Surround yourself with supportive people

When you suffer from a mental illness it is very difficult to feel hopeful when you are really struggling.Every day can be a battle and those negative thoughts can be very hard to silence. Sometimes feelings can overcome you at the most inappropriate times and others may think you are overreacting or being a drama queen. Paying close attention to the people in your life can determine how much your overall mood is affected. If you are an empath or highly sensitive person, you suck in other peoples’ emotions like a sponge. For this reason, you need to have the right kind of people around you or limit your time with those who aren’t enriching to your life.

Think about how the people in your life make you feel 80% of the time? Are they supportive & uplifting? Are they encouraging and empathetic? Do they understand your struggles and offer to help?

This is very important when you have a low tolerance for stressful situations due to a history of toxic child abuse. When complex trauma is part of your life, you need to feed your brain with the things you were starved of as a child. You should provide yourself with unconditional love, acceptance, validation and comfort. It is also important to have friends and family that can also provide these things for you.  It might feel unnatural at first and almost feel silly to tell yourself that you are worthy and lovable every day, however this is what your brain needs. It needs a new healthy habit!

Recent studies have shown that victims of childhood abuse and combat veterans actually experience physical changes to the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory, as well as in the handling of stress. The hippocampus also works closely with the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that regulates our emotional response to fear and stress. PTSD sufferers often have impairments in one or both of these brain regions. Studies of children have found that these impairments can lead to problems with learning and academic achievement.

We know that psychotherapy can really help survivors of severe trauma and also we know that EMDR is very helpful for reducing nightmares, flashbacks & overwhelming emotions.What you do for yourself however is equally important as you are the person that feels, thinks and reacts to your surroundings 24/7! It has been proven that with a mixture of validating affirmations, manageable goal setting, therapy and loving relationships, people can improve the quality of their life dramatically, especially in regards to their overall outlook.

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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.

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.