#posttraumaticgrowth #postbreakuptips #abusesurvivor #psychology #healing #suffering
No magic here: it probably came from the combination of several elements my brain had grabbed in the previous day. One by one, they hadn’t healed my despair nor 'clicked' in my mind at the time. But all together during my sleep, it seems they had combined to imprint a brand new vision in my deepest mind.
I woke up like if I had integrated them all as a joined force, and suddenly felt a very fresh positive mood!
1. Finding Meaning in Suffering
Still in my deepest sorrow the day before, I had read an interesting article: “How to find meaning in suffering”.
It was saying that in the worst suffering times, we often meet our inner strength. In distress, meeting a dead-end, we are pushed to find our will to rebuild, restart on a different path. When we endure a trauma, that's when we take a rare awareness of our capacity to survive. A brutal and painful experience can often lead to a ‘post-traumatic growth’:
They explained how a TRAGIC FORCE in your life can shift into a SELF-DEVELOPMENT FORCE.
2. The force of Pain, a force to Fight
This reminded me of a concept in martial arts: in several fighting practices - like jiu-jitsu if I’m not mistaken, you actually use the strength of your attacker to make it your defense power. Then I thought this is a wonderful metaphor of what we could do with the mind: Turning the huge force of adversity in life, of THE PAIN we experience, that seems so powerful to kick us down, into your advantage and using it as A POWERFUL ENERGY to find resilience. Considering the huge strength of destruction that is 'attacking' you, as a huge strength for your reconstruction will instead.
3. Note every Positive sign to strengthen your Optimism
The article was giving some tips to take this 'healing road' and turn the pain into a positive energy. One of them was: Focus on the POSITIVE DETAILS you experience when you’re facing a trauma, and list them to strengthen your optimism and gratefulness. WRITE DOWN the positive signs and improvements you notice every week, or every day.
Damn right. I had realised indeed, that ‘writing my rage down‘ about my abusive relationship for the past weeks was soothing me on the moment, as I needed to get the trauma out, but day after day I came to feel I didn’t want to write this anymore. Because it was keeping my spirit down in the shit. Then step-by-step I felt the need to let go of it and relieve me of this burden, to feel lighter. So, by reading this tip I thought: “Right, I should see and note the positive changes and positive signs in my daily life, from now on”.
4. Get the Anger Out
Later, I had my parents on Skype. I was really down at the time and kept bursting into tears. I was telling them I felt so lost and paralysed inside; I couldn’t sleep at nights, couldn't overcome the pain, anger, regrets, bitterness to have been abused, etc. I was crying endlessly in front of them - helpless with the distance; and none of their words would lift me up.
I was telling them I was trying to take actions, to heal myself, like writing a lot to drive this negativity out and lay it down on the paper. I told them this was doing me good, helping to feel a little peace each time after doing it. A relief, to state in concrete terms that everything he had done to me was not only a terrifying memory in my mind, but clear facts written on a paper.
Then my mother said : “But aren’t you writing about positive things also? Maybe that could be good, too…” I replied them: “Yes, for sure, but I have this big feeling of abuse that is really choking me, as I can’t really tell about it to anybody here. I don’t want to sound like the bitter broken-hearted girl who would blame her ex and accuse him of everything.” As most of my friends were 'our mutual friends'. I would only risk to be misunderstood or poorly judged, and loose their esteem. Because they would be shocked to hear that, and couldn't figure out the reality of what I'd actually been through with him. For everyone around us, they were still seeing the ‘good side of him’, his nice public image, without ever knowing how he was behaving with me, away from their eyes. That was so heavy to carry and keep locked in. The silence I was forced into, then, seemed to me like perpetuating his abuse somehow. I wanted to shout the truth out, to break this silence, to DENOUNCE HIS ABUSE OPENLY!
My parents couldn't find how to answer this; we just agreed I should see a therapist to talk about it. But then again, I thought, talking to a therapist would be the same as keeping silent, as they wouldn’t reveal anything I tell in private. Somehow, it’s still like keeping his abuse secret… Not a solution to soothe my feeling of 'public injustice’.
