Abused but not broken…

This article made me think of something I was told once by someone I thought was either quite ignorant or very bitter from past experiences….or both maybe.

“Volunteering and giving to a community or person is just a way to take the focus off yourself, but everyone is selfish and they aren’t giving anything to you so why bother?”

Well to an extent I agree, volunteering is a way to take the focus off of self. But it’s not about getting something in return (which is why it’s VOLUNTEERING, not bartering or employment). The reward is internal and for me is a result of the look of (insert positive emotion) on the face(s) of who ever I am helping at the moment.

I also believe that for those of us struggling with control issues it’s a way to reclaim some of our power. I personally love the feeling and thought that I’m NOT powerless. I DO have something to offer. I CAN help others. I’m valuable to my neighbors and community, even if in the smallest way.

I don’t share my reasons with my children except to point out that it’s helping someone else. And they’ve grown to enjoy it on their own and without my suggestion. I love that impact, positive additions to society.

 

 

Where I am thinking of volunteering..

Originally posted on Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD:

http://www.powerofpositivity.com/9-signs-time-let-go-relationship/

Well as per this list, I should definitely be moving on. I have made all the parts that are issues in my marriage, bold.

Here are 9 signs it’s time to let go and move on

1. The person unremittingly breaks your trust.

There is a reason that trust is number one – because trust is the most important in each andevery kind of relationship. Trust is the foundation upon which a relationship is built, and it is mistrust which often destroys it. Nothing weakens a relationship more than being deceitful.

Something to understand – when you trust someone and they continuously break your trust, it’s not your fault it’s theirs. It’s very natural to immediately blame yourself for having trusted someone only to have them break that trust, but don’t.

It’s only through experience where we determine whether or not someone is trustworthy; either way, you’ll…

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Escaping the Victim Mentality

A victim mentality is one in which someone blames others for what happens or has happened in their world. It can also be considered a person who thinks the future only holds bad things for them or they are “unlucky.” It’s buying into and believing that circumstances are beyond your control. And it can be when you believe that what you’ve done or haven’t done during your life is the cause or reason for what’s happening in someone else’s life years and years later. This isn’t excusing someone that is actually an abuser. However, narcissistic and abusive people will have a victim of their abuse believing that they (the victim) are actually the abuser and that they’re crazy. Buying into that thought feeds that victim mentality.

A traumatic event such as child abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence can open the door for a person to believe that they’re destined to struggle, that they have or are bad luck. If you accept that way of thinking then you become a prisoner to your own limiting beliefs. For example, a small child sees his/her parent constantly struggling. That child hears the parent constantly blaming others (supervisor, co-worker, family member, friend) for whatever is going wrong. Every statement is about how nothing good ever happens to him/her. As this child grows that is the example they will follow. This child will engage in negative self talk (“I got a bad grade because I’m stupid and the teacher doesn’t like me”). As an adult when things don’t go right it’ll be because bad luck runs in the family or that no one ever taught him such and such. This child will always be the victim of circumstance, taking no responsibility for his own actions, and in essence attracting abusers.

This was me.

I’M THE VICTIM….ALWAYS

There’s a bit of security to be found in having a victim mentality. You really believe this is who you are so you learn to never expect more from the people around you so you don’t end up disappointed or hurt. People seem to help you more even though it’s usually out of pity. And you remove the personal responsibility from yourself because you have no control over yourself or your circumstances with this mentality. This mindset leaks into every part of your life, poisoning your self image, your relationship with everyone around you, and every opportunity that comes your way. It’s negative and unproductive because it will keep you from living. You just exist with this mentality. Survive, not thrive.

1. Take honest inventory. You have to be open and honest with yourself here. Admit to yourself if there are situations that YOU are accountable for? Even if you played a minor role, admit to yourself what your role was and accept it. Even though this may be difficult at first, this step will give you the freedom to move forward.

2. Acknowledge the pity party and your guests. A part of having a victim mentality is that somewhere along the way it was acknowledged and reinforced by others. As I said above, this usually comes from pity and that’s not a positive thing. Acknowledge those areas you can have more control over and figure out how to do just that.

