A friend posted a link of what they wanted their daughter to know when things get real. Looks a lot like the list my counselor had me work on to learn to live instead of just survive. Early in my counseling he gave me the challenge “to thrive not just survive.” Game ON!!!!
http://www.scarymommy.com/want-my-daughter-know-as-grows-up/ Language alert but an awesome read.
1. Say ‘F#@* Off’ When It Needs to Be Said
Yes, one the first thing my counselor worked at teaching me was to flip someone off sometimes. Before anyone gets their panties in a knot, a hallmark of an abuse victim is ‘people-pleasing.’ People-pleasing is so extreme a victim will self-destruct in the process. Telling someone to F-off is needed for self-care. Other people can be freaking inconsiderate and willing to take advantage of someone else. It is the first step in defending boundaries. My counselor wanted me to have boundaries and recognize that I am worth defending my boundaries.
2. Know the Difference Between Desire and Value
My challenge was to feel either. I was conditioned not to have my own belief. He started simple. Yes, I want chocolate. He moved me up to what do you want to eat? This was a difficult question. I needed to learn what I desired and then what I valued. What would I be upset about losing? What did I want to keep in my life? Desire and value are important to know because many times we give up what we value for something we desire. Is it worth it?
This was super hard for me. If I couldn’t get what I needed then how can I expect that I can indulge in something? Erma Bombeck covered it in her poem https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/49262-if-i-had-my-life-to-live-over-someone-asked Too often we deny ourselves things that we don’t need to deny. A person taught that their meeting their needs is selfish, then the conclusion is indulging yourself in anything is totally uncalled for. I learned that occasional indulgence reminds me I am worth the best. Enjoy.
4. Don’t Worry About Your Thighs
The obsession for thin now affects both men and women. This illusive ‘ideal shape’ that people strive for takes over their lives. All focus on how the body looks misses out on so much of living. My goal is healthy whatever shape I am in.
5. Don’t Force It
The very essence of abusive behavior is forcing someone else to conform to the abusers desires. The abuser will groom their victims to be prepared to put up with their garbage. If you are running after a relationship, this is your first red flag. Be with friends and people that think you are wonderful. I worked hard at staying in a job for 5 years. Fighting upper management and struggling with ever worsening performance reviews. Finally, they laid me off. Oh happy day. I found something else that is far better for me. I should have left much sooner for my own peace of mind. I also enjoy great performance reviews now. Sometimes a round peg really shouldn’t try to fit into the square hole.
6. It Is OK to Be Vulnerable
Oh boy. This one is tough. An abuse survivor sometimes survives by not showing their vulnerability to their abuser. Learning that most people can be trusted with showing your emotions is slow and painful process. This is not easy but oh so worth it. Learning to allow yourself to show vulnerability is taking a black and white world and adding color. Lots and Lots of color. My counselor had me watch Brene Brown on the Power of vulnerability. TED talk takes about 20 minutes of your time. It was worth it in my opinion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o
7. Don’t Do Anything With Half Your Heart
My motto for this year is “All In.” If I am going to take my time to do something, do it all in. However, I also learned that somethings need to be done just need to be good enough, like washing dishes. The big stuff in my life I need to do it with all the gusto and enthusiasm I have. Some days, I don’t have much to give but whatever I got, use it.
8. Be Responsible for Your Own Validation
Often validation won’t come from someone else. I started with a warm fuzzy box that I learned from reading http://www.cluborganized.com/sidetracked-home-executives-from-pigpen-to-paradise Fortunately, my counselor taught me more on how to recognize and validate my own achievements. Journal writing is a wonderful way to record and recognize your own achievements. Sadly, one of the ugliest hooks used by an abuser is the hook of getting praise and validation from them. I cut the cords that bound me to them. I can take care of my own validation now. I am thankful my counselor taught me to do this. I am a much happier person now.
9. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
I learned along the way that people compare their worse days to everyone else’s best days. No one knows the struggles I had but I don’t know theirs either. Especially at times like watching the Olympics, we see one athlete compared to another. Don’t do this. It doesn’t work and nobody actually benefits from it. Be kind to yourself and others have a ‘no comparison pact.’
10. Be Gentle
I agree with Scary Mommy the first one to be gentle with is yourself. Life is tough enough without beating up on yourself. My counselor on more than one occasion told me to take my situation, imagine my children have this problem, then follow the kind advice I would give my children. I am my own worse enemy when I am cruel to me. When I am gentle and loving to myself, I thrive.
Great list from Scary Mommy.