I Don’t Deserve to be Loved

Don't Lose Hope

I wonder if you ever struggle with that painful feeling … The feeling that you really don’t deserve to be loved.

And when we’re in that desperate place we often move to self-attack. We turn against ourselves and we recite the countless reasons why we ought to be rejected, disliked or even scorned.

But this self-attack is crazy on so many different levels.

It usually has no bearing in reality.

Also, it serves no useful purpose, and it scars and wounds us deeply as we turn against ourselves with loud, self-shaming accusations.

Why do we do it?

There is a voice inside our head that has been nurtured through the years by negative experiences that left their mark on us. The voices of our parents, or of cruel, unloving people, have gathered evidence that now feels hard to contradict. Words like:

“Nobody likes you.”

“No-one cares about you.”

“Who would…

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Quote of the Day: Your Trauma is Valid

Don't Lose Hope

 

Your trauma is valid.

Even if other people have experienced “worse”.

Even if someone else who went through the same experience doesn’t feel debilitated by it.

Even if it “could have been avoided”.

Even if it happened a long time ago.

Even if no one knows.

Your trauma is real and valid and you deserve a space to talk about it.

It isn’t desperate or pathetic or attention-seeking.

It’s self-care.

It’s inconceivably brave.

And regardless of the magnitude of your struggle, you’re allowed to take care of yourself by processing and unloading some of the pain you carry.

Your pain matters.

Your experience matters.

And your healing matters.”

— Daniell Koepke

Please believe it. Take these words to heart.

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It’s Good to Talk

Don't Lose Hope

Tell your story. Shout it. Write it. Whisper it if you have to. But tell it. Some won’t understand it. Some will outright reject it. But many will thank you for it. And then the most magical thing will happen. One by one, voices will start whispering, “Me, too. ” And your tribe will gather. And you will never feel alone again.”

-L.R. Knost

Can you imagine how good it would be to be able to talk? To be able to share. To have your pain held – like a scared, tender thing?

Can you picture that?

Can you imagine what it would be like to be understood? To feel understood. To know that you are not the only one. To know that others have walked in your shoes, and experienced what you’ve experienced.

Of course, it can never be exactly the same – because everyone’s experience is…

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Coping with Feelings of Panic

Don't Lose Hope

One of the features of betrayal trauma is experiencing overwhelming feelings of panic. This is very normal; you aren’t going crazy.

However, it can be particularly scary when this is new to you, and especially when the feelings hit you unexpectedly. So what can you do to help you cope with the symptoms? The following suggestions have been shown to make a difference:

1. Remind yourself that what you are experiencing right now are actually exaggerated normal stress reactions. You body is sending out a warning sign. That is all.

2. Although they are unpleasant, these bodily sensations aren’t dangerous or harmful. Nothing worse is going to happen.

3. Take control of your thoughts. Don’t let them run away. Don’t allow “what if scenarios” to intensify the feelings of panic. Those thoughts are usually groundless. They’re extreme, and they’re unlikely.

4. Stay focused on the present and what is happening

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The Painful Art of Letting Go

Don't Lose Hope

Fruit drops from the tree when it is ready. Staying too long, or moving too early, misses the mark … The process has its own timing, and it creates changes in your life when those changes need to happen.”

-Gary Zukav

Here are a few thoughts on letting go:

1.Letting go is a process. Yes, it may begin with a decision we make, and often there will be a desire to move on. But that is just the very start of the journey. The road is long and winding, and it’s unpredictable.

2. You can trust the process. You mind knows how to heal and protect itself. Allow it to guide you – though it won’t always make sense. It knows what it is doing; you can trust your intuition.

3. You might feel really bad, and you may struggle to let go. There…

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Do You Suffer From GAD?

Don't Lose Hope

One of the fall-outs from experiencing trauma is living with generalized anxiety disorder. It is a of a sense of dread that colours everything in life, so the person can’t relax and focus on what’s happening now.

Note: The difference between ‘normal’ worrying and generalized anxiety disorder is the worrying associated with GAD is excessive, intrusive, persistent and debilitating.