3. Validate yourself. A huge part of falling into a victim mentality is that someone along the way put you in this role. Something happened. And 9 times out of 10, your experience, thoughts, feelings weren’t validated by those around you. And you got stuck in the victim role. Well validate yourself. It happened, whatever it was. And it hurt. In my case it happened over and over again in my own mind each time someone wrote it off as either not happening or not being a bid deal. Well that’s painful to a victim of abuse! However, you have to be strong enough to say “YES IT HAPPENED, BUT I WILL NOT ALLOW IT TO CONTINUE WITH MY EMOTIONS AND THOUGHTS.” Take a deep breath, it’s not happening now. Learn to take the lessons with you, be more cautious, more alert, or whatever you have to do, but don’t take the victimizing woe is me thoughts with you. And if you need to, get support from a therapist or coach.

4. Step into the light. You are the writer of your own story. Do you want to keep living the old story? Do you want to hide in the shadows? You know the old story, but now is the time to write a new one. In your new story focus on solutions, positive thoughts, positive people, supportive circles. This will help you get out of the shadows of the past.

5. Count your blessings. The power of positive thinking is a powerful tool. Focus on what you have, the good that’s happened in your life, what you’ve learned about yourself and other. Look at your strength, you’re still standing. If you need to, make a list. I did this for a time. I kept a journal in which I wrote at least 5 things I was thankful for every single day. Initially it was hard to think of that many (as if 5 is a big number right?) things to add at the end of the day. But after a short time of struggling to find the positives I began to see more and more things in my every day and in my past to be thankful for. I stopped keeping the journal simply because I didn’t have enough time in the evening to sit and write it all down!

I’m writing this post because I’ve been looking at those around me and seeing how my attitude now is affecting my relationships with them. And I’m remembering those relationships just a few months ago. Major difference. The victim mentality is felt by others, including your children. It was very hard for me to take control and reclaim my power. It’s still hard at times. But I had to realize that I was attracting what I put out into the universe. I was relying on those around me for my happiness, yet never expecting them to make me happy at the same time. Can we say crazy? Ok, maybe not crazy, but definitely not logical, possible, positive, or productive.

If you’ve read any of my story then you know that I was a victim of child sexual abuse, verbal, emotional, and mental abuse. And I have struggled with that for 26 years. I’m in a very good place right now, but that has taken work. And I know it will take work to maintain it. These are steps I know that I will have to take over and over to achieve that. I’m hoping that by sharing my story, my struggles, my failure, and my triumphs someone else will be empowered, encouraged, and blessed.

*I want it to be understood that no where in this message do I want it to come across as abuse being the fault of the victim and the abuser being free of responsibility. This message is simply a matter of you choosing yourself and your life over the abuser and you winning your personal war.

One day I just woke up….

Hello all. I’m still here, still alive, still moving forward. I think I am anyway. After my last post I fell way back, wallowed in depression for a bit, allowed stress to overtake me…..until I simply couldn’t anymore.

I’d reached this point. I got up one day and just thought to myself that enough was enough. I’m in my early 30’s. I have a husband and 2 kids. I looked around and back over my life and realized I’ve never really lived, just existed. And I was tired.

Well now I’m tired for other reasons. I got up, got out, and got busy. Busy praying and trying to reconnect my spirit. Because honestly I’ve found it hard to pray at times. I’ve thought often that He’s not listening anyway, otherwise all of the things that happened to me as a child wouldn’t have happened.

I engaged myself in what was going on with my kids. I’ve always been involved, but there’s a difference between being involved and being engaged. It’s been liking operating in a cloud of light, my energy is different and my munchkins feel it.

I got busy advocating for other victims of abuse. Won’t say much here, but it’s been so rewarding on so many levels that I can’t even explain. And I’m so grateful to be helping someone else.

And I got busy working for myself. I launched a business I started 2 years ago and never really pushed for and now I’m up and rolling. I’m excited and rejuvenated, but exhausted at the same time. It’s a happy exhaustion though. I go to bed and I’m actually sleeping! For 4 hours at least lol

Anyway, that’s my update. I’m not going to do the other things I’ve so busy with and that’s homework. I’m determined to accelerate this year so gotta stay focused!

Until next time….

 

Fear for my mulatto son

Last night I had to have a chat with my son that left me feeling so drained and broken hearted. It was basically a “welcome to the world” speech. You’d think those would be nice and exciting talks. But not if you’re a male of ethnic background.

This talk began because my son decided he’d like to grow his hair out and wear it in locks. Innocent enough you’d think. But my mind immediately went into panic mode. Why? Because a hispanic/black/mulatto male with locks is automatically assumed to be a thug, a hoodlum, up to no good, just bad all the way around. And although my initial point was that he’d soon be going to look for his first job and a clean cut look would take him farther, my talk turned into warnings of all kinds.