5. Denounce the Abuse, Dare to Talk
Then after my parents, I had a friend (mutual friend with him) asking news on Facebook and we started chatting. I was so down, still, that I finally took her as ‘a helping hand' to hold on to, thinking I had nothing left to loose, and then I told her the truth: I told her I was suffering from psychological abuse, how he was manipulating people to keep a great public image and keep pretending he loved me, persuading everybody he was nice and loving, but showing me a completely different face in private. I told her how he 'gaslighted' me with each of his ‘logic talks’ proving me I was always wrong, always bad, always less than others, always in fault to him, and why I deserved no respect and no love. I told her how he had abused me emotionally, bringing my self-esteem down step by step to keep control over me, so that he could feel confident. I told her how he rejected me harshly when I asked for a little respect and understanding, broke up with the most degrading words to destroy my self-esteem for good. And more recently, since the break-up, he was pressuring me to not tell anything around, asking me to even lie and not mention to anybody that he was gone. He wanted me to pretend we were still together, otherwise if I were to say something to anyone, he said I would be "responsible for the definite break-up", the one to blame for a disgraceful violation of "our privacy". Thus implying he was still considering to come back, though he had never showed any sign of regret for 7 weeks now since the break-up. He was just trying to keep me under his threats, so that I wouldn’t tell anything about his behaviour and preserve his ‘good reputation’. Even after the break-up, he was still trying to maintain his control over me with emotional manipulation.
I told her how I was so in love with him and blind for almost 4 years, that I always attached myself to seeing the good side of him and hoping I could help him cure his dark side. I thought I could analyse his bad behaviour, support him and then fix his problems for a better him, then a better us. But I told her how now I could see he was incapable of any change, because completely unwilling to face himself in a mirror. Definitely not able to introspect ever, rejecting all attempts of talking about his behaviour by reversing all the blame on my responsibility.
Then she told me: “He sounds like a monster! You know what? Then he is definitely NOT WORTH YOUR ENERGY. Too much focus on him. Time to LOVE YOURSELF instead!”
She was right. It’s like I was knocking at a closed door for about 4 years. Well, at some point, when the door never opens, stop knocking and pass your way! I was exhausted...
As she mentioned it, I reckoned I had a big problem of self-esteem: I couldn’t love myself enough and had let him disrespect me to the most destructive point, simply because I thought I was bound to be: little by little he had insidiously convinced me so, then I didn’t believe I deserved better!
And so, after this chat, I went to bed crying: “Why oh why? Why am I so poorly treating myself? Allowing myself to go through this? Why can’t I feel a little more self-respect, self-esteem? And believe in my own self? Why can’t I treat myself better? How to get back to the self-confident version of me?...”
6. Time to Love Yourself
Then I couldn’t fall asleep, still crying… I was doing the classic pathetic thing that broken hearts do: looking out on the Internet for ‘broken-hearted expressions’, as seeking a share of understanding to my pain… I knew it was stupid and only keeping me down, somehow basking in the suffering… but yeah, I was really down. Then, browsing through Instagram ‘quotes', I read this one:
“IF I HAD LOVED ME THE WAY I LOVED YOU, I WOULD BE HAPPY!”
True! So true: I loved him deeply, had always kept my focus on seeing the best in him for years, over the horrible bad sides, but in myself I was only able to see the bad?... Why couldn’t I be as much tolerant, understanding, caring, and forgiving to myself as I was to him? Why wouldn’t I channel this ‘relentless unconditional love’ into my own self? It was about time to refuel with all this energy and loving care I had tried to give him, with no appreciation from his side. Well then, I would use it for myself and appreciate it!
Then I guess I finally fell asleep, exhausted from crying and suffering.
And this Sunday (Sun Day!) I woke up enlightened!
