Addicted to the loop of instability

I unconsciously chased unsafe situations. Even as I became more aware, the poor me attitude quickly brought me to the same situations time and time again, just showing up in so many different types of people, different ways on different days—- It was getting old.

Eventually, I was so confused and heartbroken that I wanted to address the pattern. I began to realise what triggered me were the things that were keeping me in the loop of victimhood and fear-based choices that only amplified my situation well after getting out of an abusive marriage. I was choosing it without knowing just because it was so familiar.

I found the dysfunction I was running from and how I would declare never accepting certain treatment for myself ever again, was in fact the sneaky thing I had to watch for because I was so used to operating in the world in a state of survival. Looking back now I found I was constantly seeking comfort from the ones who hurt me most which was a learned behavior.

The chaotic state of struggle

I would numb myself with alcohol, and avoid the deeper issues that were too painful to see by keeping myself busy. I never rested because it was way too uncomfortable to be still and I blamed myself which kept me stuck for many years after getting out of my tangle with domestic violence. I felt I was not fully free but somehow I also felt that’s what I wanted so badly.

I understood so much with my mind but my body wasn’t speaking the same language. Turns out when I spoke to my body during experiencing anxiety and told it with words “just calm down, stop being silly” it actually made the anxiety so much worse because I was pushing this part of myself away, possibly shaming it and telling it that it isn’t even valid to respond like this.

I had to get to know myself, learn why my stories were keeping me stuck, and how they shaped me. I healed enough to start choosing to be self-led, and I now dedicate my time assisting others to see that they are so much more than their stories too.

Unworthiness would wake with me every morning

I’d pick her up and piggyback her around everywhere, listening to the things she would whisper to me like “you can’t do that”, or “you aren’t good enough so don’t even try”. This part of myself was heavy with responsibility and she was only seven years old. Naturally, I was unaware I had a part so unloved, unwanted and who felt she didn’t belong in the world but I carried her around like the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I noticed this part of myself through EMDR therapy where I addressed the burden she was carrying. I also noticed it wasn’t my fault and the things that were happening to me were because I still believed what I absorbed from childhood. All the times I was never chosen, or excluded for being different brought a people-pleasing quality to the program I was running on repeat and I had been molded into believing if I did things at the cost of myself then people would want me around and they would choose me.

All the things that lead to having complex trauma only became really apparent to me when I was 29 years old, in the midst of a divorce and a time I had to fight for my life. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I realised trauma was steering my life with a CPTSD diagnosis at age 30. After this time of realisation, I learned about the brain and cultivated acceptance around my beliefs as I changed them. It was a long journey back to health through small choices.

It is still a lot of work even today

I am now 37. The biggest struggles I find now are in relationships sometimes finding myself wondering if I am safe, having trouble sometimes staying open, having to catch myself when responses arise and then there’s more work. I can sometimes feel there is so much work always being done like it will never end and the biggest thing I forget to do is to play, rest, and experience joy.

One of the biggest learnings of 2022 for me was first finally accepting I had CPTSD, it took me that long to really accept it. I could no longer ignore it or just continue controlling my life around survival mode and only opening to where I was comfortable. I was missing out. I wanted more for myself.

I learned what my triggers were

Not feeling wanted, people not following through with what they say, staying in any situation where I am uncomfortable and unable to speak up, and any type of gaslighting or sense of manipulation sets me off to the point I can have a response for up to two weeks. It has shifted from the age of 29 when I was being stalked, harassed, and threatened – it’s less physical safety now and I find it to be more emotional work and nervous system regulation when I am uncomfortable that I am needing to do now.

It is helpful for me to recognise my past abuse and remind myself I am not there. I now have created a support network all around me. I have people that understand me which is one of the most soothing and helpful things to me now.

It is important that I hold myself accountable

To not project my past into the moments I am experiencing new situations and I do this by asking myself “is this true”? And this helps me to zoom out and see if I’ve become blended with fear, anxiety, doubt, or any kind of protective coping mechanisms.

I now take full responsibility to nourish my body so I can do this work. I have devoted myself to the practice of yoga, meditating, receiving frequent bodywork, quitting alcohol, and eating healthy. By knowing the things that trigger me I can choose better for myself and work within my capacity as I heal.

Learning to speak up about my needs has also been a huge help, but first I needed a safe space to do that in.

I have found that I cannot heal anything or stay on a path of awareness when I am not in a supportive environment.

I also acknowledge that I am working my way towards a secure attachment style where I believe when someone doesn’t know how to support or validate the responses or emotions I am having it doesn’t mean I am too much or that I have to go heal it alone. These feel like different phases to me. I still know I can be triggered and I know my limits. I also see the end of that path where I cannot hide from triggers however I can face them as they come by creating stability within myself.

When I choose situations or life happens and I am thrown something I wasn’t expecting I try not to be too hard on myself as I recover. There is no time limit on how I recover but the steps are usually similar each time. I take a pause, I do things that help me feel calm, I go to therapy, I let my emotions out, journal, and when I feel ready I lean in to support and all the things that help orient me back to my life right now.

It is so easy to go back

The victim is so familiar and sometimes when things are good it calls me so loudly that I cannot hear anything else. Knowing my survival tendencies, and then when calm and present telling people close to me about them so they can help me catch them supports me to create an environment for myself where I can live more peacefully.

I still have responses to new stimuli, challenges, and other people’s lack of boundaries, anytime I may not feel understood or safe —- no matter what it is or how big or small it is —- it is always an opportunity for me to understand myself a little deeper, and to choose to heal.

I see my past as this constant reminder to choose.

Choosing places me in the driver’s seat where I can thrive despite anything that happens. Life can still happen and I can say no, choose peace, remove myself, and come back to regulation by practicing the tools I now have.

It’s important I walk my path with enough courage to choose peace and not go into self-sabotaging, addictions, or the cut-and-run attitude. I know none of it serves me and the more I flex the trust muscle to the life of ease I have acquired I remind myself “this is my new normal”.

I am here.
I am no longer there.
I can go back but I let it be brief.
I choose again.


Guest Post Disclaimer: Any and all information shared in this guest blog post is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog post, nor any content on, is a supplement for or supersedes the relationship and direction of your medical or mental health providers. Thoughts, ideas, or opinions expressed by the writer of this guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of CPTSD Foundation. For more information, see our Privacy Policy and Full Disclaimer.