Signs and Symptoms

The person diagnosed with GAD will typically struggle with the following, on a regular and ongoing basis:

– Constant worrying

– An inescapable feeling of anxiety, and the feeling this is something that is outside their control

– Being constantly troubled by intrusive, anxious thoughts. (Thoughts they can’t switch off)

– Being unable to tolerate uncertainty, and not ever knowing what the future may hold

– A pervasive feeling of apprehension or dread

– Being unable to relax, and to enjoy time alone

– Difficulties with attending…

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Quote of the Day: And that is OK

Don't Lose Hope

“Perhaps most of all, though, you deserve to be okay. You deserve to know that a day in which you can just barely get out of bed because you are sad, or sick, or simply not ready to see the outside is not the end of the world. You deserve to know that moments of weakness do not make you fundamentally weak, only fundamentally human, and that sometimes we’re not going to be effusively happy, and that is okay.” – Chelsea Fagan

And that is OK.

Sometimes we need to be kind to ourselves, and to simply accept where we are today.

Perhaps we wish we were stronger inside

Or more able to process, and heal from, the pain.

Our desire and our hopes … they are in the right place.

But we are where are.

And it is what it is.

Healing takes time.

Recovery takes time.

It’s…

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Supporting Someone Who’s Experienced Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

To support someone who’s experienced trauma …

1. You don’t need to have any answers.

2. You don’t need to have gone through the same thing yourself.

3. You need to be able to listen. Really listen. Through the deep concern expressed in your eyes.

4. Silence is good. Often words don’t help. What really matters is the fact that you are there.

5. Find a way to convey that you absolutely ‘get’ how terrible this is, and how it’s shocked them to the core.

7. Often questions make things worse. If used at all, they should be used sparingly, and with sensitivity.

8. Do not offer your opinions or give advice. Never comment on the person who has caused them so much harm. Keep your focus on the victim, and what they are going through.

9. Keep emphasizing strongly that the person isn’t crazy. Their feelings and reaction –…

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Quote of the Day: It Mattered

Don't Lose Hope

“So often we try to make other people feel better by minimizing their pain, by telling them that it will get better, or that there are worse things in the world.

But that’s not what I actually needed. What I actually needed was for someone to tell me that it hurt because it mattered.

I have found this very useful to think about over the years, and I find that it is a lot easier and more bearable to be sad when you aren’t constantly berating yourself for being sad.”

– John Green

Truth!

It doesn’t help when our pain is minimized.

When we are hurting, it is because it mattered. And the more it hurts, the more it mattered.

Pretending otherwise to make others feel better, just leaves us feeling judged and alone.

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You Know Who You Are

Don't Lose Hope

I want to say thank you to the rare few individuals who walked beside in my darkest, bleakest times.

Who listened. Really listened. Without offering advice

Who told me this was normal, and I really wasn’t crazy.

Who let me rant and rave.

Held the rawness and the pain.

Who didn’t ever judge me.

Understood my brokenness.

Who loved me constantly and – always – unconditionally.

Who held a light up for me when the blackness pulled me in.

You know who you are.

And I truly want to thank you.

Your kindness made a difference.

You have helped me to survive.

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Anxiety, Depression and Thankfulness

Don't Lose Hope

(Make sure you read to the end of the post!)

There’s a lot to be said for being thankful.

1.For a start, we have a lot to be grateful for – Even when we’re suffering, and life is full of pain.

Most of us will have a decent roof over our heads, enough food to eat, some family and friends … And then there’s the beauty that surrounds us in the world. When we start to think about it, the list becomes quite long.

2. Gratitude can also help us to keep things in perspective. When things are really tough, we usually feel quite negative. And feeling negative affects the way we see the world. There’s a dark and dusty filter over everything in life. We have lost all sense of hope. We expect the very worst. This is normal, and it’s natural, when we’re in this situation.

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Quote of the Day: Life Advice

Don't Lose Hope

Life Advice

Always be the best person you can be.

Be kind even when you’re tired. Be understanding even when you’re angry.

Do more than you’re asked, and don’t ask for anything in return. Don’t silently expect anything either.

Listen when someone talks; and really listen too. Stop just thinking of how you’ll reply.

Tell people that you love them, and that you appreciate them. Go out of your way to do things for people.

Be the greatest person you can possibly be and when you mess up, make up for it in the next moment, or minute, or day.

