For many of us, we make several journeys to independence. Starting small, piece by piece, we can reclaim our lives, our happiness, and our self-confidence. Though it may take time, and a lot of work, we take each step towards the small independence pieces so that we can feel whole and able to care for ourselves.
So this week's question is:
- What independence did you lose after surviving abuse?
- What pieces of independence have you already regained?
and this week's bonus question:
- What sort of independence are you working towards now?
My abuse took away a lot of my independence - mostly because I was in constant fear of who could be the next abuser. I had a lot of flashbacks, intrusive memories, and panic attacks, and I felt almost no confidence in my ability to take care of myself. I could pull myself through almost anything on sheer stubbornness, but came out the other side exhausted more often than not.
The independence I have regained comes mostly in being able to care for myself. Though I'm still learning, I now have a better ability to know what I want, what I need, and what I need to do to get it - even if it means asking someone close to me to help. I think that working towards being able to ask for help and identify what help I needed was the biggest step towards being independent emotionally. Yes, I can't always be 100% independent, but I no longer require someone to help me figure out what I need.
Another piece of independence I've regained is, to a decent extent, the ability to soothe myself when I'm sad or panicked. I can't *always* do it, but I'm much better at it than I used to be. Sometimes I need to try to do a few things before something finally works, but that's been a big help for me to feel more independent. It's only on the bad days where I struggle to keep myself together. I think that's probably what I'm most proud of independence-wise, because I'm able to know that I'm doing okay despite what happened to me.
What independence am I working towards now? That's a tough one to answer. I'm still working on my coping skills so that I can do a bit better when I'm on my own (away from my support network). However, I think the independence I'm working most towards is being okay taking some time to care for myself. I've gotten decent at *doing* it, but I still feel that paranoid, "What if someone needs me??!?!?!!" voice in the back of my head when I take time to take care of myself. I've gotten better at knowing that it's okay for me to make sure I'm doing all right - but it's still a big goal for me right now