More on Trust:

For the last several years I’ve been working on trusting myself. That looks like trusting my feelings, thoughts, and body. I’ve been validating the things that come up for me to create consistency, so that I no longer question myself and what comes up for me. This has been a process, and un-doing that has been a slow consistent effort that has taken so much practice. I think in my last post I wrote about this through being gaslit, and I wanted to write more about learning to trust myself, through a different lens.

Just over 10 years ago I got into a car accident, and on the same day, I fell pretty hard on my tailbone. On that day, I did a lot of damage that ended up really hurting me for years to come. I did treat it at the time with some chiropractic, some light PT, and massage. I have to be honest though, I was in my mid 20’s and taking care of my body wasn’t very important to me. Now that I’m in my mid 30’s, it’s something I cannot take for granted anymore. 

I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone how badly my issues with my lower back, hips, and spinal area can be for me. I have a lot of fear of my own body hurting, and the impact on my daily life it has. It hurts daily and most days it’s fine, or okay… and then sometimes it gets triggered and I’m out. I can’t sleep due to the pain and I end up at the chiropractor which helps and it gets better within a week or two. Since Covid, the daily pain has gotten worse. I was in the chiropractor often, and my right hip had adjusted itself and I was walking crooked every day. I also had moments where I literally was losing function of my spine and was falling to the ground, with my feet swooping underneath me. I was in tears nearly every day. 

For the last several years I’ve taught myself how to take care of my body, as a reaction to pain. I was lifting my leg into my car with my hands to alleviate pain, I was pushing on the steering wheel to get out, I would put pillows on the floor if I knew I was going to be there a while, I had a system for flipping myself over in my bed (talk about a beached whale visual), I avoided certain kinds of exercise, I hated bending over (so I avoided it as much as possible), I do not like emptying the dishwasher or putting things in lower cabinets… All of these things were a natural avoidance for me, It became a muscle memory that I embedded to protect my body, and the pain that would come with it. 

Chiropractic, and protecting my body have been temporary solutions. I knew it was temporary, I also knew that it was a bandaid to the real problem. The solution? Was strengthening my core, of course, something I had been avoiding. I got referred to physical therapy and have made a lot of progress in such a short amount of time. I acknowledge that this will be a long journey to get my strength and build trust with-in myself. 

By building strength, I am also building trust in myself to be able to trust my body. Trust that I do not have to protect it anymore in the way that I had been. Trust it to get into my car on its own without extra support, trust that it won’t hurt if I tie my shoes or put on my pants. Also, trust that I will continue to do the work. I’ve been building trust with-in my brain, and the movement that comes with it. Retraining muscles to work correctly, retraining my brain to not be anxious when I bend over, and allow my body to do these things in slow, safe environments. 

Other things that have been helping: Noticing and validating my success, taking it really slow, heating pads, ice packs and massage.  

Gaslighting and Trauma

Medical news today defines gaslighting as “a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories. People experiencing gaslighting often feel confused, anxious, and unable to trust themselves.”

As a survivor of a gaslit child, I really wanted to write about this because of the effects it has on your everyday life. It is also a cycle of society we see and accept, and most people do not even know it’s happening. It’s a tactic that people use to gain control. Oftentimes, people who gaslight others, are ones who have been gas lit themselves. I didn’t even realize how large of an issue this was until our most recent election. If you say something out loud enough that isn’t true, because you want that to be people’s reality, more and more people will push it as the truth, and eventually it will be so ingrained in people’s brains as the truth, that it will just be their reality. Also, if you think something is true (that isn’t true), you are gaslighting yourself, and that my friends is the cycle of cyclical gaslighting.

As a child, and growing up in my early 20’s I didn’t even think that my childhood was that bad, and to be honest I can’t remember most of it. I made excuses for myself, and him. I often would say, well I didn’t get beat or sexually assaulted. This was the reel that I built in my brain for years, and all that did was just shove it down even more. I shoved it to a place where I was 280lbs. I shoved it with sex and relationships with men who were less than what I was deserving of. I shoved it into debt that, well let’s be real, my dad paid off when he died. I do not want to dis-value other peoples experiences, or trauma. There are people in this world who have seen, heard, and been a victim to so many horrific things. I am just saying no matter what experience you have, if I hadn’t validated my own experience and addressed it as it is, I could not be here where I am today. 

When you are not accepting the truth about your past, it’s perpetuating the cyclical gaslighting and giving it power. It turns into you constantly lying to yourself, altering your reality in which later can create confusion about what actually happened. Even though giving it light is painful, you are helping yourself move forward and heal from what happened to you. 

