As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know. Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding views which others find inadmissible. – Carl Gustav Jung
Most people suffering from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) often have issues forming interpersonal relationships with other people, more especially romantic relationships. Most of us have suffered abuse at the hands of people who have chosen to use us as a container for their rage and their emptiness. The rage that they chose to exert on us was a result of their own life experiences. Please note that all trauma survivors are not responsible for this rage or their emptiness. We were made to believe through our suffering that we were responsible for the rage that was being showered our way. We were made to believe that we would not amount to anything in life and that we had to bear this rage for eternity. We were made to believe that we should discredit our own emotions and overlook our intuition. When a person neglects their intuition, it can be difficult for the person to assess whether the people around him or her are toxic or whether they have good intentions. This is the main cause of why people who have suffered trauma have issues forming relationships (emphasis on romantic relationships).
The Toxic Cycle of Seeking External Validation:
I have had several friendships and a few relationships with people that were mainly there to fill up the void that I had inside of me. The void that I had as a result of my own trauma. I tried to validate my own existence by being around people who often made me “feel good about myself” or people “I thought were good enough to help me grow“or “those I declared as non-toxic“. My own perception of myself was so distorted because I had no self-esteem and I did not believe in myself. I could not trust my own intuition, and I think somehow toxic people could sense that I had no sense of direction in my life. They could intuit that I was searching for myself in all the wrong places. This resulted in me having dysfunctional friendships and romantic relationships. I wasn’t co-dependent but I tolerated abuse even when I had no reason to. My empathy and altruism are both a blessing and a curse because some people deem these traits as a weakness; using them against me to further hurt me and to make me feel less of a human being. This lead me to further stray from myself because I was constantly seeking external validation; validation from places I knew weren’t meant for me. This is a tough pill to swallow, but I learnt the hard way. By making mistakes and by trusting people I knew my gut told me not to trust. I think some trauma survivors do sometimes struggle with this, especially those who are still at the early stages of recovering. I hope the advise that I give out could help someone in need of it. Even if you don’t need it, I hope you use it when you feel blue or feel like giving up on yourself.
There is no virtue in tolerating toxic behavior. The hardest thing I had to learn; My seeing people’s internal struggles and pain had been my undoing. It was here, I learnt that people steal more than material possessions. – Francesca Seopa
You are all that you need: Set Boundaries To Set yourself Free:
To those reading this, you need to change your inner voice. Sometimes the negative inner voice you might have might be an externalized voice you once heard (during trauma) and your brain chose to internalize it. It is very crucial that one realizes that the brain is a powerful tool, it sometimes protects us even when we don’t need protection. Sometimes things and words get stored in our brains because there are emotional and violent connotations associated with them. The brain is all-powerful and authoritative and we need to acknowledge it’s power in protecting us. However, the brain cannot breakdown and analyse where these hurtful things and words come from. We tend to be impulsive and have a lot of anxiety when we hear negative words or when memories are being played out in our brains. It’s not easy and you have to put in the work to make yourself feel better. Secondly, acknowledge your own identity: it will help you praise how far you have come since your trauma. You are a warrior and a survivor, nobody deserves to make you feel less than who you truly are. What’s really important is, all the people in your life, the position and their meaning in your life is dictated by you. We often forget our own power and influence because we have been made to believe that we aren’t so great and that our opinions (our voices) don’t matter. Set boundaries, they are really important. They will help you distinguish between the toxic people and the people with good intent.
No matter what your boundary is, the people that respect you for who you are will stay and not cross your boundaries. I believe that boundaries help us get a sense of what people’s intentions are, they should be established at the very beginning of any relationship. So that you can know when to walk out. You are worthy, We are all Kings and Queens and if anybody makes you feel any less, use your intuition to navigate the situation. If you don’t trust yourself yet, talk to someone whom you trust so dearly. If you don’t have a great support system use online support groups and mental health professionals to navigate your situation. Your gut always has something to say, even if you doubt it, talk to someone about it. Most of us have learnt to suppress our emotions. It is essential that we re-learn how to express them because our emotions can help get a sense of how our bodies react to certain situations. Lastly, Love yourself, love how your body unfolds and love how you present yourself in this world; people will sometimes make you second guess yourself. Be firm and learn to stand your ground about who you are. You have life and your life will serve a greater purpose on this world. Even when you doubt yourself, just start by appreciating the fact that you’re still breathing. The little things always count. You will heal, take your time and don’t rush yourself to do anything!
Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach people where the door is. – Highly Sensitive Refuge
Very few people will get past my detectors and earn a place at my table. And if you knew how long it’s taken me to find peace in this life. You’d understand why I’m so careful who I let close to me. – Brooke Hampton
Thank you for being with me. I look forward to seeing you here again. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.