Have you ever not allowed yourself to go somewhere, emotionally wise? Do, you have a trauma or a memory that haunts you and you try so hard, so hard to keep it buried? You won’t and don’t allow yourself to go there. But in a way, that means, you are always there. You are always running. There is always that elephant in the room, but the room is in your head. There is no escape. It is like a dull sound constantly whistling away and you can’t find the off switch. You get angry, scared and anxious about anything related to the topic. You don’t even like recognising that your feelings are related to it. Maybe you get angry to do with the trauma or memory, but instead your defect it to anger at something or someone else instead?
Do you relate?
Are you holding back form dealing with a trauma or a topic that you feel frightened of? That it feels like once you touch upon it that you will open so much you are scared to what that might do to you or mean for you?
I totally relate to this feeling and I totally understand it too. This is the first blog and only the second time I have ever spoken openly about this. But I am survivor (yes you read that word right we are survivors not VICTIMS!) of childhood sexual abuse. I don’t even like those words. They seem so clinical and just not an accurate label, although am not sure what one would be? It is something I let bubble under the surface for years. I have borderline/emotionally unstable personality disorder as a result of my childhood. And it took me many years to even accept that. That I was left with what felt like a life long scar of what I survived. I have often kidded myself that I do deal with it, that I am dealing with it. That I accept it was my past and am moving on and learning to live with the scars of it. But when the my complex PTSD hit its peak, I soon realised I wasn’t and hadn’t been doing it at all.
But I also know that one of the things that really held me back, was fear! I can’t believe I have even admitted that, because I pride myself of not letting anything fear me anymore. But yeah, big mouth me was fearful! I was scared that going to those places dealing with it would be too much. I avoid my triggers, I avoid certain tv programmes or it the topic comes up in one way or another, even if its survivors talking, I turn off. I protect myself, or so I thought.
But then I realised something that I learned back in my counselling and psychology days. Something I had never considered to apply to myself. The Frog! I was looking at this situation like the frog in hot water.
Let me explain myself…
To me, it was all or nothing. Don’t let anything in at all so it doesn’t “set you off” don’t go near it. Like its a HOT stone covering the train track and blocking your journey from continuing. I spent years, helping others move their blocks and left mine in its place. Let me tell you the frog situation or analogy.
If you put a frog in a bowl of hot water, what do you think it will do? It will jump out right? Anyone one would to be fair. But, did you know, if you put a frog in cold water, and then slowly over time and in small doses add in the hot water. The frogs body doesn’t pick up on the change in temperature and it remains happy in the bowl. Overtime the frog is in hot water, but is happy and content just as it was when it was sat in the cold water.
I realised I wasn’t treating myself like a frog. I was expecting myself to be able to hop in to a bowl of hot water and be all comfortable and happy with myself. When really, I needed to be more frog like. I needed to slowly allow warm water to be added and deal with the slight change in temperature before I added any more. And I realised I had done this in many ways, but not in the main ways not with the main topic. For example, before I realised this I wouldn’t have even considered saying the words I have said in this blog let alone be brave enough to upload it to my website and then my social media. In many ways, I am not the best at practising what I preach, as this is something I instinctually do with all my clients in every aspect, even including when I put my personal training cap on and I’m suggesting diet changes. I will always recommend to do it gradually. Swap one fizzy drink a day for a glass of water, and then once you’re used to that, swap two fizzy drinks out a day. And so on and so on. Yet, in my personal life, in my own trauma I had never applied it to myself.
Be more frog
So, if you are dealing with a trauma, or a memory or a situation that you are feeling like it is just too big of an issue to face. Then think about the frog in the cold bowl, be more like the frog. Slowly and surely do little bits at a time. For example, talk about your ‘feelings’ around the issue but not the context or visa versa. You don’t have to do both right away. Also look at how you can apply this same method in every other area of your life too. In this modern era we are becoming conditioned to wanting everything at super speed, we want it all yesterday. But in reality, long term and long lasting positive change takes time and patience.
I hope this blog has helped you to see that in life, and for frogs, it is not about all or nothing. It is about small gradual steps and changes that lead to warm cosy bowl of water. Or in my case, to not being scared anymore. To have dealt with the elephant that was sitting in my head.
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