You have the ability to choose which way you want to go. You have to believe great things are going to happen in your life. Do everything you can – prepare, pray and achieve – to make it happen. Ben Carson
I often tell my students that if they really want to progress, they need to take ownership of their learning, play an active role in their studies and practise independently. They also need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and set themselves goals. They should not expect the teachers to do everything for them and just sit there in class waiting to be spoon-fed.
I think the same applies when it comes to healing. We must take ownership of our own healing and not wait for someone else to provide us with the cure. If we just passively sit waiting for time to heal us then we are probably going to be sitting for a very long time. However, if we make an active effort to heal, we will with all likelihood speed up the recovery process.
I recently read a quote that said: “There are three kinds of people in this world: people who make it happen, people who watch what happens, and people who wonder what happened.” The quote is attributed to Tommy Lasorda or Mary Kay Ash depending on the source but its provenance is not what matters.
While I was in the midst of my relationship with a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I was the type of person who just watched what happened. I was reduced to only being a performer in the film of my own life whose script was being written by my partner. I had no say in the development of my own story. I was merely a reluctant passenger being taken to an unknown destination but I was too afraid to jump out of a moving vehicle.
After the break up, I became the type of person who wondered what had happened. I was stuck in dysphoric rumination for a long time and could not pull myself out of it. I was constantly reminiscing and trying to make sense of what had happened. I was in a rut and not moving at all. It was a very difficult and painful time but I managed to extract myself from the hole that the narcissist had dug for me.
After a lot of pain, effort and self-discipline, I have now become the type of person who make it happen for herself. If feels very empowering to be the ‘master of my own destiny’ and not having anyone dictate or manipulates my choices. Of course it didn’t happen overnight. It has taken me over a year to come to this point. At first I was ready to throw in the towel. I had been knocked down by Narcissistic Abuse and I lay on the floor unable to move, emotionally battered and bruised and disorientated. However, I managed to get back on my feet and, once I got to know my opponent better, I was able to keep my guard up and avoid further injuries.
I succeeded in my endeavours to heal and be whole again by applying the same principles that I advise my students to follow.
- I analysed my strengths and weaknesses. I knew I had very unhelpful thinking styles but I was also determined and stubborn. I read many books and blogs to understand what was holding me back and I took steps to overcome those hurdles.
- I set myself goals. At first my goals were too ambitious and I was not able to reach them. Some readers on my blog would comment that I was being too demanding on myself and that I needed to give myself time. So I had to review my plans and set more achievable goals. They were baby steps to begin with, such as getting up, eating something, and going to the corner shop to buy the newspaper but eventually I was able to set higher goals. I took on a new hobby. One day I found a leaflet at the train station about dragon boating. I gave it a try with the help of a friend and now I am taking great pleasure in it it and training three times a week. Doing an outdoor sport is extremely beneficial not only to my physical health but to my mental health too.
- I let go of my therapist. While therapy was extremely useful at the beginning, my therapist warned me about becoming too dependent on her, so I gradually reduced the frequency of my appointments until I was ready to fly on my own. I took ownership and responsibility for my own healing and became only dependent on my own strength and willingness to recover.
It hasn’t been a walk in the park -more like the ascension of Mount Everest! – But I made my way to the top and the view from there is magnificent!
I have many projects now. I have booked a holiday to France for Easter, I am attending an international conference for English teachers in Brighton mid-April and taking part in a dragon boat race in Cyprus at the end of April. I have also planned a holiday in the south of France with my family for July and I am looking at starting my own tutoring business teaching French and English.
A year ago I thought life was over for me. I was disillusioned and despondent. I was relying on external factors to make my life better, not realising that I had the strength inside me all along. I made it happen and I feel pretty proud of myself. As Maya Angelou once said: “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
No matter how low you feel now, you can get better, you can make it happen and when you do, you will feel amazed that you had the courage to do it. You will be yourself again but a thousand times better.