Truths for those Living with an Addict

Don't Lose Hope

Living with someone who is battling an addiction is often very painful and challenging. But if you have made the decision to stay, then here are some hard truths that you will need to face:

1. He or she cannot be trusted to tell the truth. They deny the reality of their struggles and their slips. They hide them from themselves, they hide them from you, and often they will hide them from their counsellor, as well.

2. Don’t expect them to be either responsible or reliable. Their focus isn’t really on sobriety, regardless of their claims, and the things they say to you. This means they will be driven by the need to satisfy their desire for their drug, or their behaviour of choice. At times this means doing things they’ll later regret, and breaking their commitments and promises to you.

3. You can’t control them or make them…

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How to Cope with Panic Attacks

Don't Lose Hope

Partners who’ve experienced betrayal trauma can sometimes suffer from panic attacks. These are both unpleasant and frightening. So, what can you do to help you cope with these attacks, and to regain some control when you feel out of control?

Here are some steps that might help you with this:

1. Remind yourself that these feelings of panic are simply exaggerated stress responses. They are also very normal in your situation.

2. Although they feel dramatic and worrying, the sensations aren’t likely to be dangerous. Usually they will pass, and nothing worse is going to happen.

3. Interrupt the tendency to add to the panic by starting to worry about the feelings, and how they might affect you – both now and in the future.

4. Keep the present as your focus. Don’t let your mind run wild. Instead, assume the persona of a detached observer. Simply ‘notice’ what is…

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Some Questions to Ask When Things Go Wrong

Don't Lose Hope

At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen, and live in what is happening.”

When something major goes wrong in life, in order to move forward we need to take stock of what exactly happened, and what we should do next. Here are some questions to help you with this process …

Ask yourself:

1. Is this something I should take seriously and try to put right? Is it something that is worth working on, and investing more time and energy on? What leads me to these conclusions?

2. How much of what happened is my fault? What did I contribute (if anything)?

3. How much of the situation is outside of my control? Will anything I do really alter things, or make a lasting difference?

4. Have I done everything I possibly can to change the situation? Have I tried…

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Your Trauma Made You Stronger – Right?

Don't Lose Hope

Your trauma made you stronger.”

No. My trauma left me traumatized.

My trauma left me bludgeoned and bleeding.

It left me totally destroyed from endless triggers and constant broken sleep.

It left empty, and scared, and unable to trust …

My partner.

The world.

Afraid to trust myself.

It left me floundering and dealing with emotions so intense.

I lost touch with who I was. I’m a shell of my old self.

Yes, perhaps I’m still here … but I’m different inside.

Now I’m fragile and weak.

I am broken – not strong.

“After what she’s been through, there really should be ‘Crime Scene’ tape around her heart.” – John Mark Green

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Hope in the Midst of Despair

Don't Lose Hope

There comes a point when it all becomes too much. When we get too tired to fight anymore, so we give up. That’s when the real work begins. To find hope when there seems to be absolutely none at all.” – Grey’s Anatomy

One day it will be different. One day you will be able to look back and see that life has changed, and you’ve been able to move on. Maybe just a little, but enough to make a difference.

It might not feel like it just now. I get that. Because I have been there too.

I have been in the place where I’ve given up on hope.

Because it seemed there was no basis for hope.

Because I was far too broken to hope.

Because hope seemed like a crazy idea.

I have been there … so I get why you can’t believe, even although…

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You are Stronger than you Know

Don't Lose Hope

In the depths of every wound we have survived, is the strength we need to live.” – Unknown

You have what it takes to fight this battle.

For within you there is a reservoir of strength. A courage and resiliency you only know is there when you’re forced to face hard things. Things you didn’t want to face.

And when you’re forced to face these hard things, you discover you’re enough. For within you are reserves that you never knew you had.

You’re tenacious and resourceful. You are capable and brave.

You have grit. Determination. Unexpected self-belief.

And when it feels relentless, and the battle is intense … and when you’re faced with setbacks, and the pressure is immense …

You keep on pushing onwards. You will not give up the fight. You won’t succumb to pressure. You are going to survive.

