The inner workings of an abuse survivor’s mind is quite complicated. I’m not sure those that haven’t suffered some form of neglect, degradation, trauma, tragedy, sexual assault, violation, etc would not be able to understand. Lately, I’ve been trying to explain these things to a gentleman who has a desire to help the ministry, but has not quite suffered any form of abuse. After three meetings I decided I needed to be up front and reminded him that I was a survivor of abuse, that I still struggled with self-sabotaging thoughts.
When he gave me a list of questions about the ministry, in regards to more of the business side (which consequently is not my strength) my mind would immediately release on an inner attack – “I shouldn’t be doing this. He probably thinks I’m a joke. I’m not sure I have what it takes to do this, I’ll never be enough. It just won’t work. I suck.”
When I explained this to him he was genuinely shocked. “I wasn’t thinking any of those things about you at all. I am impressed with what you’ve done and I’m just trying to look at it from my point of view to understand better what you offer. I always wondered why you said, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing, I should just let it go.’ It didn’t seem like something you’d say, but now I get it.”
My cheeks flamed. I had no idea I’d said that out loud. Embarrassing.
I don’t feel that way. I really don’t. I’m quite confident in what God continues to call me to and I put it into His direction of what I should doing and what steps to take. However, after speaking to him I realized one of my trigger points is that insecurity of not doing something well or right. All of his questions, as harmless and even helpful as they were, triggered that insecurity and without even realizing it I went to the inner dialogue that had been comfortable for so long.
The positive in this happening, and my courage to let him know the truth to this self-sabotage behavior, is that it helped him to better understand the dynamic of why Hopeful Hearts Ministry is helpful to those who had been abused. That it is very difficult to ‘just get over it’ when talking about many forms of abuse. That our goal is that we can acknowledge it an aspect of our life story but it doesn’t have to take our life.
I know there are many other ways we self-sabotage. For instance, I can also see that I beat myself up when I’m not able to have as much self-discipline as I’d like when it comes to eating certain foods. Or it can get us in the lack of or even over exercising, or our duties as a mother/father, wife/husband.
We must be kinder to ourselves. I’m preaching to ME today. I need to make an extra effort to recognize when these self-sabotaging comments invade my thoughts and STOP, REDIRECT, and PRAISE myself for how far I’ve come.
How about you? Pay attention to the thoughts that swirl about during these next few days… how is it you are self-sabotaging and what triggers it? And join me in taking the next step to breaking the unhealthy habit.