I always used to believe that there was always something to heal, or rather, there was always a new person to become.
I don’t believe that at all anymore.
At a certain point in life, you can recognise why you are the way that you are:
(i.e. I have trust issues because my parents always told me they were going to do things and they didn’t. or, I struggle to know how I feel because I always had to be there for other people when I was young)
and you can still be happy with yourself. This is what being healed means to me. When we know ourselves well enough to recognise when we’re triggered, we can explore our feelings, comfort ourselves, and make ourselves feel better. This means that we aren’t just living life on survival mode, we can adjust our lives to make us feel safe and be resilient in the face of triggers.
I always used to think that you had to be perfectly healed and unphased by everything before you can achieve what you want in life. I don’t believe that in the slightest anymore.
We can be healed and still feel pain, because life is constantly going to trigger us. The knee jerk panic responses we learned to have growing up will always exist within us, we just learn to manage them better.
The next step to be a better-rounded person is to accept this about ourselves.
When I used to mess up and create situations that hurt me, I would always feel guilty for it. I’d slap myself on the wrist and go ‘bad Becky. Don’t do that again. You’re unlovable when you behave like that’.
Remember that the way we speak to ourselves is the way we were spoken to by others as children. And in turn, we speak to others that way too.
Now, I have learned treating myself that way is ineffective. I cannot keep treating myself that way because it doesn’t make me any less of an angry or confused person.
What I do instead, is I go, ‘oh Becky. You went into survival mode. I’m sorry that I let that happen. Your needs weren’t being met. What can I do about that?’.
When our needs are met, we don’t lash out.
I’d say about 80% of meeting your own needs involves examining when you feel triggered and working through it.
(i.e. I feel abandoned which means I am not having enough fun with myself. Or, I feel unseen, which means that I am not paying enough attention to myself and all that I can be.’
The other 20% is about acknowledging the fact that people will see you when you are triggered, and that these people need to know who you are and know how to respond to you when you are in this state.
We can’t hide away every single time we get triggered because that is impractical.
We are initially ashamed and embarrassed of our needs because we learned to feel bad about them, we learned that they are a burden, and we do not want to ‘impose’ on somebody else.
If people love you and you have built connection with them, they want to be there for you. It makes them feel good. It helps them be the person they wish to be, it gives them a role to play.
There are some trigger points in life that won’t go away. We may wake up everyday and be committed to working through them, responding to them correctly and becoming more resilient in the face of them, but they will always lurk in the backgrounds. So we need to prepare our loved ones for how to react when we get triggered and we don’t have the energy to respond graciously.
(i.e. I have trust issues. They come from this thing that happened to me in childhood. I work through them and comfort myself, but this is something you need to accept in me.
Or, I struggle to recognise my needs. This comes from having to ignore my needs and be there for others in my childhood. I try to know what I need, but sometimes I need space to do this. I need you to accept this in me.)
Acceptance in relationships requires preparation.
So you must then specify how you might need a person to show up.
(i.e. explain that when your trust issues are triggered you become very snappy, irritable and shut off. Explain that in those moments you need to be reminded that you have your own life, and you are not meeting one of your own needs, but you are loved and given space for this.
An example of an ideal response would be: I accept that you have trust issues. You don’t need to take my word for it, but just notice when I show up on time. In moments where I cannot show up on time, I will remind myself that your lashing out it is more a reflection of you than me, and will remind you that you needed to be there for yourself as an act of love and not as a way of blaming you.)
( explain that you struggle to understand your emotions because you are overwhelmed. Explain that you withdraw and avoid others, and in those moments you need space and support from afar, free of expectation.
An example of an ideal response would be: I accept that you need to take time when you are overwhelmed. In those moments, I will remind myself that I have space of my own that I can use on something which makes me feel good, and I will communicate with you that I will be back to check in after a dpecified amount of time has passed.)
Breakdown in relationships can be caused by being ashamed of our needs, because it creates room for gaslighting.
Gaslighting can be a horrible tool used by narcissists, but that is not the only way gaslighting is done. We have all been gaslit, and we have all gaslit another in this life. The kindest person can gaslight people. It could be as simple as a person lacking in self-awareness and telling you they’re fine when they aren’t.
If you are around someone, and you know something is wrong, but they tell you all is fine- it triggers a confusing spiral of emotion where a person begins to doubt themselves, and disconnects from a relationship.
If we are unaware of our needs, we can say ‘I don’t know what’s wrong, but I need space to figure it out’. That allows a person to say ‘okay, I will check on you in (specify amount of time).’
If you cannot accept yourself, you will be too confused to know what you need. You will feel unloveable, and that will manifest in you projecting unrealistic expectations onto others. You cannot be loved the way you need to be loved if you do not know what you need.
I wish you the self-love to give yourself the chance. I am learning.