This episode takes a look at the negativity we can direct at ourselves, the false beliefs about ourselves that our abusers can leave behind, and how important it is to take notice and root those beliefs out. Y'all better stop talking trash about yourselves. I mean it!
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Thank you so much for joining me. I’m Hecate, and this is Finding OK, a healing podcast for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Today I’d like to talk a bit about some of the negativity we throw our own way. This is extremely common when we’ve experienced abuse in our lives. A part of healing is realizing that, if our abusers shouldn’t talk to us like that…we probably shouldn’t talk to ourselves like that.
*Intro Music by Ramshackle Glory*
Trigger and content warnings for this episode include the following: abuse, child-abuse, and some affectionate bad language directed at you as I jokingly scold you for not believing in yourself. This may be triggering to some listeners who have a history of verbal abuse. Check in with yourself and make sure you’re all right to continue.
I have a friend in England. She’s statuesque. Gorgeous. Half Turkish. She has a riot of curls, bone structure to die for. She just finished up with her Masters. She’s published books. She’s traveled the world teaching and doing good things in very tough places. She’s incredibly intelligent, loving, and kind. She’s got a delightful sense of humor, she fucking slays me. *laugh* She’s full of fucking magic. She’s a powerful witch. She’s a goddess among women. I feel so deeply honored to have her in my life. Yesterday we’re talking and again, she starts telling me that she’s dumb and ugly. She starts talking like she’s a rock somebody put lipstick on. I got so *laugh* I got so frustrated! I wish she could see how magnificent she is. So this episode is dedicated to her, and as promised the title and message is, “Stop shitting on yourself you beautiful bitch!”
When I was a child I had a verbally and emotionally abusive teacher. This woman made me believe that I was dumb, that I was a waste of space and a waste of everyone’s time, and she made me believe that my sensitivity and my feelings made me weak because she would exploit and ridicule them publicly on a daily basis. She taught me I was shit and made me believe I deserved to be treated like shit. An adult in a position of trust and power taught me it was acceptable for adults to treat me this way and for my peers to treat me this way…and now she’s dead. *laugh* Lolz! But the reason I share this is that, very often, our abusers wound us on multiple levels and our healing has to take place on multiple levels.
There’s multiple problems with the example I just gave you, one of which is obviously that no one should treat a child that way but, when you break it down, there’s the root belief, “I am shit” and that’s a big problem because it dictates the behavior you accept from others and it dictates your entire sense of self-worth. You cannot fully heal from abuse without pulling up that root. Unhealthy patterns, depression, and more abusive patterns and relationships will just keep sprouting from it. You have to find that root and deal with it.
I don’t believe anyone is born with a belief like that. I think someone gave that to you. If you think you’re dumb for example, someone told you that, someone made you feel that. Someone told you that you are less than what you are. Who told you that? Who gave you that belief about yourself? Maybe it was a lot of people over the years. Whoever it was, you don’t have to keep it. You can let that go now, and I hope that you do.
The first thing that you have to do is notice when you’re having those thoughts or when you’re saying those things about yourself. Your voice in your head is the most important voice in your life. It’s always going to be with you. It is possible to change the way you think. It just takes time, mindfulness, patience, and compassion. There are loads of ways to approach that and different things work for different people. In this episode the focus is on noticing that it’s an issue, because so many people don’t even notice they’re doing this or don’t even think it’s a problem.
I am so blown away by so many of the people I have in my life or have been blessed to meet over the years. I have friends, truly beautiful people overflowing with unique gifts they bring to the world, and so few, if any of them recognize their own magnificence. I wish so much they could see themselves as they are and I know they wish the same for me. Tell each other, hold each other up, and then tell yourselves. What if all these brilliant beings in the world started believing in themselves? *laugh* How miraculous! What transformation we would see. It’s so needed. You are so needed. It gets so much easier to show up fully when you believe you deserve to be there. Everything gets easier.