One thing you should never do? Never spend your time trying to prove to anybody that you’re great. Your actions will speak for themselves.

And we only have limited time on this earth, don’t waste it.

If someone doesn’t see your light, don’t worry. Like moths, good people are attracted…

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The Death of Shame

Don't Lose Hope

“Shame dies when stories are told in safe places.” – Ann Voskamp

We all know what it feels like to struggle with shame. Just hearing the word “shame”, can start to conjure up the feelings.

But how to free ourselves from this burden that we bear?

What often helps the most is to share with someone safe, with someone understanding, who truly cares for you.

But how do we decipher who a safe person is? He or she should possess the following attributes:

1. They listen. Really listen. Carefully, and with compassion. They are also non-judgmental in the way they listen to you. You can sense that they are trying to get behind your eyes, and understand the feelings and events from your standpoint.

2. They validate your feelings. They ‘get’ the way you feel, and why you feel the way you do. Also, they tell you…

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Impossible Blackness

Don't Lose Hope

Are you a fan of jigsaw puzzles?

The first time I met my husband’s family, they were working on an unusual jigsaw puzzle. There was no cover picture on the front of the box.

Inside there was a booklet, a synopsis of a murder. And the murderer was revealed when the puzzle was complete.

Although it was intriguing, I disliked that jigsaw puzzle. I’m not too good at puzzles at the best of times. There were hundreds of dark pieces. Midnight blues, dark greens and browns. Too many shades of blackness. It was just impossible!

And yet, when it was finished, everything fell into place. There really was a picture. No, it wasn’t meaningless. And in a strange kind of way, it was a very striking picture.

I never would have thought that scene could look so beautiful.

Life as a Puzzle

This experience reminds me – just a little…

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How can I Recapture a Sense of Hope?

Don't Lose Hope

To be hopeless is to lose all motivation to do what we need to live. It is to be in a deep, dark, well without a rope. And even if it were there, we wouldn’t have the energy to climb it.”

– Dr. Winfried Sedhoff

Having hope matters. It matters a lot. Anyone who’s lost their sense of hope can tell you that.

But hope is something that can fade out of our life when awful things have happened …

Or when we’ve hoped for far too long, and nothing seems to change.

Hope can start to drain away.

If this is your experience, then what steps can you take to start to recapture that lost sense of hope? Here are some suggestions:

1. First, take proper care of your physical needs. You need to have an adequate amount of nutritious food, sleep, rest, gentle exercise – everything…

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Ask Us – Will I Ever be Able to Trust Again?

Don't Lose Hope

In this post we will briefly answer a question that was asked by one of our clients. Here is today’s question:

I am afraid to trust again. My husband was betraying me behind my back for years, and I had absolutely no idea. So, my question is how can I know it’s safe to trust another man.? I’m afraid that I’ll be duped again.”

When we’ve been betrayed, especially if it’s multiple times, or over a long period of time, then it absolutely natural to fear trusting again. It’s also natural to be afraid that you might miss something important – because you were successfully deceived in the past. It’s sad but it’s very understandable. Your fears here are normal, and are actually very healthy.

Let me beginning by saying : What you did in your previous relationship was right.

You were right to trust your ex-husband. We…

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Signs that you’re Starting to Heal from Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Signs that you’re starting to heal include:

1. You’re not living in denial. You are able to acknowledge that you’ve been through something shocking. Something really devastating. Something that has turned your whole world upside down.

2. You have faced, and are now working through, the negative emotions – all the terrible, disturbing and distressing emotions.

3. At some point in the past you admitted to yourself that this was way too big for you to handle on your own. Hence, you’ve reached out for support from safe, understanding people.

4. You’re aware of the effects that the trauma has had on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Thus, you’ve been consciously addressing, and caring for, your health.

5. You’ve been putting healthy boundaries around your life. You know that you have limits, and you must protect yourself.

6. You’ve been nurturing, and loving, and caring for yourself. You have…

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Hello Self. I’ve Missed You.

Don't Lose Hope

You are standing in the answer.

It is when you start to lose yourself that you start to look for yourself in other people … other things.

But there is a place and a time in your life that link you to the person you were before all the chaos.

All the pain. All the heartache.

Before you looked in the mirror and judged the reflection looking back at you.

