The following video is from Showing Your Boundaries Youtube Channel. I recommend checking out her channel. It is new, but very good content.
Please be advised that this video has triggers if you are still emotionally raw or mentally traumatized from partner abuse.
There are no pictures but there is an emotional impact about how the abuser manipulates and threatens you. This video is done simply and is just a set of sentences that abusers say to their victims.
The way the sentences are put up in the screen generated a very emotional reaction in me. A few times I actually pulled back away from the screen, as if I were trying to avoid being hit . This was some kind of powerful flashback reaction. The last time I was ever struck by an abuser was over 5 years ago.
2 years ago, I was with someone who had terrible rages and screamed and threatened me. He did hit and break objects and the feeling of being about to be hit also makes you pull back and want to protect yourself.
If you feel ok about not being too triggered, check the video out. It is extremely well done and very powerful. I think this lady is great and her youtube channel is worth subscribing to. I just did that.
Toxic people sometimes exit our lives, and then suddenly reappear years later and act as if no time has passed.
They pretend that none of the cruel things they did to you ever happened or that your perception of those events is exaggerated. They suddenly, out of the blue want to rekindle the old relationship.
It may be that you are the one that stopped talking to them, and now they are suddenly barging into your life, as if nothing happened. They act as if you accidentally drifted apart, and they are unaware of any incidents which caused you to disconnect from them.
Out of curiosity, your first reaction will probably be to wonder what they are up to, and then you will allow them whatever contact they are asking you for. It might be a lunch date or a phone call. They may be asking for your new address or wanting to confirm your old one.
They will ask you how you have been doing, as if they have great concern for you and have been worried about you all this time. There is no apology from them for anything.
More likely they will make you feel as thought you were over sensitive about the past situations with them or that your memory is in question. They will deny, avoid, redirect, and minimize any conversation you bring up about the past.
If this is a toxic personality that is skilled in gaslighting tactics, then they will create a false past reality that is not the way you remember it to be,
They were very supportive of you an always believed in you. They will attempt to draw you into this fantasy reality in order for you to trust them,
If your memories do not match what they are telling happened then they are gaslighting you. This is an intentional manipulation of reality, in order to confuse you, make you question your own memories and perception, and also create a false ideal of them in your mind.
If they begin to do a lot of talking about themselves and how many great things they have been doing, then they may be trying to get you to see them in a false light, that makes them look like a more compassionate person than they are.
They may want themselves to appear more together, more mentally balanced or more successful and desirable than they really are.
If the relationship did not mean enough to them, to keep up on it for a long time, then why are they suddenly interested in you now? If this is a red flag going off in your head, then listen to it.
If there is any cognitive dissonance occurring in your brain, then something is wrong with this situation. They are playing a game with your memories and your thoughts. Cognitive dissonance happens when you have two realities that are co-existing in your mind and they do not match together. In fact the two realities are mutually exclusive.
Here is an example.
You remember this person talking about your family as if they hated them. They called your sister a stupid slut who lived off of others like a parasite.
They called your other a greedy manipulator. And they said that you were always defending your family and putting their needs first.
Now, in this present conversation, they ask how your lovely sister is doing. They talk about how they always used to like her and knew that she could do something good with her life.
The ask about your mother. They say how they know she always worked hard for all the things she has and never asked a soul for help.
They tell you that you were always independent minded and did things for yourself. Maybe you could have done more to be supportive of your family, but you can’t help but to have the personality that you have.
Thus they have altered your perception of the past and how they see your sister and your mother.
They always cared about them and thought well of them. You however have changed from the clingy daughter, who did too much for the family to a selfish daughter who let her mother struggle and did not offer to help.
This is Gaslighting.
You remember one thing and the person is telling you a completely different version of reality and hoping that you have low enough self confidence that you will believe that your own perceptions are wrong. They are so smooth and certain about what they “remember” that they do not seem to be lying.
If this is kind of toxic person that is trying to hoover their way back into your life, then do not let them. They want something from you and then they will leave you injured for letting them in. The “hoovering” tactic refers to the vacuum cleaner that sucks up things in its path. If you are “old Supply” of their and not they are drawing you back in then it is called hoovering.
Maybe you have run into this person at a family event. Maybe you were hospitalized and this person has suddenly appeared to be there for you, even though they have not given 2 cents about you for 2 years.
What does your rational brain tell you?
If this person has turned their back on you in your times of need in the past, then why do they suddenly care now? If is does not make any sense to you, then it is not right.
Another characteristic of toxic people is that they are self centered and cannot help but to center the attention around themselves. They may be able to play the game of pretending to care about you for a short time, but they will go back into talking about themselves and how everything affects them.
I had not heard from my sister in 5 years. I was recently (about 2 months ago) put into the hospital. I notified my step mother, so that she could tell my father. I got an email from my sister.
She was sooo concerned. At this point during the hospital stay I was very ill and I was very week. I told her that, but she decided to ignore my state and just chat cheerfully away over the email.
