New Year, Same Me, But Better

Most people are super careful with what they say in front of children, I think we need to pay more attention to what we’re saying to grown ups. Do I believe that we all have unhealed childhood trauma?  YUP

Do I feel we need to be on the lookout for potentially traumatic situations and unhealthy relationships as adults?

Double YUP

When I would think of the word trauma, pictures of car accidents, house fires and physical abuse jumped into my imagination.  Not all trauma is aggressive and violent.  Not all trauma leaves physical scars.  Because we can’t see it, we pretend it’s not there. Oh, but it is. It’s  running in the background of our thoughts.

If your trauma happened in a ski accident, say you broke your leg, you would go treat it.  Treat it with care from a doctor, a licensed professional, get a cast on it to protect it, maybe have it reset, probably get some therapy for it too, to keep it strong and up your odds of a full recovery.

We need to do the same for our emotional traumas.

It is just as important to heal your mental state as it is your physical state.  More so even.  The mental trauma affects your every behavior, response and reaction.  Our natural instincts to protect ourselves and avoid pain dictates these behaviors.  Imagine if you were free from that defense mechanism. Those safety nets are harming you. Imagine rewiring your thought pattern so that instead of eating, drinking or smoking your feelings, you journal, or exercise or meditate or go fishing. Replace the destructive behavior with acts of self care.

I am way off topic though.  The power of words was my actual topic.  It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Meaning the pain and trauma you can inflict with words is worse than taking the beating.  The damage isn’t visible to the eye, but believe me when I tell you, people see it, they sense it and some a-holes are even attracted to it.  When you are damaged, you are easier to control.  Your kryptonite is engaging people that exploit and take advantage of your self loathing behavior and practices.

Here are some of the things that were said to me as an adult.  All came from other adults. Some of them recently.

I was told that I give up too easily.

I was told that I have no confidence.

I was told that I could not do something because I don’t have a degree.

I was told that I would be nothing without my partner.

I was told that I was crazy to leave my marriage.

Ah, but I had the antidote.

I would abuse just enough drugs and alcohol to not feel the sting of these words, but the irony is that those abusive behaviors would also perpetuate and reinforce those beliefs.

When you are an addict and have addictive tendencies you pretend to feel good about yourself.  You have to uphold that persona, at least when you are a highly functioning addict. That is just part of our survival. One of the many masks we wear throughout our days. I hid all of my dirty little secrets and habits as best I could.

Was there an actual measurable length of time where I honestly felt great or good about myself when I was abusing drugs, alcohol, food, etc.?

No. Absolutely not.

Hell, I still have my moments.  Sometimes I even have days filled with them.  But that’s it. A fleeting moment. A blip. I can get through anything for a moment.

Then eventually the time in between these moments gets longer and the moments become fewer.  So the key is just taking it moment to moment sometimes.  If you think weeks or months into the progress you want to make, you will be overwhelmed.  When I would get overwhelmed, I would do nothing.  I would be paralyzed with the anxiety of not being good enough to accomplish the goal.  I basically gave up before I started. So make the goal the next five minutes.  Not the next five months.

But that is still not what I wanted to talk about.

Let’s get back to the words we use, the words that get used against us and the power they have over us.  They can affect us indefinitely when not confronted or even acknowledged.

The comments that were said to me were definitely came from stone throwing people living in glass houses.  There might not have been malice behind their words, but that doesn’t erase the crushing blow my ego took.

The “you have no confidence” line, that shook my confidence.  Made me question so many things.

“You give up too easily”, that compelled me to not follow through with things to completion.

“You’re crazy for leaving.”   I drove myself mad in every romantic relationship since I left my marriage. I didn’t feel safe enough with anyone to let my guard down, relax and enjoy.

I didn’t have to say these things to myself, they were implanted in my brain and stuck on repeat.  Then I eventually became all of the things.  A self fulfilling prophecy.  Full disclosure, my go to behavior when I have anxiety or feel depressed is binge eating and i just inhaled 6 vanilla oreos.  For breakfast.  It was with tea and it is Christmas Day and I unexpectedly am spending the holiday alone, so I am not going to stress about it too much.  Plus I didn’t eat the entire package.  That totally could have happened. It’s a win.

I digress.

The truth is that facing that shitty voice in my head, unpacking the feelings that the negative dialogue invokes and dissecting the self sabotaging behaviors that comes with it all is hella triggering.  Emotional. Deflating. Exhausting.

Would you rather feel some moments of discomfort or experience a lifetime of destructive behaviors?  Its not easy, but its worth it.

Worth it to dissolve and release the pain.

Worth it to clear the blocks that hold you back from going after your dreams.

Worth it to feel aligned and enlightened.

The process helps me to regain my confidence and determination. It brings me clarity and restores my sanity.  I remember who I am. I get real clear about my worth and my value and all the good I bring to the table.  Then I can share that good, and the positive vibe just keeps expanding. When it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t, just try again. Keep trying until it does work.

Those old behaviors would breed a people pleasing attitude. I didn’t want anyone to be mad at me or dislike me.  I didn’t want to seem opinionated or be seen as difficult.  I can’t be more generous and pay more attention and care for others than myself.  That’s not why we are here. We need to give ourselves grace here.

This is the God’s honest truth.  Not everyone can come. Elevation sometimes requires separation. You won’t always get the closure you crave or the apology you deserve.  It’s ok to not fulfill agreements that are causing more harm than good and put you in the passenger seat of your life.

The truth is if you aren’t getting the results that you want or working actively on your dream, visions and ideas, you are most certainly working on someone else’s.  Examine your circle, cut the fat.  Stop wasting time and being the go to person for people you can’t go to.  You have to get out of your own way.

The good news is that transformation is possible.

All of it can be done with love too.

LOVE FOR YOU.  You can live your best life and you can start now.  If you are waiting for permission,

I give you permission to love yourself, to put yourself first and to take inspired action in the direction of your dreams. I’ll help you, take my hand.

It can happen, because YOU said so. Your words are powerful.

Happy New Year.

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Mary C. Smith

Smart, funny, honest, practical and sometimes in-your-face advice on relationships, being single, finance, self care and life in the city. Catch her in action at IG @ohmygirlmedia