Finding a balance between self-soothing and running away from emotional pain is tough..

Inspired by a comment made by a friend on her facebook page, I wanted to address the difficulty of finding a balance between self-soothing and running away from emotional pain. I also wanted to write about what it actually means to self-soothe.

Self-soothing is about allowing yourself to experience any uncomfortable emotions by using healthy techniques to comfort and restore balance. Successful self-soothing doesn’t mean that you make the feelings more intense. It means that you will eventually enable the emotions to pass. Self-soothing is about tolerating an uncomfortable experience, without acting in ways that are not helpful in the long run. This is when running away from emotional pain comes in. If you choose to block your emotions or run from them, this will then make the emotions grow in intensity or come out in ways you didn’t intend in the future.

Running away from emotional pain looks like the following:

  • Compulsively drinking, smoking or self-medicating
  • Using meaningless sexual encounters to numb emotional pain or fear of abandonment
  • Compulsively working or keeping busy to avoid feeling
  • Sleeping too much to avoid feeling
  • Comfort or emotional eating – Eating too much sugar or fatty foods whenever you feel low
  • Compulsively exercising
  • Gambling
  • Compulsively shopping

Do you see a pattern here? The more addictively or compulsively you do something, the more it means you are running away from what needs to be dealt with. It’s like an ostrich burying its head in the sand — just because you are hiding from everything and pretending everything is okay, does not mean that it will be okay.

We are all guilty of running away from our emotions. Sometimes they are just too painful to deal with and nobody wants to feel pain of any sort.

My biggest vice seems to still be comfort eating. I love my cakes & biscuits unfortunately, although apart from those, I generally eat a very balanced diet. Chain smoking used to be my biggest coping mechanism from the ages of 15-22 but I am so glad that I was able to quit.

Luckily, I have become better at self-soothing. I have realised that the more I deal with my emotions, the better I feel in the long term.

When feelings are dealt with head on, you talk about them, you cry, you blog about them, you ask a friend for support and you do something in that moment that will help you feel a little better, safer or comforted.

Self-soothing means that you wrap yourself in a blanket and play your favourite music. It means that you take yourself for a walk in nature. It means you find a quiet space in your home and you focus on breathing slowly and deeply and calming yourself down. It means that when you are feeling especially low, you read out some positive affirmations to help empower you. It means that you run a bath with your favourite oil or bath foam.It means that you engage in something creative. It means that you listen to your body.It means that you practice self-compassion and kindness to yourself. Self-soothing can be done using all 5 senses.

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There are so many ways to self-soothe and everyone has different ways of doing so.

What is your experience?

Do you feel you are somewhere in the middle of self-soothing and running away from your problems or not?

Please share your experiences.

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.

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.

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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

Question & Answer- YouTube videos

Today I am starting off my series of Q & A videos, where my viewers and subscribers are able to get their questions answered by me, in a video each week. Please feel free to ask me questions on the following topics:

  • Complex PTSD
  • Narcissistic abuse
  • Dysfunctional relatioships
  • Negative thinking
  • Dealing with emotional flashbacks
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trauma Bonding
  • Toxic shame
  • Codependency

I also am happy to answer questions on how to :

  • Better manage your time
  • Practice self-compassion
  • Develop resilience
  • Stop self-defeating thinking patterns
  • Better manage your workload
  • Build confidence
  • Set boundaries
  • Deal with toxic people

Here is the first video on a question asked by one of my viewers:

Please note: **I will always keep the identity of my viewers confidential**

Thanks for reading and watching

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.

 

Our child within

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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.

Being selfish the right way

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‘Selfish’ means that you care enough about yourself to get your needs met; selfishness is a choice.

On the other hand, when you think about being ‘needy’, this means that your unmet/unknown needs motivate you — there’s no choice. This is when you become a people-pleaser and you lack the assertiveness to say no.

This isn’t where you want to be in this journey called life.

Selfish does not mean to focus exclusively on yourself — it just means that you easily can when you need to.

Selfish does not mean you become an irresponsible 4 year old, who does whatever he/she wants and ignores the needs of their family or their work.

Selfish means that you learn to love, value, accept, forgive, be true to, and care for yourself fully and wholeheartedly. 