And though it feels unending, you keep…

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Sometimes it Feels Like No-one Really Understands

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They don’t understand our pain because their world didn’t stop when ours did.” – Unknown

Betrayal, breakups, deaths, and tragic news. All of these can change our life in an instant. Nothing is the same as it was before.

And experiencing a trauma can be very isolating – because no-one really understands the pain we’re going through. So why is it so difficult to find, and get, support? Why do people pull back, or say nothing at all?

Here are a few on my thoughts on this subject

1. Often, if you haven’t lived through trauma yourself, you have no idea how it blows your world apart. You would probably agree that this was true for you, before. You couldn’t have imagined ever being in this place, and having the intense feelings and reactions you have now.

2. Even those who have experienced the same kind of…

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The Road to Deep Healing

Don't Lose Hope

“Deep healing can only begin once you accept that you have been truly broken apart. Be an active learner within your own struggle, and listen to what your pain is trying to teach you. Your discomfort will not last forever so do not be afraid to lean into the lesson. What you don’t face now will return again and again until you do.” – Ella Hicks

What are some of the things your pain might be trying to teach you?

1. You want to be chosen, and to be special to someone. You want to cherished and loved, for who you are, and as you are.

You deserve to be chosen, and to be special to someone. You deserve to be cherished and loved, for who you are, and as you are.

2. You want to have all that’s good and beautiful in you seen and appreciated by the…

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How to Keep Rejection from Crushing You

Don't Lose Hope

Some of the most painful life experiences we’ll have will involve being rejected by someone we had loved. By someone we had trusted, and had shared our real self with. It’s hard to describe how soul-destroying this is.

If you are in this place, I want to share some truths with you. Hold tightly to these truths, and resist the toxic pull of painful self-rejection, and negative self-talk:

1. First … Keep on reminding yourself that you are beautiful and loveable. You are worthy of being loved, and of being loved well. Just because someone else can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. That person isn’t the definer of truth and reality. Don’t allow them to define reality for you.

2. That person doesn’t define you, and being rejected by them doesn’t define you. Ask yourself: What would other people who know and love you say…

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Strategies for Dealing with Flashbacks

Don't Lose Hope

“It takes a great effort to free yourself from memory.”

Many people who experience betrayal trauma, experience flashbacks and distressing memories. Below are some strategies to help you cope with the powerful emotions that can hit you at these times:

1. Tell yourself that you are having a flashback when you begin to experience the intense, distressing symptoms. That, is give a name to what is happening. This, in itself, can help to create a sense of control rather than feeling you are out of control, and completely at the mercy of extreme, powerful emotions.

2. Remind yourself, again, that the worst is truly over. You know the truth. You have the facts. You’re in a different place today. Thus, the feelings and sensations you’re experiencing right now are memories that relate to things that happened in the past (such as discovering the truth for the first time). That…

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Who do I Think I Am?

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If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?“ – Maya Angelou

This is a good, and a thought-provoking, question! I wonder how good we really are to ourselves. Here are some journal prompts to help you think this through …

1. Without thinking too deeply about the question, what is your knee-jerk response? Would you say that you are good to yourself?

2. Thinking about the question in more depth …. What would you be doing differently if you were being good to yourself? Try to be concrete and specific here.

For example, would you speak up more, or say “yes” or “no” more often?

Would you speak differently to, or about, yourself?

Would you take more chances?

Would you have a different job or career?

Would you spend more (or perhaps less!) money on yourself?

Would you walk…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

People need to be encouraged. People need to be reminded of how wonderful they are. People need to be believed in – told that they are brave and smart and capable of accomplishing all the dreams they dream, and more. Remind each other of this.” – Stacey Jean Speer

This is so important. We all need encouragement from the outside.

Self worth and self esteem are so fragile at times.

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Breaking Free from Unhealthy, False Beliefs

Don't Lose Hope

Finding yourself is really the process of returning to yourself. It’s a process of unlearning, an excavation, the process of remembering who you really were before this world got its hands on you.”

The following four steps for breaking free from unhealthy, self-destructive beliefs was first suggested by Jeffrey M. Schwatrz, in his book The Mind and the Brain.

