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My Personal Journey Back to Myself
Possible trigger warning for this post: this is going to be a real, raw post about my own personal experiences with abuse. I’ll have another warning right before the main part where I start listing things.
Over this year, I have had to address a lot of things that I thought were “resolved”. I was naïve to think that you could just say “yes, I’m over it” and then move on. It’s not like that. The emotional and physical traumas we go through leave a lasting mark on our being until we actually process them. And if we go through traumas as children, then we cannot even think about actually fully processing them and healing until we’re adults. We are just not capable of dealing with these things as kids.
It hit me last night that I need to share my whole story. I’ve told tiny bits and pieces, but never the whole thing. I am not aiming for pity, which is likely why I never wanted to write this. I also didn’t want judgement because let’s face it- when we go through traumas, we are a bit broken and I didn’t want anyone to look at me that way. However, I am a perfect example of someone that can heal and overcome these traumas and become a new person.
I am writing this to show that our traumas change us as people and we need to understand the signs of this. I’m writing this to show that it is ok to talk about these things and get help. I’m writing this to say that you do not have to be ashamed of your experiences and that you’re not any less of a person because of what you’ve been through.
I wasn’t ready to accept most of this until last year. I was stuck in my own healing- things weren’t moving no matter what I did for my physical health. There was one night that I was desperate for answers and I was praying for help. The next morning I had a message from a medical intuitive that was a friend of a friend, and she was offering to barter with me (HTMA for an intuitive reading- my first real taste of what it’s like to ask the universe for help and actually get it). A lot came out of that reading, and I started learning a bit more about emotional healing. A few weeks later I had a similar experience- I was troubled over something, and the next day I had a message from a practitioner friend offering to do a dry blood analysis for me. It’s crazy but again, a huge sign that if we ASK for help, it can show up in the most unexpected places.
These 2 sessions prompted me to dive deep into all of this healing. Both sessions indicated emotional traumas, and issues with my heart chakra. The dry blood analysis was a bit different than what you’d think because the person can apparently pick up on the emotional issues as well as the physical. I was told some very hard things that I needed to hear: my heart was emotionally broken because of the lack of a mother; I was throwing myself into my work to ignore my own internal anguish; I was burnt out since childhood but making it seem like I was holding everything together; I didn’t understand what a true family was because I had never actually had one; and the craziest one was that I didn’t trust babysitters with my son. All of this was 1000% true. Did I want to hear it? Of course not. But it truly got me started- after I got off the phone with this friend, I called the closest acupuncture office and started going there (still going there too! I took a 6 month break this year, but I’m back at it).
I’ve never been good at asking for help. Never! I have always been the helper. So for 2 people to come into my path and offer help, it was just a huge eye opener for me. So now it’s my turn once again to share my own story and hope that others can benefit from it.
Please keep in mind that this is my story. We don’t all deal with or process traumas the same way. We don’t all have the same personality characteristics from the traumas we’ve dealt with. We won’t all heal the same way. But if something I write can trigger an old memory to put you on the right path, or help you to determine that you HAVE had traumas (even if you do what I did and said “nope, I’m fine” and ignore them), then it’ll be worth it.
Please also keep in mind that this could be triggering if you do not want to read about abuse.
Traumas I have dealt with, in a partial chronological order:
- My birth mother was pretty abusive. I used to hit and yelled at quite a bit. I have a vivid memory of getting hurt while playing when I was around 5. My hand was bleeding and I was crying, and I ran to her and she smacked me across the face because I had been playing where I wasn’t supposed to be playing.
- When I was an adult, my grandfather told me he used to have to pull my mother off of me often because she would just hit the crap out of me. I don’t remember these times but it didn’t shock me to learn about it. I was also told around this time that my mother was born addicted to a drug and given up for adoption- so who knows the full extent of trauma on that side of the family.
- My parents divorced when I was around 4 and I remember a lot of anger and arguing around that time.
- From what I remember, she was into alcohol and possibly some drugs. One of her long term boyfriends molested me when I was 7. She was home but I think they were drinking or something. I went to tell her that he kept coming in my room and she did nothing about it. The next year it came out that he had done the same to 2 of my friends. She knew it and yet continued to allow this man in our home. We moved to a new town and our neighbors had 4 daughters- they somehow knew what this guy had done to me and they were not going to allow that to happen to their kids. I remember the dad throwing a wrench at this sad excuse of a human being, and then that night I was taken away to my grandparents. My mother went to prison for endangering the welfare of a child. Not sure how long though. The guy got 10 years (for molesting 3 girls ages 7-12 mind you. Thanks, legal system).
