A new week has just started. I had my hypnotherapy on Friday. Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT). It's a hybrid therapy that includes hypnosis, hypnotherapy, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I must admit I was sceptical about it. I've seen hypnosis on shows and always thought it was staged. I joked with the therapist Dawn that I was worried about randomly acting like a chicken afterwards and was assured that would not happen. So what did happen?
I was hypnotised, put into a suggestible state of consciousness. I was awake and aware the whole time. I felt so relaxed and calm. We explored four memories. It was quite bizarre. Two of the four that came out I had never ever thought about. I didn't even realise they were in my head. When I was asked to recount each scene It was as if I was watching a recording on a TV of me but in that moment. I could see every detail as clear as crystal. The feelings those memories evoked were incredibly powerful and emotional.
I always put my lack of confidence, self-esteem and self-worth down to the abusive relationship I had many years ago. What I uncovered is the seeds were sown many more years before that when I was 7.
I was an incredibly tall child. Taller than most adults and was ridiculed for it by children and teachers. The seed was sown, I looked different, was a freak, and ugly, but it was my belief and internal dialogue that it was true that made the seed grow. The relationship I had only consolidated in my head I was that person and was not worthy or good enough.
The final memory was of my husband's funeral. This confused me. I couldn't understand what my confidence had to do with that. Dawn asked me loads of open questions and the answer I gave explained all. The day of his funeral was the day I said goodbye to a man I loved, who loved me unconditionally. A man who loved me no matter how I looked or what I did. Since he passed away I have subconsciously believed I would never be worthy of being loved again. His passing triggered the old feelings and that nobody would see me as he did.
After identifying the root cause Dawn got me to say things out loud. Almost to dispel the feelings of being ugly, different and unlovable. To put them in a time and place that no longer has any relevance or power in my life. I was bought out of my hypnotic state. I was aware I had cried throughout, but I was smiling. I felt an inner peace that I cannot find the right words to describe. We talked further about it and I can honestly say I was amazed at how I felt.
That night I was buzzing. I had a video call with some people I have gotten to know recently but have never met. This is something I would not have done before. Always worrying about how awful I would look on the screen. I was not worried this time. I took the call and I felt fantastic. I ended up having a great evening, and although we are in lockdown it was a fantastic girls night with a lot of laughter.
On Saturday I was asked again by a number of my group members about a party or get together after lockdown. This was something said as a bit of a joke a couple of weeks back by one group member and within a matter of hours escalated quite quickly. I have over 450 members now, and it really has created a little community of people who help one another out. Dawn, my therapist has offered to run some sessions on the group starting from this week for the next 6 weeks, including the psychology of relationships amongst other things. This has been really well-received by the other members and many have confirmed their attendance for the first one. As the group members live all over the place I've started to look at possible venues around the country and see where people are happy and able to travel to. I have never organised anything like this before and to be honest prior to Friday didn't seriously entertain the idea. Now it can be a reality.
Sunday was Valentine's Day. I received 2 E-cards. One was from a guy in the group who lives in Canada, the other was from a guy I dated 3 years ago. Although he is in a relationship he has sent one every year since we met, except last year (he only sends it as a friend). The cards made me laugh, and I'll admit boosted my ego a little. I chatted to the guy I had dated and told him about my hypnotherapy. He has been really supportive over the past few months checking in with me as he knows I've been having a tough time.
When I met him, dating was a complete unknown to me. I had been in a relationship for 22 years. I had just lost a huge amount of weight and hated my body even more than I had before. He is incredibly good-looking and super confident. I always felt a little intimidated. We dated for 6 months and whilst we got on amazingly ì always knew it would be nothing more than friends. I do remember him saying to me at the time that sexy is an attitude not a dress size. It always stuck in my head, but I never took it onboard. After he listened to me telling him about hypnotherapy he said it to me again. He paid me several other compliments. Before I would have just laughed it off unable to accept he meant it. This time I didn't. After we chatted I went upstairs and coloured my hair. I put a dress, heels and makeup on. The first time in so long. Why did I bother when there is no one to see it? I did it because it made me feel good. I went shopping totally overdressed and made up, but I didn't care. I felt great.
I can see how my attitude has changed already in certain aspects of my life. I am no longer worried about someone saying hurtful or cruel things to me about the way I look as that actually says more about them and where they are in their heads than it does me. My new-found confidence will only enhance me and my life. Will I ever be a person who craves or demands attention in a crowd? No, that is not at all in my nature. I want to be the person who can look at myself inside and out and know and be happy with who I am. Since Friday I can do that.
I hope to be able to look back at these ramblings in a year's time and be proud of myself. I do not want to look back, read this and feel that nothing has changed or be annoyed with myself for not acting on what I have said or done. I am confident that it will not be the case. The skeptic in me did wonder if how I felt was just an in the moment feeling and would it last. What difference would it make to my life? Well I am three days in. I have a recording I listen to every day and will for 21 days. I feel empowered for the first time.
After shopping on Sunday I actually stood and truly looked at myself in a mirror. I stood completely naked. For someone who has avoided mirrors for so long this was unusual. And for the first time I liked what I saw. I didn't criticize how I looked. I just appreciated myself. I have curves, I have scars, I have stretch marks, but they are there for a reason and are a part of the story of my life. I sat listening to music that night. Learning to Fly by Pink Floyd came on. So apt! To me the lyrics are about overcoming personal fear and breaking free from it. I cannot explain how this has worked and I would honestly recommend it to anyone. I feel like I have been given the opportunity to be me. To be happy and comfortable in myself. I am learning to fly.
I have put the link on to Dawn's website in case anyone else feels they could benefit from it.