1. Step 1:Relabel the thought as a self-limiting belief, not a truth. Beliefs are not the same as truths. People believe all sorts of things. Some of these are true, some are partial truths, and some of our beliefs are completely false.

So, what are you trying to achieve when you relabel a self-limiting belief? Essentially, you’re trying to divest the old belief of its closed-mindedness and certainty. Of course, our old entrenched beliefs will not change overnight … but at least it’s a starting…

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Trauma and the Tyranny of the Past

Don't Lose Hope

Trauma is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you.” – Gabor Mate

Trauma and its Effects

The meaning of “trauma” has its origins in the Greek word for wound. It has been described[1] as being “an inner injury, a lasting rupture or slit within the self due to difficult or hurtful events.”

And according to the physician Gabor Mate, “whether we realize it or not, it is our woundedness, or how we cope with it, that dictates much of our behaviour, shapes our social habits, and informs our way of thinking about the world. It can even determine whether or not we are capable of rational thought in matters of the greatest importance in our lives. For many of us, it rears its head in our closest partnerships, causing all kinds of relational mischief.”

Most of us would say this is…

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How to Change your Relationship with the Past

Don't Lose Hope

“The future can still be beautiful despite the trauma of the past.”

There is nothing we can do to change the past. It can’t be erased. It can’t be undone. But we can change our relationship with the past. Here are some steps that might help you with this.

1. Make the decision to create a future that is not tied in to what happened to you. Although this is easier said than done, making that commitment can be freeing and empowering. It doesn’t mean the memories and the pain will fade away, but it helps you to envisage a future you would like. And that’s the first step to creating this new future.

2. Allow yourself to feel the feelings, and to process what happened. Again, this isn’t something that transforms life overnight. However, it absolutely crucial that you feel and work through feelings – without…

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The Reflection in the Mirror

Don't Lose Hope

Sawubona.

This beautiful word in the Zulu language captures so much more than the word hello. Behind the greeting is the powerful message:

“I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being.”

And for me, this loving greeting begs the fundamental questions (questions that I think we all should ask ourselves):

“Do I see myself? Do I really see myself? What do I see when I turn my eyes on me?”

Answering those Questions

1. If you’ve been truly loved and valued – the way you should have been – then perhaps you see the beauty and the gifts that you possess. You know you are important. That you should be listened to. Your viewpoints are worth hearing. People take you seriously.

Yes, you have so much to offer. Take those opportunities. You’re bound to be successful. Doors will open up for you.

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Learning to Say “No”

Don't Lose Hope

“If giving leaves you feeling empty, you’re giving too much to the wrong person.” – Pavana Reddy

Something that we all need to think about!

All relationships need to have boundaries.

There are people we have a responsibility to in life. But even these relationships need to have healthy boundaries. And how much we can give at any point in time depends on what is going on in our lives.

We can be sick, run down, over-stretched at work, be dealing with trauma, disappointment or loss … and all of these things can take their toll on us. They can limit out ability to give to other people.

So, we need to know ourselves well. We have to learn to recognize when we need to say “no”; when we need to pass the responsibility onto others; or, even, when we need to walk away. Because this is absolutely crucial…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“Your body hears everything your mind says.” – Unknown

Remember that.

Pay attention to your thoughts.

Don’t let negative thoughts go unchallenged. Don’t let lies take root in your mind. You need to consciously take care of yourself, and that includes the things that float into, and through, your mind.

So you need to be relentless at sifting through assumptions, messages from others, and outdated, false beliefs. Because your body hears it all, and it records all the emotions, and it can take a toll upon your mood, and on your health.

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Emotional Safety in Relationships

Don't Lose Hope

As I began to love myself, my relationship with everyone changed.”    

Emotional safety is key to creating trusting, healthy, meaningful relationships. Some things to bear in mind as you think about this topic include:

1.To relax and trust in a relationship you need to feel both physically and emotionally safe. Even if we don’t we’re physically, at risk we may not feel emotionally safe with our partner.