She talked about how she understood my suffering and that it was so bad to have to be the hospital. Then she went into her story about being in the hospital and how it was so much worse than my “little situation”.
This is interesting because she did not ask much about my situation and had no frame of reference to decide that hers was worse.
Their is always more than yours.If you are sick, they were once sicker. If you almost died. they came closer to dying than you and their pain lasted longer.
I had gastro specialists called in for my case in the hospital. Her version of her own story, had to top mine. Her version was that she ended up with such a bad infection that the Center for Disease Control was called in.
They had to isolate the entire section of the building. Now, I have some recollection of this incident and I hardly remember the CDC coming on the scene.
And all of this was while I was lying sick in a hospital bed. Your rational mind tell you that this person is not being considerate, they are being rude, and they do not seem to care what you are feeling.
But your compassionate and trusting side might want you to believe that this person must be telling you the truth. They must actually be worried and concerned for you, not just trying to top your situation because the family is worried about you and it is taking attention away from them.
So, once you feel these 2 contrasting realities beginning to collide, take a rational look at what is happening. Do not assume that the other person is always telling the truth , especially when they are clearly changing the facts.
Don’t assume the toxic person has changed.
Look at their behavior. Not what they are saying about themselves and how great they are. But their behavior. What are they attempting to do with what they are saying? Are they listening to your feelings and thoughts ir just telling you what to feel?
Are they letting you talk and being considerate about whether or not you want to talk to them right then or at all? Are they listening to you or are they dominating the conversation? Is the conversation based in reality or is reality suddenly magically in their favor and against you?
Be careful allowing toxic people from the past, back into your life.
If they were self centered. selfish, malicious, cruel, energy sucking, or even dangerous in the past, they probably still are. If they tell you they have changed, they are probably lying. If they tell you that things were not as bad as you remember them to be and that your perception is wrong, then they are lying.
You have other people that actually care about you. Do not let anyone guilt you into having to interact with them, give them your new phone number or whatever.
Do not allow people to tell you that their perception of the past is the actual version and yours is the version of an overly sensitive, confused person.
There was a huge mix up about the timing today of my daughter’s graduation activity at her church youth group.
She told me a week ago that they had a senior recognition night, that is a kind of graduation ceremony for the kids that are homeschooled.
Since they do not have a graduation off the stage in a traditional way, this is a very thoughtful idea that the youth pastor had and I thought it was a great idea.
My daughter told me that it was this evening but she had to check on the time. I reminded her a few times during the week, but today she still did not know the time.
I thought she probably had to be there early, since she was in the event. I was trying to get her to find out what time the event started, so I could get myself and my other daughter into a decent seat.
You know how these things are if you are not early…you end up standing in the back.
I also wanted to know what time she had to be there. Somehow the entire week went by and she did not know the time.
Then I woke up this morning and she had left me a note that she had been called into work by her new job. She had agreed to work 12 to 4pm.
I wished she had told them no because the time frame was really crunched. She wanted me to pick her up around 4pm. This means sitting in the mall parking lot from ten of 4 until probably 4:15 waiting for her.
That was my time frame for taking a shower and getting my younger daughter bathed and ready to go also. I also needed to stop and pick up fast food for my dinner.
I was guessing this event would be around 7pm and I was trying to communicate with my daughter via texting for her to try to get another ride home.
Having to drive to the mall, wait for her, and drive back was going to take an hour right out of the middle of my time to get my other daughter and myself ready.
Then she texted me that the event was at 6pm. The time was getting shorter and shorter and my anxiety was getting more and more.
I did not understand anyone taking work hours until 4om when the graduations started at 6. To me this meant she was supposed to be there at 5:30 and had barely any time to get ready and eat dinner.
I guess she felt like she had to tell them yes, but they did not really deserve a favor of her coming in at the last minute on her graduation day.
They have cancelled her days a few times. They tell her to come in and then they call and say they do not need her.
I think they are taking advantage of her because she is young and naive, but that is for another post.
So, my ex husband ended up going to get her, because I was all frazzled about being able to get the other kid and myself ready on time. He was good and went to get her, which made me happy.
He had not gotten back with her and they should have been back by 4:30. I checked my messages and she had sent me a text that her boyfriend had picked her up.
I called my ex husband and apologized that he was still waiting there for her and told him she had already gotten picked up.
I got the younger daughter and myself ready and we headed off to stop by McDonald’s to grab food to eat in the car. This was already 5:30 and we would make it to the church by 6, if we ate in the car on the way.
I got to the church and no one was there. No cars in the parking lot. I was afraid that she had told me the wrong place to go.
I called my ex husband on the phone and asked if I was at the right church and he said yes. They were still at the house together – my daughter who is graduating, my ex (her father) and her boyfriend.
I asked again what time she had been told to be there and I heard her in the background saying she thought it wa 6pm. At this point it was five minutes to 6 pm and they were 20 minutes away. chatting together in the house.
