Always Take Care of Yourself First

It is reasonable to establish that we will never, nor should we, forget the neglect and abuse of another. Is it then possible to retain the memories that might help keep us safe? But with less emotion and healthier beliefs about our sense of self-esteem?

When I was asked to write this post, I considered who the intended audience might be? The abuser? The current sufferer? – Or those who are now outside of the toxic environment?
That was trickier than I first thought!

It occurred to me that if we explored the possibilities primarily for those outside of current abuse, we might uncover insight and hope for those still exposed to such toxicity.

The Emotions and the Ego

Anxiety, regret, guilt, loss of identity, and grief. Just some of the descriptors we might disclose following an exit from an abusive relationship. There may also be, even if (initially) only temporarily a hesitant sense of relief; a weight lifted.

Anxious To Change, Apprehensive Of  Change

Living with abuse, and after, we wake each day with a sense of dread knowing that another day of duress, of treading on eggshells awaits. Yet, we also maintain a sense of purpose.

On the one hand, we know we are unable to be the best expression of ourselves. On the other, we have a sense of belonging. No matter how absurd that may seem. It can be observed because the thought of moving away from ‘the expected’ can be too much. Our subconscious is comforted by what it expects. Yes, even if that involves daily distress!

To move away from negative daily influences seems intellectually obvious, but the subconscious has been taught well and will resist in a misguided attempt to protect its host!

And So To Mindfulness

To come to terms with the separation and attachment associated with learned daily negative influences, we have to re-establish an understanding around who we really are, rather than what we have been conditioned to believe. This is no small undertaking.

In practicing new, calm and centered awareness of any given moment with clarity and non-judgement, we can once again, as healthy children, return to a state of actuality.

We can move away, gently and incrementally from the conditioning that formed the paradigm of unworthiness, of emotionally belonging to someone else.

Separation. Out with the old, back to the beginning!

The ‘old’, being the past associated with abuse. The beginning relating to that unconditioned baby who had no judgments or preconceptions about what went before, and what may be next. If the baby were distressed, she could express this and in a healthy environment would have her needs met. How true is that for us today?

Who Am I?

So, who are you? A daughter, son, father, mother, brother, sister, supporter of x-team, of this political ideal, etc.

We’re none of these.

We are if we choose, right-thinking, compassionate, individual souls whose happiness is found ‘inside’ of ourselves. Not by way of others, or of “it’ll be alright when”.

Who is experiencing the distress? “I am” – right?


Our ego and most often our inner-child, and at the very least, our past experiences, are judging and maintaining the pain. But what if I consider that once I am outside of the immediate toxicity, that there is pain and suffering, but it is not mine?

What if, in this moment, I am safe, I am well and I am worthy? No more, no less important than anyone who ever has, or ever will exist?

Bob Brotchie
Bob is a successful private practice counsellor seeing individuals with anxiety related symptoms in person and online aged 8 and up from his office near Newmarket, Suffolk. He attributes his ‘later-life’ inner-peace to practicing mindfulness for everyday anxieties, past life trauma’s and the complexities of life. He shares mindfulness tips where appropriate with his clients - along with other psycho therapeutic models. A regular blogger for mental health matters and particularly ‘mindful approaches’ to life. Read more about Bob at
Through mindfulness we can move away from the conditioning that formed the paradigm of unworthiness, of emotionally belonging to someone else.

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