Breaking the cycle of your childhood abuse-Start being kind to yourself

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Of course it isn’t as simple as the 4 things written in the photo but it is definetely true that in order to break the horrible pattern of abuse from your childhood, you have to stop abusing yourself. YOU hold the answers to how much you will recover and it is up to you to start changing your thought patterns day by day..Nobody ever said it would be easy but it is possible..

The internalised messages of ‘You are not good enough, you are stupid’ are just repeats of what your abusers told you. They aren’t the ‘real’ you! The real you is a worthwhile person who deserves love and happiness.The real you is a person who deserves to heal and doesn’t need a nasty inner critic. With the help of a therapist or a coach, you can keep yourself on track. By having someone to report to, this might help you be more motivated. It is very important to keep trying as your brain needs sustained effort to learn ‘new, healthier messages’. That is why it is important to practice the above steps every day.

Your brain needs time to destroy the old habit wiring already in existence and then build new wiring for your new empowering positive affirmations.

Whatever your mind keeps hearing, it will eventually accept as truth. So what you want to do is to start repeating your new positive thoughts to yourself. Do it constantly. Do it repeatedly. Do it daily. Do it with passion, conviction and belief.

Recovery: Resilience means more than bouncing like a rubber ball

Very detailed post about Resilience! Thought it was brilliant!

Untangled Connections

Introduction

Throughout my recovery, many people praised or derided me for my resiliency.  I thought I knew what they meant about being a resilient person.  But I didn’t.  In my mind, resilience was just a word people used to describe how flexible and malleable I was.  Flexible meaning I was easily manipulated.  Malleable as in I was a doormat without my own thoughts who could be taken advantage of and treated carelessly and used.  They compared me to a rubber chicken, Gumby, a rubber ball who always bounced back, a puppy with too much energy – that was resilience.

And resilient meant weak, not strong, in my family.

But resilience is not weak.  Flexibility does not equal doormat.  Malleable does not mean easily taken advantage of or manipulated.  And bouncing back is not an indication of stupidity.

So what is Resilience?  And why is it so important to recovery?

Resilience…

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Unhelpful thinking styles/Cognitive distortions

This link below gives you a useful list of all the unhelpful thinking styles that we might use in our daily lives.For those of you who suffer from depression or anxiety, keeping an eye on your thinking style is really important. Try and challenge those negative thoughts by replacing them with more positive or helpful alternative thoughts. With practice, this should help you feel better.

http://media.psychology.tools/worksheets/english_us/unhelpful_thinking_styles_en-us.pdf

Love Athina ♥

Cognitive Dissonance 

The Box In The Closet

Thanks to the darling husband, I’ve been able to expand my educational horizon.

“Cognitive dissonance is a concept in social psychology. It is the discomfort felt by a person who holds conflicting ideas, beliefs or values at the same time. In this state, people may feel surprise, dread, guilt, anger, or embarrassment. Reacting to this unpleasant state, people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance was developed to predict and explain how people reacted to this situation.”

Narcissistic abuse causes cognitive dissonance. Then they use it to keep you in a constant state of chaos. I don’t know if they all do, but mine could rationalize anything he wanted to. He could later contradict his rationale and make that sound 100% rational. At first, it was a trait I liked about him; the ability to make sense out of certain feelings, emotions, events, ect…

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Anxiety-The thing we all hate but must embrace!

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Have you watched the film The Babadook? It is an incredibly powerful horror film that has a very strong psychological message. ****If you haven’t seen it then this might be a spoiler *****

The important thing I want to state before including a quoted review of the film is that although mental illness and specifically an anxiety disorder cannot be completely cured, we can choose to live with it rather than fight it. The more you fight something that scares you, the bigger the fear becomes. This is something that happens with anxiety. If you are experiencing anxiety and you tell yourself ‘don’t be anxious’ this usually results in your anxiety getting worse..It’s a bit like telling yourself to not think of a donut.The more you tell yourself to not think about a donut, the more you actually think about the donut! It doesn’t work! This is why with mental illness and in this case with anxiety, it makes much more sense to accept it and even say something like ‘Hello anxiety, I see you are back again.I am not scared of you anymore and I know you will eventually subside. I can manage you by taking a few deep breaths and changing my thoughts to more helpful ones”.

You may adjust this slightly to however you prefer or in whatever way makes it helpful to you. Of course mental illness is debilitating at its worst but with a few coping techniques it becomes manageable.

The film introduces us to mother and son, Amelia and Samuel, who are terrorised by a monster called the Babadook. The Babadook monster is introduced through a book called Mister Babadook and a very important line in this book is ” You can’t get rid of the Babadook”. The Babadook figure appears over and over in the film and it’s presence gets stronger and stronger, as Amelia and Samuel get more fearful of it.

”Whilst it occasionally threatens to overwhelm her (Amelia), as evidenced in the scene where she takes it food, her acknowledgment and understanding of it is what gives her the power to control it.The Babadook hasn’t gone away, and it hasn’t been defeated. Much like a chronic mental illness, it is not something that can be “cured”, and so the most important weapon against it is knowledge and acceptance. For Amelia, the realisation of how she is hurting her son is the moment where she finds the strength to separate herself from the Babadook”.

Sourced from this review:

http://the-artifice.com/the-babadook-mental-illness/

Tips on forming a healthy relationship after you’ve experienced an emotionally abusive one

It can be quite worrying to think about a new relationship especially if the previous one was emotionally scarring for you. Emotional abuse in an intimate relationship can erode you self-esteem, your trust and your ability to believe in the possibility of healthy love. I have been there in the past and know really well how difficult this can be to overcome.