I asked the father how they were still at the house if the thing starts in 5 minutes. He said something like they were on their way. I heard my daughter say something about her class going for ice cream first.
I asked the father, who was standing next to my daughter to ask her what time this event starts. Is it that they are meeting for ice cream in 5 minutes and then the event starts at 7pm?
She kept saying “I thought it started at 6 and we were going for ice cream first.”
I kept trying to get an answer about what time the event started. My younger daughter and I were sitting in my car, and we did not know whether to go inside, to sit there or to drive somewhere else for a while.
My younger daughter has anxiety issues and sitting in the parking lot indefinitely was not a viable option for me.
My ex said that they were getting ready to come there. This still did not make any sense and did not answer my question as to what time I was supposed to be in a seat in the auditorium.
No one seems to think it mattered and they thought i was being unreasonable that I kept asking what time the event started.
I asked them to tell me that they did not know, if they did not know. But not to keep going around my question and not answering it.
I asked them if they knew or if they did not know. Even an answer of “We do not know” would be something of an answer. But they kept saying things like “we thought it started at 6. and We thought we were getting ice cream at 6”
To me those two thoughts “It starts at 6” and “we are meeting the class for ice cream at 6” are contradictory.
One of them meant that I had to be there and in a seat by 6. The other meant that I had to be there and be in a seat by 7 or maybe 8, who knows ?
I finally got my daughter’s boyfriend on the phone who said that my daughter did not know but they were on their way there and to stay where I was. At least this was some kind of understandable response
A lot if the conversation was very hard to hear. There was something about the way my ex had the phone on speaker and people were not near the phone, that made it very hard to hear anyone.
My daughter was the hardest to hear, because she has a soft feminine voice. The male voices were coming through a bit better.
Later on, my ex husband and my daughter came to the car. They said that the event was next week.
This did not make me mad and it was okay because I had other things to do tonight. Next Sunday is fine.
What bothered me was that they approached the car like I was going to yell at them or something. They somehow perceived the last conversation as me being in some kind of unreasonable mood.
I don’t understand that asking for what time I am supposed to be at a graduation is unreasonable.
My ex makes me look bad to my daughter a lot . He has done it for years. He acts like he is smarter and makes fun of me like I am a space cadet hippie flower girl.
He tells her I am unreasonable when I ask for very basic common sense things like for them to coordinate times with me in a realistic manner.
Just because I am compassionate and empathetic and he is not, has nothing to do with who is more intelligent. I have more education and I have been able to work and keep jobs, which he has not.
So, they approach the car all dramatic and he says “You tell her! I am not doing it” like it was some kind of big deal that she had gotten the date wrong.
He acts like a big child who is getting another kid to think things about me that are not true. It is like a form of bullying . Emotional bullying to make me the one that is made of, talked about and left out .
I have never gotten mad about mistakes that my daughter makes. I have never made her feel stupid or punished her for getting something wrong or for not being able to do something.
The minor inconvenience of having gone out there on the wrong day, is really not a big deal to me.
My younger daughter loved the drive and getting out of the house. She also ended up going to the ice cream place with all of them and had a great time. So it was all fine.
He made my daughter feel like I was going to be mad. He made her afraid to tell me that she had gotten the date wrong. There is no basis in my history of interacting with them at all, for this. In the past, he has more mad about being inconvenienced than I have.
In fact next week he has a gaming day (role playing games) scheduled with his guy friend and now he is telling me that he has to go to play role playing games, rather than go to her graduation next Sunday.
So, how am I coming out to be the bad parent? I do not think it is fair at all.
So, after they told me that the thing was next week and not this week, I said Ok no big deal but can we find out what time it starts next week and also what time the students need to be here
That was we will not be late and I coordinate getting my other kid there and everything.
My daughter did not answer me at all. He answered for her instead of letting her speak for herself.
saying “She has all week to find out the time”
I said to him “but can she find out the time or can we call and find out?”
He said “She just told you that she would find out the time. Didn’t you hear her?”
“No. I did not hear any response.” The answer from my ex that she had a whole week to find out was sufficient to him. This meant that I was supposed to know that I would know what time it was.
But she had a whole month to find out and she still did know the day of the event. I do not see how “She has a whole week to find out” is a definitive answer that they are telling me that they will find out.
Neither of them would say that they would call or email to find out. My ex kept giving me evasive frustrating answers. Then he would say “didn’t you hear her?” and when I said no he said in front of her
:”that is because you are not listening to her”
Like I am intentionally not listening to my own daughter. Why would I not listen to an answer to a question that I need to know the answer to.
She had clearly just stood there and refused to speak. Probably because the situation was making her nervous and upset. I can understand that she was not answering because she was nervous and upset
But what I cannot understand is why he said “She just told you that she would call and check” when it never happened and I was right there in front of them..
This is gaslighting crap. I hate it.
