One of the biggest obstacles standing in my path of healing from a past of childhood sexual abuse, being bullied, and failed marital relationships is learning to trust myself. That whole “gut feeling” that we’re supposed to listen too because it’s usually right; well I have issues giving mine the benefit of the doubt, let alone trusting it.
As sometimes happens, I was laying on the couch this morning on my day off, and just kind of dozing off and suddenly my mind hit me with, “dude you don’t trust yourself, how can you heal if you don’t”? Isn’t it amazing how our minds just randomly put something into the forefront of our thought, out of the blue like that? I have no idea why it happened, but it did and I knew I had to get writing before I lost it.
I’ll start out with reasons why I can justify that I shouldn’t trust myself and then hopefully be able to come up with some reasons why I should. This will be interesting to see which list is more convincing. As you’ll see, I still place much of the blame on myself for what happened in my past. It’s where I am at right now, but I am working on it.
As a 5-10 yr. old, I kept going back to my abuser. To me even as a child, I should have had enough sense to not keep going back. I realize that I was groomed and very young, and ended up trusting someone who betrayed me in every horrific way possible. Still though, this makes me gun-shy about trusting my gut feeling about anything.
Bullied in school. This started in probably 3rd grade or so and continued until the end of middle school. I never stood up for myself, I didn’t fight back, I rarely even said anything in my own defense. I would just take it, walk away in shame, and go home and internalize why they did this to me and why I was so dumb, funny looking, had weird hair, talked funny, had a retainer, and a learning disability.
Failed relationships. I’m 44 yrs. old right now and my relationships have always ended up in a disaster. In both marriages, I thought I was in the greatest relationship ever, but alas, things happen, times change, and in both cases I was left alone. The good thing, the amazing thing that DID come out of those 2 marriages, are my amazing kids which I am so unbelievably thankful for. They are my world and never gave up on me.
Still, everything that I thought I was doing right, ended up blowing up in my face so trusting myself in the relationship department isn’t exactly high on my priority list.
Those 3 examples are what stick out immediately when I think about reasons to not trust myself. So now let’s see if I can come up with a few positive options.
60 minutes later…. OK so I’ve sat here for a while now trying to think of some positive things that I can write about, and don’t you know I can’t come up with anything substantial that makes any sense or even appears remotely applicable! Those negative reasons above sure came pretty easily though.
Let’s try this a different way and focus on one thing that I know I’m glad I did. I reached out for therapy when I knew something had to change. I recognized I couldn’t keep living my life the way I had been. I had to either fix myself or understand myself better at the very least. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I know I’m learning more about myself than I ever realized there was to learn. I trusted myself to take that leap of faith to seek help and it’s paying off slowly but surely.
In going through therapy and interacting with the survivor community, I’ve come to the realization that I have a passion for something that I never knew I had. Wanting to help others in a therapist or coaching role is something I’ve been thinking a lot about and really embracing.
I’m doing research and talking to as many people as possible to help me pursue this new direction in my life. My heart is telling me this is what I should be doing, and I’m learning to listen to it. Talk about a leap of faith and trusting yourself!
If you asked someone that really knows me, one of the few, they could probably come up with more reasons than just seeking therapy and finding a new passion in my life, but I’ll take it because it’s a stepping stone in the right direction. Did you notice that minimizing I just did right there?
I still have so much to learn about trusting myself, but thanks to so many in the survivor community, good friends like Athena Moberg, and my therapist, I am getting there. Am I ready to say that I fully trust my gut instinct? Nope! However, the positive reinforcement and validation that I’ve received in recent months especially, and over the last year is starting to take hold in my head.
I think I’ll revisit this post in the future and see how things have changed and what else I will have done that involved trusting myself.