Find this place.

Go back to this place.

Because, in this place, you knew exactly who you were.

You just got a little lost.”

– April Green

But how do you get back to that place again? How do you find yourself again?

Here are four suggestions:

1. Stay with the feelings that took you to that dark place. Let them speak to you. Let them tell you what you’ve lost. Let them tell you what you deserved…

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Sadder

Don't Lose Hope

Sometimes a loss is most keenly felt by the absence of something else.

An empty chair at a table for two, is a symbol and reminder that we’re now on our own.

A bare third finger when a ring has been removed reminds of commitments that are no longer there.

The silence in the room – no more laughter and loud screams – remind us of the family that use to fill this space.

The closet that looks empty and the carpet that is clean both testify to change, and to lives that have moved on.

When those losses hit with force, we’re reminded of good times and are conscious, once again, of the hole they’ve left behind.

If you’re in that place today, then allow yourself to grieve.

There’s no shame in being sad when you’re struggling with loss.

And that wrenching pain you feel – it reminds you…

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Can Trust be Rebuilt?

Don't Lose Hope

Ultimately, the worst kind of pain does not come from your enemies, but from those you trust and love.”

What is necessary for trust to be rebuilt after you’ve discovered that your partner has betrayed you?

To be honest, you may never fully trust them again – and it won’t be the same kind of trust as before. However, there is still a place for hope. Often progress can be made. But the following are essential for rebuilding trust:

1. The betrayer must have made a total break with the affair partner, or be actively getting help for a sex addiction (if that is the cause of the betrayal). They should also have someone they’re accountable to, someone they check in regularly with. This must be someone you (the betrayed partner) trust as well.

2. The betrayed partner must believe in their heart that the offending partner is wholeheartedly…

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Measuring Up

Don't Lose Hope

We live in a world full of comparisons.

Does she have a sexier figure than me? Does she look younger, or better for her age? Is she so much smarter? Have a better career? Do people think that she is funnier than me?

I suspect it all begins in the early years of life when we start fighting hard to get our parents’ attention.

But it’s a process that continues for the rest of our life.

And it’s a process that leads to insecurity, as well.

For at any point in time we could cease to measure up – and we could lose the affection of those who matter most.

Like our family, or close friends.

Like our partner, or our spouse.

Yet each of us is different – individual and unique.

And we start to lose ourselves when we make comparisons.

But comparing’s so ingrained, such a feature of…

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A Few Things I’ve Learned From Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

This is the big, scary truth about trauma: there is no such thing as “getting over it.” The five stages of grief model marks universal stages in learning to accept loss, but the reality is in fact much bigger: a major life disruption leaves a new normal in its wake. There is no “back to the old me.” You are different now, full stop.” – Catherine Woodiwiss

Here are a few things I’ve learned about trauma:

1. Trauma upends everything. It undermines your whole reality. Everything is open to question now.

2. Life doesn’t go back to the way it was before – and neither do you.

3. Trauma is disfiguring. At least for a while, it turns you into someone you do not recognize. You lose your spark and sparkle. You withdraw from life. You experience the symptoms of PTSD. You feel you’re going crazy. That you’re losing your…

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10 Things to Remember

Don't Lose Hope

1. Small steps are still progress.

2. Feelings go up as well as down. Tomorrow might be better than today.

3. You need to be honest and real to heal.

4. You don’t have to hold it together all the time.

5. Respecting your limits, and enforcing boundaries, are important forms of self-care.

6. You don’t have to explain yourself to others. You don’t need anyone’s acceptance or approval.

7. Everyone’s journey is different. Don’t measure yourself by someone else.

8. You are so much stronger and braver than you feel.

9. Self-compassion helps develop your emotional resilience. Notice when you’re suffering and be kind to yourself.

10. You owe it to yourself to believe in yourself. You are the one decides your worth.

The only one who get to decide your worth is you. It doesn’t come from your bank account or the number of friends you have…

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It is what it is

Don't Lose Hope

It’s OK if you thought you were over it, but then it hits you all over again.

It’s OK if, sometimes, you still fall apart, even if you thought you were starting to heal.

Trauma is like that.

The shock may start to fade –

But the memories still haunt you.

