New beginnings & change

tree-2718836_1920

Before I talk about today’s topic, I just wanted to remind you that I have released my first PDF course which is aimed at helping you become more assertive and stop your people-pleasing habits.

To view the contents of this course, please click the link below:

Assertiveness course introduction

There are 5 places left for the discounted price I am offering so if you are interested then get in touch now by leaving a comment below.

In today’s post I wanted to talk about the challenge of new beginnings..

As much as they can be exciting and refreshing, new beginnings can sometimes be very tough. The fear of the unknown can be very daunting.

When things don’t go as we planned, how do we deal with the fallout?

No matter how perfectly we may have planned everything and thought everything through, the uncontrollable will always be there..

What if we moved to a new location and then our dream job ended up being a nightmare?

What if our new partner cheated on us?

What if we changed careers only to realise that it isn’t what we thought it would be?

How do we cope with life’s unexpected challenges?

After the initial disappointment or grief, how do we keep moving forward?

What if we get very scared and anxiety starts creeping in to our daily lives?

Owning our fears gives us control over our worries rather than our worries and fears controlling us.

Asking ourselves ‘What am I scared of?” can be very helpful. Writing down our fears can also help us clarify things a bit more.

Trying to change our negative thoughts into more positive ones, can make a huge difference in the way we feel. CBT works wonders for this!

If we think to ourselves that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, then we can give ourselves a temporary boost of hope.

Having supportive friends or family around us can also greatly help..

Sometimes though we can feel more down than we had anticipated and sometimes we may feel so unmotivated that all we want to do is stay in bed and hide all day! That is also okay, as long as it doesn’t become a habit!

The following quote is one of my favourites regarding change:

“When we make a change, it’s so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as a result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental health and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural. This is change.” — Jeanette Winterson

When we look back on the tough times in our life, do we ever find that they taught us something useful?

I have had 2 of these moments..The 2 toughest times in my life, helped me make huge changes in my life for the better and for those times I will be forever grateful!

As Freud once said:

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” — Sigmund Freud

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Healing from abuse

The sad thing about healing from abuse is that many people who haven’t themselves been abused, can’t possibly understand the survivor’s journey.

Healing from abuse is unique to each individual who has experienced it. The survivor will be emotionally damaged and/or physically hurt and unfortunately this damage is sometimes irreversible. Abuse leaves behind scars unique to each survivor’s experience.

Although healing means that your mind and body are able to recover, this doesn’t mean that the person can return to being ‘normal’.

The aftermath of abuse is usually permanent.

There might be long-lasting Complex PTSD for those who suffered child abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping or other severe types of abuse.

For some individuals abuse might be all they have known. They don’t have a pre-trauma or pre-abuse identity. They might not know what it is truly like to feel safe.

To all survivors of abuse or trauma,it is very important to remember this:

FontCandy (3)

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Grief

FontCandy (20)

Grief is a huge part of life and yet a very painful one. We all experience it and for some people grief can be an even bigger part of their lives than for others.

Grief can be about so many things, not just the death of a person.

Every new beginning means that there was also an ending and every ending can leave a trail of grief. Grief can be experienced at the end of a relationship, the end of a job, leaving the town you grew up in, saying goodbye to friends or family, saying goodbye to a beloved pet or business or even saying goodbye to life as a single person.

What are your experiences with grief?

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

The aftermath of a traumatic incident

As much as I dislike watching the news and tend to limit what I take in, it is increasingly difficult to not be affected by the constant bombardment of war footage, terrorist attacks, murder and suffering.

When you are a highly sensitive & empathetic person, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sadness of others. I am very much aware of the cruel injustice in our world and it hurts me deeply to see so many suffering. It is even tougher when this is repeated in your own country. Due to the fact that I know what it feels like to have your life threatened, I decided to make the following video on the aftermath of trauma. This is my small contribution towards all those affected.

Despite my traumatic childhood, I was also once caught up in armed robbery, where a gunshot went off right next to me and a woman was lying on the floor with blood on her leg. The disbelief of what I had witnessed was indescribable. The terror I felt shook me to the core. I couldn’t comprehend how someone could shoot a gun, when everyone at the cashier was cooperating and the robbers had managed to get their money.

This armed robbery happened at a time where I was very vulnerable already as my CPTSD was really bad. All I could think of after this robbery was ‘not again, not another trauma to add to my list’. Life felt so unfair and scary on that day and my mind was telling me that there was more damage done and that I would not recover this time.