Since starting this blog just over a month ago so much has changed for me. I was really rather broken and damaged, both physically and emotionally. I couldn't see beyond a day at a time and if I'm honest with myself I didn't want to. Everything seemed so dark and gloomy, and I couldn't see any light. I can now. My confidence was at an all-time low, and I was struggling to see my worth or what I have to offer.
I've struggled with my confidence for many years. This goes back to my youth where I spent my formative years aged 13 to 20 with a guy who controlled, beat and abused me on a regular basis. He belittled me constantly. Turned me against my family and friends and created a world where I would never find anyone better than him and nobody would ever want me. So I do have times of severe self-doubt. I worry that I'm not good enough, and I have huge body confidence issues.
I was very slim back then but endured years of being told how fat and ugly I was. It's a painful thing to hear but as time goes on you believe it more and more. I stopped eating for many months. My hair and nails started to fall out, and I looked as ugly as he said I did. My weight dropped to 9 stone and for someone who was almost 6ft tall that is not healthy. Nobody knew what was happening. My parents suspected I was being hit but the more they tried to get me away from him, the more I believed what he said. That my parents hated me. I constantly defended him.
I left home at 16 as life with my parents had become unbearable. The constant rows because they were just trying to do the right thing, and I was too stubborn to see, resulted in me leaving my safe comfortable family home and moving in with him. I had to quit college and my A-levels to get a job to support us both as he never worked. The abuse became worse then. I've told friends and family bits about what happened. I never told my husband the full extent, although he saw the photos sometime after we got together of the last lot of injuries I incurred. He was appalled and it made him sick. Fortunately he was the complete opposite of what I'd experienced before.
Some people saw bruises at the time, but it was just clumsy me. Nobody saw what was happening inside as I did my usual and smiled and laughed. I developed a coping mechanism. No matter what he did to me, I refused to cry or fight back. I refused to let him see how much I was hurt. I simply stood or laid there, motionless and emotionless, and took it until I either blacked out or he stopped. The emotional abuse was harder to endure. The name-calling, making me point out men I thought were attractive, then hitting me because I had looked at someone else. Him making up wild accusations about my family and friends trying it on with him. Cheating on me as he said he could get better and many more cruel things.
I don't know where the strength came from to end things for good, but I found it. I was 20 years old, he had beaten me so badly I suffered a broken nose, several broken ribs, a broken ankle and numerous bruises, cuts and bite marks. My face was swollen and bruised, so I didn't recognise myself in the mirror. I was taken to hospital, and it was there I made the decision enough was enough.
I met my husband a few months after, but it took awhile for us to get together. I was scared. He showed me the true meaning of love. He never abused or raised his hand to me. He built me up, supported and encouraged me, and I was lucky enough to have that until he passed away.
People say that I'm strong for what I've experienced. An abusive relationship as a kid, cancer in my thirties, widowed aged 41, a mini stroke 7 months after losing my husband and both my children being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within the past 4 years. I certainly have all the luck! I am not writing this for sympathy. I hope my experiences can help somebody else. There is always someone who is going through worse times.
I am not strong and the past few months have shown me that, but I am not and never will be a victim! I have survived abuse! I am almost 8 years cancer free! I have experienced love and loss.
People ask how I do it. The answer is I have to. I have chosen to live and not let my past define me, although it can come back to add insult to injury. The past few months have bought some old scars to the surface, and I'm trying to mend my heart, but I will get through it. I guess I sat there several weeks back at my lowest point thinking why me! Why do I always seem to have bad things happen? Why does everything feel like a struggle? Why can't I just be happy? I slipped into a spiral of self-pity which just made me feel worse.
So after my wake up call on my birthday and along with all the other things I've been doing over the past few weeks to lift myself, I have been reading about mindfulness and Laws of Attraction. It was something I was introduced to after my husband died, and I found it really useful then. I had put it on the shelf so to speak, but I am revisiting and again it is helping me to relax, deal with my feelings and emotions and start to think positively again about what I want from life.
I have also been scrutinizing myself and one thing that keeps coming to my mind is forgiveness. I have never once got angry about what life has given me. I hold no resentment or hatred to anyone who has hurt me. I forgive easily. Some would say too easily and that I'm a fool. There is only one person I couldn't forgive and that is me. I have had so many regrets and held onto a lot of guilt. I regret the way I treated my parents when I was younger. I can only imagine as a parent myself what I put them through. I felt huge guilt over my brother. He idolised my ex, as a kid of 10 would. My ex also introduced my brother to drugs, something I've never done, which resulted in my brother battling a heroine addiction for 20 plus years, that has caused so much pain and I feel so responsible for.
I feel guilt over the time I wasted when my husband was alive, things I should have said and done that I put off. Also regret for not telling people how I feel or expressing myself clearly because of my fear of showing my weakness. I held on to the thought that if people could see my weakness they would know how to hurt me. Some of those people are no longer here, others are but unfortunately I'll never get that opportunity. I have however started to write letters. I cannot post them, they will never be received, but I can finally say what I needed to say. They are written in a book along with my poetry. No one will see them but me. It's not the same I know, but it has helped. Maybe I can start in time to forgive myself.
My confidence has taken a boost recently. My other blog has been picked up by a large UK dating site, and they have given me a page on their website, just for my blog. I have been completely blown away with how my daft writing has been received. I've again pushed myself further out of my comfort zone by promoting my page. I don't do self-promotion well and struggle to see why people like what I've written, but they seem to. I have approached numerous groups, pages and people to help share my writing (as I've been advised to do), and have had to do this as myself without hiding behind a picture. That alone has been quite scary. I have made a few new friends along the way who are supportive and encouraging and are adding value to my life.
I have started to walk tall. Head up looking forward. I know that I'm not perfect. I have many flaws, but I'm learning more and more each day about me. I'm beginning to get the hopeful realistic optimism back.