Ten Ways for Survivors to Trust and Love Again
July 31, 2003
Top Ten Tips
- Recognize the Urge to Recreate Childhood Abuse It is human nature to be drawn to people who replay the abuse we suffered as children. We do this because we hope to recreate the original trauma and work for a happy ending.
- Identify Your Happy Ending If you were mistreated as a child, you will be left with a craving to recreate your suffering in order to heal it. This recreation is called the repetition compulsion and the first step in the repetition process is to choose a partner who emotionally resembles the parent who let you down. The next step is to struggle to obtain from your chosen partner, the kind of treatment that you wish you had received from your parent. Unfortunately, this process is doomed to fail, precisely because the partners we choose are damaged the way our parents were, and therefore incapable of providing that Happy Ending. So, the only way is to...
- Choose a Partner Who Is Capable of Providing Your Happy Ending Your happy ending can only occur when you chose a partner who is different from the person(s) who abused you in the past. To avoid recreating the abuse you suffered in the past, and to obtain the happy ending, don't choose abusers in the present.
- Listen to Your Warning Bells If you are afraid of starting a new relationship or moving deeper into a relationship with someone that you are dating, listen to your warning bells. They may be telling you that your mind is drawing you into a repetition of an earlier abuse.
- Just Say No Survivors have a hard time setting limits for themselves, hence love feels dangerous. When you know that you are entitled to say no to any form of treatment that feels uncomfortable to you, you will feel safer to love and trust. Don't surrender your power in the hopes that someone else will be kind to you, which puts you in the child seat, and stirs up feelings of helplessness and fear. Know that you can count on yourself for protection. If you take hold of the reins, trusting and loving comes easier.
- Say What You Need Survivors often do not feel entitled to say what they need and want. Hence, the prospect of trusting and surrendering to love is seen as another opportunity to be walked on by someone else. In order to trust someone else, you must first know that you can count on yourself for protection. As an additional guard against being walked on, verbalize your needs.
- Don't Stuff Your Anger When you feel angry, make sure to calmly tell the person who upset you what he or she said or did, and how that made you feel.
- Handle Your Angry Feelings Properly When explaining how you feel, make sure you behave constructively (no screaming, yelling, name-calling, or character insults). The better you express your angry feelings, the less likely you are to receive abuse in return.
- Choose a Partner Who Welcomes Your Angry Feelings Make sure to choose a partner who accepts all your feelings. If your partner refuses to hear your negative feelings, turns the blame back on you, or tries to make you feel guilty for your feelings, listen to your warning bells and run for the hills.
- Listen to Your Mate's Angry Feelings If you weren't heard emotionally as a kid, you will not know how to listen to your mate. If your mate feels unheard, his or her temper will flare, and you will be on the receiving end of a lot of anger, which can feel very painful to an abuse survivor. So learn to listen.
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