Trauma scrambles your brain. It leaves scars that last a lifetime. You might begin to heal, but you will never forget the pain you endured. It will affect all of your decisions and relationships. How do you learn to build a relationship after all that you have been through?? After experiencing trauma it may be difficult to trust someone, let alone with your heart.
1. Learn to Love Yourself
In order to build a healthy relationship it is important that you begin to love yourself first. If you do not respect yourself, how can you expect someone else to?
A good way to start might be taking care of yourself. Waking up early to get a little alone time, going to the gym, or maybe even beginning to eat a bit healthier. Just starting to do things that make you feel better about who you are.
Go out with your friends, take that trip you’ve been dreaming of, or even buy that beautiful home you’ve been looking at for the last few months. Do what you truly want to be doing. You do not need a relationship to be happy. Wouldn’t you rather find happiness first, and the share that with your future partner??
2. Don’t Settle
Often times after we experience unhealthy relationships we still gravitate toward that in the future. We feel like we are not good enough to be truly loved by someone adequate . So we settle for what’s in front of us. No matter how many red flags we may see.
Look for a person who lifts you up instead of tears you down. Someone who always has your best interest at heart, and will never leave your side. Even when things get hard.
Find that person that has goals for the future. That wants to see success for not only them selves, but for you. A partner in crime rather than a controlling, toxic individual that you will never be able to grow with.
3. Let Yourself Trust
Trauma causes so many issues. Issues that you will deal with for the rest of you life. But you need to trust the partner you are with.
Do not hold actions from your past against them. In a relationship, trust is the most important aspect. If you cannot learn to trust, the relationship will eventually become toxic. Remind yourself that even in those moments of doubt that you chose this person to be your other half. If they have not given you a reason to doubt, you should have no reason to doubt.
4. Moments of Weakness
Nobody is perfect. Even people that have had a seemingly easy life. So for someone that has seen such horrors, it can be hard to stay strong.
You will have your moments of weakness. But if you are with a person who truly loves you they will completely understand. On those days that it feels impossible to have a normal life try to remember where you started. How far you have made it. You are STRONG. YOU ARE BEUTIFUL. YOU DESERVE AN AMAZING LIFE. Do not let anything hold you back.
“I don’t know what to do or say to make things better. I messed up. I’ve made mistakes that I can never take back. I’m sorry”….
We have all been there. You made a horrible decision that negatively impacted someone else. It feels impossible to fix things. Honestly, sometimes you can’t. Sometimes that relationship is beyond repair. It hurts to know what you did. You wish that you could take it all back. This is when you need to learn from your mistakes. Make the changes necessary to ensure that you will not do something similar in the future. Reflect on it, and learn from it.
For the past four years I have struggled with eating disorders. It started with me being overweight. Once I realized that I had gained a substantial amount of weight I started to panic. I was franticly trying to figure out ways to shed the pounds. I cut my portions. I started eating healthier. I even started becoming more active. But then I became obsessed. Obsessed with having the perfect body.
I liked the control over my life that I was feeling. If I ate a certain amount or worked out for a few hours a day I could achieve what I thought was perfection. I soon came to realize that I could never have the perfect body. That I would never be exactly where I wanted to be. There would always be something about my looks that I wanted to change.
Over time I wasn’t the only one that saw the weight loss. Everyone began to notice. It was empowering. Until it wasn’t. Eventually I wasn’t getting compliments. I was getting criticized for how thin I was. I could not see it. I thought that I was still over weight. Every time I looked in the mirror I saw that chubby girl that needed to change. I honestly just thought that they were jealous.
The healthier choices that I had started making turned into very unhealthy choices. I was no longer cutting portions, I was skipping meals. I was working out multiple times a day for multiple hours of the day. I would refuse to eat anything that wasn’t a “healthy food”. I would even get to the point that I couldn’t see straight. I was so hungry!!! But I absolutely refused to eat. Unless it was necessary (what I thought was necessary).
Eventually this turned into me binge eating. I would starve myself for so long I couldn’t handle it anymore. I remember eating whole pizzas! Like, large pizzas! This would then lead to panic and guilt. I started to make myself throw up whatever I had eaten. That way I would hopefully not gain any weight from all the food I had just devoured. This was the lowest point in my life. These disorders were affecting not only me, but everyone around me. It affected all of the decisions I made, everywhere I went, and everything I did.
I finally had a breakthrough thanks to an amazing friend. I moved in with her for a while and she saw that I was struggling. She kindly FORCED me to eat. Made sure that I was getting something in my system. She showed me that it was okay to enjoy myself. That I could indulge in some “unhealthy” foods. That life was more than just being skinny or perfect. It’s about being healthy and HAPPY!!!! This began my journey to loving my body (body positivity).
So, what is body positivity??
