"Here are some things I've learned are actually, for real, okay to do, that most survivors of abusive households I know have trouble with:
- Hang up the phone when someone is disrespecting you. This is the lesson that has been the most useful in day to day encounters. My Nmom would scream at me for hours on end on the phone. Never once did it occur to me, until someone else said it, to hang up. It's not wrong, it's not selfish, it's not disrespectful, and they can't magically pop out of the phone and terrorize you. Respect yourself, and when others don't, walk away.
- You don't have to accept 'guilt gifts' My Nmom periodically sends a box full of dollar store junk and expired candy in the mail. You know what I do with it now? I throw it away without opening it. Narcs. can and will use any gifts you accept from them against you.
- Say no. Say it again. Enforce it. It's so, so hard. You're hard wired into thinking your parents deeply love you, and have your best interest at heart. You know who really has your best interest at heart? You do, dear reader. You. If you're uncomfortable, say it. Don't let them use you. I believe in you.
- When you have boundaries, there are no exceptions. No, she can't come over unexpected. She tries to, and guess what? Tell her to leave. Tell her to call and ask when you are available. No, he can't have $50. It doesn't matter what he chose to spend money on. It doesn't matter what his need is. He is a grown ass adult, as are you. No, they can't take the kids for the weekend. You have family plans, and you will not reschedule your life for someone else's whim.
- You don't have to accept responsibility for something another person blames you for. Nmom blames you for growing up poor, because you had the audacity to require more minerals? Guess what. All Zerg require minerals. You are normal, and you are not the cause of your childhood situation.
- You can be whoever the f*** you want to be. You can do whatever the f*** you want to do. You can make whatever decision (within the boundaries of the law) that you want to. You want to study ballet and work at a library? Do it. You want to start a loving family and have no ties to your natural kin? Do it. You decide what path you'll go down. No matter what 'warnings' or opinions others force on you, just know that in the end it is YOUR call.
- It's good to be happy. It's okay to not struggle. You are worth it. You deserve happiness. If you manage to get away from stress and make a life where the biggest struggle you have is 'What coffee should I buy today?', then good job. You did it. You fought, and you won. And you deserve some god damn peace and quiet.
I thought this was great, it actually has themes in it, I am telling myself to find a new happier life. "I can do what I want", within limits is one of those things. All of the above are to be applied.
That is something that has changed for me. I did a lot of things I thought I SHOULD DO.
Judging myself every minute with their shrill voices in my head had to be stopped. I don't have to hang out with people who ignore me because I "should" improve my social life. I can be in bed to deal with my pain and fatigue instead of suffering under the "should" that tells me "Oh it's lazy to stay in bed too long".
One nurse years ago actually told me to rest when tired and eat when hungry. She knew I was pushing myself. The realities of Lipedema IV mean living different from other people. The people who don't get this, don't matter. They aren't here feeling what I am or knowing what I am going through.
I'm tired of the "should, should, should" lash on my back. I can choose who to talk to and what to do, and should not feel like I "have" to do things within reasons. My being an art teacher was a real goal they almost destroyed. Some of my happier memories are of art projects I taught, and glad I kept a hold of that.
Ah the guilt gifts, until I figured out how guilt gifts worked, many toxics used those on me. I get real gifts from friends that are true but guilt gifts come when toxic treat you like garbage and throw some bait out. I love the last one. I get stress free days by plan now. Why should I beat myself up anymore?
Realizing these things can be freeing!
Other options of my own include:
1. I can talk to whoever I want to talk to.
2. I don't have to say I am sorry to or people please.
3. I don't have to laugh at jokes that aren't funny.
4. If someone is arguing with me or a store is giving me poor service, I can walk away and go elsewhere.
5. Staying alive for me means doing what I feel like doing or what I can handle and want to do and not what others tell me to do.
6. I don't have to work for acceptance and love, those should come naturally and once you are working for it, it's not already there.
7. I am allowed to have fun.