You’re carrying a gremlin of self-doubt and self-hate on your back everywhere you go. What a weight! It’s dragging you down every time you try to rise. Get rid of that nasty little fucker! That’s some poison the world fed you, that’s a splinter in your mind. You’ve got to get it out. The kyriarchy, the capitalistic, fascist, white supremacist, hetero, cis- normative patriarchy prefers you cowed and tripping yourself up with self-doubt. Believing in yourself, self-worth, and self-care, those are radical acts. They’re punk as fuck. Be punk as fuck and stop making yourself small.
Maybe you got rid of your abuser, but did you take over for them? I know that’s a heavy question but you’ve got to ask it. Are you abusing yourself? There’s another thing that comes up with all this, and it came up when I was speaking to the friend I mentioned earlier. There’s something else that needs to be looked at and questioned. It’s this: “But I must deserve it. I must deserve the bad things that have happened to me.” There’s a lot there but what I want to look at as a root in this, is the desire for a just and fair universe. I’m not saying the universe isn’t just or fair that’s something everyone has to decide for themselves. For a lot of people that’s a theological or a philosophical question. But believing that you must be bad or deserving of bad treatment because you have received bad treatment is a flawed conclusion.
It isn’t taking into account the complexity of life or the universe and it’s a twisted kind of wishful thinking. It sure would be simple and in some ways easier to accept if the bad things that have happened to us were our own fault. A world where everyone gets what they deserve or where that’s even measurable or makes sense. The alternative is a messier world where bad things happen to good people or, taking good and bad out of the picture as simplistic dualistic constructs – a messier world where pain is experienced by people and we don’t understand why. Things get scarier in some very philosophical and existential ways when we start to accept that we didn’t deserve what happened to us. It doesn’t always get talked about but accepting that it wasn’t your fault and that you didn’t deserve it can shift a person’s universal model in a lot of ways.
We want things to make sense, and we want a clean and tidy universe that’s easy to understand. But you didn’t deserve your trauma, the abuse that you suffered wasn’t your fault and it didn’t happen because you’re a bad person or because you are worth less than other people. You are an exquisitely imperfect and brilliant being capable of revolutions, transformation, and miracles, and deserving of good things and love in life. That’s the hill I’ll die on. Sorry not sorry.
This isn’t a long episode. There’s more to be said and if this resonates with people let me know. I’ll look at it more in future episodes and explore some ways people can work on this. But I wanted to raise the subject and ask you to take notice of the way you’re talking to yourself and the way you’re treating yourself. I wanted to tell you that you are wonderful and that you deserve good things. I wanted to tell you that I believe in you and that if you don’t, I hope one day you can learn to. You deserve kindness and compassion from others and you deserve it from yourself. I love you. Stop shitting on yourself you beautiful bitch!
Thank you so much for listening. Please write in with feedback, listener questions or episode requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if you're interested in joining me on the show. I would love to have you. Finding OK is crowd funded and paid for out of pocket. I am unemployed and anything helps. You are the ones helping me make this happen. Thank you. A link to the Go Fund Me can be found on the brand new podcast website *makes silly trumpet noise* and I post links routinely on my Facebook page. I also post relevant articles, art, memes, and resources daily. Feel free to friend me, Hecate F. Okay. *spells name* You can also find me on Instagram. I have created a private Finding OK Facebook group for survivors. You are welcome there and I hope you'll join us. Please take a minute to rate and review the podcast on whatever platform you use to help the podcast reach more listeners. Reviews are featured on the new website and you get a shout out on the next episode! Thank you so much for your continued support. Please share, subscribe, and donate if you can. Thank you again for listening. This has been Finding OK. Black Lives Matter. Take care of yourself.
12:20 *Outro music by Ramshackle Glory*
*fade in to folk/punk chords of guitar* Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep on loving. Keep on fighting. And hold on, and hold on, hold on for your life *echoes into brief silence*…(Chorus and full band) Your heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep on loving. Keep on fighting. And hold on, and hold on, hold on for your life. *triumphant and uplifting music plays till end*
I love you.