2. Emotional safety is communicated by subtle non-verbal cues. For example, we can be triggered (so we start to feel unsafe) by things like tone of voice, a blank face, an uninterested look, a dismissive look, or by our partner turning away when we start to talk to them.

3. Words in themselves do not generally communicate safety, security, unconditional acceptance, and a feeling that we’re wanted and loved. Also, when our intuition doesn’t match the words we’re hearing we discount…

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An Interview with Pattie – The Role of Kindness in Healing

Don't Lose Hope

Pattie experienced betrayal trauma when she learned that her husband of 35 years had actually been unfaithful for most of their marriage. Below, she shares about the role kindness played in helping her to slowly start to heal.

“What has helped me over time is noticing the small kindnesses of others, and trying to absorb some of that kindness and love.

When you experience betrayal trauma, it causes you totally shut down inside. You don’t trust anyone. You can’t feel at all. It’s like nothing can penetrate the wall around your heart. You can’t open up and let anybody in. You also don’t want to let anybody in.

But as time passed, that began to change. I started to notice some small kindnesses. It might be something as insignificant as a friendly sales assistant who took time to be extra nice to me. Or the barista at Starbucks who always…

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Symptoms of a Wounded Heart

Don't Lose Hope

Symptom of a wounded heart include:

1. Every day is a struggle to believe in yourself. You feel completely worthless and inadequate. You are always criticizing and attacking yourself, and are constantly clothed in a cloak of shame.

2. You find it hard to accept yourself, and can’t believe others can accept you either. You interpret everything you say and do in a disparaging and negative light.

3. You can’t see your strengths, and your good qualities, and are constantly battling painful negative feelings.

3. You feel driven to be perfect – so you try and you try – but there’s never a time when feel “it’s good enough”. Instead, you judge yourself harshly; never give yourself a break; and you’re always deeply disappointed in yourself. Also, you always feel guilty – and believed that you have failed.

4. You find it almost impossible to trust other people, and are…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“Mental health problems don’t define who you are. They are something you experience. You walk in the rain, and you feel the rain, but you are not the rain.” – Matt Haig

This is an important truth to grasp.

You may struggle with mental illness. You may be displaying the effects of trauma.

But none of these are you.

Don’t confuse your experience with the person you are inside.

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Dare I take the Risk? Is it Wise to Take the Risk?

Don't Lose Hope

“Maybe the most beautiful act in all the world is to open our hearts even as they are broken. To nurture our tenderness even though it is easy to turn bitter. To remain gentle and supple, although everything in you goes hard. To keep your soul open and facing the sky, even though you cannot yet see the light of the sun.”

– S.C. Lourie

Here’s what I would say about this quote:

1. On the subject of “having an open heart”: There’s a protection in being wary of being hurt again. Why would you risk being wounded or destroyed? We put up walls because not everyone is safe, and we’ve learned it is crucial that we take care of ourselves. That is wisdom, and it shows self-respect. Not everyone is worthy of our trust.

And at first, we might just find that we can’t open heart. It…

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7 Skills for Coping with Loss

Don't Lose Hope

There are losses that rearrange the world. Deaths that change the way you see everything. Grief that tears everything down. Pain that transports you to an entirely different universe, even while everyone else thinks nothing has changed.” – Megan Devine

Steven Hayes, the founder of ACT (Action and Commitment Therapy) has outlined 7 skills for coping with loss. Skills that, ultimately, enable you to thrive, despite experiencing heartache and pain. This is based on the findings of 1,000+ studies, which were conducted over 35 years. They include:

1. Acknowledge that the loss has occurred, and that it has seriously affected your life.

2. Embrace all the emotions that the loss creates in you. This means feeling the feelings instead of trying to push them down, or trying to control them, or attempting to self-medicate with something like food, alcohol, busyness or work.

3. Accept all your thoughts, feelings and…

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Don’t Believe the Lies

Don't Lose Hope

Society communicates some powerful beliefs which we tend to accept, and then judge ourselves by.

And yet these are destructive, and self-limiting, lies.

They include:

1. I am what I have: Stuff is only stuff. It is never more than that. And we all have different reasons for acquiring stuff, and also different attitudes towards that stuff.