Healthy selfishness feels like taking a risk because you might have been brought up to believe that being selfish is a bad thing. However, healthy selfishness simply means you do not disregard yourself to please others or to support others at your own expense. Healthy selfishness means that you practice self-love and self-care.

How do you see yourself? Do you practice healthy selfishness?

I’d love to hear your experiences..

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.

 

 

 

 

CPTSD= Courage Progress Tenacity Survival Determination

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Healing from PTSD is tough! Healing from Complex PTSD is even tougher.

In honour of World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day, I want to tell every single one of you survivors out there that you can look at your PTSD & CPTSD differently, just for today! ♥

C-PTSD = COURAGE PROGRESS TENACITY SURVIVAL DETERMINATION

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Recovery from abuse- 3 basic stages & how to identify whether you have reached the acceptance stage of recovery

Happy Monday fellow bloggers. This is quite a late post, so I hope it reaches some of you.

I have just done another video on YouTube, where I talk about the 3 main stages of recovery that someone goes through, in particular concerning the recovery from childhood narcissistic abuse. I also talk a little bit about the acceptance stage of recovery, which I personally found the toughest in my own recovery.

Acceptance that you parents weren’t able to love you unconditionally, is a painful, rejecting reality. It is easier to spend most of your adult life being in denial of this, as it is such an incomprehensible reality to accept.

Once you are able to reach this stage of acceptance however, you feel like a huge burden has been lifted off you.

I wish all of you who struggle with this sort of realisation, to be able to finally reach this stage one day.

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.

How to deal with loneliness

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Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling that a lot of people experience at some point in their lives. Loneliness is a feeling of emptiness or hollowness inside you.You might experience loneliness as a feeling that something is not right, a kind of minor emptiness. Or you might feel loneliness as a very intense deprivation and deep pain.For the most part, it is something that can be remedied quickly by reaching out to family or friends.

What happens however if you have a chronic feeling of loneliness? What happens when you don’t have any supportive family to turn to? or even friends? Do you end up feeling even more isolated? Do you retreat further into your shell and just tell yourself that this is how you are meant to be? Lonely and helpless?

A lot of the time unfortunately this happens. Loneliness is paired with depression and this can lead to further complications.If  you don’t have the appropriate support, the downward spiral gets worse and worse. Loneliness is a passive state.

The most important thing about loneliness is that we have to remind ourselves that it is a state of mind, a feeling, not a fact.So what are we doing to enable our loneliness? This is a really important question to ask ourselves.

If we lost a loved one to death or have grief related to trauma, then it is important to acknowledge our feelings. Acknowledging our feelings of loneliness is the starting point to dealing with them. Expressing these feelings in numerous ways is the bext step. If we don’t have a friend or family member to express these feelings to, then we have to try and find someone else who might listen, like a counselor or mental health volunteer. We can also express our loneliness through art or writing a blog.

As I said before, loneliness is a passive state. So how do you change something passive? Your turn into something active.This might be a simple thing to state and some people might find it hard to make changes, but it is crucial to understand that if you do nothing about it, it won’t change.

Being active means that we reach out to others and that we maybe take up a class doing something we enjoy.This is a good way to connect with other people. It means that we can choose to maybe do some volunteering, as helping others can bring a feeling of fulfillment and reduce the feeling of loneliness. It means practicing different acts of kindness towards people that really need it. It also means the possibility of getting a new pet, or helping in an animal shelter.

It is very helpful to write a list of the things we enjoy and which things in particular helped us feel less lonely in the past.

It also very important to fight those self-defeating thoughts we may have, that tell us we can’t feel better and that we will always be lonely. Even if we are very depressed, we must fight this feeling and push ourselves past the negative feelings of not wanting to leave the house or connect to others. We have to challenge the passiveness and do things that might makes us a little uncomfortable.

What are your experiences of dealing with loneliness?

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.

 

 

 

5 tips on healing codependency & dysfunctional relationships

This video is the 2nd one of my codependent series on my Youtube channel.

It is mostly informational in text, with the help of a few cute characters! Just the way I like it! ♥

Feel free to re-blog or share 🙂

I love cute things and music…so here you go ♥

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.