“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago”
Nothing makes me feel more stuck in a rut than coming up a against a week without restful sleep. Even when I am really making progress at life, all it takes is a few nights of nightmares for my “inner critic” to go crazy. Fatigue makes me vulnerable, and it is always a reality check as to just how much work I have left to do and my road to a “normal” existence. The truth is that every day I am waging war with myself. Like the cartoon characters with a little angel and devil on each shoulder, I carry an ongoing argument in my head with my negative inner critic. On good days, I can tune out these thoughts (generally along the lines of feeling like an isolated, negative, unlikable, damaged, worthless person). However, a few nights of sleep deprivation sends me into a tailspin of self-deprecation.
In my life before abuse, I didn’t stress over much because I had absolute faith that things would always be okay and I would always land on me feet. It was a rosy view of things, but every problem I ever faced had always worked itself out without too much fallout. I figured that if I was a good person and treated other people with kindness, generosity, and respect that I would – in the grand Karma scheme of things- receive the same in return.
Over five years of psychological, emotional, and ultimately physical abuse (not only on the part of my ex-husband, but also his family- whom I loved as my own) shattered my view of that reality. It was a gut-wrenching, devastating, and absolutely heart breaking experience. There are not words to describe the sensation of betrayal. A group of people who professed to love and care deeply about me had used me. I had shown them nothing but love, kindness, compassion, and generosity; and in return I was greeting with back stabbing, lies, cruelty, and manipulation. I didn’t deserve it, and I didn’t understand how any person could be capable of treating another that way.
As much as I want to regain my rosy-colored perspective of the world again, I have found it tremendously difficult. The whole situation wreaked havoc on me both emotionally and physically. The thought of ever being in that place again (of feeling completely unstable) still gives me anxiety and nightmares. It literally keeps me up at night. Not every night, but frequently when I’m over tired or run down.
I don’t ever get upset about any of the belongs I lost in my escape from my abuser; however, I am at times resentful that a man came into my life and took my view of the world as a safe place from me. It is the ONLY thing that I miss from before. It wasn’t his to take, and I want it back. I want my sense of security back. I want to stop keeping people at arm’s length to avoid getting burned again. I want to believe that because I am a good person, good things will happen to me.
I am getting there, but it is a process, a LONG process. That is why every time I get into a bad sleep cycle and the negative thinking creeps in I feel like it’s no progress. One thing I have regained for certain,though, is my determination (running has been crucial in rebuilding both my determination and self-esteem), and I am determined to let go of worrying and focus on the positive change I want to be in the world. 🙂 I am also determined to get some sleep tonight!
Goal for tomorrow- short leisurely run with Penny, and maybe some gym time.
I love that you realize you are making progress. Our recovery is often two steps ahead and three steps behind. It is unfortunate, really. It’s a shame that sometimes it seems they are the ones going on with their lives are not suffering flashbacks or any thing near to the trauma those they hurt do. I’m sorry you were hurt not only by (him) but also by his family and glad you are making progress towards thriving and sharing it with the world in this blog!
Thanks so much!!!