The he said that earlier on the phone she had told me she was running late by accident. I never heard her say that because I could not hear her voice well enough to make out anything she was saying during that phone call.
This was all right in front of her,, He said “well you were not listening to her”
I said ‘ I did not hear her and that is not the same as not listening.
Later in the evening I talked to him alone. I told him that he should not tell my daughter that I do not listen to her or that I was not listening to her.
The phone connection was bad. They were right next to the fan in his room and he did not bother to turn it off so I could hear. I told them I could not hear her at all.
He said to me “I did not tell her that you were not listening to her”
This is a lie. He word for word said “You did not hear her because you were not listening”
He said “I did not say you were not listening. I said you did not hear her and you misinterpreted that to mean something else.
As much as I study about gaslighting and as much as I listen to hypno tracks and all kinds of things…I still feel frustrated by the gaslighting that lies to my daughter about me and makes me look like the bad guy.
It is not fair and he has done this kind of thing for years. HIs parents do the same things, even worse.
They tell my daughters I am a bad mother. I am stupid. etc. They create this reality about me that it the opposite of who I really am.
I have disabled the reblog for this post. I have been having a recent problem with reblog etiquette . There is nothing in this post that should be of any value to any mental health blog.
It is personal and not general information that needs to be reblogged. I am just connecting with my wordpress friends to vent. Thank you
Comments of validation and support for my frustration of the situation are welcome. Thank you to my friends.
Yesterday I fell asleep
to the sound of your voice
and the next day
I woke up to your urgent call
that the world was destroying you
help me, save me
My phone tucked under the pillow
right where my hand could reach
So that I could fumble for it
mid rapid eye movement
or alpha wave sleep…
Day after day blurred into
a succession of yesterdays…
what was that?
A forbidden dream
once taken for granite
Sleep was something you stole
along with the contents of my soul
screaming about stabbing scissors
into your neck
if I did not pick up the phone
A tactic to manipulate
instill the fear
then make demands
No, sleep was low in priority
but little did I know
you intentionally fed suggestions
that went easily into
a confused, frightened brain…
A brain which you
deliberately sleep deprived
Crafted so well
your manufactured hell
was designed just for me
that no one else could see
But yesterday is far and gone
though once in a while
I don’t remember
your saying good bye
the phone conveniently
You played the game
to the very last sigh
waited till you heard me cry
Made sure that I
was not okay
Hung up the phone
and called it a day
On to tell another
that you’ll never part
your trail is destruction
Twisted minds, and broken hearts
Breaking up …
Insignificant other – I want to break up with you
Blogger – Really? Why?
IO – I just want to
B – What is your reason? What is the story behind it?
B- That will only make a 20 word post. Come back here, you selfish prick
IO – Why do you always have to know why about everything?
B– because the “why” matters. It gives things meaning. You can’t just cause random pain and injury and refuse to give someone closure. ..or at least the courtsey of a decent blog post, you ass.
IO- Yes I can. I can do whatever I want to do. The universe centers around me, not your fucking blog
B- I hate when you say that “F” word. It makes me feel disrepected
IO- I never say that word. You are thinking of someone else. You have some ptsd about your past, and you project old situations onto me.
Your bipolar disorder makes you out of touch with reality. You misinterpret things i say
I am always trying to build your self confidence. That is what i believe in. You should know that by now
IO– you are always blogging when I am on the phone with you. I told you many times….i can hear you clicking the keys..
B– I tried to type softly
IO– that is deceptive and disrespectful
B– while you were on the phone with me, you would tell me to wait…while you took calls on your other cell phone…
talked to other people for 15 minutes at a time…went to the drug store and talked to the clerk…
went to the deli and ordered food and told me it was too loud in there for you to hear …you i just made me wait for you…listen to you interact with other people. ..wait ..wait…
IO- you have to wait for me. I am the center of the universe. There are times to stop blogging and pay attention to your partner
B– I would have stopped anytime, when you turned your attention onto me and our conversation
IO– you were abusive and insensitive. You did not focus on me
B- I stayed on the phone for 4 ot 5 hours at a time, because you asked me too, and sacrificed things i had to do
IO– you never sacrificed enough. I am the center. I need attention. I could hear you clicking. .on the keys..and not paying attention to me
B– I always stopped when you turned back to our conversation. How can i just sit and do nothing for 5 to 8 hours a day, while i like listen to you do other things
IO– YOU HAVE TO
IO- because that is your role
B– why are you breaking up with me?
IO– why do you have to always bring everything back to you? Everything Isn’t About You !
B– This break up makes a sucky blog post. Can’t you give a reason that makes sense or even a proper good bye?
IO– yes obviously I could. I do not feel like expending that much effort on you. You are not worth it.
B– I see
IO– now i will not say that i am leaving you. I am not breaking up with you right now.
You can wait and wonder. The more confusion there is, the more you will suffer.
Lets look at houses on the internet. I want you to show me a beautiful house, so that i can tell i will buy it for us to live in.
