposed to” perceive, and what you actually do perceive.

Listen to your feelings and let them guide you.

Holistic Approach to Healing from Abuse

soul retrieval drumming

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I recently came across the Native American Shaman  concept of Soul Sickness. I found this idea very interesting and it seemed to coincide with other things that I write about. There is a phenomenon that occurs with many abuse victims, which is a kind of leaving one’s own body during the abuse. 

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The idea is that the victim’s brain cannot accept the level or type of abuse into their reality.

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In order for the brain to protect itself from trauma, it takes itself into a derealization / depersonalization state. This is something that you may have experienced if you ever in an abusive situation, or even any life threatening situation. 

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Depersonalization is a state the brain goes into, in order to protect you.

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The feeling of this state is likely somewhat different for different people, but there is similarity in the way people describe this state. The feeling is as if one can see their body and how it is involved in the event, but it is as if the body belongs to another person. 

The order of the events is processed, but it is like someone else is doing the motions, and handling the things that are happening. If someone was hitting you, then you would see the body being struck, but not really relate to that body as being your own. You could block your face from being hit but it would feel like someone else was actually controlling those hands which no longer feel like you are attached to your hands.

Derealization is the feeling that the whole scene is like you were watching it in a movie. You may not even really know for sure if it were really happening. You might wonder if it is actually a dream or a nightmare that you are actually in. The scene does not feel like you are an active part of it. It is more like observing a dream or watching a movie. 

Soul Sickness. as the Shamans see it, is when the soul has become ill, or parts of it have left the body all together. During a situation, such as sexual abuse, the soul was going to be damaged by experiencing it, so rather than be there for the trauma, it just left the body entirely. 

This idea of part of you leaving the situation, because it could not endure it, is the same as the derealization and depersonalization experience. The person is there, but not all of them is there to be traumatized. 

But trauma is sustained nonetheless, because the very situation of being forced to go into a derealization state is traumatizing. If the soul, or part of the soul was forced to exit from the body, then you were left with something missing.

Either way, there is a damage sustained by the soul, or the spirit part of you, in a addition to your brain and body. 

It is often discussed these days that mental abuse is the worst part of physical or sexual abuse. It is clear that the emotional / mental trauma is even worse than the physical experience, or the bruises which are left.

Even the women who have had acid thrown in their faces, now live with extreme mental pain, and humiliation to have to be forced to exist every day with those scars….reminders of the cruelty and heartlessness of the men who inflicted them.

The Shaman theory is that the soul has left the body and now the person lives as an incomplete person, because that important part of them has fled. The soul need to be retrieved. 

They believe in doing rituals called Soul Retrieval, in order for that person to get the missing part back. Before the soul retrieval, the person will live with depression. anxiety and all manner of mental, and physical illness. The soul retrieval process is to help the person to become whole again.

 Many abuse survivors experience a feeling that something is wrong with them, even years after the abuser has left.

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There is sense that they are different than other people, in a way that makes them carry toxic shame. This is very difficult to explain to anyone who has not been through abuse.

During verbal and emotional abuse, people are called names, degraded, gaslighted, demeaned, and treated as non-humans. Their humanity is stripped from them, as is the humanity stripped from people who are sexually and physically abused. 

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The experience of sexual abuse is too much for a person to bear that their own body was involved in the acts, so they detach from their bodies in a way to not be a part of the sexual abuse. Later on, this can lead to eating disorder, cutting and other kinds of self harm. There is a disharmony between the body and the  mind. The mind no longer accepts the body as its own. 

The missing link between the mind and the body could be spiritual in nature. I think that it makes sense to try to include a spiritual element to healing from abuse. When someone experiences rape, or the on-going abuse of a narcissist, they are broken in some way. There is a lack of wholeness that stays with you. 

While medications for the depression, and anxiety disorders, which usually follow abuse, can be helpful, it is not the entire picture. We are spiritual beings, and having your soul raped by a personality disordered person, is traumatizing on every level. 

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I believe that healing needs to be all encompassing of the entire person.

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A holistic approach to healing is more likely to generate healing, than by simply dealing with it from one angle. If you are healing from abuse, I would recommend trying a variety of healing modalities.

Traditional therapy and medications need to be complemented by healing methods which speak to other aspects of the entire person. We are emotional beings and mental and physical beings. But we are also spiritual beings, and the spirit is sensitive to being traumatized by abuse, just as much, or more than the other aspects of ourselves.

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Most people that have been abused feel that there is a darkness about it.