If it wasn’t for my kind therapist at the time, to ground me and tell me that I wasn’t going to let this swallow me, I don’t know how I would have coped in the long term.

So this video is for those of you who are new to trauma. It is helpful in understanding yourself after a traumatic experience and it gives you the tools you need to ride the emotional waves that may at times feel like they are taking over.

Although I am not a qualified psychotherapist, I do have a lot of insight into trauma through my own journey and I know the many things that helped me, as well as others. If you are someone who is in deep distress, then please call a qualified mental health professional.

Thank you so much for reading & watching! ♥

Please share this post if you think it will help others.

Check out my patreon page below, if you would like to support the creation of more videos, documents and fact sheets.

https://www.patreon.com/AthinaEhlen

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Dealing with parental estrangement

If you have become estranged from your parents, it’s important to remember that this can be a very vulnerable place to be. Making the decision to become estranged from your family may alleviate some of the instant emotional pain after a huge argument, however, many people find that estrangement is a constant battle in their life, as it can cause them to endlessly think about their situation, even if they do feel an initial sense of relief.

Some people become estranged from their parents because they have been emotionally, physically or sexually abusive during childhood or beyond. This is a difficult decision to make but sometimes a necessary one. It’s immensely tricky to continue a healthy relationship if there has been abuse, and it can be extremely risky to continue a genuine relationship with this family member without the right professional intervention and support.

Others become estranged with their parents or siblings due to conflicts about religion or sexuality. This can also be especially painful, as the adult child isn’t able to truly be who they are. Authenticity is crucial for a happy life.

DSCN3757 (2)

Grieving the estrangement from a parent, no matter what the circumstances, is a very important part of healing from it, as the loss of an accepting & healthy parent is an extremely painful experience, even more so than normal grief. Nothing will ever fill the void of not having had what every child so rightfully deserves. Comfort, validation & unconditional love. Realising that a parent was never truly able to love & accept you, is utterly heartbreaking.

Even if there was abuse, children never stop loving their parent unconditionally and never stop hoping that their parent will change. This is the main reason adult children remain in contact with a parent, despite any abuse that may have occured. They will always long for the unconditional love they never had. In cases when the abuse or invalidation was constant, the trauma bond will also be why the adult child finds it hard to cut ties with their parent.

If the adult child isn’t able to fully grieve the loss of a healthy parent, they will not be able to move forward in a new relationship with them. If the parent continues to be abusive, shows no remorse, shows no understanding and doesn’t make any attempts to make amends, then it is healthier for the relationship to end.

In both cases of estrangement and remaining in contact, grieving is essential. Grieving helps lift the intense painful heaviness of not having had your needs met in childhood. It helps lessen the anger, frustration and injustice.

Most importantly, the adult children who end up going ‘no contact’, have to learn to live with the ‘early death’ of their parent before that parents actually dies. They have to continue living their life, without any communication or knowledge of how that parent is. They have to swallow the grief that creeps up from time to time, during holidays, birthdays, Mother’s day, Father’s day and during other emotional times in their life.

Those adult children who were lucky enough to have had good childhoods, with unconditionally loving parents, will never truly understand the deep pain of those who didn’t have good childhoods.

Family estrangement is a huge challenge and living with it requires support in more ways than one. It is important to have counselling from time to time and to be surrounded by understanding friends or a partner that can truly empathize. Lastly, it is crucial for the estranged, to feel the sadness that emerges and be self-compassionate as much as possible.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here

The loss of what should have been

When you don’t get certain basic needs met in your childhood, there will come a time in your future where you will eventually become awakened to these unmet needs. Although this isn’t the same for everyone, there is usually one feeling which is most prevalent for most: ”The feeling of being ripped off”

This feeling of being ripped off, because you didn’t have a healthy family or because you no longer have a family to turn to, starts a very real and painful journey of mourning.

A lot of people who grew up with abusive parents, or in one parent families, or in families where their parents were chronically ill, learned to ‘live on autopilot’. They either had to push down their feelings to keep the peace, be a confidant or carer to the sick parent or learned that they had to solely rely on themselves. Even when they were scared and had no one to turn to as children, they had to keep going. As early adulthood approached, they may have found many ways to cope with this underlying feeling of sadness or anger, by drinking too much, working too much and generally trying to find ways to numb out any uncomfortable feelings that would creep up.