But one day i will randomly hang up the phone and never call you again. There will be no argument, no misunderstanding…well unless i fabricate something.
There will be no warning whatsoever. You will never see it coming.
IO– i told you…sooner or later, everyone turns on me.
B-i don’t do that
IO- sooner or later, all of the women turn on me..they say i abused them..when in reality they abuse me. You will do the same.
My last girlfriend sent a lawyer to break up with me for her
IO- don’t take her side! See i told you…it is already beginning. .everyone turns on me..
B-are we breaking up or not? I would like clarification
IO- that sounds like a demand. Everything is not about you….i can hear you clicking the keys on your laptop..
B- no I stopped earlier in the conversation, when you said it bothered you
I have always tried to do what you ask
IO- that makes you look good, doesn’t it ? Everything is not about you !
Everything is about ME
B– yes i know
IO– when i break up with you, you wont see it coming. I will hang up in mid conversion. I will never answer your calls again
but until then I love you so you must serve me
Stop clicking the keys…i want you to listen and pay attention while i put the phone down on the bed, scream and yell into my empty apt, until it hurts your brain. ..throw things and trash my apt…
If you stop listening. .or tune it out by clicking on those keys, then i will threaten to stab these scissors through my neck
B– are there any scissors there?
IO– you will never know. That is the point. It is worse for your mental stability, if you have to wonder if there are scissors or if i am intentionally fucking with your head..
B– i hate when you say that word fucking
IO– i never say that word. You are having ptsd and your brain is projecting old relationships and blaming me.
You are being abusive. Just like all of my other girlfriends. Demanding. ..telling me what i can say..
everyone turns on me…
How can we avoid ending up in an abuse situation again? This is the question that you are asking yourself, if you have recently gotten out of an abusive relationship, or if you have been discarded by a narcissist.
You may still have this question haunting you, even if the abusive relationship that broke you, was years ago.
The other scenario that some readers are in, is that of still being in an abusive relationship. Maybe you are in the process of summoning up the courage to leave him or her. Maybe you are wondering that if you leave, you will never have any kind of love again.
There is a tremendous fear of not being loved and never having love in your life. For many people, love is the main reason for being human. Love is the main driving force for most everything we do.
The thought that we will never be loved, makes us feel that our lives have been… are … and will continue to be ….a waste of time and energy.
What is the point of life, it we will never know love? How can we ever be able to trust another person with our deepest emotions and with our intimacy again?
More importantly…What is wrong with me?…What is wrong with me that no one has ever loved me, in the way I needed to be loved?
What is wrong with me that makes me unlovable? Why have I been abused and why do I feel like I am drawing abuser into my life?
If you have been abused by a narcissist, then I am pretty sure that you will recognize many, if not all, of these thoughts from your own brain.
Where are these fears coming from ?
Some of these thoughts have been with you since childhood. If you stayed with an abuser, as an adult, then you were most likely put through abuse as a child.
There were patterns of abuse that you became conditioned to . This kept you from picking up on the red flags. Looking back over the relationship you can see that there were red flags very early in the relationship.
Please let go of the shame that you are carrying. Please let go of the feelings of guilt that your abuser fed into your brain. Let go of the feeling that you are to blame because you tolerated the abuse.
Clearly you did not recognize any abusive behaviors early on. You were trying to make the relationship work, because you truly valued the person and cared about them.
Let go of the shame that you feel about being abused as a child. Let go of your feelings of guilt, about feeling that you have done something wrong, that makes you deserve to be abused. You did not deserve to be damaged as a child. NO child does.
You did not deserve to be manipulated and used as someone’s narcissistic “supply.” You are a person, NOT an object. Your life is important and NOT the playground for another person, who is crossing your most intimate boundaries.
Stunted Development During Childhood
Your normal social development was interrupted or denied to you. You had a right to go through the proper developmental stages as a child. Most children are allowed and supported, as they go through the stages of social development, that are designed to prepare them to deal with others as an adult.
You were supposed to be taught by your parents, about personal boundaries.Personal boundaries are necessary, in order to deal with other people, without being mistreated, taken advantage of, and stalked by predators.
Why do I Feel Like Something is Wrong with Me?
Children have the need to be externally validated. When people treat their children with love and respect, they teach them that they are loved. When children feel loved, they develope boundaries about what kinds of treatment are acceptable and what is unacceptable from intimate partners.
How do we teach our children that they are lovable? When children are loved, then they learn to feel loved and to feel that they are worthy of being loved. Your parents are the main source of love for you as a child. You do not have the freedom to go outside of the family to get love.
If your parents did not treat you with love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness, then you did not learn what healthy love is. We are taught by default, by our parents , that we are not worthy of love.
When our parents are constantly impatient, critical, and harsh , then that is how they teach us to treat ourselves.
We will grow up to be impatient and judgmental of ourselves. We are overly critical of ourselves and we tolerate people’s accusations of behaviors that we may not have even done.
