I came across this image on Pinterest recently and it really resonated with me. I’ve been thinking a lot about identity lately and what makes us who we really are. Ultimately, we are the sum of our experiences. However, this gets more nuanced when you consider that some experiences are the result of choices and some are the result of what has been done TO you.
Anyone that has experienced some level of abuse understands the long lasting effects. Being a survivor of abuse can leave side effects that manifest for years and years afterwards. These side effects can be phobias, health problems, anxiety, insomnia, depression, just to name a few. If you start to live a little bit smaller inside of these side effects, it can start to feel like this is the real you. YOU don’t like heights or have IBS or needs an Ambien to fall asleep at night. Your identity can become some entangled with what you CAN’T do that you don’t have any idea what you CAN do or even who you really are.
The idea of having your identity challenged or questioned is extremely unsettling and difficult. At a certain point, if your identity has become so clearly connected to abuse that you suffered you are dealt a double whammy. Not only have you experienced a trauma, but if you want to make positive changes and move forward, you have to let go of the person you have been for a long time. Those types of changes are scary under the best of circumstances.
I wish I knew a magical answer to this problem. Unfortunately, I don’t. I think of my personal experience with these issues and the strategies I employed to push through the hard times. Finding a strong support network that will encourage you even if you are undergoing a metamorphosis into a person they haven’t met before. Show yourself so much grace and compassion. Be patient with yourself. Also, fight! Fight like hell! Put up a fight for yourself. You deserve to be living your best life and not giving up any more of your life to your abusers. Be strong. You can get through it and it will always be worth it in the end.
Thanks for reading.
I’ll see you tomorrow.