All of his life I’ve taught him to be himself. To be bold in what he believes in and to always, always stand on the side of truth. I’ve taught him to look out for those around him, but do not ever cause any trouble in the process. I’ve taught him to be an individual, but remain presentable. And yes, I’ve taught him about keeping safe and we’ve had a few chats about racism and discrimination. But it really occurred to me last night that we haven’t talked enough. I haven’t prepared him enough. And I stood there last night looking up at my 6’1″ son and realized that he could very easily end up being another Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown or any of the countless others simply because of his skin color. And my fears all spilled out at once. And tears fell.

I remember during the Trayvon Martin case people saying that my son, who loves the warmth of a hoodie, resembled Trayvon. I remember the comments when Michael Brown was killed. Things like, “well what would you expect with a boy of that size, he’s obviously a thug.” I remember that the types of grades they made in school was brought under scrutiny. What extra curricular activities they were involved or not involved in was brought up. And my thoughts went to what he’ll face when he leaves my home, this town. Is he 100% safe here? No, I don’t think so. But here I’m known. My mother is known. My son volunteers and is active at school and known in a positive light. But what about when he goes off in the world? How will a stranger see him? Just another thug? Will white women clutch their purses tighter when he walks near? Will he be followed around in stores and watched as though he’s a shoplifter? Will he be pulled over because he “looks suspicious”? Will he be the suspect because he fits the broad description of a 6’1″ (or however tall he is at that point) black or hispanic male? All of these questions because I know that the world won’t stop to notice the volunteer work he’s done. No one will concern themselves with the many letter I’ve received from teachers thanking me for bringing him to their school and complimenting his manners, respectfulness, and independence. They won’t care about his love of marching band and competitions. And no one will even think to ask about the friends he helps comforts or the strangers he donates things to because they just look like they need it.

As all of these thoughts came and the words spilled out I watched my sons face flash from confusion, to fear, to anger, to exhaustion. And I realized that I haven’t prepared him enough. And I’m not sure I ever really can. You see, I know what life is like for a black/mulatto woman. But a black/hispanic/mulatto man? No, I can’t imagine their journey. My heart hurts at what I’ve witnessed of those around me. And the fears and sorrow for what my son will inevitably face, the struggle to keep his image untarnished, overwhelm me. I know and he now knows that there is no benefit of the doubt for him. There is no opportunity to prove himself. There isn’t a clean slate. He started out with 2 strike and his struggle will always be to fix the image, not to create one.

He listened so intently. His head dropped a few times and I could almost see the wheels turning and the headache pulsing in his temples. I told him I love him when I was done and that I just need to prepare him, but at the same time I want to much to protect him. And my son, my baby that’s now bigger and stronger than me, looked at me and said, “mom I know and I appreciate that. You’ve done a great job sheltering me and letting me be a kid. But I have to learn so I’ll know how to handle these situations if I ever reach them.”

I’m a mixture of pride, love, and fear. I will never forget those words. Mostly because of the hope and naivety of them. Because it isn’t a matter of IF he’ll reach them. The only question if WHEN.

Day 25: 100 Day Happy

 

Today (and the past few days) I’m happy for spiritual connections and good friends to offer encouragement. Things look so much better when you’re spiritually healthy versus how bleak things can seem when you’re not. I remember at times to smile and press through all on my own. At other times I can feel so terribly alone and like I’m sinking. In those times someone always says or writes just the thing I need as a reminder. And it hits home if I pay attention. So today I’m enjoying this song as it resonates in my spirit.

Day 21-24: 100 Days Happy

Ok somehow I believe you aren’t supposed to group days for this challenge, however I’m doing it my way! My kids and I went on a mini vacation to Orlando with a dear friend we haven’t seen in a few years. It was so great to kick back and relax, I needed that in the worse way (thanks friend). We spent a day at Universal Studios where all of our children had a blast. They were all terribly exhausted at the end of the day (so were we) but in a very happy and satisfied way. It was wonderful! I love to see my babies smile, thoroughly enjoyed seeing my friend, and loved the time spent with his son as well.

So here are my past 4 days of happy’s:

Day 21: safe travels down to Orlando

Day 22: The misting fans at Universal Studios!! 

Day 23: My friend’s safe return home

Day 24: Recovery time and physical therapy

Yep that sums it up….now to apply ice to my back. I’m paying for this bit of fun.

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