During recovery you may notice a lot of things going on. You may even notice a stronger degree of sensitivity to certain events and people around you. I remember thinking to myself, "Am I going to be like this forever?" and "Why is this happening, will I ever be normal again?". I kept going back and forth between anger and sadness and wondered if I will ever feel joy again. Those were questions that stayed with me for a long time. The first few months of recovery was heartbreaking, life shattering, with a thick fog surrounding me.
Crying bitterly, screaming and shouting to God, demanding an answer for how such a horrible and vile being ever found me and defiled me; I began to type in random words of feelings in my Google search. It wasn't until I came across a court hearing on TV that I finally began to hear terms that I never dreamed of associating with what happened to me and the man I considered the "love of my life". Oh, was my denial so big. Actually I began looking up these disordered pathological personalities just so I can dismiss any possibility of being involved with one.
Once I learned the horrible truth, I sought out help. It didn't take me long to find loads of books and tons of websites jam packed with info. But even with the information it didn't help my broken heart. I had a very hard time trusting, laughing or even smiling. But what happened next was probably the most amazing blessing I never thought could have healed my heart. The support I received from a community of survivors gave me courage to go from victim to survivor feeling more and more empowered. Reading story after story and accounts of healing it gave me enough courage to let go and step into the world to actually live again.
So what made me title this article "The Art of Gentleness"? Well it was a common piece of advice that was given through my journey. We have to remember that we did not ask for this, we did not deserve this, we did not do this to ourselves. By reminding ourselves this, we reclaim power and love for ourselves. Other people you may physically be around won't understand what has happened unless they too had been involved with someone whose only intent was power and pain.
Things that helped me become more gentle and loving:
1. Surrounded myself with positive affirmation. There is definitely a time and place to vent. Definitely a space to write out our frustration. But if we constantly dwell in those areas during recovery, it makes recovery a little more difficult and maybe bitter. Yes, we are entitled to be angry. We have to be, but at some point we do have to let the anger subside so our gentle loving sides come to surface. Something that I did was write out things that made me happy; for example, movies, hobbies, shows, music and so on and so forth. I had a small select group of friends send me reminders of how beautiful today was because...
2. Support Support Support. Just like a good bra (ladies know what I'm talking about) or maybe some boxer briefs, we need multiple support. Relying on the same people over and over and over again can sometimes be stressful for them and we find ourselves hurt or disappointed when they don't get back to us. That's why forums such as this is so important. I joined this forum, told a few girlfriends, some family and sought out a therapist.
3. Eating for nourishment not for emotions. The carton of Ben and Jerry's was very appealing to me for the first few months. I pretty much chucked out the window my healthy eating habits and substituted it with emotional eating. Now I'm not saying it's necessarily the worse thing you can do, but I found myself more and more depressed the worse and worse I ate. There has been scientific evidence behind our emotions and certain foods we eat but I won't dive into that because it's not the main focus. When you eat for nourishment you'll find that you have more energy versus being zapped of energy. So how did I combat this? Well as painful as this was I threw out the unhealthy stuff and replaced it with its organic and healthy counterpart. Example, instead of processed sugar, I bought raw coconut sugar and raw honey.
4. Exercise. Okay, this may not be popular for many people, but when I say exercise I'm not talking about running a million miles. I'm simply saying to walk outside and get some vitamin D (sun). When we are active we produce what I like to call happy hormones. I'll be frank, when I entertained the thought of working out again I was nervous. I didn't want to push myself because if I did I would go into a panic. So I did it slowly and gently, starting with walking for 30 minutes and playing some calming tunes on my iPod.
5. Helping Others. Believe it or not, the number one reason for joy is helping others out. There is such a rewarding feeling for being there for others. Again , that's why forums such as this is such a great motivator to heal and find normalcy again. Alongside from this forum I began to be involved with specific ministries at my church and found volunteer work with domestic violence shelters. Knowing I can provide hope to others when it feels like there is none , felt very encouraging to me.
6. Me Time. This could be a number of things, but this is the most important. You decide what your me time is. Could be writing in a journal, discovering a new hobby, eating at a new place. What ever your heart's desire is me time.
7. Social Time. This was the hardest for me to do. I didn't know how to be normal around people, especially new folks. So I started small. Have a friend or two over at my place for wine and dinner. That would turn into going to dinner and eventually became meeting new people little at a time. I still struggle a little when there are too many men around but that's what having a good support system is for. My friends knew when I was uncomfortable and were okay with leaving a place and going somewhere safer.
Always remember, if you feel unsafe in any situation, it's okay to leave. That's what being gentle to yourself is about. Gentleness helps you reclaim your love and passion but also helps you identify boundaries. I hope this helps and encourages even just one person. It is a difficult journey but I promise it won't stay difficult for long.
to everyone who needs one today
The Art of Gentleness
We have to remember that we did not ask for this, we did not deserve this, we did not do this to ourselves. By reminding ourselves this, we reclaim our power.
Article Author: lamentations332