I think that one of the hardest things about survivor of PTSD and sexual assault is not letting impact my current relationship. I have talked about some of the incidents that have happened and most of the time feel present and safe and able to be vulnerable but it doesn’t undo the damage from the past.
This is probably the safest relationship I have ever been in and I still am struggling not to allow the past to creep in at times and impact the present. I find myself wondering at these times, if I will ever be able to escape and move past some of these horrific events from my past. For years I just pushed them away or was basically numb inside. That numbness took away the joy in my life as well as the pain though. Now I am feeling a bit of everything….things that I have not experienced for years. It feels good yet terrifying. I find myself reluctant to talking about it with very many people for fear I might jinx the good parts of it.
I know I am guarded in terms of sharing this relationship with others in my life not because I am ashamed of it because I am more afraid of something going wrong with it because it has awakened my soul and I am terrified to going back to the soul that was numb and partially dead inside. It is like protecting a plot of soil of newly seeded ground and wanting to water and protect it, tend to the seeds to allow them to grow before allowing anyone else near them to trample on the seeds unless they have the best interest of the seeds at heart and are willing to tend to them too and invest in their growth as well. Those who do not care or are simply careless are not welcome yet for neither the relationship, or maybe I am, not strong enough, to handle people’s careless comments and actions until I feel more confident and firmly planted in the soil of the love. Accepting love and understanding has always been a struggle for me. I felt unwanted in my family and love was confused with performance not simply who I was as a person.
There is a saying in AA that “TIme takes time.” Right now that is where I am at. I am moving at a a turtle’s pace. I need time. Slow and steady wins the race.
I am sorry I have not been posting much recently. I started a new relationship that is different from all my past relationships. While it is good, it is scary and strange and unfamiliar territory for me.
I have never been one to be vulnerable with my thoughts or feelings and I am trying to do this because for the first time I feel safe. It is not an easy choice for my me to start a relationship and I have never been one to be for commitments. They scare the crap put off me.
So far this person, who started out as my friend and knowing a lot aboute , has loved me flaws and all. They love even when I am ready to run because of my gear of commitment. They wait patiently as I attempt to find words to describe my feelings.
So bear with me as I stumbled through being in love and vulnerable and so very scared right now.
One of the basic premises of Brene’Brown’s research on vulnerability is that all humans have a need for connection and belonging. She states that her research has shown that the more people feel a sense of these things, the more apt they are to be able to weather the update and downs of life that someone without them may not be able to as well.
Coming from a background where I grew up feeling unlovable and poisonous to those around me, accepting love from others is a very vulnerable feeling experience. This Summer has been a learning experience in vulnerability and the art of allowing love into my life.
It feels new and scary. Sometimes I feel as though I am still waiting for the bottom to fall out. It comes with my baggage from my PTSD and sometimes it feels like I don’t know what will trigger a past memory or feeling but I know I am staying in the present moment and not checking out and escaping onto my head now like I used to.
I used to believe that a whole list of things made me unlovable. I have been using CBT skills to challenge my faulty thinking and create new core beliefs. It’s hard work but I have faith that God will use it for good and challenge me to grow.
“Owning put story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy- the experiences that make us most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our life. – Brene’ Brown
Being vulnerable does not come easily for me. Every decision to be vulnerable and allow others to see a little bit further into my being comes with anxiety and second guessing.
It has less to do with the current people in my life than the people from the past who have broken my trust and made being vulnerable so very difficult. Growing up in my family, also, made sharing very risky and unsafe. So attempting to learn to trust others and discover who is and is not safe to share my story with is a bit overwhelming presently. However, remaining stuck and trusting no one is even more scary.
Being vulnerable makes me feel childlike and insecure, craving reassurance. I am learning though that it must come from me as I validate my own need to love and be love, to belong, and find joy in my life again.
“As you awaken, you will come to understand that the journey to love isn’t about ‘finding the one,’ the journey is about becoming ‘the one.'” Swedish quote, Source unknown
Continue reading “Swedish quote about love that fits for today…”
WARNING THIS POST’S CONTENT INCLUDES SUICIDE.
I went to the support group I attend in our area last night. I usually am not sure emotional and am quiet and have only recently begun sharing a bit more openly. Last night I came into the meeting raw emotionally from my dietician appt and ended ended up going last in the small group during the sharing. I ended up talking about a lot of things, but I shared about my friend who committed suicide six weeks ago yesterday. I had talked about it for awhile in the beginning after she died but a lot of people around me were worried about me and I just clammed up and stopped talking because I didn’t want to worry them.
Last night I chose to share how her death had impacted me and my feelings afterward. I didn’t expect to feel so emotionally exposed. I have had so many feelings after she died.. regrets, frustration, sadness and just an empty space in my heart for a friend I would never be able to say I love you to again, nor tell how precious she was to me, and in which I kept ruminating on the positive memories on which were leading me to tears when alone still.
This morning a friend shared this on Facebook and I found it so poetic and true that I stole it from her to share with you. I don’t think she’d mind. Death and dying, especially those coping with the loss of a suicide, are left with so much love unsaid…this quote says it more eloquently than any other description of grief than I have heard of in my career. I hope you might agree.
My recommendation to you is that if you are facing a loss of any kind that you find a safe person with whom you can process the loss with and be able to share your feelings with. Feelings left unsaid and kept inside us have to go somewhere eventually if not dealt with. Even I know that and will be sharing with a friend, I hope, who can understand and we can hopefully support each other as we grieve.
Active and reflective listening is truly an art. It takes a lot of patience to listen to someone talk, provide them with validation and not jump into the conversation with our own agendas and advice. I am forever grateful to two clinical supervisors who had the patience to sit and listen in on my responses to phone conversations with clients as I learned to listen and drop myself out of the conversation so the other person could feel validated and more in control of their own life. Slowly with their help I learned to be a better listener.
I still have to remind myself to drop my agendas at the door sometimes, or that by giving advice I am basically taking responsibility for the other person’s choices and I don’t have to live their life and I am always much better off asking the question, “What are your options?” I don’t live in their skin and have to bear up with the consequences of their decisions 24/7 just like they don’t have to live with mine.
I am thankful for a handful of friends who are interdependent with me so that not only do I listen but I am heard when I chose to talk.