If we are impatient and judgmental of ourselves, then we accept other people being the same way with us.
We allow them to overblow our small transgressions and inflict unreasonable punishment upon us. This is not love, but how could we have known that?
If we are taught to feel guilt and shame, then we are used to feeling these things about ourselves. It is easy for a narcissistic person to use our feelings of toxic shame against us.
We tolerate the treatment from others, that we give ourselves. Whatever we are used to hearing in our own heads, will be familiar to us, and we accept it as the truth. This is how narcissists manipulate people with C-PTSD.
Your narcissist found out that you have these “defects” early on in the relationship. It was during the “Idealization” phase, when they seemed to be such a wonderful listener. They asked about your past and they took notes about your weaknesses.
When we can learn to be patient with ourselves, then we will draw boundaries around ourselves. We will not tolerate being treated in abusive ways by others. We should not allow other people to get away with being impatient, disrespectful, rude, thoughtless or abusive to us, in any way.
**Once you have had a chance to read this post, I will post the second part, which has already been written. You can feel free to leave comments for this one, or you can wait for the second part, until you have the whole thing in your head to consider. I am wishing peacefulness for you.
Identity is a critical issue, if you are suffering from any kind of mental illness. You have seen memes that say things like “I am Not my Mental Illness”…
The idea that the writers of these memes are trying to get across, is to not lose your identity, as a result of having mental illness or as a result of being abused. Many people have had mental illness thrust upon them, from years of manipulative abuse.
Each person is unique and has unique personality traits and gifts.
There may be another person who has a similar personality traits to you, but the exact combination of all of things that make up YOU, cannot be found in any other person in the world. There has never been anyone just like you.
You have value in the world. You are the only person that brings your particular combination of thoughts. feelings, gifts and experiences into any relationship or any situation.
Your identity has to so with your personality traits, which can actually be added or subtracted from, as you go through experiences.
If you used to be very submissive and lack boundaries, and then experience psychological damage from a person that takes advantage of that, then you can teach yourself to have different personality traits that will serve you better.
Your identity is also made up of your past, your feelings about the present and your perception about the future.
Some people have their identity more tied into their past, which can have devastating effects. It is good to evaluate our past and identify any past abuse which could still be affecting us, but we do not have to be the person that we think we used to be.
When we are abused, our perception of who we were during the abuse can be twisted around in our minds anyway. The reality of what actually happened, as far as specific situational memories go, may be our own perception of what happened.
If we feel that we were abused, confused. had our self esteem damaged, or were controlled by others, then we were abused. The exact memories we have are not always reliable, especially from childhood.
There is a very good chance that your abuse was far worse that you think it was and did more damage than you think it did.
Remember that if your parents were being abusive to you, they were also feeding you the reality that they were not abusing you. So, any memories you have about being a failure, being a difficult child, or being inadequate could be manufactured by your abusers.
If your view of your personality, strengths and weaknesses is based on your abusive past, then you need to re-design your view of your own personality and unique giftings.
You may be very strong in areas that you actually feel that you are weak in.
You may be working in areas that you are weak in, because someone else convinced you that that was YOU. Doing work in the wrong area, and living a life that is not consistent with your true identity, personality, and skills, can only lead to feelings of inadequacy.
Abusers will undermine your strengths and abilities, in order to maintain their control.
Your parents may have stolen your identity as a child, and you are not even aware of it. Other people in your life may have preyed on your weak connection with your own identity. NO more.
People that want to gain control over you, will not encourage you to develop your natural giftings. You may feel like you are called to do things , but do not pursue them because others think they are stupid or tell you that you are not able to do them.
You may have been made to feel that you were not as smart, not as pretty, not as compassionate, and not as….whatever ….as you wanted to be or perceived that you were.
You are just you. You have just as much of a right to be yourself and have a unique identity as anyone else does.
You can find your own identity and no one has the right to control who you are, at your core. If you have dreams about who you wish you were, those dreams are very possibly within your skill set and personality traits.
People are not naturally attracted to doing things that they would be terrible at.
It is very possible that there is something that you would be very good at, but you were conditioned to believe that you were not meant to do that.
The dreams you want to follow, may not fit in with someone else’s view of you…or the view they are attempting to thrust upon you about yourself.
Be careful when people try to tell you how your feel and what you think.
If you feel that someone has a better idea about what your talents are and what your giftings are than you do, then you are probably being gaslighted.
Take a look at things from the other person’s point of view. Do they have something to gain from your doing certain things? Are they at risk for losing control over you, if you pursue what your dreams really are?
If someone is always forcing you into the direction, where they stand to gain from it, this should be a red flag to you.
They might discourage you from taking jobs that would boost your self esteem or jobs that would make you more financially stable. They might push you towards things that would make you a ” supply” for them to get something out of.
Use your own intuition about who you are. Do not assume that you could not do something, just because someone tells you that you would not be good at it.