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There is a malicious, dark element to abuse that is carried by the survivor. It is hard to explain to people who have not experienced it.

 It is like a feeling of darkness that is carried with you. 

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I think that this darkness has something to do with the spiritual aspect of abuse.

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When someone who has a darkness about them, invades your personal freedom, and boundaries, there is something that you pick up from them. The darkness feels like it follows you into your nightmares, and lingers around you. 

I do not think this darkness can be ignored, if we are to heal from abuse. Many people do not speak of it, because it is so hard to define and explain. It is beyond the physical world. 

So, let us treat ourselves as whole humans, including all the aspects of our humanity.

You have innate self worth, and that reality was stripped from you be a person that has elements of darkness about them.

It does not make you dark like they are, but you may be carrying that feeling that the abuser’s darkness somehow was stuck to you and you are doomed to carry this darkness in your mind .

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There is nothing wrong with you that makes you less worthy than other people.

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You would not feel that way, if it were not for the abuse you endured and suffered through. Psychopaths and narcissists have a way of leaving a part of themselves to haunt you, but it is time to get rid of that. 

It is unfair for you to have to carry toxic shame, feelings of darkness and low self esteem, just because someone decided to use you as an object for their own dark designs. They wanted to strip you of your power to blossom and to be free. We do not have to let them have their way, years after the abuse is over. 

I wish you all healing and peace of mind, as you continue on your journey of healing, love and empowerment. You have a greater purpose in the world than you are even aware of. You are a light that can bring light to others. 

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Namaste,

Annie – Holistic Methods for Healing from Abuse …join the emailing list at the link below

gentlekindnesscoaching.com Holistic methods for healing from abuse

Adult Children of Alcoholics

People who grew up with alcoholic parents usually realize at some point that there are certain behaviors and thought patterns that are happening that are different from other adults.

This realization often comes as a result of problems with relationships, particularly romantic partner relationships. You may have struggled with feelings of inadequacy and depression.

You may also struggle with a mental illness like an anxiety disorder or even bipolar disorder. The situations that people grew up in were similar in some ways but with important differences. This is why everyone did not end up with the same disorders.

The important things to talk about here are the things that are similar between adult children of alcoholics and what you can do to help yourself. If you grew up in a house with an alcoholic parent then your normal emotional ans social development was interfered with in some way.

You were exposed to bad communication and you did not get the emotional support you needed. There was not enough validation of you as a person with individual thoughts, ideas, feelings and identity.

When early programming is screwed up you are left with a brain that does not process and function in the best way to serve you. The proper “software” that you needed to function well as an adult was not installed into your brain’s hard drive.

As an adult you now struggle with feeling adequate and asserting your boundaries. You also may have trouble maintaining a sense of identity and your role in relationships.

There are thought patterns that are inflexible and also work against you. Thought patterns are habits, just like anything else can become a habit. They can be re-programmed with NLP and NLP hypnosis.

Black and white thinking is a typical pattern for people that are ACOA’s. This is when you see situations as rigid and being two sided, with no other possibilities. Things have to be one way or the other and your brain is trapped into this box that you were taught is real.

Catastrophic thinking is also a typical pattern of thought of ACOA’s. This is when your brain begins with one event and projects into the future a series of consequences that you believe will inevitably follow , ultimately ending in your pain or destruction.

These programs were installed into your brain from early ages and trained into you over time. You were brainwashed into accepting your fate about certain kinds of scenarios.

In order to avoid painful communication, shaming, and other abuse, you had to comply with your alcoholic parent, your codependent parent and other care givers that were revolving around the alcoholic parent.

These coping skills you learned were survival techniques in order for you to stay safe and to feel safe. You endured years of various kinds of emotional / mental abuse.

You were made to focus on needs of the  the alcoholic parent.If they were prone to rages, then you were conditioned to always be on alert for anything that would set them off. You had to alter your natural behavior so as not to incur the wrath of the parent.

Your relationship with the non-alcoholic parent was probably not normal either. They may have been a codependent that was catering to the alcoholic and they may also have had other mental disorders or at least emotional problems from living in the situation themselves.

In order to overcome the thought patterns that are working against you now, you need to identify what they are and why they are not serving you.

Your life can improve and you can have more possibilities and options open to you, if you can understand what parts of your thinking are programs that other people installed into you.

Seeing the difference between your own thoughts and feelings as opposed to those that were trained into you, is a step towards being able to be true to yourself and have more possibilities open to you.