You’re not completely free.

This doesn’t mean you’re weak.

It’s a battle like no other.

Recovery is messy, and there isn’t a timeline

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Understanding and Treating Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

Trauma reactions are normal reactions to abnormal events.”

There are no right and wrong ways to respond to a trauma; and your symptoms may include the following:

– Shock, numbness, disbelief, or even denial

– Confusion

– Difficulties with focusing, paying attention, concentrating and remembering

– Powerful unpredictable mood swings

– Anger and rage

– Irritability/ having a short fuse

– Intense fear and anxiety

– Panic attacks and anxiety attacks

– Guilt, shame, and (inappropriate) self-blame

– The desire to isolate yourself

– Sadness, sorrow and regret

– Hopelessness/ an inability to see anything good in the future

– Insomnia, nightmares, and broken sleep

– Hypervigilant/ hyperalert/ agitation/ being on edge

– Racing heart

– Difficulty breathing, and regulating breathing

– Tingling in hands and feet

– Pain and muscle tension.

Some of these symptoms point to PTSD, where your nervous system’s stuck in a state of…

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It all Comes Down to Fate. Or Does It?

Don't Lose Hope

Facing a fate we cannot change, we are called to make the best of it by rising above ourselves and growing beyond ourselves.”

― Viktor Frankl

We think that we are free, that we decide our destiny. We think that we’re in charge, that we’re the author of our lives.

To some extent we are.

And to some extent we aren’t.

Viktor Frankl, the psychiatrist who penned the words above, was sent (as a young man) to several concentration camps. I can’t imagine this was in his plan for his life.

And yet that is where Viktor Frankl found himself.

Bringing it Closer to Home

I wonder what you’d wanted, and expected for your life.

I wondered what then happened. What derailed you from that course.

Who ripped up all your plans, the plans you’d carefully designed? The plans your dreams had fashioned. Normal – reasonable – good plans.

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Only the Strong

Don't Lose Hope

Now every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: What darkness did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes.”

– What darkness have you experienced that has changed you in significant ways?

– How did it change you?

– What lessons (good and bad) have you learned?

– How has it made you a stronger person?

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Keeping it Manageable

Don't Lose Hope

“You only need to focus on one little step forward.

You don’t need to conquer the entire mountain right now.

You don’t need to have everything figured out today.

The only possible way to climb a mountain is by climbing it one step at a time.

Don’t think about the peak.

Don’t worry about what may come later.

Instead, focus on the one little step in front of you.

The rest will come when it’s time.

For now, it’s just one little step.”

It’s natural to worry, to feel anxious and afraid.

To picture every possible worst-case scenario.

We do it all the time:

When we feel inadequate.

When the outcome really matters.

When we feel we’re powerless.

But you know it doesn’t help.

It really doesn’t help at all.

It really doesn’t make things better – for it doesn’t change a thing.

So try to let it go…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“I am the one who talks to me in my darkest moments. I’m the only one who really knows my deepest fears and pains, and the inner turmoil I have suffered. I’m the one with the power to put myself down or build myself up with my inner self talk. Other people can support, hold, love, encourage, guide and teach me but I am still the most important person who can make the choice to always love and be there for me – and I will.

I’ll be there for me.”

Unknown Author

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Let It Be

Don't Lose Hope

“The only cure for grief is to grieve.”

We don’t just put it behind us and move on. We don’t just forget, and start over again.

We know that doesn’t work. That it’s just a fantasy.

That’s not how trauma, or grief, or sadness work.

They are all part of your story. They are part of who you are.

Those memories and events: they will always be with you.

So you need to accept them.

And welcome them.

And make space for them.

You need to allow them to be true – whether you want them to be true, or not.

You need to allow them to be your reality.

Your life.

You will never be able to stifle, or forget, or erase them completely.

So make room for them.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable and broken, at least for this moment.

Allow yourself to feel all the intense, scary…

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What do I do with all these feelings?

Don't Lose Hope

Society sends some very mixed messages when it comes to feelings. You hear them discussed and mentioned a lot. But expressing them: well, that’s another story. Especially the intense and negative ones.

Yet, if something traumatic has happened to you then you’re going to experience some powerful emotions. And those feelings will be with you for a very long time. They will also show up at some inconvenient times.