For example, some people find they’re born into a wealthy privileged home; whilst other families struggle just to fight off poverty.

Also … wealth matters to some people so they want to own large homes, to buy expensive cars, and have the latest games and toys. Others aren’t motivated by those things at all.

2. I am what I’ve done: None of us is perfect. We all have some regrets. But what matters themost is what we learn from our mistakes.

It’s who you are today that is your…

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The Loneliness of Betrayal

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“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

The most common comments I hear from those who learn that their spouse has a sex addiction are:

“I feel so alone. There’s no-one I can’t tell. There is no-one else I know who’s gone through something like this. I feel so isolated and alone.”

And they’re absolutely right. It isn’t really talked about. There’s so much condemnation, blame and shame attached to it that you daren’t take a risk, and disclose what you have learned.

Basically …

– You know there would be talk. You’d be criticized and judged. They’d say it was your fault. And they’d highlight all your flaws – and even add some more so they can reinforce their case. Perhaps not to your face – but, at least, behind closed doors.

– Or, they’d…

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On Emotional Healing …

Don't Lose Hope

The very same brain centers that interpret and feel physical pain also become activated during experiences of emotional rejection. In brain scans, they light up in response to social ostracism, just as they would when triggered by physically harmful stimuli. When people speak of feeling hurt or of having emotional pain, they are not being abstract or poetic, but scientifically quite precise.” – Gabor Mate

Emotional anguish is observable and real. The pain that we feel is registered in the brain. So we need to take that pain seriously. And don’t be surprised if a wound that’s very deep always seems to throb, and takes a long time to heal. For that is exactly what we would expect.

A surgical wound can set you back for weeks or months. You have to take it easy so that healing can occur. There are things that you can’t do –…

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Will this Never End?

Don't Lose Hope

Do you ever wonder if you’ll ever recover? Do you ever despair of the roller-coaster ride? If you do, then you’re normal. It is what we all go through when we’re reeling from a shock, or we’ve been traumatized. Welcome to the club. We have travelled this road too.

What should you expect when you’re trying to recover?

  • Triggers happen all the time, and they happen unexpectedly.
  • You’ll have flashbacks, broken sleep and anxiety attacks.
  • You will lose your motivation and your zest for life.
  • You will cry and feel depressed a lot of the time.
  • You will feel you’ve lost your smile and your sense of humour.
  • You might feel like you are starting to be yourself again – and then you have a meltdown and you’re back at ground zero.
  • You’ll have powerful thoughts and feelings that will shock and frighten you.
  • You will feel ashamed of your…

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How to be There for a Traumatized Friend

Don't Lose Hope

In a previous post we talked about some of the statements and comments that can be destructive to the healing process. Below, we talk about some things that can help when you want to support a traumatized friend.

1. When the person starts to talk about the traumatic experience, be aware of the fact that they might actually be reliving the past (even if it happened months or years ago). That means they might be experiencing some of the same symptoms and reactions as they experienced at the time. This is known as rubber-banding back to the past.

2. It is likely that their thinking and awareness will have become incredibly focused; they may not even be aware of their current surroundings. All they can feel is the shock and numbness. There may be adrenalin rushing through the person’s body. They may tune out from time to time and not…

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Things you Shouldn’t say to a Trauma Survivor

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Many people cannot cope with another person’s pain. They do not want to know, and they cannot stand to hear. As a consequence of this, they will try to shut you down, and often they will do this by spouting platitudes. Pointless, empty words that can make you feel alone.

Examples include the following:

“Just let it go.”

“Are you over it yet?”

“Try to focus on the positives.”

“It’s going to be OK …”

“You still have so much to be thankful for.”

“At least you can be grateful that …”

“Fake it till you make.”

“I know how you feel.”

“Let me tell you what happened to me …”

“At least it’s not bad as what happened to X.”

“One day you’ll look back, and be grateful that it happened.”

“It will all work out for the best in the end.”

These cruel and thoughtless comments weave a…

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Addiction and Boundaries

Don't Lose Hope

“You can be a good person with a kind heart, and still say ‘no’.”

