Posted by: Judy | October 30, 2017

Self Care 4 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I’m not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

4. I struggle with basics. I forget to shower, eat, drink, and do things like buy myself clothes. I feel my needs get in the way of others.

My response:

Yes. In the last Self Care post, I talked about my eating struggles. This one is more encompassing. Abusers teach the victim they are worthless. Note of clarification: In the “grooming” stage, an abuser assures the victim they are priceless. Assuring the victim they are loved is also a tool used to keep the victim tied to the abuser. I reached the point where all compliments from my abusers were suspect. I knew I was being reeled in close enough, emotionally at least and sometimes physically, for the abuser to land a blow, usually a verbal one. It took me a long time to realize that pulling me into their physical space, violating my own, created a false sense of intimacy. It’s horribly confusing. It’s part of gaslighting. Keep the victim confused and reaching for the nearest help, the abuser. It’s a vicious cycle.

Because I believed I was worthless, I didn’t deserve basic care. I was knowingly fed food that made me sick. I was given clothes that didn’t fit properly. I was told I should be grateful because others were more in need than I was. If I could survive with less, maybe I wouldn’t be noticed. If I wasn’t noticed, maybe I’d be safe. All lies.

Important note: Just because someone is worse off than you are doesn’t mean your pain should be ignored. You still have to live your life. Being aware of the plight of others means you recognize the world doesn’t revolve around you. Wanting to help is good. Ignoring your own needs isn’t healthy. You’ll be able to help others better if you take care of yourself first. Like the flight instruction: If the oxygen masks drop, put one on yourself first, before you put it on your child. It will help you think more clearly and be more effective in helping others.

My dog helped me change my perspective. No one was allowed to insult my dog, even though they insulted me and I said nothing. My dog saw the vet before I saw the doctor. My dog’s food was purchased before mine. I took my dog for walks when I wouldn’t have done it for me. Then I added a horse. He saw the vet and the ferrier in a timely manner. I would do things for my fur babies I wouldn’t do for me. In order to take care of them, I had to take a certain measure of care of myself. No matter how much I wanted to stay in bed, with the covers pulled over my head, the animals had to be taken care of, so I’d at least drag myself out of bed and take care of them. Doing for them helped me see the need to treat myself better, but that isn’t what helped me follow through.

I herniated a disc in my back and, despite the pain for months, I didn’t see the doctor until I reached the point where I couldn’t bend over enough to pet my dog. I could live with the pain. I couldn’t live without being able to pet my dog.

My horse has been gone for 15 years, and my dog has been gone for 11. Only this year did I finally reach the point where I’m buying clothes I need without feeling guilty.

One thing at a time. Start with something small for yourself. Eat at regular times. Without my dog, why should I walk every day? Walk a little every day. I started with walking to the end of the driveway, for a week. I doubled the distance, for a week. I gradually added more and more. I’m currently walking a little over 1-1/2 miles 3x a week, 1 mile 1x a week, and 1/2 mile 2x a week. I give myself one day off a week. Because of my herniated disc, I do the physical therapy routine 6 days a week, given to me by my physical therapist, 12 years ago. I try to be in bed before midnight. I wake up about the same time every day. Sometimes, it’s not eating two ice cream sandwiches.

Only you can change you. I’ve attempted to make huge changes. It never works. Taking little steps works better for me. I endeavor to not beat myself up when I loose ground. I saw a meme that helped me gain a new perspective: One step forward and two steps back is a cha-cha. When I feel like I’m back at the bottom, I remind myself that it’s familiar territory; I’ve been there so many times I know where to go from there. Be kind to you.


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