For example, say you are having a pretty normal day. You’ve just dropped the kids off with their grandparents and are now stopping to pick up some coffee and bagels from the mall. Then, all of a sudden, you see or hear something that reminds you of the betrayal. (For example, you pass a shop selling lingerie or you hear a song that reminds you of your partner.)

Immediately, you are transformed from a relaxed, calm, and in control person into…

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What are the Symptoms of Betrayal Trauma?

Don't Lose Hope

Betrayal trauma makes you feel like you are losing your mind. It puts you on an emotional rack and pulls you in opposite directions until you are begging for mercy. It yanks your sense of security out from under you and puts you in a state of emotional free fall. It is severely emotionally distressing, and until you have experienced it, you really can’t imagine how truly life-altering the experience can be.”

–Michelle Mays

When you have experienced betrayal trauma you are living in a state of emotional devastation, something that is very hard to navigate. Its symptoms include the following:

1. Adrenalin and cortisol are surging through your body as your autonomic nervous system (ANS) prepares for “fight or flight”.

2. Your body and mind are screaming danger and threat. You feel as if you’re living on high alert.

3. For many people, when they start to…

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Keep Fighting

Don't Lose Hope

This is for the ones who are struggling right now. This is for the ones who have been having a rough day, or week, or year. The ones who feel like this storm will never end. Keep fighting for YOU. Not for your friends, not for your family, but for YOU.

Keep fighting because deep down you hold a tiny voice that you were meant for far more than this sadness and pain you are feeling.

Keep fighting because the person you will be on the other side of all of this is cheering for you so much.

Keep fighting because you will get there.

And it will be worth it.”

– Nikki Banas

I want you to know it will be worth it.

I want you to know that YOU are worth it.

Keep on believing as an act of self-love.

Keep on fighting as an act…

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Try This

Don't Lose Hope

Try this.  

Set aside a time when you can be alone for an hour with your journal. Choose a relaxing place and an unhurried, leisurely time of the day. Make sure there will be no interruptions. It’s just you and your journal.

Now, answer the following questions:

1.“What is important to you in life?” Write for 10 minutes straight. Write whatever is floating around in your mind. Don’t edit your thoughts or writing. Write as if no-one but you will read it. Be completely honest with yourself.

2. “What are your big dreams?” Write for 10 minutes straight. Write whatever is floating around in your mind. Don’t edit your thoughts or writing. Write as if no-one but you will read it. Be completely honest with yourself.

3. “What do you want from an intimate relationship?” Write for 10 minutes straight. Write whatever is floating around in your mind…

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Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Don't Lose Hope

Trauma overwhelms listeners as much as speakers … and talking about painful events doesn’t necessarily establish community – often quite the contrary. Families and organizations may reject members who air their dirty laundry; friends and family can lose patience with people who get stuck in their grief or hurt. This is one reason why trauma victims often withdraw and why their stories become rote narratives, edited in a form least likely to provoke rejection.”

Is this, perhaps, something you relate to as well?

Chelsea had always been a very private person. She was open, warm and friendly in most social situations. But no-one really knew what was happening in her life. To outward appearances, it looked like things were fine.

Then, out of the blue, Chelsea’s world was blown apart – when she learned that her husband had a hidden secret life. Dating apps, pornography, webcams, and so on.

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The Truth of Who You Are

Don't Lose Hope

Sometimes I wake up and have to remind myself:

‘There is nothing wrong with me.

I have patterns to unlearn.

New behaviours to embody,

And wounds to heal.

But there is nothing wrong with the core of me, and who I am.

I am unlearning generations of harm

and remembering, Love,

It takes time.’”

Is this a message for you today?

You are not flawed.

You are not inadequate.

You have been fed lies, and been made to feel this way.

Please believe me when I tell you: This isn’t who you are.

You are beautiful, resourceful, resilient, strong, empathic, gifted and lovely through and through.

These are the facts.

Let this sink into your soul.

This is the truth of who you are.

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You, Me and Empathy

Don't Lose Hope

At times, it’s almost impossible to believe that we will get better, and be our old selves.

There are days when ‘two steps forward, and one step back’ becomes ‘one step forwards, and ten steps back’.