There are many, many addicts who break free of their addiction. They do the work required, and turn their back upon their past.

Other addicts try and fail; perhaps they feel ambivalent. Perhaps they aren’t sure they really want to make that change.

This is so distressing and for the partner or spouse.

So, what should you do? How do you help yourself – and them – when you don’t know if your partner is committed to real change?

All that you can do – and it’s the healthy thing to do – is to work hard on establishing some healthy boundaries.

But what do we mean by “having healthy boundaries”?

1. This is more about controlling our own life and own world. It’s not about controlling our partner’s life and world. This is…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“Strong women aren’t born. They’re forged in the fires they’ve had to walk through. And they’ve shown the world they are warriors.”

This is you.

A strong courageous woman who has been forced to deal with stuff she never wanted to deal with,

and never should have had to deal with.

And you’ve discovered in the fire a strength of will, and inner strength, you never knew you had until you had to stand and fight.

And what a revelation that has been!

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On Grief

Don't Lose Hope

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” ― Jamie Anderson

Grief is just love with no place to go.

Because that individual’s not around anymore.

They can’t hear your words.

They can’t respond to your words.

You can’t express your love in any way that’s meaningful.

All that love that is inside you, in its pure intensity …

All the feelings that you have, and want to open up and share …

None of that is possible

There’s only silence now.

There’s no-one there to listen.

There’s only emptiness.

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Understanding Betrayal Trauma

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Jennifer Freyd was one of the first people to formally identify betrayal trauma. She defined it in the following way:

“Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which a person depends for survival significantly violate that person’ s trust or well-being: Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a caregiver are examples of betrayal trauma.”

The effects of this are severe and long-lasting. In fact, the associated symptoms are similar to those associated with PTSD. They include:

– Repeatedly experiencing intrusive thoughts and memories related to the traumatic event. These memories and thoughts can occur spontaneously, as well being triggered by environmental cues.

– Experiencing intense and prolonged distress when the person is exposed to any stimulus that reminds them of the traumatic event (or which resembles the traumatic experience).

– Being unable to fall, or to stay, asleep. Having recurring dreams where content or feelings…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

More long walks. More good books. More music. More sunsets. More holding hands. More cuddles. More road trips. More honouring your heart. More being nice to yourself. More laughter. More fun in the moment. More beach. More forest. More memories. More of what brings peace to your life. More of what brings inspiration. More of what makes you feel loved and not alone. Focus on that today.”   

– butterfliesandpebbles

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The Characteristics of Good Mental Health

Don't Lose Hope

What does it mean to function well in life? What does it mean to have good mental health? It means we exhibit the following traits:

  1. Feeling good about ourselves; accepting that we have both strengths and weaknesses. Understanding that change takes time, and being patient with ourselves.
  2. Being able to effectively manage our emotions so we’re not controlled or overwhelmed by them (Feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, rage, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, and so on).
  3. Being able to form and enjoy stable, healthy, boundaried and meaningful relationships.
  4. Feeling at ease in the company of others.
  5. Not taking life too seriously; being able to laugh at ourselves.
  6. Respecting ourself, our values, beliefs, attitudes, choices and decisions. Also, respecting others and their right to think, choose, decide and act for themselves.
  7. Being able to accept, and to cope with, disappointment. This includes being able to adapt and compromise when this is healthy and…

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Finding the Right Kind of Counsellor to Help you Cope with Betrayal Trauma

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“A partner affected by intimate betrayal experiences a level of pain that is indescribable. The hurt is so profound and complex, partners often wonder if it will ever get better.” –  Shira Olsen

You’re likely in crisis if you’ve learned that your spouse is addicted to sex or pornography. It’s not the kind of news you expect to hear!

And you know that you need help … but you don’t know where to turn. You want to find a counsellor … but who will understand?

When you’re in a state of shock you need a crisis counsellor who knows what it is like to be completely traumatized; not someone who will offer you generic counselling.

The Kind of Counsellor to Avoid at this Time

In the initial weeks and months, you should avoid a counsellor:

– Who wants to look at how you might have contributed to, or played a…

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It’s the Little Things that Matter

Don't Lose Hope

Remember, today, that it’s the little things that matter.