It is having a positive outlook on your appearance and accepting yourself as you are. For all of your flaws. It is being okay with the acne on your chest or the stretch marks on your thighs. Accepting that you do not have a flat stomach, and loving yourself anyway.
Why its important..
We grow up watching flawless actors and actresses on TV. We envy their perfect looks. We are taught that stretch marks, acne, and love handles are not attractive. If you have any of these things as a young adult you are often times bullied. You are made to feel like you are not good enough. This simply isn’t true. Our worth is measured by more than our physical appearances. What makes up our heart and souls is what’s truly important.
Body Positivity is so important because it helps us realize that we can be happy just the way we are. We do not need to have movie star looks to have a good life. You do not need to be Instagram ready all the time. You can actually relax! Enjoy a bowl of pasta. Go run errands without any make up on. The only person you need to impress at the end of the day is yourself. Nobody else really matters. As long as you can look in the mirror at the end of the day and feel proud. Who cares what others think?
Self love may be one of the most difficult tasks to achieve for humans. Often times we tell ourselves that we are not good enough. We put ourselves down, most of the time without even realizing it. We also tend to do this with little eyes watching us. It is crucial that our children see us celebrate who we are.
Why it matters so much!
Kids are like sponges, taking in everything around them. They listen to everything you say, watch everything you do, and even try to imitate you. You are helping form a little human. Who they become is a direct reflection of the things they learn in their young lives.
Sometimes its hard to remind ourselves that they are soaking everything up. You might be looking in the mirror saying, ” I hate the way my nose looks.” Even just that expression of dislike will stick with them. They may think about the fact that they have the same features. They may even begin to not like that part of themselves.
Teaching them to love themselves
As parents, we need to say and do things that praise who we are. When you look in the mirror try picking out a positive feature that you like about yourself. Like: “I really like how my hair looks today“, or “I love the way I did my makeup today“. This will give them a more positive outlook when it comes to themselves.
It is also important to praise who they are. Letting them know when you are proud of them. Telling them that they are beautiful. Just giving them a confidence boost whenever you can. This will instill not only good values, but great self-esteem.
Watching them grow-up
It’s hard watching your kids grow up. You don’t want to see them get hurt, or fail. But no matter what you do these things will happen. Teaching them self love will be a great foundation to how they handle the trials in their future. It will also give them the strength to build a successful, happy life.
Often times as humans we get caught up in all of the negativity surrounding us. Your constantly thinking about all the bills that are pilling up, all the laundry you have to do, how you wish you had more support from the people you love, and so much more. Life can get overwhelming. And often times we forget to build ourselves up instead of tearing ourselves down. Here are some steps that I have found helpful in letting positivity into my life.
1. Give yourself a break
We need to remind ourselves that our sanity is more important than that pile of laundry. That we are aloud to take a break and breath. We do not need to feel guilty that a task or two did not get done. We live in a world were we are constantly busy. There is always something on the to do list. It can often times take a toll on the way we view ourselves at the end of the day. By taking a break you have given yourself a brief moment away from all the craziness. A moment to reflect and gather your thoughts.
2. Speak words of affirmation (to yourself)
It is easy to look in the mirror and find flaws that we dislike. It is really easy to find flaws not just in our appearance, but within ourselves. I used to tell myself things like: “I really need to loose a few pounds“, or “I can’t do that“. Words that seem like no big deal in the moment, but make a large impact over time. It is important that we remind ourselves that we are beautiful. That we are capable of anything we set our minds to. So in those moments that you are frustrated, try thinking positive. Like: “I might not have achieved this goal today, but I can try again tomorrow” , or “These stretch marks came from growing my children. I should be proud to wear them”. Even though this is not an easy task for many, even starting small will impact how you feel over time.
3. Focus on YOU!
This step is the most important (in my opinion). It is easy to loose yourself in all the hustle and bustle that comes along with life. We often put all of our energy into our parenting, jobs, significant others, etc. We need to remember to put some energy into OURSELVES. Sitting back and thinking about what we want in OUR lives. Where we want to see our future selves, hobbies we want to start, and trips we want to take. By focusing on yourself you will be able to start seeing the future more clearly. You will also have things to look forward to and be excited about. I guarantee that by taking the “me” time, it will give you a more positive outlook on life.
New year, new you??
With the new year right around the corner it is the perfect time to take these steps and apply them into your everyday life. Will you take a moment and breath? Remind yourself of your worth? Or start to redirect some of your focus onto yourself? How will you incorporate these steps into you life in the new year?
Wow, my first blog. I honestly would have never thought that I would do something like this. When you grow up in a toxic environment you don’t really think about the future to much. Your really just focusing on how your going to get through each day. Now that I am older and I have started building a life for myself, I have time to finally think about what I want the rest of my life to look like. This also means that I can focus on love. Re-training my brain to love my body, mind, soul, and others.