Other people really are not inside of your brain and do not know what you could do, if you put energy into it. In fact some abusers do think that you could do it, and are just trying to make you feel like you could not do it.
Be careful when people make statements about what you are good at and not good at …such as…
“That isn’t really you.”
“Your skills are better suited for…”
“You would be better at…”
“That activity is just a waste of your true gifts…”
“You do not have what it takes to do that.”
“That is not the REAL you.”
“I know what is best for you.”
“You really need to check with me before making any decision about that.”
“That is not a valid thing to pursue.”
“You have to use the gift that was given to you, which is….”
**Some people may really be trying to be helpful, and others are trying to gaslight you. The way you can tell, is to look at how your pursuing a certain idea or dream, would affect them.
What do they stand to gain or to lose, from your choices…or your ability to feel free to make choices without their approval?
If you hear, or have heard statements like these, by people who were trying to tell you WHO YOU ARE, the next thing is to look at what it is they are trying to get you to do, and in what ways it would benefit them.
Anyone who always tries to get you to be the person, focus on the skills, and prioritize things that would somehow benefit them, is not looking out for your best interest.
A continued pattern of doing what another person wants you to do, can have a detrimental effect on your identity.
Do not let people tell you who you are, what you are good at, or what dreams you want to follow.
You know who you are, but if you have been abused, you may have to dig deep to identify which identity is truly yours. If your parents or a partner forced an identity upon you, then you may perceive that as your true identity.
The way to know who you are is relatively simple, but you have to avoid letting someone counter your thoughts. If you feel drawn to and comfortable with something, then you have the right to pursue it.
If you feel that you would be good at something, but someone else is saying that you would not be, then your initial thought and feeling were probably on the right track. You do know what you like to do and what you are good at.
If you are neglecting something that you want to pursue, as far as learning about it or acting on it, because you feel inadequate, that feeling is possibly just conditioning that someone inflicted upon you.
If your are miserable at your job, then no one has a right to tell you that it is the right thing for you to be doing. Some people have something or other to gain, by keeping you in a static condition, with no possibilities.
If you want to study something, then no one has the right to demean you about your ideas, belittle you, or deter you from doing it, by making you feel like it was a stupid idea.
Your identity is your identity. You are the one who has to like it. You are the one that has to thrive within in and because of it.
You do not go around trying to take away other people’s dreams, so what right do people have to take away yours?
The person who “knows what you should do with your life” would never tolerate your telling them what to do with theirs…would they?
Find your identity and be yourself. Like yourself and feel comfortable with what you are doing, and who your are doing it for.
Try out things that you find interesting and things that validate who you are.
Do things that feel good and boost your sense of self. The more you are able to identify with your own identity, the stronger you will be to ward off abusers.
Do not let how others perceive you, affect how you perceive yourself. You do not have to convince them about who you are in order to be who you are. You will find people who can see you for who you really are.
If your family or current associations do not see you, then so be it.
Leave them with whatever they want to think. It will not benefit you to try to conform to their ideas, or to try to convince them that you are different that they perceive you.
The more you stay true to your view of who you want to be and how you really see yourself, the stronger you will become. You can then be a light to others, who are confused and lost.
I was strong
to do all you commanded
I was weak
to make that choice
I was brave
to face your twisted mind
I was fearful
of your retaliation
I was beautiful
but you did not see
I was ugly
as you made me
I was loving
to your unlove
I was generous
to your selfishness
I was soft
to your hard heart
I was flexible
to your inflexibility
I was sweet
to your bitterness
I was gentle
to your callousness
I was stable
to your insanity
I was creative
to your destruction
I was light
for you to extinguish
I was hope
for you to disbelieve
I was peace
to your terrible violence
I was honesty
to your lies
I was intelligent
before I met you
I was stupid
as you made me feel
I was whole
and you took it all
I was broken
and you crushed the pieces
I was blind
But now I see
Not Because of you
But Because of Me
Carrying shame with us is possible the single most devastating, caustic thing that can happen. We must find our way out of shame, because it will destroy is by crushing our self esteem and keeping us incapacitated, by self doubt and a feeling if unworthiness.
Shame is an emotion and it is a state of mental trauma. Any type of severe trauma can cause us to carry shame. In turn “shame” itself can cause mental trauma. Most often, a mental state of “shame” was brought on by others who intentionally manipulated and traumatized us into feeling unworthy and shameful.
Shame, according to Wikipedia
Shame is a negative, painful, social emotion that can be seen as resulting “…from comparison of the self’s action with the self’s standards…”. but which may equally stem from comparison of the self’s state of being with the ideal social context’s standard. Wikipedia
So, shame is made up of…
1. a person’s personal feeling about who they “should be”
2. the person’s feeling about “who they are”
3. When the perception of “who you are” does not meet your standards of “who you should be” then the result is feeling shameful, for not having the ability to be the person that you “should be.”