- I had one meeting with a CPS agent about the molestation after I was taken to tell them what happened. That’s it. One. No counseling. No one even mentioned what happened to me EVER. We just pretended it didn’t happen.
- When my mother was out of prison, she tried to get visitation rights. I did not want that, and I wasn’t supposed to see her but I did see her at the courthouse for a second with my aunt and grandmother. Such a betrayal on their end because they always took her side for some reason, but my grandfather didn’t. She was denied visitation luckily. I used to visit with my aunt and grandparents though. My aunt and grandmother used to take pictures of me to send to my mother and I kept asking them to stop. Eventually we stopped these visits because they wouldn’t listen and I didn’t see them for 5 years.
- When I was 18, she was legally allowed to contact me again. She found a friend of mine through Myspace (oh those were the days) and called him at like 3am. He called me and gave me her info. I emailed her and tried to feel the situation out. I asked why she let this happen, and she told me that she knew he hurt me but she stole his credit cards and didn’t want him to say anything. If she turned him in, he would have turned her in. I told her that I didn’t want her in my life (oddly enough, she actually lived like a block away from me at this point). Her friends started harassing me online and at my job. I was told I was a selfish person, horrible daughter for not wanting to see my mother. She died maybe 6-7 years ago. Other than that glimpse at the courthouse, I hadn’t actually seen her since I was 9 years old.
Next stage of my life:
So I was 9 when my dad took me to live with him. He married soon after and my new nightmare began. This woman resented me because I “ruined” her relationship. I was supposed to be a 2-weekend-a-month and Wednesday presence, not a full time one. From 9-16 I was emotionally abused by this woman, and sometimes she got physical. The emotional was worse.
My life for about 7 years:
- I was made to feel like a burden for existing
- I was told I was an accident and not a wanted child (even if that is true, you don’t tell that to a child)
- I was told I was fat when I wasn’t, which prompted my eating disorder from ages 12-17. I only ate 1 meal most days in those years. I stayed thin but it cost me my health. When I started eating normally again around age 17, I packed on 80 pounds in less than 2 years.
- I was made to do most of the cleaning in the house, based on her preferences, and if I didn’t do it right I’d be made to do it all over again (when her own father found this out, he called me Cinderella- he couldn’t believe it). She had OCD so this included things like having to stack the utensils in the drawer *perfectly* in line.
- I had to ask permission to shower everyday. If she didn’t feel like hearing the water run, I wasn’t allowed to shower. Some times I went over a week without being allowed a shower. As a teenager. I often felt so embarrassed at school.
- If I was “bad” I would be lectured for hours on end about how horrible a person I was. I was forced to listen to her rant for hours. One of these rants included her throwing all of my school art projects at me, a lot of them were heavy and ceramic and my bedroom wall had a dent where they hit when they flew past my head.
- I was told I was just like my bitch mother- a liar, manipulator, and worse.
- I had to wake up at the same time every morning, whether there was school or not. I had to sit in my room in the dark and wait until I had to leave for school or for her to wake up. I was not allowed to turn my light on because that could disturb her since her room was next to mine. If I had to go to the bathroom I had to be incredibly quiet because she would be angry if I woke her.
- Eventually the basement became my area for when I was home and not sleeping. I was pretty much only allowed to do school work or read. No TV or anything.
- Some days she was the sweetest person in the world. We’d go shopping, watch movies, do our nails, etc. I actually did call her Mom despite everything.
- Since I always felt like a burden, I rarely asked to hang out with friends or go out. I got a job when I was 14 so that I could at least be out of the house more. I had no social life.
- I had no privacy. I used to love keeping a diary but had to stop because she’d always look for it to read. She’d inspect my drawers, my backpack, even in the inside of my covered schoolbooks. Since I was a teen, sometimes she did find things she deemed to be inappropriate (notes from boys, or if I drew a heart around a boys name on the book cover). That would usually create a massive argument and another few months of being “grounded” (another reason why I stopped asking to go out- I usually was grounded for whatever reason she made up). I was grounded for 6 months once because of one of these instances.