Those are the days when you give in to despair.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t recover from the trauma.

You hate your partner for what they’ve done to you.

You’re frustrated with yourself for it seems you can’t move on.

Those are the awful days we all battle with.

And that’s why it means so much when others share their struggles. And talk about their journey. What it’s been like for them.

It’s like they’re holding up a mirror where we see not just them … but we also see ourselves, and we see our life, as well.

It encourages us to think: “You, and I … We’re both the…

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Making Number Two – or Number Ten – Number One

Don't Lose Hope

I am exhausted with trying to be stronger than I feel.”

Ever felt that way?

What do you do when you have to fight on, to put on a brave face, and pretend to the world that you’re happy and strong, and that life is going well?

We can do that for a while. We can smile, and act the part.

But eventually we crash. Our supply gets all used up.

So if you’re feeling this way now, pay attention to the signs.

Tell yourself you’re too worn out.  Way too tired to wear a mask.

Then withdraw for a while, and invest in yourself.

 It’s OK to feel weak, and to care for yourself.

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It Isn’t Over ‘Till It’s Over

Don't Lose Hope

“Inhale. Exhale. Prevail.”

Yes. You can do it.

For inside you there’s a warrior.

You may be weak and weary, but there’s still that will to fight.

Life’s dealt you some tough blows. Blows that it’s very hard to cope with.

It’s left you bruised and broken; but you aren’t beaten yet.

You inhale very slowly.

Hold your breath.

Then exhale slowly.

You take another breath.

Now you are rising to your feet.

You feel as if you’re swaying.

You’re unsteady –

But you’re standing.

You know you’re going to make it

For you won’t accept defeat.

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Betrayal Trauma: Living with the Scars

Don't Lose Hope

Trauma affects the entire human organism … After trauma the world is experienced with a different nervous system”.

There’s a lot of pressure when you learn about betrayal, to work hard on your healing, and to move on with your life.

But you’re not the same person, and the scars don’t disappear.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that progress can be made. But trauma leaves an imprint on our body, mind and brain. It changes our neurology and physiology.

In “The Body Keeps the Score” Bessel van der Kolk describes some changes that occur when a person’s traumatized, and is later diagnosed with PTSD. Some of these changes include the following:

1. In a person unaffected by PTSD, the hormone cortisol sends out an “all safe” signal after a threat or danger has passed. This doesn’t happen with PTSD sufferers. This is because the…

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You are not Alone

Don't Lose Hope

Betrayal … The details of our stories might be different but the pain we experience is the same.”

Sometimes we feel so isolated and alone.

Cut off by our pain.

Left to cope, all on our own.

But always remember you are not alone.

It is true – your experience is personal and unique.

But we get what it is like, for we understand that pain.

We have walked the road you’re on.

We have stared into the night.

We have felt the walls close in.

We have cried out in despair.

We know exactly how it feels when your future disappears.

When the past is all torn up.

And your truth become a lie …

We are here, and we care.

Please believe you’re not alone.

Don’t give up. You are strong.

We are with you on the road.

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Living in an Age of Anxiety

Don't Lose Hope

Anxiety is an urgent, deafening thing. No matter how many logical reasons you have to remain happy or positive, when it is present, you can hear nothing else.”

– Beau Taplin

Overwhelming feelings of anxiety are a normal response to being betrayed.

Out of the blue, it grips your heart. Time is suspended. You’re frozen to the spot.

You can’t think straight for your mind is in a fog. The adrenalin is racing, and you find it hard to breathe.

All the “what if” situations are racing through your mind. Catastrophic situations that would blow your world apart.

“I wonder if he’s lying? Is he lying to me now?”

“Is there more than he has told me? Will I ever know the truth?”

“Will I ever really know him?”

“Will he ever really change?”

“Is this one big delusion?”

“Was I stupid to have stayed?”

Once again…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

“She distanced herself to save herself.”

Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to put some distance between ourselves and others. This is especially true when we’ve experienced a trauma, or we’re dealing with a crisis of enormous proportions.

We need to step back from our life and, maybe, give ourselves a break as we haven’t got the strength to explain ourselves to others.

And we haven’t got the energy to deal with all that judgment. All the questions, and the comments, and the whispers, and the looks.  

