“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” ~Audre Lorde
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I realized that I no longer needed to fight for my survival, but I do know that it came after several years of prayer, healing, and intensive work. It wasn’t an event, but rather the feeling of peace and calm that comes after a storm.
The storm passed slowly by me. The storm was one that kept resurfacing and swirling until I realized it would require a lot of work and concentration on my part.
I meant by threat anything that was happening in my inner or outer world which was disrupting my nervous system. This included things both on the inside and outside.
When your mind, body, and spirit are under attack for a prolonged period of time, there’s no one solution that will bring you out of the dark. You must use a range of healing techniques and choose to be free from the chains which bind you.
The freedom I felt did not only come from my decision to leave a toxic and codependent relationship of 19 years. It didn’t come solely from the fact that my oldest son finally stabilized and was no longer in danger of losing his life. It didn’t come from just separating myself and my nervous system from people, places, or situations that caused it to be in a constant state.
It was a mixture of many factors.
As I began to understand my nervous and emotional system, and the people and situations that threatened my inner peace, my reprieve gradually came.
Each time I would notice that I did not feel safe in my body, that someone’s words or actions were causing harm, or that a relationship or situation was adding stress or creating an imbalance in my life, I would make adjustments as needed.
To do this, I had to set boundaries for what and who I allowed in my headspace and my heart space. This meant letting people, situations, and places go that weren’t healthy for me, or didn’t serve me in a way I was happy with. In therapy, I worked to heal childhood traumas which were still residing in my body.
I first left a long term relationship that appeared to be stable, but kept me in constant anxiety, resentment and emotional chaos.
It was an example of two people who were not healed recreating childhood wounds on each other, without realizing what they were doing. The impact trickled down to our children, who unfortunately suffered the negative consequences of their parents’ wounding.
It wasn’t until months after our divorce, when my oldest son was diagnosed with PTSD, that I realized the environment I had been living in was not only toxic but also abusive. Unfortunately, my relationship with my ex-partner was so similar to the patterns and behaviors that I observed as a young child that I somehow normalized them. I hadn’t put the puzzle pieces together soon enough.
In fact, the moment that I read my son’s psych evaluation results, I was hit with the reality that I had lived in that kind of environment (chaotic, unhealthy, toxic) for most of my life. My childhood, and then my adulthood.
I was stunned.
Why hadn’t I connected the dots before? I couldn’t relax, I was on edge, and I couldn’t find stillness. I felt this way because the people who are supposed to protect me had attacked my nervous system.
Since I can remember, I have been in survival mode.
After that, I made myself a promise to never again be around people, situations or environments which created chaos in me. I made a promise to myself that I would do anything I could to protect myself, regain stability and break the cycle of abuse and toxicity passed down in my family.
The following are the methods which I used to release myself from my prison:
- Subconscious reprogramming
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing)
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping
- Somatic healing
- Energy healing
- Cutting the cords of your relationships
To some, my methods seemed extreme, selfish even. In some ways they were. Not in the way you might think.
It was selfish of me to fight for my peace, because I did not want to continue to suffer. My wounds were not something I wanted to pass on to my children.
I had to make a decision, and I decided on myself. I chose peace.
If the opportunity ever arose, I’d do it all over again.
This is a reminder to anyone struggling with the feeling of being in survival mode: You are not alone. It is not necessary to be able to read. Choose yourself. You must choose yourself. The following are some of the ways to improve your own ability to speak. You must act, as if you were not acting, you will be caught in the eye the storm.
You will find the peace and freedom in your life if you take the difficult decisions.
It’s going to be painful. It’s going to cause some discomfort. You cannot heal if you are in the same environment as what is harming you.
You need to be able to tolerate extreme discomfort for a while until your nervous systems stabilizes, and you’re able to attract healthier, more supportive people into your life. When you look back in your rearview mirror and see all that was harming you behind, you’ll realize it all paid off.
You will be proud that you had the courage to make these courageous steps. You will be proud that you took your happiness in your own hands. You will be proud to choose YOU.
Prioritize peace. You will be rewarded by your nervous system. You will be able to thank your children.
Sending you love
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