 

 

 

 

Are you the Scapegoat in Your Family?

Scapegoating is a term that is used for the one person in a dysfunctional family that is targeted by the abusive family member for receiving the most aggressive abuse.

Usually this person is targeted by the abuser because of their resistance to pretending that the household is normal.

If you were the truth teller in the family then you pointed out when boundaries were being crossed and when the other people were being mistreated. You were the one that probably defended siblings who were being abused. You may have tried to draw the abuse towards yourself in order to protect younger siblings from getting the brunt of it.

Very often the main abusive parent has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, although there are other personality disorders which cause people to abuse their children, like Malignant Borderline Personality Disorder. 

The narcissistic parent us the focal point of the family because they demand that their needs and desires are primary. The needs of the scapegoat are ignored. They are labeled as the troublemaker in the family. Things they say are often  used against them.

Fault for most every problem in the family ends of being dumped onto the scapegoat. The narcissist projects their own faults and personality disorder into the scapegoat. 

The scapegoat is the one that can see that something is wrong with the narcissistic parent ans their behavior. The narcissist wants everyone in the family to pretend that everything is normal and their abusive behaviors are not abusive. The scapegoat angers the narcissist by being able to see through the false reality they create.

If you were the scapegoat child then your accomplishments were ignored or minimized. You were compared to other family members and the narcissistic parent would see to it that your accomplishments were seen as less than the other children’s and their own. 

Family decisions may have been made without you in family meeting that you were intentionally not invited to. Yet you were still expected to go along with the decisions that narcissist made without expressing any dislike or negative feelings about anything.

You were emotionally punished for any resistance to what the narcissist wanted to do, even if it was harmful to you or others in the family. 

As an adult the narcissist probably gossips about you and talks about you behind your back. They twist around the reality of things you say and do, in order to give a false image to others about you. You are called selfish behind your back anytime you tell the narcissist “no” or try to set  healthy boundaries for the preservation of your mental health.

Your mental health is not only considered unimportant,  but it is attacked intentionally by the narcissistic parent in order to undermine you.

They use techniques like gaslighting and triangulating to break you down. You end up looking like the one who is at fault in the relationship because the narcissist lies to the other family members about you.

Even though the abusive parent is the unstable one, you are often made out to be the one that is mentally disordered.

Your behaviors are taken out of context and re-framed by the narcissist to appear illogical, irrational or selfish. By the time to are able to tell your side of the story to anyone, it is too late because the narcissist got to them first and has been spreading a smear campaign against you.

At times you may be shunned by the narcissist or by the entire family, because the narcissist tells them that they should not speak to you.

However when someone is needed to step in during an emergency you are often the first one they will call and expect to drop everything to help. You are expected to be the problem solver and the one to offer assistance, even after you were made to feel inadequate in the past.

Responsibility is not equally allotted or equally shared.

The scapegoat is always expected to do more than anyone else without complaining, and they are expected to do the work that no one else wants to do.

There is never any thank you or credit given to the scapegoat for doing things for the family. In fact there will be a big deal made over a little thing that the golden child did for the narcissist, while your contribution and efforts are minimized or forgotten…until the next time they need something from you.

Scapegoating is a reflection on the person refusing to take responsibility or be held accountable, not the person being blamed. The scapegoat also provides a buffer against reality to support the family denial. The scapegoat carries the lion’s share of the blame, shame, anger and rejection so narcissistic mother can maintain her patterns of dysfunction while continuing to appear normal. 

The scapegoat is punished by several methods. Shaming, ignoring, minimizing accomplishments, undermining, abused, rejected, singled out for blame.

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The narcissistic parent will tell people that they have done many things for you and that they gave tried to be supportive of you. They will tell others that they have been a good parent for you and that you do not appreciate their efforts. They will sometimes go so far as to claim that you are abusive to them and play the victim themselves.

The golden child is the sibling that is put on a pedestal by the parent and expected to make the narcissist look good.

The parent claims the credit for the accomplishments of the golden child. The golden child will remain in the favor of the narcissist as long as they succeed and accomplish the things that the narcissist approves of. 

The rules for the golden child and the scapegoat are never the same.

The scapegoat will be punished for things that the golden child is not punished for. The golden child will be praised for things that are ignored or undermined when the scapegoat accomplishes them or tries to accomplish them. 

The narcissistic parent will undermine the scapegoat and at the same time say to them “I am doing this for your own good” They disguise their cruel, undermining, manipulative tactics as loving guidance. 

