How to start healing the relationship you have with yourself.
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Hello my friends. Do you ever have where you have to like go through security or something? And you're like freaking out because you just feel like you've done something wrong even though in your head you know you've done nothing wrong or is it just me? It's not just me. Something that I have observed in myself and with other abuse survivors is a general sense of just something being colossally fucked up about ourselves. Like thinking that somehow we are just really despicable people and like holding ourselves accountable to impossible standards and then using that as an excuse to beat ourselves up. And on the surface, this seems really irrational and can become like yet another thing that you're beating yourself up about. But it actually makes a lot of sense that you feel this way and are treating yourself this way. When you're in an abusive relationship, you are being trained so to speak, to see yourself very negativel. The abuser tends to throw a lot of accusations your way. I know my ex loved to accuse me of things. And you end up spending a lot of time defending yourself or being in a defensive stance where you are having to justify what you said or did and explain yourself, because they are accusing you of something far fetched and usually awful. And when you've spent a lot of time in defensive mode, it creates this general feeling of wrongness. Like when you spend all your time in defensive mode, it starts to feel like maybe you are the problem. Like if something bad happens, you just like jump to the conclusion that it must be your fault. And it starts to color how you see yourself. And in this way you end up in an abusive relationship with yourself. Now the one doing the accusing is you; you're doing what your abuser used to do to you to yourself. I've been thinking about this because I noticed that when I'm going to do something new or say something that pushes the edge of my comfort zone, I will find myself like in an argument in my head defending my decision. Often before I've even done anything; I'm just like anticipating the negativity and responding accordingly. And I have an ongoing practice of curiosity with myself. So I was like, huh, all right, Melinda, what is this? Why the defensiveness no one is like attacking you? And then I realized that these arguments that take place in my head, the negative attacker voice is always the same. And it's always my mom's voice. And that realization was interesting. And it was interesting because it also had coincided with the realization that in various situations, she consistently tends to assume the worst about me. Like if there are numerous ways to interpret something, she chooses the interpretation that is built on the premise of the worst case scenario. And I don't think I had noticed until I started spending time around people who always gave me the benefit of the doubt. Who, even if I confess something that I felt was awful, would still choose to see me in the best light. Before, I thought that other people were reflecting the truth back at me. But then I realized that everything people are reflecting back to you is colored by their own biases, their own assumptions, how they are choosing to see you. Are they choosing to cast you as the villain or are they choosing to give you the benefit of the doubt? And as I contemplated this revelation, I realized that yes, my whole childhood was spent in a misunderstood defensive energy. And this is probably why I always had a general sense of wrongness. Not just doing wrong but of being wrong. Like my very existence was wrong. And this has led me to a commitment to pay attention to my energy. Like I am really paying attention to when I am feeling defensive or feeling the need to justify myself because those are the indications that I am around someone who isn't good for me. Someone who I should limit my interactions with. Because I do think that when you are starting to address this behavior in yourself, it doesn't do you any favors, to be around people who are doing this to you. Like even noticing when you are seeing yourself in the worst light becomes more obvious when you start being around people who see you in the best light. So I think one of the first steps toward mending This is to pay attention to the people around you and limiting the interaction with people who are committed to misunderstanding you or villainizing you. Otherwise, it's like trying to go to the gym every day to lose weight but still eating a tub of ice cream a day. Like to make real progress in the gym, you have to put down the ice cream. And this is the same way. In order to start making progress on healing the negative bias towards yourself, you have to put distance between yourself and what caused it in the first place which is people always assuming the worst about you. And then once you are aware that you are seeing yourself like this, you can start to play with it. So I will usually automatically assume the worst or take the worst view or the worst judgment I could make about myself and that would come up first. But once I was aware that this was something I did, I could make myself consider other alternatives. So I will routinely ask myself what is another way to see this? If you have people in your life that do always choose to see you in the best light, you can ask yourself what would they say to this? And just let yourself be in a curious kind of energy and play with the idea that there might be other viewpoints to consider and open yourself up to that possibility. For example, I do dog sitting and before dog sitting I would have said that I just love dogs period. But over the course of sitting so many dogs, I have found that I do like dogs in general, but some individuals I hate. Like some dogs are straight up assholes. And at first I was like oh my God, how can you sit dogs if you don't like all of the dogs? Like what kind of person doesn't love all the dogs and I was just telling myself that I was this horrible despicable person for hating some of the dogs. And it's not like I did anything bad to the dogs I didn't like; they still got fed taken outside and tucked into bed at night. I might have pet them a little less than dogs I like, sure, but I was making that mean that I was despicable and awful. And I'm a terrible dog sitter and I should quit dog sitting. And that was the automatic response. The worst case scenario the worst light possible. And it felt awful. Like I felt terrible when I was thinking this. And so then, as is my habit ,I asked myself what other viewpoints are there here. And I actually came up with like the exact opposite could be true. I am so good at dog sitting that I don't even have to like the dog to take such good care of them. That I am so talented at dog care my personal feelings don't even affect the caretaking of the dog. And that point of view felt so much better. I was like even sort of proud of myself with that point of view. So I went with that one. The circumstance was the same either way right me not liking certain dogs. But the way I chose to see myself in light of those circumstances was my choice. And so I would invite you start playing with the idea that there might be alternative viewpoints available to you. That there might be different ways to interpret yourself. Healing the relationship with yourself and the way you see yourself starts with that curiosity, that willingness to play with alternatives. And I can tell you that the more you choose the option that puts you in a positive light, the quicker and easier the positive options come to you. Like I am definitely noticing it gets easier and easier and sometimes I've even seen myself default to the positive viewpoint of myself. Which is amazing, so refreshing and just feel so much better and based on where I started ,feels like nothing short of a miracle. So I know that's possible for you too. All right, my friends. Until next time, be well