Self care is something spoken about a lot, and seems so very easy. Well, not to complex trauma survivors and in particular childhood complex trauma survivors.
I asked my Facebook community, what were their biggest self care issues, these were some of their responses, which express the obvious self care needs and the not so obvious self care needs, complex trauma survivors struggle with..
- To feel worthy of the self care. It often feels and sounds selfish to me. So many others are in need besides me that seem more deserving. Selfishness is one of my biggest pet peeves, after being rejected, abandoned and abused by selfish people. I am trying to get better.
- Actually trusting that my friends care about me and want to spend time with me. I have a very difficult time believing that my friends (best advocates and loving people including my spouse) actually like me. I always think they’re just tolerating me. This isn’t logical. And I know that they love me. But it’s still a constant nagging.
- Forgiving myself….I find it much too easy to forgive others and yet I struggle to show myself the same compassion and understanding. I find myself berating myself over and over for even small things that I would overlook or forgive easily in others. It seems I’ve taken on punishing myself from where my childhood abusers left off.
- I struggle with basics. I forget to shower, eat, drink, and do things like buy myself clothes. I feel my needs get in the way of others.
- Allowing myself to feel all emotions – joy and anger are the most difficult for me.
- To stop always saying “sorry” (for nothing) and “people pleasing.”
- Preparing and eating healthy meals. I know how to, I know I deserve it, I can plan it and even sometimes manage to buy the groceries, but I freeze when it comes to the “doing” which doesn’t even bring me to “the eating”.
- I struggle with believing in myself. As many times as trusted loved ones have told me I’m beautiful, loving, and smart, I find myself completely unable to believe them.
- I struggle with making healthy relationship choices. I always go for people that I know are going to re traumatise me, even when there are “better choices” right in front of me. It’s like I can’t break that cycle.
- Putting myself first.
- Being in the present here and now.
- Healthy eating and sleeping.
- Convincing myself to do the work of self care especially in those moments that it is indeed work.
- Taking a day off from childcare without worrying constantly or feeling guilty.
- Spending money on things for myself, getting haircuts and pedicures, making time for important appointments.
- Not feeling like I’m a bad mom/housekeeper etc while I struggle with chronic pain and health issues.
- Biggest problem I have is remembering that I need to give myself more attention and love. Rather than continuously giving it all to others.
- Saying no instead of pushing through something I really don’t want to do.
- Sleeping.. I’ve slept about 6 hours in the last 48.
- Getting out in nature enough, which I find really healing.
- Being financially responsible for myself so I don’t have to still be dependent on abusers and then hating myself for it.
- Believing in myself believing I can do something anything I want but not trying because I might fail and embarrass myself or it won’t be perfect.
- Allowing myself to feel, not just the pain, but the peaceful times too.
- Doing things for myself (resting, watching a movie, a massage) without feeling selfish and guilty.
- At least one unscheduled day per week, with no errands to run and no work or social obligations.
Complex trauma results in complex issues and these issues affect daily life, functioning, wellbeing and the capacity to heal.
What complex trauma survivors need the most, is compassion, because without it – these issues only worsen.
For more info on Complex Trauma, please see my Website, which is recommended by many trauma informed mental health professionals.
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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