Anyone who has suffered from the trauma of abuse of any kind knows that one of the scariest feelings is that of having no control. Feelings of grief, sadness, and loss are common. With help and time those feelings tend become easier to resolve internally than the feeling of fear. Fear is debilitating. Fear is paralyzing. And with abuse, fear comes in many forms.
Adult survivors of abuse commonly report one of their biggest fears as losing control of their lives. This is so common because of the survivor‘s primed physiology. When an individual is physically threatened…..or perceives that they are….. the body’s complex biology kicks into gear releasing hormones and other chemicals which we typically refer to as the fight or flight syndrome. A component of that syndrome with particularly negative consequences is that of repetitive thought. Put simply, your brain lays down a specific neuronal connection associated with the event that is easily activated over and over again. Many survivors feel like they are “losing their minds”, an expression of this repetitive thought process over which they feel they have no conscious control. Out of desperation, trying to silence these thoughts, many survivors turn to mind numbing substances both legal and illegal. Sadly, this typically creates more problems than it solves in the long run, even if the survivor achieves a measure of temporary relief.
So as a survivor, or a member of that person’s support system, how can one take back that sense of control? How can you stop the cycle of unhealthy repetitive thought? Is there a way to reclaim some measure of control without creating additional havoc? In my experience, there absolutely is a way. Nobody is going to tell you this will be easy or without some pain, but the payoff is worth it. And believe it or not, one of the first steps is to learn to let go.
As a survivor of abuse, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to take inventory of the people in your life. It’s proven through many studies that like attracts like, so if you find yourself surrounded by people with negative energy, your thoughts are then pulled into negativity. Identifying the people in your life that are not positive and supportive, then taking the necessary steps to let these people go, will be one of the best steps you can take towards living your best life. Another critical step is to reach out for help. Not one of us lives in a vacuum, even if we wish we did, and finding someone you can talk to without fear of judgement or criticism is vital.
There are many new fields of trauma therapy available that help you regain control and release your fears. These include techniques such as energy psychology, visualization, meditation, mindfulness, and self-hypnosis. Research the different forms of therapy available to you and find the one that fits best. With time and support, you will find a way to let go of those negative thoughts and move on. Keep on going forward, you are worth it and you matter the most.