The Life We Create as Survivors of Childhood Abuse



There are two types of lives we have in this world.  And those are: the kind we are given, and the kind we create (from The "Book of Doing and Being" by Barnet Bain).  The life we have been given is the life we had with our parents and other caregivers.  That life was supposed to tell us how to love, live and relate to the world around us.  But instead, we, the survivors of childhood narcissistic abuse, learned the exact opposite.  We learned how not to love properly, how not to live properly, and how not to relate to the world around us properly.  Our lives were filled with fear, anger, rage, disgust, and tons of shame.  And most likely still will be to this day.  

All people need to create their own lives, away from the lives they were given.  Some will choose totally different paths than their parents, some will follow the same.  But all will change something about ourselves that makes us unique in our own way.  That's how we create our identities and learn to know who we really are.  But those of us who are survivors of childhood abuse?  We more than anyone else out there need to create our own lives, as most of us have no idea who we really are, as we were never given the chance to. 

So, take everything you've learned from your given life about humanity, about other people, and about how to relate to them and throw them out the window.  We can keep the parts that taught us proper lessons, but only surfacely.  Meaning, don't look too deep into your experience, but rather, just look at the stuff on the surface, and keep those things in mind for later life experiences.

Like say you had an ex cheat on you.  So, what did you learn from that?  For one, you learned that people cheat on each other.  That's a surface part.  And that's the truth.  But as we dig deeper into deeper and hurtful feelings, the truth tends to get stretched and becomes somewhat murky.  Like the parts that taught you that other people aren't to be trusted.  Or that other people will always disappoint you.  Or that you are unlovable and deserved it.   All of that crap?  Throw it out the window.  Because none of it is true.  Yes, some people cheat.  That's definitely true.  But why they cheated is all about them and their own trauma and how they've learned to deal with life.  It has nothing to do with you at all.  We take other people's behaviors and internalize them, which is something we've all been learning since childhood.  And the more we were abused by our caregivers, the more we internalize the actions of others.  I mean, how else would the world make sense to a little kid other than saying "I must deserve this.  I must be unlovable.  I must be bad."  We have zero way of understanding the actions of our caregivers and other people at that age, so we can't see the truth.  

And that truth is something Don Miguel Ruiz, and so many countless others have been teaching us for so long: nothing anyone else does or says has anything to do with us at all.  

And when we can learn to let go of it all, past, present, and future, and wipe the slate clean of all that muck, we can then start creating an actual life for ourselves.  Our past teaches us how to be wiser, but should not teach us to close ourselves off or develop negative ideas about society or other humans.  Well, not without good cause, anyways.  If we can learn to recognize narcissism in its many incarnations, we can protect ourselves from getting hurt again.  But even if we can't, we can learn to not take what narcissists do to us to heart.  We can see other humans with understanding eyes and say "Well, you're hurting me because you're hurting, not because of anything I did, no matter what you say.  And I no longer wish to be hurt by you, so I am walking away."  I know that's a hard thing to do, but if we want a life "after" childhood (which reaches into adulthood) narcissistic abuse, then we need to be able to be strong enough to do so.  And to forget our programming that says "I am awful.  I deserve to be hurt."  Because we don't.  

So, when we internalize someone doing something bad to us, when we let it trigger those wounded parts of us created by our abusive caregivers, we become more and more closed off, until our lives become unrecognizable and now we're suspicious and angry and accusing of everyone else.  Or, we just close ourselves off to others for good.  Now we're completely emotionally unavailable.  Because why open ourselves up when we only get hurt?  And if anyone says or does something that even slightly triggers us, we react in ways that deep down aren't us reacting at all.  It's someone else.  It's that deeply wounded part of us that cannot move past the trauma we've endured.  But we are still in there.  Somewhere.  Hidden.  Sleeping until the wounded parts of us are healed.  Only then can be awoken.  

And the first step in healing all of those wounded parts is fully accepting that nothing anyone has ever done to us, or has ever said to us, has anything to do with us at all. Even if they said it was.  Even if they fully blame us.  Even if they remind us to this day that we are wounded and broken and bad and unworthy.  It's all lie.  All of it.  

Complex PTSD is an anxiety response to this extended trauma.  It's a type of PTSD that comes from living with abuse for long periods of time. You can tell if you have it if you are now living with depression, anxiety, hypervigilance (always on alert), feel fear for no reason, suffer from suicidal ideation, uncontrollable emotions (including rage), and sudden mood swings, feeling shame, guilt, or self-hatred, disassociation from self and/or others, you don't trust other people, and having flashbacks or period of your childhood you can't remember.  

The issue with C-PTSD is that it is part of the whole of your life.  Sure, you can help ease your symptoms if you treat them separately, as if they somehow exist on their own.  But overall, I don't think you can get fully better until you realize they are part of the whole and you start treating them as one thing, rather than separate things.  And that means to stop letting your unhealed wounds get retriggered.  And to do that, you need to change your thinking from "I deserved this" to "I deserve better, I am better, I have always been better than what they led me to believe."  And to realize whatever they did to you, they did because of them, not you.  

This is one of the first steps in the Soul Excavation Program.  To correct your understanding, which will correct how you think about yourself and others.  And hopefully, will set you on the right path to healing.  And help you to curate and create the life you actually want, rather than the life you were handed at birth.  









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