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Dear Diary, I Might Be Recovering From Self-Inflicted Emotional Abuse

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” – C. JoyBell C.

ear DiDary, it has been four days since the last time I thought or said something negative about myself. Deciding that my life is too short and important to waste it with self-inflicted emotional abuse seems to be taking effect.

At first, the sneaky negative thought-ninjas tried to get to me, but they found no way through my new protective barriers. (Those protective barriers are made up of ignoring, not accepting, and using ‘get the fuck out of here, I don’t have time for this crap’ rude language.)

I have been watching them closely the last few days, and they have made camp just outside my conscious mind. I can feel how they are constantly trying to find new ways to weasel their way into my everyday thoughts. However, I think they are starting to lose interest, now that I no longer react to their provocations. Except for the occasional lousy attempt, they have stopped attacking me regularly. I can go for hours now, without hearing even one peep.

This ceasefire has brought me a lot of inner peace. At first I felt alarmed, when I woke up four days ago, and there was no nagging voice to greet me. There was no mention of the numerous failings that I had already accumulated before even stepping out of bed, and as I sat there, waiting for that voice to come, nothing happened.  My mind felt clear and open; like a brightly lit and cosy room, with the window slightly open to let the spring scented breeze waft in.

A little unsure (and suspicious) that first morning, I went about my day and decided to enjoy the feeling of contentment for as long as it would last. I admit that I felt very wary – and that I was awaiting an ambush at any moment. Nevertheless, nothing happened and as the days have gone by, I have had many neutral thoughts, and also a lot of happy and positive ones about myself.

Since that first morning of calm, something strange has happened: I used to wake up expecting to be attacked by negativity as soon as I opened my eyes. Before I even touched the ground, I had already not gotten up early enough, not planned my day well enough, or anything enough. Under constant attack, I would get up and go through the motions of a very uninspiring day – using all of my energy to survive the mental war.

Every thought brought on another wave of similar thoughts that would cost me even more energy and reduce every day and who I was to a state of NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!

On the days that I did actually manage to do or produce something that I expected of me, I looked to that negative voice like an over-excited child would to a critical parent. Carrying a small spark of pride within me I yearned for just a little positive acknowledgment. Instead, the insatiable voice let me know that nothing else would have been acceptable. Oh, and that I could actually do so much more, if I stopped being such a lazy loser and did what it told me. *yay emotional abuse pep talk

Within this constant war and debilitating parent-child relationship I had with myself, there was no room for motivation, inspiration, or anything else but the use of basic survival techniques. And with survival techniques I mean procrastination, paralysation, passive aggressive behaviour and randomly browsing the internet.

This, of course, only provided an even better platform for negative and self-inflicted emotional abuse toward myself.

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.” Elbert Hubbard

Life is too short for self-inflicted emotional abuse.

All of this suddenly stopped, when I realised that it’s not just a cliché, but that life actually is JUST TO DAMN SHORT AND VALUABLE FOR THIS SHIT! That car accident I had last week must have really led to a paradigm shift: My youthful arrogance was taken from me, and I have become very aware that life doesn’t go on forever. I was also reminded that spending my precious and limited time on this earth on self-inflicted emotional abuse was the most cruel and dumb thing I could do to myself.

I guess this must have been an emotional trigger for me. Now the phrases and words ( ‘clichés’) that I have heard so often in my life, and that I couldn’t translate into reality, actually make sense on an ‘I can feel them’ level.  From now on, there is a complete ‘no tolerance’ rule on negative self-talk. It is just not acceptable, and I am no longer allowing it to use up even one more second of my life.

Thus, when I woke up today, a lot felt different. I heard the birds outside, while I could feel a cool wind gently blow over my face through the half-opened window. I could feel the soft cushions squished around my head, and the warm duvet wrapped around my body. I looked outside of the window and smiled.

My first thought this morning was: *happy sigh* What would I like to do today?

Usually I would start my days with:

  • “You have slept way too long again.”
  • “Maybe you will finally get that project done that you have been procrastinating on for days, although it is very unlikely.”
  • “You are wasting so much time.”
  • “Great, you said today would be better, but it has started just as crap as yesterday.” Etc.
  • “Emotional abuse? This isn’t emotional abuse. This is just me trying to kick you into actually behaving like the person you think you want to be, because right now, you are doing a really bad job.”

Instead, today so many beautiful ideas washed over me, as I asked myself what I would like to do. And even though I enjoy my huge share of privileges, the first thoughts weren’t about ‘easy’ happy things, such as gaming, or watching a favourite series while stuffing my face with popcorn. My actual first response to that question was: I want to learn how to draw fantasy forests and work on my creative skills.  (Yup, that was a first for me too 😉 )

Even though there was no one there to tell me all the things I was supposed to do, or think, or learn – I, by myself, felt inspired to want to do something that would make me feel good and bring me forward professionally and personally. From within myself, I felt a deep excitement to start learning something new and to challenge myself.

For years that negative voice in my head has tried to whip me into thinking and doing exactly what I did today, while counterproductively beating me into so many broken pieces that all my energy was consumed by the attempt to mentally survive my own abuse.

From this came depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, self-hate, constant emotional abuse, the inability to experience authentic enjoyment, and unhappiness.

It has never EVER done anything good for me. In fact, it nearly killed off all of my ambitions, passions, and dreams.

I think I have taken the first step to letting go of that toxic relationship with myself.

Life feels better like this. I feel better like this – and I can feel my energy slowly coming back.

For now, dear Diary, I  leave you on this positive note.

xo,

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Model: Cat De Pillar. Photographer: Bernd Rößler. NO retouch. 

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  • Matthew Eaton

    It’s always tough when you have the hordes of negative thoughts right out of the door in the morning, isn’t it? It’s like having the Mongols outside your castle door, and all they have to do is wait while you starve yourself enough to let them in.

    Scary indeed.

    I am glad you are getting those out of the way, but remember to keep at it. Ignoring them works for a while, but I think accepting them can do more benefit. Not that they are something you should listen to or tolerate; more like they are you.

    We often try to create a duality in our lives regarding our perfect thoughts and our negative ones, almost as if there is a darker version of ourselves that exists to destroy us.

    It’s just you. You are awesome. Nothing about you is evil or sadistic. The reactions you’re feeling is a “nice donation” from others who decided to give it to you because they were afraid and they wanted the best for you by being safe.

    Thank you for sharing this!

    10/04/2015 at 1:50 PM Reply

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