I’ve just had a dream, a completely new dream. I’m used to often remind my dreams at wake-up to analyse them. This is an old trick I practice since my 'big depression' episode long time ago in my divorce time: When I was completely lost in despair, I went through a psychotherapy to find my way back to life, and my therapist had explained me this: in depression, your conscious mind cannot connect things, cannot find a sense or a direction to your life, so you don’t know what you want. Your rational thoughts don't make sense. In your sleep however, your unconscious mind connect things, and express them freely without any objection from your ‘reasonable’ conscious thoughts. So, your dreams are messages, they tell you your inner truth, your intuitive direction. You have to remind, tell or note your dreams precisely at the very first second you wake up. They often bring KEYS to OPEN DOORS you couldn’t see in consciousness.
Listen to your Unconscious, it shows you the Way
So, this night, I had a dream: I was in a room with a group of relatives (friends or family, I can’t remember, but familiar people.) And there was one new guy. This guy came to seat beside me on a sofa, like in a living-room amongst lots of people chilling and chatting. He was looking at me nicely and we chatted. He was giving me full attention and then touched me. (I forgot exactly how, but I think I remember he touched my hips gently like showing a sign of tenderness…) The thing was: I felt we had instantly connected, shared a mutual trust, mutual care. Though he was kind of ‘not my type’... he looked too ‘clean’ to me, not really 'rock’n roll', but I don’t know why, we had like a MIND CONNECTION, TENDER CONNECTION, INSTINCTIVE BOUND that was surprising me, but undeniable. Like, what we could call “MUTUAL LOVE”?...
The funny point is: that guy had blond hair. Though all my life, I have never ever felt attracted in a blond guy! It’s just a 'bio-chemistry' that never worked for me. I have always been attracted by dark-hair guys, dark guys actually, you could say dark shadows, dark artists or twisted souls... Their dark side always appealed my dark side. I've always felt attracted by people with a 'failure' I could identify with, understand and heal.
But this guy was not dark nor 'twisted' at all. He was ‘complete’ and bright! And blond.
You could think this guy represented in my dream an eventual new love to come in my life, or the hope to be treated right and appreciated, finally, the wish to feel true love with a new 'right type' of guy.
I rather think he was actually not the idea of a 'real guy', but more a symbol of the POSITIVE and UPLIFTING SIDE of me I had never considered, that I finally could feel RE-CONNECTING with, and naturally trusting... The belief of being WORTHY OF A HEALTHY LOVE.
I prefer the symbolic version (because I really don’t like blond hair, lol), but I believe both ideas are related anyway.
Re-connect with your Self-Love
Then, I understood the great news in this dream: my unconscious mind had actually integrated the various points of the previous day, supposed to lift me up, and they indeed resulted together in an optimist shift.
The supportive thoughts received one by one had been combined and processed in my unconscious, rendering finally a POSITIVE SENSATION (through my dream) of me feeling worthy, lovable, respectable, feeling appealed to a ‘clean’ and new mindset, seeing a positive, seducing, confident, peaceful and hopeful version of me.
Though I was totally incapable of sensing it before, in the past weeks, this SELF-LOVE and CARE feeling came back to life from my dream!
And right now, I COULD STILL FEEL IT, awake! By remembering my dream.
Quite the opposite of my awful depressed mindset of the past days, I woke up strong! I woke up self-confident. I woke up full of positive energy. I saw myself beautiful, hoping, loving myself, caring. Proud. I had reconnected with the positive in me, with my self-esteem! I could feel the hope!
Then a sudden, incredible flow of envies, ideas, creativity, energy, things to do, a will of jumping, running, going out, laughing, and an amazing gratefulness overwhelmed me!
I tried to hold on this moment and took a meditation pose on my bed to channel and receive this positive energy fully: I breathed in deeply, I thanked God, or Life, Nature, or the Universe, you name it... for having operated this shift, I thanked my parents who said they would be praying for me that night, I thanked every friend or people who gave each simple word to me, and realised each one of them had paved a step on the stairs that finally lifted me up.
I embraced this positive feeling and jumped out of bed.
Then I wrote this all to mark the day, to imprint this new vision...
But now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of things to run for! I have a new life to live, and I will live it to the fullest! :-)
No more cry, I am a NEW ME, I am reborn! :-)