- When I was 16, there was an instance where she pushed me hard against the kitchen counter because I was wearing perfume (something I wasn’t technically supposed to do but I developed a phobia of being stinky thanks to her so I became obsessed with perfume and lotion). That was it for me. It was a Friday night, and I stayed up most of that night so I could wait until early morning (like 4am) to tell my dad that I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to work with him that day and I think I had my own work that night. I think that night I tried to run away too. I just couldn’t face going back into that house again. But because I didn’t have bruises, the cops and CPS didn’t really care about what I said.
- I lived there for about 7 more months. They were remodeling the place and we all had to leave for a few weeks so I stayed at a friend’s house. I was told they’d be back at a certain day, but I had to drive past sooner- and they were all already home. I decided I wasn’t going back after that. I knew I wasn’t wanted there and I knew it was a toxic place so I lived with my friend for a few more months until her family kicked me out. I had to find somewhere else to live, which I luckily did. During this time, I started getting chronic migraines, all over body pain, depression, anxiety, etc. The beginning of the “fibro”, and it coincided with me starting the birth control pill which definitely didn’t help things.
- My senior year of high school was miserable. My few friends that I did have abandoned me because I was so depressed and because I was always grumpy because of the pain. I would go to school (half days for seniors), sleep for 3-4 hours, go to work for the night, sleep 10-12 hours and then do it all again. I won’t go into the physical health stuff here- I do have more about that in this post: https://www.sassyholistics.com/2019/09/08/my-story-of-healing/
So that is about the bulk of it. Pretty much all of the horrible stuff was before age 17. A few other things that I can include as traumas that I’ve had since then include:
- More doctors from ages 17-23. Countless prescriptions and tests only to be told to lose weight. Most didn’t care or believe in my symptoms. The last doc I tried gave me a pill that made me feel incredibly violent and scared- they just said “cut it in half then” as the solution.
- Having a child when I had no real mother has been rough.
- Pregnancy itself seems to have triggered a lot of these underlying emotional issues to resurface but it took a long time to feel physically strong enough to tackle them.
- The birth of my son itself wasn’t great and I do hope to heal that one day. Since I had no mother or any other female to help me, I was pretty lost. The midwife was just a “catcher” so she didn’t really help. I ended up completely failing my whole birth plan and had a c-section. The midwife told me “sometimes babies are just little asshole and things don’t go our way” when I begged to not have the surgery. Gee, thanks. Super helpful.
- We had no help when our son was born either. My in-laws had to take custody of their grandson that was born just a few days before our son and had their hands full. The one time I asked for help, for just a day to myself, I was told that I just needed to exercise more (no wonder why new mothers are so depressed when you have “advice” like this).
- Living in an apartment with mold (with no where else to go) has been pretty traumatic as well. But living here and experiencing this is what got me to finally solve the rest of my health issues, so while it sucks, I can understand the journey now that I am almost out on the other side.
Some of these things might seem “little” to people too. But I think what we need to understand is that we can have one huge thing that happens to us, or a ton of little things. If you are under a constant attack of one negative experience after another, it absolutely will bring you down! Just because someone else thinks that what YOU dealt with isn’t traumatic doesn’t mean it’s not. We’ve gone too long with the mentality of “just suck it up” or just ignoring it completely. We are all human. We all have emotions, and we are allowed to process our emotions in a healthy way.
What these traumas did to me:
- No boundaries AT ALL. I always worked soooo much in my previous jobs (and I have done the same with my own business). I used to work 2 jobs for years, usually working 6-7 days a week and sometimes from 8am to 9-10pm. I was always trying to be the best worker I could be, but now I see that working like this is a way to escape from real life. I didn’t want to be alone with myself so I worked myself into burnout.
- I never asked for help. I learned from an early age that no one was there to help me or save me so I just stopped asking. I always did everything myself. I can’t say this is much better still because it’s still hard to depend on anyone these days, but at least I can understand why I got this way.
- I’ve always had anxiety- this started at an early age too. I remember being 13 and for some reason I started getting scared that my birth mother was going to come and kidnap me, so I wanted to have thick curtains on my windows to hide me (yea, don’t know why curtains would help, but you know anxiety).
- Very low self esteem of course. How could anyone have self esteem after all of that? I grew up thinking I was a horrible person, I was useless, evil. So I hated myself for a long time. I have only been able to realize how wrong this was in the last few months. I am awesome now ?