There are many tactics that the narcissistic parent will use to undermine the scapegoat. The family often becomes blind to the tactics of the narcissist against the scapegoat. They do not see that the scapegoat is being attacked and undermined.

Some adults choose to break off contact with the narcissistic parent for their own mental preservation. Others are shunned by the narcissist and sometimes the entire family.

If you choose to continue interaction with a narcissistic parent, you have to learn how to maintain boundaries and not allow anyone in the family to violate them. Most likely this will anger the family members who are not used to you maintaining the same boundaries that they expect you to respect for them.

They feel entitled to be treated with respect and to be able to set boundaries about their time, their emotions, their relationships, etc. But they do not often respect your right to set the same exact boundaries for yourself.

You are not seen by the narcissist as a real person that has the right to your own thoughts, feelings, ideas or a right to personal boundaries.

You should prioritize your mental health and your life and make any decisions about interacting with your family members based on what is best for you.

If they have never been happy with anything you have  done by now, then what are the chances that continuing to try to please them will gain their appreciation and approval?

Triggers, Emotional Flashbacks and PTSD

Triggers suck.

For people into NLP triggers are called NLP anchors. The difference is that NLP anchors can be good or bad. They might be pre- existing from a past trauma or created to ease the effects of trauma.

They can be put into your mind intentionally to bring about a certain mood or mental state. This is a functional or a therapeutical use for them.

Back in the days of Pavlov, triggers were discovered as a tool for behavioral modification. You know…Pavlov’s dog.

Every time Pavlov fed the dog, he rang a bell first. After a while the dog salivated at the sound of the bell even without the food being presented.

This is how our minds create associations between certain triggers and a corresponding emotional response.

I have ring tones that I hate the sound of. There are songs I cannot listen to.

Certain animals are disturbing to me. Certain situations make me have an anxiety attack.

Some triggers are related to incidents and some are related to specific poem. Some triggers are related to time periods or ongoing abuse. Others are related to break ups from our ex.

There are some triggers that we are well aware of where they come. Other ones may be related to trauma from our past from when we were very young or even infants.

There may be triggers that create emotional flashbacks for you that are from periods of time that you have blacked out from your mind…or I should say that your brain blocked them out in order to protect you.

Triggers can come out of nowhere unexpectedly. We can try to avoid certain known triggers such as my not using certain alarms and ring tones on my phone.

Although every so often I am out somewhere and a stranger’s phone rings with the very ring tone that is now taboo on my cell phone.

There are times when we suddenly feel severe anxiety and have no idea what caused the onset. This can sometimes be an emotional flashback to a trigger we are unaware of.

That is a very tricky one to figure out. You would have to write down all the sights, smells and circumstances that were around at the time of the anxiety attack.

You would have to keep a log of those things each time you had an unexpected, unexplainable anxiety attack. Then look for anything in common between them that was never part of your environment when you are calm.

To make it even more complex, triggers can have more than one component to them. It might not be candlelight or the smell of roses individually that triggers you. It could be the combination of the two of them that does it.

Certain emotional triggers can be healed or at least the effect can be lessened through NLP techniques. Other ones may be harder to deal with than others.

The ones that we cannot identify or do not know what they were caused by are the worst ones in a way. At least as far as there being any hope for treatment.

The more severe the trauma, the more severe the pain from being triggered.

I know many other people deal with this on a day to day basis. For some people certain dates or times of the year are triggers for emotional pain, depression and anxiety.

If you have triggers like I have described here then you have some form of PTSD. It could be straight PTSD or Complex PTSD.  People often have both.

Talking about your triggers or unexplained emotional brain attacks is the first step to healing or at least lessoning the feeling of alienation or isolation due to PTSD or Complex PTSD.

Know you are not alone. There are others of us that understand.

Being Able to Speak About Our Mental Illness or History of Abuse

Some people with mental illness speak freely about it and others are afraid to speak. Many of us have issues of mental illness because we were traumatized and mentally abused. It may have occurred during early childhood and is so far back that we do not really remember. There may be clear memories of some type of trauma or abuse during childhood.

We may have sustained psychological injury at the hands of an abusive partner during adulthood. Often times people are abused in childhood and then end up choosing partners who abuse them also. Not that we know that in the beginning. NO one hooks up with an abusive partner on purpose. They are often very charming and seemingly sweet at the beginning of the relationship.

