One of the hardest things that I’ve been asked to do in therapy, is imagine what my world would look like in the future when I’m “healed”… that magical point where I feel as if I determine how run my life is run. When you’re a survivor used to living moment to moment; have lived with abuse in one form or another nearly all your life; where chaos is the norm; and you find your mental health issues driving your every action… imagining a life of self-determination is difficult. I’ve had few positive role models around me, so I have no real terms of reference for what “healthy” looks like.
So, when this months Carnival Against Childhood Abuse came out with the theme of Independence, I thought I’d challenge myself to think about what freedom (or independence) may look like. As I’m making this challenge up, I’ve decided to go for a list of 5 things I’d like to see in a life of self-determination…
1. Free from abuse
This may sound obvious, but I have a proven history of being attracted to people who are abusive, either as friends or as partners. So, establishing healthy relationships is a key aspect to my well-being. This is tied to boundary, attachment and a whole raft of other issues; so I know it will take time and testing. I’m taking baby steps with this through my online interactions…
Free from abuse, also means being free from self-injury in all of it’s forms…
2. Like who I am
I know that this should say “love” rather than “like”, but one step at a time 🙂
I’d like to feel comfortable in myself – my skills, abilities and who I am as a person. To work through the shame, guilt, disgust, etc., to a point where I can look in a mirror or walk down the street with my head held high. To not make unfair comparisons about myself, but instead, notice differences without judgement. To value those differences in myself as much as I value them in others.
Trust in myself and those around me. I realise that trust is heavily linked to points 1 and 2 above, but it’s such a big issue, I think it needs to be separated out.
I currently have little trust in my decision making… I can make decisions, but second guess myself all the time. I’d like to get to a point where I can listen to the internal messages without fear, and act on those messages appropriately. Usually my internal compass about people is fairly accurate, but I tend to drown it out with self-doubt.
I know that not everyone in this world can be trusted, but I’d like to be open to the possibility that some of them can be.
4. Enjoy life
I’d like to wake up in the morning, feeling positive about the day. I realise that life will always have the natural flow of ups and downs; but I want to reach a point where I have the skills to help me ride out the negatives without it causing a downward spiral.
5. Be creative
More importantly, be creative without fear!
I think this is my main goal in life… to work towards a place where I’m not living in fear.