Yesterday I was out for a cup of coffee with my partner. We were kind of chatting away, and playing around with our phones (I would like to call it work, but it probably wasn’t). Out of the blue I started to become overwhelmed by a feeling of anxiety. We were not talking about anything in particular that would be triggering. Just like that, I went from happy and relaxed to nervous and doomed for failure.
Sometimes I think this happens when they talk about me or something, because it can hit completely out of the blue. Perhaps there are triggers around me that I am not aware off. Who knows, maybe I am picking up a scent, seeing a particular brand in the supermarket… sometimes memory triggers are so random they are hard to keep track off.
The Inner-Voice of Lies
The humdrum of your abuser’s voice inside your head is part of the operation system that they installed. The very essence of recovery is uninstalling that operation system. Even when intellectually you realize what was going on, the lies continue to form the reality of your thoughts.
The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your head.
It is always there in the back of my mind, and influences the choices I make every day. Here is some of the things she says to me:
>> Go on, have the ice cream. You will never loose weight anyway. You have always been fat and undisciplined.
>> Oh television again? Well, you always were lazy.
>> You are kidding right? A glass of wine? Are you sure you don’t have a drinking problem?
I am sure you can come up with a whole list of similar thoughts that run through your mind regularly (if not constantly). You have been brainwashed to believe you are a substandard human-being, everything about you (both your talents and shortcomings) will set you up for failure, you will never amount to anything, you will never be good enough to be loved.
It is all lies, lies inside your head!
How To Shut Negative Self Talk Up
I believed all those things, for so long. Now that I have not had contact with my family in years I am seeing the evidence of those lies. I have found a loving and supportive family of choice, I am (mostly) staying on top of the negative thoughts, I love my life. I even have goals and plans to make it EVEN better.
But there are always triggers! Once you are triggered, you need to get that bully out, because let’s face it: it is just no fun having a bully in your head. I have developed a few strategies to try and keep this old and defect operating system from running my brain (it is like my brain is running on Windows Vista people!):
I developed personal affirmations to override some of the false image I had of myself. Instead my house is full of notes that celebrate the talents I have used to build the life I now so love.
I make myself consider my drivers. When I want something or want to do something that could be self-harming (like that ice cream ;)) I try to have a little discussion with myself. Why do I want it? Am I trying to fill a void or my stomach?
I remember my goals and plans, they keep me on the straight and narrow. When I want something, I will consider if it does or does not contribute to my goals.
I remind myself that I am only human. So some days I will have that biscuit to try and fill a void even if it does not contribute to my plans and goals, and that is okay too.