Struggle with Self Care

How does one learn to care for themselves when they were neglected/abused as a child?  What does being cared for look like?  I thought for years since I had a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes to wear I was taken care of.  I didn’t know anything different.  Raising my own children I understood there is a whole lot more than that and I was totally unequipped for the challenge. I muddled through making one mistake after another.  I felt sad for my children.  I was so disappointed because I wanted to be a ‘good mom.’  I fumbled through and finally after my children were starting to leave home I finally took my courage in both hands and went to counseling.  I didn’t go for myself.  I went because I felt like I was married to a stranger after spending all our time raising kids and trying to cope.  I had no clue, none, nada, not a hint of what I was about to stumble on.  My counselor guessed with in a few weeks that I wasn’t quite as I appeared.  With in a few months, he realized that we were in for a fight for my life.  It took 6 months to grasp, I was in deep shit.  Once the full extent of damage was surveyed, he told me that if he knew at the beginning how screwed up I was, he would have referred me to someone else.  Wow.  My counselor didn’t even want to work with me.  Fortunately, he took compassion on me and stuck with me for 7 years.  I did NOT recognize how abusive my childhood was.  I did NOT know that I had PTSD.  I did NOT comprehend how distorted and twisted my childhood experiences were.  I did NOT know anything else!!!!!!!!!!  All I knew was twisted lies and distortions.  Counseling was hours of recognizing, identifying and relearning how to live.  I started with basics like what are basic human rights.  I learned what is a boundary and how do I set them and maintain them.  Then I learned techniques, other than Fight, Flight, Freeze or Fawn, how to interact with people. Some basics of the healing process are shared in another post.  I learned that many things that people do and how they treat me had nothing to do with me.  The Reader’s Digest version of what I did in counseling was I changed the engine of my car while driving down the freeway.  It is tough.  Anyone says that counseling is the ‘easy way,’ never did it.  If you have PTSD and feel like you are in a fight for your life, you are.  I am thankful my husband stuck with me as we changed how I approached life.  I still struggle with living but I am making headway.  I am learning to thrive.


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