I am a counsellor and I am sharing experiences of my negative beliefs and abusive past to highlight how my beliefs controlled my reality.
Life Is A Mirror Of Our Beliefs
After my marriage broke down and I was alone, I struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks, but mainly kept that to myself. I was afraid that I would lose my daughter if I admitted how bad I felt. Physically I was in pain too but my doctor would not believe me about experiencing pains. Doctor would tell me I was depressed but not in pain, the pain was my imagination. I would argue with him, 'I am in physical pain, but he would not listen. I struggled to cope with physical pain and the effects of a life time of abuse, but was not listened to. No one could hear what I was telling them about how I felt so I stopped telling them. I took repeated prescribed medication for depression, anxiety and insomnia and plodded on through life. I felt alone and unworthy of getting help, believing life was not going to get any better.
I was accepting that I was mentally ill, like my mother had said I was. I had no knowledge about mental illness and was afraid that I would end up in an asylum like my mother had. I was aware that that my lifestyle mirrored that of my mothers. It seemed as if I were following in her footsteps, and I was scared. I could see similarities between my life experiences and my mothers. I knew how it ended for her and lived in fear that my end with be the same. Life felt like a never ending nightmare and I could not wake up. I did not know that I could choose to live another way.
My life mirrored that of my mother. The very thing I feared, which was living a life that I witnessed my mother living, was being lived by me. My parents constant abuse taught me that I was unlovable and worthless. I believed I was not worthy. I believed that I was ugly and no one cared about me. I believed I was a victim of my abusive childhood. I believed love was not real, it did not exist. I believed that I would never find happiness. I believed happiness was for people who were better than me. I did not know I could identify and change those beliefs.
What I have learnt on my life journey since is that, life is a mirror of what you think and believe. External conditions mirror the internal thought. You can choose to think and believe what you want. You become what you think about. I thought negatively and believed in negative beliefs because I only had negative beliefs, and my life reflected that. I was not aware of having a belief system and of how powerful our belief systems are when it comes the reality we experience.
What Do You Want To Do With Your Life?
If someone had asked me back then 'what do you want in life? What is your purpose in life? I would not have a clue to what I wanted. I did not know what I wanted from life and I did not know I could choose what life I wanted. I believed that my experience of life was life and it was all I deserved. I did not understand the purpose of life, I had no purpose and was in a constant state of fear and anxiety. I used alcohol to self medicate which now I know is always a big mistake, back then I was desperate to be numb and feel nothing. Sedatives and alcohol were my saviours but hated myself for using them especially with my daughter in the next room. Some nights I would put my daughter to bed and then go to my own bed, and drink myself unconscious. I could not deal with my thoughts and feelings and I wanted to switch it all off, to feel nothing rather than the pain and frustration I felt. I did not know then that my frustration and the depression were the result of suppressing a life time of pain and living under the invisible law of my negative beliefs. I felt like I was on the verge of going insane because I continued on in life with negative beliefs when I could have changed them if I had known I could.
Often I would experience a flashback, in the form of an image in my mind of being abused and I would be left feeling confused and disorientated. I had a lot of clear flashbacks and often felt no emotion when I remember things I did not want to remember. I did not understand then that unresolved negative emotions from my past needed to be faced. I did not want to purposely remember anything because I believed I could not deal with the pain remembering would bring. Many nights I would get so drunk to make sure that I could remember nothing.
If I had understood then what I know now about changing my belief system, I would have changed them and have had a wonderful time. I would have loved myself and everything about me and I would have had a different experience of life. I now choose to believe I can live the best life I could dare to choose.
Are You Enjoying Life?
I could not eat, sleep or relax and was tortured by an inability to deal with my emotions. I became very ill with anorexia and was prescribed more sedatives to deal with my problems. I went through life like a programmed robotic zombie. I shopped, did housework all the usual things a normal good mother would do. I still had to work and take care of my daughter and even though I was doing my best, I found everything very difficult to deal with. The sedatives were not the answer but numbed me, especially when I abused them, to the point that I felt out of it. That was not living, that was not a life. I was not enjoying life and just wanted to survive. I believed that life for me was so bad because I was bad. I did not deserve any better than I received from life. What I really wanted was to be needed to be important to someone and to be loved and cared for. When my next partner, Andrew came along, I thought I was ready for a new relationship and I needed the company.
New Love, New Hope
I would often go to nightclubs with my sister and even on my own. I wanted to get drunk and dance but I was also looking for some company. I did feel desperately lonely and I needed a distraction from feeling as horrible as I did. When I first saw Andrew, he was dancing and I was fascinated by him. He was slim, olive skinned, shaggy curly dark hair and dark eyes. I was attracted to him. It was the first time in my life I had ever been attracted to anyone since Barry, my first husband. Within minutes, we were chatting and he was buying me a drink. By the end of the night, we were at my flat and he was playing the guitar and singing to me. He made me laugh and we stayed up all night just talking and laughing.
