I know from my own experiences that what I called a bad day, often meant that the voice in my head was being a strong inner critic of everything that I did. I would try to tell myself that the words being spoken by my mother or my father did not matter. There was often a blending between the memories of past events and the words spoken by my parents and my memories would feel distorted and this was confusing.

I could hear one loud voice and it became my own. I felt afraid, my heart beat faster and my mouth became dry, and I would feel tears prick my eyes, as I tried to block those words and push the memories deep inside my head. Tensing my muscles in my face and in my chest, I would experience flashes of anger directed at myself for my failure to store away those thoughts, and feelings in a strong wooden box that I would visualise.

My body would hurt with the intense power of my mind pushing physical muscles so tight, and my face would feel hot with exertion. My head would ache with the pain from the tension. My body shook with exhaustion. Eventually, I would feel a release. The box would close and I would feel some accomplishment. I had shut the pain away. In fact, on occasions, it felt like a celebration. I had won!

The truth is I was in a constant battle with myself, so there could be no victory. Whatever I did it was always going to be harmful. I knew that I needed to love myself, accept myself and change that feeling of powerlessness into a feeling of empowerment.

It was difficult to change my thinking, actions, and reactions. I had to learn to accept that I could not change the past. I had to understand that it is the present is that is important and I had to realise that I could choose to seek help and ‘let go’ of those reactions to memories. I could be pro-active in stating that I forgive myself for any action or regret about my past. I do not have to forgive those that could not give me love or care, but I could accept that my feelings and memories can be useful to guide me forward to be the best person that I can possibly be. I can be guided to refuse to have contact with toxic people and accept that I am only responsible for my feelings, thoughts, and behaviour.

Do you recognise yourself and your reactions and actions from this story? I know that we, as adult survivors of trauma and abuse become very good at cutting off distressing feelings.

I now know how I did it and why, and I know that understanding how I used my mind to throw every undesirable feeling into that box, meant that other feelings went in there also.
I now recognise that each time that I fought that battle against myself I was hurting one person, me.

Each time I sought Counselling and Support Services and using Life Coaching, I was chipping away at the situations, experiences, and self-knowledge that I wanted to avoid. Why? I have thought about this, was it fear? Was it a lack of self-worth or a lack of self-belief? Maybe it was feeling that the work would be too hard or take too long? I do not have one answer, I have had one revelation, I think that I was scared of seeing and knowing the real me.

© KJ Ratcliffe Consultancy.

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