Tin Man’s Heart of the Matter – It’s Okay to Have Sweatpant Days.

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in adult survivor of child abuse, healing, self-healing, Tin Man's Heart of the Matter | 0 comments

Tin Man

As I’ve been continuing on my own personal healing journey, I have learned that there are some days where you can be on your game, with a fire in your belly, pushing you to be stronger, better, and help make a difference.  Then there are the off days, where it takes all the energy you have to just change out of your pajama’s.  Sometimes, you don’t even do that, and you stay in your jammies as you watch the day go from sunrise to sunset, wondering how it’s possible for time to move so slowly, but the day is now over so quickly.  These are the days I’ve come to call the “SweatPant Days”, where you crave comfort in all things, and the need to go within.

When I have these types of days, it is all I have to function on the basic level of caring for my children.  I pull myself out of bed in the morning, pull on my big grey sweatshirt and my most comfy blue sweatpants, and pull myself together to get my kiddos off to school for the day.  I give the best hugs and kisses I can, and make sure they know that I love them dearly.  The rest of my day consists of allowing myself to feel painful emotions – anger, sadness, frustration, loss, powerless, while working to get an understanding, so I can move on.

In all of my low days, where the highest energy I can muster involves covering up with a soft blanket, and hitting play on Netflix, I have learned some valuable lessons.  We have to be kind to ourselves, and allow this self-healing time.  Knowing that it is okay to feel these emotions, needed even, is part of the healing process from childhood abuse.

There are also things that can happen, that can evoke these types of “SweatPant Days”, where you find yourself reeling, while trying desperately to keep everything under control.  I’ve listed the top 5 things that seem to take me to that place where I have to go within, and take a day to heal, in hopes that you can read them and realize you aren’t alone in feeling this way.

1.  You will think you are doing okay, that you finally have it under control, and then something happens.  Again.  –  Things are going to keep coming to the surface.  Triggers are going to come up that you never knew you had, emotions will explode with volcano-like intensity that you can barely handle nor understand, situations will hit you harder than you are ready for.  It could be a book, a movie, or a song lyric.  It could be a certain facial expression, tone of voice, or smell.  When these triggers occur, it is more important than ever to be good to yourself, and ask for help if you need it.  Some may not be that epic in proportion, but you will still feel some emotion attached to the trigger.  Taking the time you need to step back, giving yourself some much needed mental space, is part of healing.

2.  There will be things you cannot understand on your own. –  Everything that happens to you, affects you, bothers you, peeves you, disturbs you:  these are all caused by your own personal perceptions.  What gets to you, may not be universal.  It’s your own view, your own ears, your own thoughts that dictate how you are going to react to whatever is being presented in your personal space.  Because of this, it’s important to learn how to be receptive to feedback from outside sources.  Someone on the outside, with no personal involvement, has potential to see details you normally wouldn’t.  They may also have the ability to reinforce to you that the event, the feelings, the memories – none of it is your fault.  Hearing those words has the power of emotional freedom in some cases.  Something is going to come along that is going to confound, infuriate, or greatly upset you – but it may be due to your own sensitivity to that particular situation, event, personality type, etc.   These are the times where going within, and asking yourself some real questions may be the best choice.  “Why does it bother me so much?”  “Why do I care about this like I do?”
You will come to find the answers to these self-reflection questions.   If you can’t find clarity with the answers that you receive – this is when I suggest reaching out for some outside perspective.

3.  People who truly love you are going to hurt your feelings, at some point. – If you’ve surrounded yourself with supportive people in your life, there will come a time where they will hurt your feelings.  It will most likely be unintentional, but you will feel “being wronged” more deeply than most because you’ve been so betrayed as a child.  It could be because you will finally gather that ever-elusive inner strength, you’ll share something about your abuse with someone close, and they react with silence, shock, or pity.  It hurts.  It hurts because you need someone to care.  To understand.  Their silence will feel like a betrayal to your heart, when perhaps all you wanted was comfort.  Sometimes, you don’t even know what you need, but you do know that silence or pity definitely wasn’t it.   When you are in this place, it is best to try and reflect from the outside, instead of within.  People who have never experienced a form of child abuse, truly don’t know how to respond. They may not even know how to process what they just heard. The best way I have found to respond to someone who has just shared their story with me is simple, but heartfelt:  I calmly look them in the eye, thank them for sharing it with me, tell them I believe them, and that they have a lot of courage in speaking up.   However, I’m a fellow survivor, so I can relate on some level.  A lot of people will struggle to understand the concept, but you need to tell your story anyway.  Every time you speak out, it takes some of the pain away, and it may help someone else who can’t speak up yet.

4. People who you thought were on your side, aren’t. Occasionally, there will be a person you thought was a friend, or someone very close to you, be it a relative, partner,  or even your own child, who will betray your trust.  They will show a side of themselves you didn’t think was there, and you will be emotionally hurt by it.  They may betray you by saying something ugly or nasty about you, in some way, and you will see or hear it later on.  A partner, or spouse, may have betrayed you in the past.  The reason it may impact you  so heavily is because you trusted them.  Trust is not an easy thing to accomplish, or give, for many survivors.  So when someone betrays your trust, it has the potential to have a much bigger impact than what most might feel.  Taking time to heal, make peace, and move on is important.

5.  Some days just suck. – As Alexander pointed out in his story, some days are just bad.  You didn’t sleep well because your brain wouldn’t shush, again.  You woke up late, and your day seems to go downhill from there.  You weren’t able to keep your calm in a situation that normally wouldn’t bother you, but today it did.  You woke up and you just felt emotionally low.  All of these things, plus so many more, can happen.  When you have a day that just sucks – these are the perfect days to go within, watch something amusing, or read something that takes you away to a different place.  If you feel the need to sleep, then allow yourself to rest.  If you are in a situation where you can’t, be it that you have children you have to care for, or your job – then take 5 minutes and just focus on your breathing.  Either way, self-care is a necessity when life seems to be soaking you with rain.  Remember that you are worth the invested time in yourself.

I’m having a “SweatPant Day”, and I’m okay with it.  I recognize that the emotions that I’m feeling are temporary, and that with some rest and down time, I’ll see things differently.  I give my heart what it needs, and I’m better for it in the end.  I have found that things tend to only get worse, and I feel worse, if I choose to ignore it.  I also take a bit of a different approach by always looking for the lesson.  There is something valuable that I learn about myself, others, or life in general when I take the time to reflect with an open heart and mind.

What are some things that you do to take some down time and give yourself the space to heal?

Blessing to you,
Heather Durling, The Phoenix Gathering

 

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