For most of my life, I have been paranoid about humans, and their objectives with me. I have been confused in my own truths and realities, my inner self has been super chaotic and panicked. I have been known to create stories in my brain about what people are thinking and let them be true. I would be anxious, panicked, and would constantly worry (when I say worry, I really mean panic, and live in fear of my own anxieties) about what people thought about me. When in reality, it does not matter what people think about you. If you are doing a good job, or are doing what you need to do and validate yourself in that, then that’s all that is important. 

Until recently,  (age 35), 3 years after my dad’s death, years and years of therapy and practicing new behaviors I have been able to really learn how to trust myself. The biggest piece of this is re-parenting yourself, it’s validating your inner self. It builds trust, it builds confidence, it builds acceptance of yourself, and it builds a more positive inner monologue. 

For the last 6 or so years I have been working with the best team who literally, only wants the best for me. I’ve been so lucky to have had them be a part of this part of my journey. I do not think I could be where I’m at without them. Their consistency, and accepting nature is what has helped me come so far. I’ve been able to change the story I tell myself in my brain, in a safe and healthy work environment. 

Un-doing gas lighting is still happening in my world, but I’ve gotten so much better at seeing my current reality. It’s been a slow and consistent process. 

I do want to write about one example that really made an impact on my process, I had a severe ptsd reaction to it and ended up having to go home from work. I was on the phone with a Probation Officer, whom I was not prepared to talk to her or ask her questions. Towards the end of the conversation she said I was interrupting her and being quite hostile. I was confused by what had just happened, and anxious. My body was shaking, and I had things rolling through my brain. I left work. I was crying, I spent the afternoon completely traumatized. I hadn’t been triggered like that in a long time. 

I remembered interrupting her (which I totally owned up to) , and I do not remember being hostile. To me hostile means rude, calling names, intimidating and something larger. Like awful, and I was anything but awful to her on the phone.  It was her tone on the phone, and her calling me hostile that set me off. It was a trigger of being blamed by my dad for his reactions as a child, and obviously it had a reaction on me. It made me question my tone, our conversation and what I had said to her. Just because someone says something to you about yourself, doesn’t mean it is true. It’s what you validate in yourself that is important, because I was not hostile on the phone with her. I’m not a hostile person, seriously, I do not have it in me. 

This example, though, was a turning point in my healing and a lot of grief came out. It helped me learn to validate my own experiences and my current real-ity.

The opposite of Scarcity is Abundance.

I had this appiphony recently about scarcity. Recently we got snowed in here and it brought on this chaos for people. When the media sounds the alarm for winter storm warning the community reacts, the shelves go bare and people freak out. (I am sure there is a word for this, but I don’t know what it is) Anyway, this thing happens where people start to panic and think the accopolyps is coming. When we loose some control, or we think we’re going to loose some sort of control in our lives, it creates a panic. Our body and mind responds and we are left with anxiety and fear. Anxiety is something that our body feels, and fear… Fear is made up in our brain in reaction to things that are happening around us. 

When snow happens, especially here, people are fearful they won’t be able to leave their house or even have power. Because of this, people react, they buy things. People will spend hours at the grocery stores in line to get their needs met. They buy shovels, generators, flashlights, batteries, food… Etc.

There is this scarcity factor that kicks in, and people surround themselves with abundance. 

I have been seeing someone lately, and all though I don’t see it as a forever thing we really do enjoy each others company right now. Something happened recently that triggered this response I wasn’t really prepared for. He had stopped engaging with me for a while and shifted this routine we had started. I started to get anxious and fearful. My body turned into a wreck. I was shaking, binge eating and not being present. I was being irrational, not thinking clearly, and really relied on instant gratification. At some point I just expressed to him that I thought he was just being nice, and letting me off easy. When I said this to him, he reported back that he wouldn’t do that because we agreed to communicate when we were done, at least where we were at along the way. 

After sitting with this for a while I took a trip down memory lane. I have felt scarcity in multiple relationships, and situations. When things are in chaos and or feel out of control, I have over compesated with abundance of lots of things; Food, people (wether they are positive or not), belongings, other buying and drinking…. All impulsive behavior used in excess in order to compensate for what I was not getting. I was coping with substances, and using that to cover up and hide the things that come with scarcity. 

And that is where I am at. I don’t have any sound alive about how to overcome this at this time.