When an adult child is first awakened to the reality of what really was and what now is, they somehow know that things will never feel the same again. It might be that a certain event in their adult life uncovered feelings that had been buried deep inside them and suddenly the strength that they thought would always keep the safe, slowly starts to crumble. New anxieties, fears & losses start to unfold and the world suddenly starts to feel like a scary & unsafe place.

At this early stage of realisation, when adult children come to terms with the fact that they needed so much more than what they were given emotionally, the grief can feel overwhelming. Grief for adult children is a complex emotion because so much of the loss has been built up over time and they have long learned to adapt to the constant loss of an ideal childhood. Looking into the future feels bleak and they feel as if things are only going to get worse rather than better.

Through my own journey of grief, I learned that it isn’t a straightforward process and that it doesn’t have a certain time limit. When the grief was so overwhelming at times that I couldn’t imagine a better future, I reminded myself that it was necessary for me to truly feel the sadness. When your heart feels broken you have to let it heal and healing requires compassion & patience with yourself.

Pete Walker is a truly Inspirational Psychologist and survivor of childhood abuse. His words below really resonate:

 “…the broken heart that has been healed through grieving is stronger and more loving than the one that has never been injured.  Every heartbreak of my life, including the brokenheartedness of my childhood, has left me a stronger, wiser and more loving person than the one I was before I grieved”

The last thing that is worth mentioning, is that a lot of people don’t start their journey of recovery & grief from childhood trauma, unless it is emotionally safe for them to do so. It might be that they are in a supportive relationship and a stable environment and this enables them to ‘let go’ and just be vulnerable. It might be that they have found a therapist which they feel comfortable enough to be themselves.

Recovery from the losses of one’s childhood is necessary in order to restore balance & new found hope in the future.

FontCandy (29)

What is your experience?

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here

4 tips before going ‘No contact’ with a narcissistic parent

If you are currently considering ‘No contact’ with a narcissistic parent, then this video might be helpful.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Grief

Although grief is a huge part of life, it is something that none of us want to experience.

woman-1246587_1920

We can grieve over the loss of a loved one or beloved pet.

We can grieve over the loss of a job or home.

We can grieve whenever a new change happens in our lives, such as the loss of personal freedom when we have children or the loss of certain abilities when we become physically or mentally ill.

Sometimes the reasons we grieve are very subtle.

In general though, the journey through grief is a long one and it is important to give oneself time to grieve and to endure the overwhelming emotions that often accompany grief. Everyone moves at his or her own pace and along this path there will be circumstances which hinder one’s progress and circumstances which assist one’s progress. It may even take a lifetime to reach the desired goals of acceptance and inner peace.

If you are someone who grew up in an abusive & invalidating home, you will experience a more complicated type of grief. You will go through a grieving process which can take several years and will sometimes never completely go away. To not have had a nurturing & safe childhood means that you never experienced yourself as feeling nurtured & unconditionally loved. You will never, ever know what it is like to have healthy parents because this only happens once in your lifetime.You might only get glimpses of healthy families from friends that are lucky enough to have this and this will deeply hurt in its’ own way. If you were fostered, you might have finally managed to experience unconditional love later in your childhood but this still doesn’t completely undo the damage you have already experienced.

There are many ways to deal with grief. Ways that most of us have experienced to be healthy, such as allowing ourselves to cry and deeply feel our emotions of despair & unfairness.Crying doesn’t make us weak, it can actually strengthen us emotionally and physically. Crying stimulates production of endorphins which are the “feel good” hormones in our body.

Other ways are to turn to friends for support, write a journal or blog online. Exercise is also a great antidote to grief, no matter how hard it feels to actually do any.

The thing about grief that is important to remember is that it can feel mentally and physically exhausting. Practicing self-care during periods of grief is crucially important.

Rest & healthy eating are paramount during times of grief and reducing things like alcohol & drugs is also very important, as although you might feel like numbing yourself, this will only prolong the process of grieving.

If you are spiritual or have another faith, then this will also help you when you are feeling at your lowest.

It is also very important to try and avoid other stressful situations, especially at the early stages of grief.

sadness-717439_1920

 

What are your experiences with grief?

If you are currently grieving, then please feel free to use this page as an outlet for your painful emotions at the moment and for support.

Comments are always welcome..

Much love,

Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.