Sanctuary for the Abused
Monday, January 29, 2007
What to do when taking care of yourself seems selfish.
When we have been abused sometimes when we put our foot down and finally start taking care of ourselves and our safety it looks selfish to others and to ourselves. The first thing to remember is that taking care of yourself IS NEVER SELFISH. If in our daily lives we encounter someone who makes us uncomfortable we have a right to remove ourselves from that situation with no regrets and no apologies. If others see that as rude or a threat somehow, that's their problem ultimately.
Taking that first, second or five hundredth step towards taking care of ourselves is probably, for some, the scariest thing to contemplate. We have been trained all our lives to not stand up, that we can't take care of ourselves, that we are basically worthless human beings. AND FOR MOST OF OUR LIVES WE HAVE BELIEVED THAT WITH EVERY FIBER OF OUR BEING. It's hard to untrain that. It's, at times, impossible to believe that we can be of any use to anyone.
Ok now the flip side, we of the abused, can be pretty fucking bitchy sometimes!!!! And while it's never ok to be abusive, I think it can be agreed that when taking into account the deep trauma we have lived through, some bitchiness is understandable. Also some perhaps overly defensive reactions can come up. (It's taken a long time for us to realize, "OH YEAH I HAVE A RIGHT TO DEFEND MYSELF") Then we get over sensitive and go overboard in defending ourselves. The pendulum needs time to swing to the middle. For some of us this takes longer than for others. IT'S A MATTER OF TRUST. In many ways, for those of us who were abused as children, we have to grow up all over again in a more healthy fashion. We have to learn to trust others, no easy task when 95% of the people we've encountered in our lives have betrayed us in one way or another. Plus, when we were children, we were violated in the worst ways. And we were not allowed through fear of further torment to defend ourselves. WE ARE LEARNING TO DEFEND OURSELVES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR LIVES AND IT AIN'T EASY!!!
One final thought, I hope this comes out right!!! Please try not to ridicule or chastise when someone is just trying to keep safe. There is no right way to do this healing thing and we all come up with strategies to deal with stuff. Sometimes what we come up with when we don't know what else to do or have tried everything our strategies may seem trite, but at that point in our healing it's all we can do.
by my dear friend, Nancy