Who should you be? Where do our concepts of our “perfect selves” come from? Are the reasonable? Do these ideals of who we “should be” come from our own minds? Or were they projected onto us by others?
Also, where does our perception of “who we are” come from? Are we really seeing our true selves? Are we seeing ourselves through our own eyes ? Or are we seeing ourselves in an untrue way, through the eyes of society? Are we seeing ourselves the way other people say they see us?
Are we perceiving ourselves through the eyes of society and the stigma and misconceptions of society?
Are we still seeing ourselves from the eyes of our abuser? Are we really worthless and stupid? Are we doomed to never do any better in life than we are doing? Or are we confusing our true potential with the twisted ideas that some abuser fed to us?
The problem with people who have experienced abuse, is that they were manipulated at the deepest levels of their brains. People who were abused as children were made to feel worthless from a very young age. The natural developmental stages of self conception and identity were damaged.
People that in domestic abuse, were emotionally and mentally damaged. The abuser uses mind manipulation to make the person feel useless and stupid. The narcissists forces a fictitious reality on their victim and this reality changes.
The abuser changes the reality, constantly on order to manipulate the victim. If the victim buys something that the abuser wants at the store, the abuser may hide it. Then they will call the victim stupid for forgetting to buy the item at the store.
This reality manipulation over time, has the effect of confusing the victim about their own sense of reality. After the victim leaves the domestic abuse situation, they still have a feeling of shame and worthlessness. It takes time before the person will be able to see the proper perspective about who they are.
If we have been abused, we do not have the same sense of ease in feeling “normal.” We feel different that other people and often do not feel like we “fit in.” That sense of shame that we experienced during abuse, still looms over us.
Nineteenth century scientist Charles Darwin, in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, described shame affect as consisting of blushing, confusion of mind, downward cast eyes, slack posture, and lowered head… Wikipedia
This quote by Darwin is interesting to me, in that he describes the physical and mental appearance of shame. He describes the physical manifestation of shame to be “downcast eyes, lowered head”..
When I was living in an abusive relationship, I got comments a few times from people, that I looked down when a man entered the room. I was not aware that I did this at the time.
Actually it was one of my hospice patients that first pointed it out to me. She noticed that when a male aide came into the room to assist me, I lowered my head and looked down. I would not make eye contact with him.
As soon as the man left the room, my female patient said to me “Never! Never, look down when you meet a man! You are just as good as them. You are taking in a submissive posture with men and you should not.”
I was very surprised that I had done this and not even been aware of it. After that incident, I tried to be mindful of my body language with men and women, at least just to be aware of what message I was sending. Also to be aware of how I felt about men.
It is amazing that a woman on her death bed was so mindful and caring about me, that she noticed this and “scolded” me about it. It hurt her to see me be submissive to men like that. She was seeing into the future and how that submissiveness was going to harm me.
This lady knew nothing about the fact that I was living in an abusive relationship. It was purely an outside perspective.
Clearly, at that time, I felt afraid of men and my way of protecting myself was to take on the “submissive” posture. I also had a feeling if needing to protect my face from being hit. The downward position of my head, made me feel safer.
Psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman had theories about shame as it related to childhood abuse. Her studies were about how a person from childhood abuse sees themselves through the eyes of their abusers.
toxic shame is induced, inside children, by all forms of child abuse. Incest and other forms of child sexual abuse can cause particularly severe toxic shame. Toxic shame often induces what is known as complex trauma in children who cannot cope with toxic shaming as it occurs and who dissociate the shame until it is possible to cope with. Judith Lewis Herman
Abusers tell their victims to feel shame. They shame them by verbally abusing them, mentally torturing them, sexually violating them and / or otherwise physically harming them. There is no physical abuse without mental abuse.
There is no sexual abuse without mental abuse. The damage to a person, goes into their identity, their self esteem and their ability to view themselves in a “normal” way.
What I mean by “normal” is to be able to view yourself on a scale of reality based levels. What you are worth to yourself, and other people should be based on the person that you are. When a victim views themselves through the eyes of the abusers, they will always have a feeling of secret shame.
It is hard to break the brain patterns that were inflicted upon you by your abusers. You are worthy! You are important! You matter! Those are the true things that you need to know and believe!
Your abuser did not want you to know that you were a worthy and special person. They may not even have wanted to know that themselves, because it was easier for them to abuse you if they thought of you as “inhuman” rather than a real person.
You are a real person ! you are just as valuable and worthy of love as anyone ! Over time we can heal from these wounds. The PTSD (post traumatic stress) will never go away entirely. The past history of abuse will never go away. It is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives.
Instead of trying to crush it down, push the memories into the deepest recesses of our minds, we need to be ourselves and connect with others who will understand. We need to support and validate each other.
Together we can heal to a point where we can function better. Together we can create a community of support and love, that will uplift each and every one of us. Together we can turn our trauma around and use what we have learned to help others”
Together, we can be the “Wounded Healers!”