This week's exercise is longer than the previous ones. So I will not post another exercise next week, to give you time to work with this one. Remember when you sit down to do this exercise have your basket of fun things near by to pull something from should you become overwhelmed.
After suffering Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse, or any type of trauma you probably are not sure of whom you really are anymore. Even if you were not verbally abused and told daily you were worthless in one way or another, nonetheless other abuses tend to make us feel that way. You need to dig through the layers of programming and decide who you are.
This is not always easy. After years of being told over and over again that you couldn’t do anything right, that you were unattractive, stupid, or whatever the insult of the day was at any given time; you will start to believe these things. Since our beliefs drive our perceptions and our perceptions drive our reality, we now think we really are stupid, ugly, and incapable of surviving on our own. But, that is where it is all wrong. You really are none of those things. You are actually a stronger person now than you were before being abused.
However, if you continue in that thought process of believing those things then you will eventually shape that perceived reality into a physical reality. In other words if you continue too long in thinking you are stupid (or anything other negative trait), then you will begin to “act” that way and others that you are meeting for the first time will think you really are stupid. You will of course not be stupid but by acting that way, and they think you are, others will treat you as if you are stupid and thus starts the entire cycle all over again.
Think about this; if you ask an adult “who they are” you will usually be told what their profession is or who they are related to. On the other hand when a child is asked the same question they will usually tell you their name or they will say “I’m me.” The child is just themselves, it never occurs to a child to associate themselves to a title or another person. If you ask that child; “But, who is me?” they probably can’t answer you but they are very sure that they are just themselves and no one or nothing else.
How do we define ourselves? Who are we really, as individuals? How do we define “me”? To help you figure out who you are now, try writing a letter to an old friend that you have not had contact with for several years. You do not have to actually mail this letter unless you want to. Tell this old friend exactly “who you are” and “how you are”. Do not write about who you were or who you want to be, write about who you are today, right this minute.
Be just as honest with your friend as you are with yourself. After writing this letter re-read it and notice what you have said about who you are at this point in your life. Note what you like about yourself and what you don’t. Also, note things that have changed since your abuse or as a result of your abuse versus the way you were prior to being abused.
If you wish to have feed back or help with this weeks exercise please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.