Andrew was a tailor and had a little shop in town, I found him to be really intelligent and funny and I needed someone like him. Within a short time, we might as well have been joined at the hip, we were never apart. Most evenings he would come an sit with me and keep me company while my daughter slept. He made me laugh and at times he was so loving towards me, he made cry. I also sensed that there was something dangerous about him, and sometimes I felt disturbed, with my stomach in knots, when I was with him. These red flags were waving and my warning bells were ringing and again, I did not recognise what I was feeling, my intuition, warning me that something was not right about this attractive and attentive man. At the time, I thought the feelings I experienced were normal and all part of being in a new relationship. Sort of excitement mixed with fear. I blamed my doubts and lack of trust on myself and on my past. Andrew would say, 'Just because others have hurt you, does not mean to say that I will'. He told me that he felt like I was punishing him for my ex husbands behaviour. 'You cannot tar all men with the same brush, Andrew said. I agreed with him but still could not shake off the feelings I had about him. I know now that my gut instincts were trying to warn me and I should have listened and run a million miles in the opposite direction, but I didn't.
The first months of our relationship, the honeymoon period, was fun and felt exciting. We had our difficulties and when we did, I usually blamed myself. I was holding part of myself back from fully engaging with Andrew, and he knew it. I wanted to believe that he was being honest when he treat me like a princess and constantly told me how gorgeous I was, but a big part of me could not believe he was being genuine. I could not shake of the feeling that he was capable of really hurting me. He would get really angry with me and then he would storm off and go all cold on me, refusing to come see me or to speak to me. I would grovel, promising to be more trusting if he came back to me. I did not realise it at the time, but the little self esteem and confidence I had developed since divorcing my first husband, was being eroded. I tried to act more confident than I really felt. Andrew had seen through my air of confidence, he knew I was vulnerable long before I fully realised how vulnerable I was.
Honeymoon Period Did Not Last
Slowly but surely, he took control of my life. 'I don't like you to wear that when you are not with me', and similar comments, were the start of his control. He told me that I would psychologically damaged my daughter if I continued to smother her with affection, so, I was not allowed to cuddle her too much. He convinced me that I was loving my daughter too much, trying to be a better mother than my own had been, and that I was suffocating her. I believed him and he was so wrong. I did not understand then that he controlled everything I did. Looking back, I cannot believe I allowed it to happen. It often feels that I am talking about someone else and not myself as I am today. My parents had taught me the rules of life and I followed what I thought were the rules of life, as I understood it. If today I was told, you are suffocating your daughter with love, I would have said goodbye! don’t slam the door on the way out! Back then, I was not allowed to think for myself, wear what I want or do what I wanted. I was not allowed to read, as knowledge, according to my culture, parents and partners, was 'dangerous', to women. I allowed all this to happen, all because I was too afraid to be left alone with my own memories. I could have, and should have walked away. I did not have enough self esteem to realise I deserved better.
After twelve months of living with Andrew and my alarm bells ringing every day, I got my first beating. Although I had in reality expected to get a beating sooner or later, I was still shocked and stunned. My dog had been scratching at the door, wanting to come in out of the cold and it was getting on Andrew's nerves. He ran at the dog intending to kick it and as he did, I jumped in front of the dog and so he kicked me instead, then he laid into me with his fist and did not stop till he was drained of energy. I remember wanting to forgive him for the beating. I remember feeling to blame for the incident. I blamed myself and forgave him because I could not cope with being without him and left on my own. I could not function whenever we split up. I felt like I was addicted to him and I needed him like a fix.
My attitude was that I did not care about anything but protecting my child. I was not even protecting my child from any risks. I was clearly walking through life with blinkers if I could subject my child to that kind of life. I wanted the best for my child and I failed her. I can only apologise and forgive myself for mistakes I have made.
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Chapter Twenty two to follow.
- A Life Worth Living. Chapter Twenty Three
I married a violent man knowing that he would abuse me again. I had been abused all my life and never knew life without violence. It took an injured slug for me to change my life.
- A Life Worth Living. Chapter Twenty
I was twenty years old, medicated, drunk and trying to survive. My life was about survival because of my negative beliefs about myself and the world around me.
- A Life Worth Living; Chapter One
Born into a violent home, I was given last rites within hours of my birth. My first day of life was a battle to survive and there were more battles of survival to come. This is my journey of survival.