Here I have listed a few things that helped me move forward in my own life. I am now happily married after many failed emotionally abusive relationships. Maybe the following tips might help you too.There is always hope!

WHY IDENTIFY ‘WHY’ YOU WERE DRAWN TO AN EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE PARTNER IN THE PAST, SO YOU CAN AVOID FALLING FOR ONE IN THE FUTURE (Low confidence, vulnerable time of your life, history of trauma)

FORGIVE YOURSELF BE SELF-COMPASSIONATE AND DON’T CRITICIZE YOURSELF FOR HAVING CHOSEN AN ABUSIVE PARTNER.

SELF REFLECTION GET IN TOUCH WITH HOW YOU TREAT YOURSELF FIRST (what is your self-belief system like? Do you respect yourself? )

BELIEFBELIEVE IT IS POSSIBLE TO BE ABLE TO LOVE & BE LOVED IN A HEALTHY WAY.

RED FLAGS MAKE A LIST OF ABUSIVE RED FLAGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN FUTURE PARTNERS

SUPPORT SYSTEMMAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY AROUND YOU THAT ARE HEALTHY OR A THERAPIST TO HELP YOU HEAL FROM YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS – IF SOMETHING DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT IT PROBABLY ISN’T

MAKE SURE ACTIONS MATCH WORDSMAKE SURE THERE IS CONCISTENCY WITH WHAT SOMEONE SAYS AND WITH HOW THEY ACT

EMOTIONAL FLASHBACKS BE MINDFUL OF WHETHER YOUR REACTIONS ARE ACTUALLY RELATED TO THE PRESENT OR WHETHER THEY ARE CREEPING UP FROM THE PAST.

TESTING THE WATER – TELL YOUR NEW PARTNER ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS EMOTIONAL ABUSE BEFORE YOU ARE INTIMATE – THEIR REACTION WILL HELP YOU DETERMINE IF THEY ARE A ‘SAFE, CARING PERSON’

I will be talking about these tips in much more detail very soon on my youtube channel. I will post a link to this very soon when it is ready.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Athina

 

 

Mother’s Day when you had an abusive mother

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Practicing self-compassion when you didn’t have a nurturing mother is very important.

To not feel like celebrating your mother on Mother’s day is completely understandable when she was abusive, overly critical, neglectful & selfish.

The same goes for Father’s day or any other major holiday that focuses on the family unit.

If you are still in contact with an abusive parent, please don’t feel guilty about not doing anything if that is how you truly feel. If your mother complains to you about not doing anything, don’t let her complaints affect you.

If you do decide to send your mother a card, please don’t feel guilty if you can’t write anything in it that is warm and loving. Maybe a card that simply states ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ is enough!

In any case, it is a personal choice and nothing is right or wrong.  Just go with your feelings and be kind to yourself.

Our choices have to reflect our values

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I have met many people who have very strong morals and values and are stuck working in a company that doesn’t reflect these in the slightest.

I have also met people who are lucky enough to actually have a job that reflects their values but in their personal life this isn’t the case.

What is it that stops people from ditching the uncomfortable situations they find themselves in and going for what they really want? Is it timing or circumstance?Or maybe they are just unlucky in their choices. Things start off well and then things take a turn for the worse.

The reason that people struggle with  changing something in their life is due to the fear of it being the wrong choice again. I mean if it has already happened once, it can happen again right?

This is very common and when it comes to jobs or relationships it is quite understandable that people worry about not finding the right one.

In cognitive behavioural coaching, the coach can help the coachee self-reflect on their thought processes and find the thoughts that may be blocking them from making a decision. It can also assist with the steps that the coachee needs to take to reach their goal.

As always stated in any coaching session, motivation is key. If the coachee isn’t motivated to make a change then change won’t happen.

 

Tackle goals one at a time

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When you have set yourself a goal that you want to reach, you might set the actions you want to take (to achieve your goal) too high! By too high I mean that they aren’t achievable due to many factors such as lack of time, lack of motivation, no confidence etc.

It is generally best to suggest that you break down your ultimate goal into smaller chunks.

Create an action plan by listing small realistic steps that you can actually take to achieve your end-goal.

 

Real change sometimes requires patience..

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How many times have you found yourself trying something new and giving up after the 1st try? What are your thoughts? Do you make excuses to avoid trying again? Are you embarassed because others witnessed you make a mistake? Or are you one of those people who really doesn’t care and keeps trying regardless of the initial result…

Most of the time when we try something new, we are curious and interested in how we will progress and this keeps us moving forward until we get better. This is great!

What happens however, when we have to learn a new language but find it really difficult and don’t have the motivation to really try? Is it ok to just accept that some things are just not for us? How much of a chance do we have to give new things?

In my experience, if you give up too soon you haven’t really given it enough of a chance to become habitual. To make a lasting change in anything we have to keep at it until it becomes automatic. It is like learning to ride a bike. Once we have learned the skill we are able to just do it..

The biggest challenge for people having to learn a new way of thinking or behaving is that they have to be able to sit with any uncomfortable feelings that may arise. Change can be very scary and to try something new that you also aren’t really interested in, makes things a lot harder.Being motivated is very important. If you lack motivation and interest in something, then it makes sense that you will give up straight away.

The more you try, the more experience you gain. You can make many mistakes but that is ok as long as you eventually learn from them. Once you start slowly accumulating small successes in your efforts, the whole learning experience then becomes more comfortable and enjoyable.