A simple plan that will teach you how to stop running from your fear.
While once we have been traumatized there is no substitute for actual therapy, I have learned from my own therapist that we have to have strategies at home, on our own, to turn to when life comes flying at us and we get overwhelmed. For survivors of domestic abuse and domestic violence, this is such a frequent occurrence that the only way to be ready is to have a plan waiting in advance.
I am someone who pushed the pain down for years in order to survive my situation, twenty years to be exact. When you push pain down for that long, you end up really numb. When you get to the other side and it starts to surface, it is terrifying. So, what do we do? We look for others ways to distract ourselves, stay busy, to not feel, and keep pushing it down.
For me it was a power duo of shopping and eating. Which, actually, isn’t such a power duo because as I would eat, my size would change, and it would not be as much fun to shop. Once I realized what I was doing, I made myself stop and work on getting healthy. Then what happened? I replaced those habits with new ones: excessive work and dating.
Working around the clock and then having a date right after gave me no time to be alone with my thoughts and feelings. I would run until I literally dropped in bed, and then would begin again the next day. Is any of this sounding familiar to you? I have learned in therapy that many of us do this.
Therapy! Now there’s a healthy answer. For me personally, it has been for the past few years. I’ve also learned something: At the end of the day, when I go to my bed alone, there is something there waiting for me that I do not like – the memories and the pain. Without my distractions, I have nowhere to hide. What are we supposed to do about this?
While I am not a therapist, I am someone who understands what it’s like to feel these feelings. And I’ve realized something: If we have already lived through the pain once, then we can do it again. In fact, we are stronger now, so we can do it even better. No one said it was going to be fun, or easy, but it is doable.
TAKE THESE TWO STEPS TODAY TO BECOME A STRONGER VERSION OF YOURSELF TOMORROW:
- STOP BEING AFRAID TO FEEL THE PAIN.
It may sound terrifying, but sometimes you just need to see it and relive it in order to start to let it go. Let every emotion that you feel wash over you like an ocean wave. FEEL EVERYTHING. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that you are now in a safe place and you did something amazing: you got out. Realize that the pain will not stay with you in that moment if you start to exhale and let it go, it will wash away just like the ocean wave.
- TAKE 15 MINUTES TO CELEBRATE YOU IN A POSITIVE AND HEALTHY WAY.
Think about something that you love, that makes you happy, and that you would not consider a vice. Some ideas could be: reading your favorite book, listening to your favorite music, taking a walk or a hot bath, sitting outside and experiencing nature, exercising – whatever has a positive payoff for you. Do this activity immediately after Step 1. Work, then reward yourself.
What we often forget, or never realize in the first place, is that it takes an incredibly strong person to survive emotional abuse. We are not weak for giving up power and control. We are survivors who figured out how to live through a very dangerous situation. There is no shame here and nothing to hide from. But, there is work to do in order to heal. We need to stick together and remember that we are not alone. Let’s do this today. #TomorrowIsTooLate
If you are a victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence or want further information PLEASE visit www.TheSoda-Pop.com or call THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at: 1-800-799-7233 or visit http://www.thehotline.org for more information, help, and to make a plan for your safety.
Home Should be a Safe Place for Everyone™