It’s saying thank you to the sales assistant.

It’s taking the time to listen to your child.

It’s paying an unexpected compliment.

It’s checking in on a hurting friend.

It’s making the decision to do the right thing, even when you’re tired and you really can’t be bothered.

It’s choosing to be thankful when you’re feeling negative.

It’s doing one small thing which shows you’re going to love yourself.

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Understanding Relapse

Don't Lose Hope

Relapse is commonplace when someone’s fighting an addiction; it’s something many deal with on their journey to success. Yet, Psychology Today[1] records that more give up addictions than those who stay addicted, or who constantly relapse. This should give us hope, and help stave off discouragement.

Also, relapsing is a process that’s predictable and patterned; and recognizing this can help us read the warning signs. That is, we often make decisions which can seem inconsequential … and yet they slowly move us towards a full relapse

Think of the relapse chain as a chain of decisions – made over a period of days, weeks, months, or even years- that together add up to a backsliding in one’s recovery. This makes it hard to say exactly where any one relapse begins.[2]

What are the Steps that Lead to Relapse?

The following links make up the relapse chain:

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How to Tap into Your Inner Strength in the Aftermath of Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Below are some common definitions of trauma.

Trauma is any experience of threat, disconnection, isolation, or immobilization that results in physical/ emotional injuries that dysregulate the optimal functioning of one’s body, emotions, brain, spirit or health.” – Mastin Kipp

“Trauma by definition is unbearable and intolerable. (Traumatized people) become so upset when they think about what they have experienced that they try to puh it out of their minds, trying to act as if nothing happened, and move on. It takes tremendous energy to keep functioning while carrying the memory of terror, and the shame of utter weakness and vulnerability.” – Bessel Van Der Kolk

“Being traumatized means continuing to organize your life as if the trauma was still going on – unchanged and immutable – as every new encounter or past event is contaminated by the past.” – Bessel Van Der Kolk

This is a difficult way…

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Why We don’t Talk about our Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

“Own everything that has happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamont

There are so many reasons why we keep it to ourselves. Why we choose not to talk about the things that we’ve been through. These include self-protection, feeling it is pointless, and because of messages we’ve picked up from our family.

Let’s break this down further ….

1. Self-Protection

Because it isn’t a safe thing to do.

Because we’re afraid of being judged, shamed, or attacked further.

Because we haven’t got the emotional reserves to deal with being judged, shamed, or attacked further.

Because we haven’t got the energy, or mental head space, to carefully explain our side of the story (and, if necessary, ‘argue our case’).

Because we don’t think people will believe us (or even want to believe us)

Because…

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What? You too?

Don't Lose Hope

“It’s important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you, and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story you free yourself, and you give other people permission to acknowledge their story as well.” – Iyanla Vanzant

We need to be able to talk about what happened. We need to have our story witnessed and held by someone who empathises with our shock and pain.

Who gets just awful and life-changing it has been.

But we also feel supported, encouraged and helped by hearing someone else share their story with us. The story of their trauma, and how they have survived.

But why does that make such a difference to us?

It matters because trauma is so isolating. It can feel too big – too awful – to talk about and share.

We feel contaminated, and overwhelmed with shame. So, we…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“Triggers can happen when you least expect them. When you think all the emotional wounds are healed something can happen that reminds you there is still a scar.” – Alexandra May

You can do a lot of work to recover from a trauma. You can make a lot of progress on your journey to be free.

And yet there will be times when, suddenly, you’ll find you’re triggered. And that can be upsetting, and so discouraging.

But don’t let this derail you for the truth is: it is normal.

It happens to us all – for progress isn’t a straight line.

It means the wound is deep, and this has changed your life completely.

But, still, there has been healing.

Keep on going; you are strong.

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” – Alexander Den Heijer

How do feel about your ability to grow, and bloom, in your current environment?

What would enable you to find your best self?

What would enable you to be your best self?

How would you be living – how would your life be different – if you had the freedom to be that individual?

Is there anything specific you need to change?

What one small change could you make in the next month – to get you moving in the right direction?

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