A peek into my past
My childhood was not a bad one. I honestly had a pretty decent childhood. My mother had been married a couple of times, but finally met a good man. They both tried their hardest for my brothers and I. Making sure that we never really heard them argue or bicker. They made sure that we had everything we needed and wanted. What more can you truly ask for??
I was about eleven when things started heading south. I remember my mom started drinking a little bit heavier every day. She would constantly lock herself in her room and play depressing music. Even at that age I was extremely worried. I absolutely adored my mother. I just wanted to see her happy. This increase in drinking caused her and my step father to argue more than ever. At this point in time I was worried, but never would have imagined what was to come in the next few years.
When I turned twelve I met a boy….. To make a long story short I thought I was in love. In all actuality I was just trying to fill a void that I had in my life. I was missing the love and attention that I used to get from my mother. Neither my mother or step father approved of this relationship. Obviously because I was still a child. It wasn’t even a relationship. It was infatuation. They tried their best to protect me. But I was young and determined to do the opposite of what my parents asked of me.
Right before my thirteenth birthday my parents announced that they were splitting up. No surprise there. Neither one of them had been happy for a long time. Again, I just wanted to see my mother enjoying life. At this point she seemed to be in a much better mental state. I later found out that this was due to her finding a new man. I wasn’t shocked whatsoever. She was never good at being alone. I just wish that she would have decided to focus on herself. Because the consequences of her new relationship would change everything. What was to come over the next few months would change my life forever.
It started with some jokes. Then came the inappropriate comments when my mother was in another room. Next thing I knew this new man was talking about sex, not just in front of me, but even in front of my friends. I think you know where this is going… While I was never raped, I had many horrors occur. These acts went on for about a year. I didn’t want anyone to know. I couldn’t tell because reporting these events would mean my mother would lose the one thing that was keeping her happy. So for as long as possible I kept the secret. That is until I found out the biggest news of my young life.
At the age of thirteen I became pregnant. My young relationship had turned into a young pregnancy. I was absolutely terrified. I had not even reached high school yet. How was I supposed to care for a baby?? Not only that but how was I supposed to bring a baby into the mess I was living in? All I knew was that I was going to be a mother. That meant protecting that child no matter the cost.
I will not go into much detail about how I came to report my mothers boyfriend (due to the privacy of others). Lets just say that I had an incredible person risk everything to give me a future. When I reported his crimes to the police I would have never expected my mother to shun me. I did expect her to be shocked. I did not think that she would turn her back on me. She remained at my side the rest of my pregnancy ( I was about 7 months along when I reported). After I had the baby she gave me an ultimatum. I was to either go live with my biological father, or live with her at my grandparents. I knew she was still seeing her boyfriend and knew that I could not bring my son into that situation. I could not stay with my dad either due to his drinking problem. I was blessed enough to have a family member take me in. Solving my problems for a short period of time.
After couch surfing with my infant child for almost a year, CPS finally became involved. Taking me into the foster care system. I was able to keep custody of my son. As well as full control of how I parented him. This was by far the best thing to happen to me in my young life. If this would not have happened who knows where I would be today. Through the foster care system I met the most incredible woman that I now call my mom. From the first day I met her she made me feel loved, my son feel loved, and she led me down the right path.
There were obviously bumps in the road, such as: anxiety, PTSD, dating the wrong people, and much more. But I survived. I made it through my teenage years. I came out a better person because of these events. I came out a better mother.
A glimpse of the present
Now at the age of twenty two I have three beautiful children (8 year old, 2 year old, and a 7 week old). I have an amazing husband that has always stood by my side through thick and thin. I have a full time job with a great company. I really couldn’t ask for anything more as a young adult. But that doesn’t mean that I have worked through all of the trauma that has occurred throughout my life. The last few years have made me realize how my past has truly affected my well-being.
I have dealt with PTSD, and eating disorders as of the last few years. Mostly due to not knowing how to love myself. How can I love myself when some of the most cherished people in my life didn’t show me love? Didn’t want me around? It is definitely not an easy task, I can tell you that much.
I have been trying to incorporate self love into my life the last few years. One of the ways I have done this is through recovering from eating disorders. I have struggled with anorexia and bulimia. These disorders made me feel like I was in control. In control of the way I looked, and felt about myself. Once I realized what I was doing to myself and the people around me I began to realize that it is more important to be healthy and happy rather than “perfect”.
This gave me the motivation not only to teach myself about love, but maybe help some others who are struggling as well. Since beginning my recovery I have always dreamed of sharing my story and hopefully inspiring at least one person. So this is my start. This is my present.
A hopeful future
My hopes in starting this blog is to share my personal experiences with how trauma effects your mind, body and soul. And how to overcome these traumas. How to love yourself, and others. Re-training our minds to be the very best that they can be.
I also hope to build a better future for myself by incorporating love into my everyday life. Even on those days that it feels impossible. So that not only I, but my family, can have a bright future. So lets take this one day at a time!