- It took me a LONG time to understand what a real relationship was. For the few major relationships in my life, I can see now that there was no real attachment there. It was co-dependency. Even with my husband now, it took me a long time to break free from that.
How I have found healing
As I mentioned, I was lucky enough to have 2 people pin point a few things that I really needed to work on. I got right to work with acupuncture and started learning more about healing emotional wounds. Since January of this year, I have been using crystals as a part of my journey. I started actually listening to myself instead of shutting myself out. I learned about the things I actually like to do. I started saying no to things I didn’t agree with or didn’t want to do. I found real friends that understand me and I talk to them regularly.
I also found a band that talks about self-love and happiness- and to be honest, these boys are the ones that pulled me out of the hardest part of all of this about a year and a half ago. Hearing the message “I am the one I should love in this world”, and “you can’t stop me loving myself” was life changing. They were saying something that should be instilled in all of us at a young age, but this world and our society has failed us, turning us into little worker ants instead of actual, living humans. The band is BTS if anyone wants to check them out. Music has always been healing for me, but this band really changed everything for me. I highly recommend the tracks Epiphany, Answer: Love Myself, and the whole mixtape from the leader RM called Mono.
Changing my internal dialogue was another huge helper. I started to realize that my thoughts weren’t really mine- they were due to the traumas. I was stuck in “hate myself, be scared of everything” mode. When I would have a negative thought, I would listen to it and think about where it was coming from. Was I tired? Detoxing? Was there a full moon? I started learning my triggers and as time went on I was able to calm myself down. In the last few weeks, I feel like this has completely changed. No more negative dialogue. No more fear. I feel peaceful for the first time in my life.
So in a nutshell, what I’ve done: crystals, acupuncture, eating as well as I could, adrenal support, less working, more play, listening to music that I love, and talking with friends.
Healing your own trauma
It is not always easy. There will be hard work. You have to do what resonates with you. That is going to be the main thing to keep in mind when you are heading on this path. There are MANY modalities for healing, and that is because we won’t all respond the same to the same modalities. Read about a few. See what makes the most sense to you based on the work you’re willing to do right now, your budget, your time, etc.
Learn about who you are as a person. Realize your triggers for anxiety, fear, depression, or other emotions. Do what I’ve just done- write out everything that you feel has been stressful or traumatic for you and if you have never processed those emotions from those experiences then it’s a good sign that you will need to work on this type of healing.
Don’t let others get in your head either. No more of this “just move on” business. People are hurting badly these days and a lot of healing needs to happen, both physically and emotionally.
Writing this all out has given me the biggest epiphany as well. I am going back to school to get my masters in transformational therapy to try and figure out how to help more people get out of these trauma cycles.
I promise that as I learn more, I will update this.
The Holistic Psychologist is a page I recently found and I cannot recommend it enough. Her posts are the MOST helpful I have ever seen in explaining why we become the way we do if we’ve dealt with childhood trauma. She has quite a bit about reparenting too- how to learn how to parent when you’ve dealt with abuse from your own parents. https://www.instagram.com/the.holistic.psychologist/
Modalities for healing:
- Crystals are seriously amazing. They are so misunderstood too. This post is my basic overview on why crystals help and how you can pick ones that work for you.
- This post goes over ALL of the main modalities that I’ve written about for emotional healing.
- This post talks about generational trauma and just has a little more info than the previous post.
- Homeopathy is one amazing modality, and I highly recommend Khush Mark. She also offers RTT, which is an incredible mind-body healing modality- read about that here.
- Katie Beecher is the medical intuitive that I mentioned- her site is here so you can check her out.
- Look into local modalities as well if that suits you better- find an acupuncturist, a therapist, an EMDR specialist.
- Understand that you might need to try a few modalities and see if they’re a good fit. One session of anything won’t really show you much, so have patience with the process.
- Realize that YOU are worth the time to heal. You are worth the investment in your health. Healing yourself will also help to heal your kids if you are a parent. Healing yourself can also encourage family members to take the same path. This world needs us to heal, even if it’s just one person at a time.
- Understand that the lifestyle and nutritional aspects are huge as well.
- Update 2/2020- a few weeks after I wrote this I decided to start Reiki with a good friend of mine. This was not only MIND BLOWING, but life changing. I highly recommend Reiki- read more about this here.