I was on Facebook chatting a few days ago, with a good friend of mine about my lifestyle in my 20’s.
I am open about everything in my life, and that includes my own choices made, which are not choices I would make now, but are part of who I am and I am not ashamed of it.
Following getting out of the captivity, my life became a continual need to pursue all I did to my absolute best ability.
Failure and mediocrity was not an option.
I needed to support myself and I worked hard, exercised hard, played hard, partied hard.
Apart from when living with my first husband, my lifestyle involved a lot of men.
I enjoyed dangerous situations, I enjoyed partying hard, I went on 18-30 style holidays, I partied in Ibiza – the party capital of the world. I had a lot of fun.
I didn’t have a sheltered, safe upbringing, I didn’t learn how to have self respect, I had many one night stands, many ‘wild’ experiences.
Once I met my current husband and had a child, my need to change my lifestyle occurred and I’m glad.
I grew up as I needed to be a responsible mother.
But, I know my lifestyle before that, was common for abuse survivors, common for childhood abuse/complex trauma.
Work, men, sex, alcohol, were all coping strategies.
I pushed myself hard in my 20’s, to be the best at everything I did, including work, partying, sex, exercise.
This perfectionism need is common after childhood abuse, where you don’t believe you are good enough to be loved, so you seek a life of trying to prove you are good enough and seeking validation from others, particularly men when a decent father figure has been missed in your life.
I needed to hear I was good at work, I needed to see results in the mirror from exercise, I needed to hear validation from men and I ensured I got validation.
I don’t have that need for validation anymore, since having my children, that stopped.
I am not ashamed of my past. I’m not proud of it, but I know why it happened, following so much abuse.
And I’m totally upfront and honest about it, I don’t have an image, if I did, I wouldn’t talk about this stuff here, where everyone I know can read it.
I talk about it, because if I am dealing with, others will be.
There are many reasons why complex trauma survivors do what they do, it’s why I don’t judge people and I don’t care if people judge me on my past.
It’s who I am now, that I care what certain people think about me.
I am who I am, I don’t hide anything, I don’t lie, I am honest and I use this to express things here to help others.
Having shame for things I cannot change is futile and I choose to not have shame anymore. And I have been forgiven by God.
If you are struggling with anything like this, please don’t be hard on yourself, the life of a complex trauma survivor is very hard and brings needs and behaviours others will not necessarily understand, but unless they have lived your life, they are not able to judge you, so I tell people – don’t let them and don’t judge yourself harshly either.
I don’t judge people by their pasts.