We don’t want to deal with people.

We just want to be alone.

We want to curl up in a ball.

We want the world to go away.

We don’t need that extra stress. It is hard enough to cope with the heartbreak, and the sorrow, and the mess – that is our life.

So, really, this is…

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Betrayal Trauma

Don't Lose Hope

What is betrayal trauma?

I think the following description sums it up pretty well[1]:

You certainly know it when you experience it. It is a gut-wrenching experience, a searing knife into your heart. You feel it before you even think about it. Then, when you start thinking about it, it plagues you day and night.

Betrayal is treachery, deception, and violated trust. It can appear as a broken promise, duplicity, lies, sexual affairs, and even affairs of the heart. The injury is so great that some people seem to never recover.” 

Betrayal is a trauma like no other trauma because it occurs in relationship.

It takes time to trust a person.

To weigh up who they are.

To take them at face value when they tell us that they care.

We watch the way they treat us.

We look for all the signs that indicate they’re safe.

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

Trust me when I say that I know how it feels to cry in the shower so that no-one can hear you.

And having to wait for everyone to fall asleep so you can fall apart.

For everything to hurt so badly that you can’t see a way out.

I know exactly how it feels.

But I also know that there is always hope and that the tide always turns.

Hang in there, and know that you are not alone.”

– Ella Hicks

Beautiful words.

Take them to heart.

Hold on to hope.

You are not alone.

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Welcome Home

Don't Lose Hope

For every person who might reject you if you live your truth, there are ten others who will embrace you and welcome you home.”

When tough stuff happens – the really tough stuff – you can’t, and you shouldn’t have to, shoulder it alone.

You need other people.

You need to find your tribe.

But if your partner has betrayed you, or he has a sex addiction, then where can you turn for understanding and support?

Society will judge you.

You know that for a fact.

It doesn’t really matter that you’re reeling from the pain.

The world is cold and cruel when it learns you’ve been betrayed.

So now you have to hide because you can’t cope with the shame.

The shame that’s undeserved – because it’s not your fault at all.

You truly are a victim.

But everyone will talk.

You know they will be ruthless.

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A Shitty Life or a Wonderful Life?

Don't Lose Hope

The first draft of anything is shit

The first draft of anything is shit.” ― Ernest Hemingway

I think this truth can be applied to our life, and often to our relationships, as well.

The first stab at anything is nothing more than that.

A stab in the dark. A first attempt.

We act on instinct, repeating what we’ve learned.

Unconsciously living out the scripts and messages we’ve picked up from others, and have stored in our brain.

But perhaps it is time to start over again.

To start in an informed, and a more deliberate, way.

this is the beginning

And as you think of starting over, you can chart out a course that’s a lot more consistent with the way you want to live. (Bearing in mind, we don’t control everything … And, certainly, we don’t control everyone.)

Below are some questions to help you figure what you want from life and, what you might need…

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Dear Self, You are Beautiful

Don't Lose Hope

Do not doubt yourself

Do not speak badly of yourself – for the warrior within hears your words and is lessened by them.”

It’s a very sad and painful fact of life that betrayal causes us to doubt ourselves.

We start looking at ourselves with harsh, judgmental eyes.

And we pull ourselves apart, and we focus on ‘what’s wrong’.

We denigrate our body, and attack the way we look.

And we think that we are dull, and lack personality.

You would think that we were trash – how we’ve come to see ourselves –

Through that cracked or shattered mirror that we’re staring into now.

broken glass

But that’s isn’t who we are.

Those distortions are all lies.

We are thoughtful, talented and – it’s true – we’re beautiful.

How I wish we had compassion, and were kinder to ourselves.

How I wish we didn’t feel we were so inadequate.

If only we’d believe…

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Quote of the Day

Don't Lose Hope

I have travelled through madness to find me.

I have travelled through madness to find me.”

That’s how it feels when you’ve experienced trauma.

The anxiety attacks.

The broken sleep.

Always wondering if the other shoe will drop.

The surges in emotions.

The terror and the fear.

The unexpected triggers that catch you unawares.

The times when you go crazy.

The times you cannot feel.

The dissociation.

The unreality.

It’s a terrifying journey

You think will never end

But eventually it eases and you find yourself again.

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