If we were psychologically injured as children, then we were also probably conditioned that we do not speak of such things. There is secrecy and guilt built into those early relationships. We were taught that we do not talk about abuse, feelings about what goes on on our homes and to keep everything inside.

I remember Pat Benatar’s song “Hell is for Children” and she sings “Be Daddy’s good girl and don’t tell Mommy a thing. Be a good little boy and you’ll get a new toy. Tell Grandma you fell off the swing”

Very powerful lyrics and a great song. This is where the secrecy begins. We are taught that to be “good” means keeping your torment to yourself. Do not involve other people into the situation. Do not talk to people about your problems. Keep everything bottled up.

These behavioral patterns continue into adulthood. They are imprinted onto our brains with big “DON’T TELL” stampers. It is very hard to  break out of the patterns of not talking about things and keeping our “shame” to ourselves. We feel ashamed about what happened to us as children. We feel shame for having chosen an abusive partner.

We do not see other people around us, ending up in these situations. We feel ashamed and guilty. We feel like people will not believe us or that they will judge us. There is a feeling of not wanting to burden another person with our problems. No one wants to hear about MY problems, They are busy with their own problems.

Some of us even have trouble opening up to the family doctor or primary care physician. It can even go so far as not wanting to go to a therapist because we do not think they will  want to listen to. We may not think the therapist or psychiatrist will believe us. Maybe we will not explain our problems properly , in a way that they will understand.

Maybe the psychiatrist will think that his other patients have “real” mental health problems and we are just “faking it” or maybe we are afraid to tell the psychiatrist the whole truth because he never would have met anyone that bad before. Maybe we are the worst one ever and they will decide to commit us to a psychiatric facility.

These feelings have been conditioned into us by abusive people who did not want us to tell on them. They wanted to control us and they did not want to be revealed. Once their game is exposed, they can no longer play.

It is hard to change how we feel, We have ingrained reactions to things. Emotions are associated with anything that triggers memories from past trauma. Even the voice of the therapist sounding like your abusive father’s voice, could send you into post traumatic stress and immediately shut down your ability to communicate with them.

The solution is complex and it takes time to be able to open up to other people about mental illness. Sometimes people will respond in ways that are horrifying to us. Some people treat the mentally ill, the psychologically injured, like they are third class citizens. Like we are not competent , not reliable, not truthful and not worthy.

We already feel a low self esteem and a feeling that we are not as good as other people, if we endured years of mental abuse. If we had to hide things as a child then it is easy to go into that “safety mode” of hiding again.  I put “safety mode” in quotes because it is our old belief system. It was how we survived for years. It was the way we knew that we had to be, in order to avoid further trauma. Not that it kept the abuse from continuing.

It is necessary at some point, for us to open up and speak about our mental illness. We need to speak about our abuse during childhood or our abuse from our ex husband. It is not shameful. Anyone who makes you feel ashamed is not doing the right thing. You should be able to have feelings and thoughts like any other person.

You may have had experiences that are unique and that are so unusual that many people just cannot deal with them and they do not want to hear them. I am not suggesting frightening people or distressing them with your story.

The point is to reach out and find the right people to tell your story to. WordPress is great because we can tell our story here, with an avatar as our picture if we wish. We can be truthful and transparent. It is a healing thing to write about out thoughts and feelings about what has happened to damage us mentally and emotionally.

We are not designed to sustain trauma and keep it locked up inside of us. We are people that need the community of others, We need to be listened to and understood. We must have our feelings validated or we will become more mentally ill.

It is very tricky sometimes to know who is a safe person to talk to and who is not. It is hard to know what part of our story to tell someone and what part to leave out. We are so much in the middle of what is going on in our obsessive, constantly running brains, that we cannot always see the forest through the trees.

Reach out anyway and try to find other humans to talk to. Therapy works for many people, but it is very common for someone to have to try out 2, 3 or even 5 therapists before finding the right one. It is a scary thing to tell a therapist your story, if you are not in the habit of talking about it at all.

I am writing this post in order to validate anyone that has a behavior pattern of never talking about their mental illness or their history of abuse. It may have been the rule of the abusers in our lives that we were not “allowed” to speak of these things, but the times have changed to new times.

If you are, however, still in an abusive situation, please be careful. You do need to be careful who you talk to about the abuser. Call a women’s shelter (or a men’s shelter). Talk to people on wordpress, but be careful to protect your identity.

If we can not speak then we have no voice. If we have no voice then who are we? We lose our identity.

Blessings to all and to all a good night 🙂

Annie

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