Today, I am writing from the messy middle. You know the place. It is when you are in the middle of working through something difficult, and you are still trying to figure it out. That is where I am today.

My relationship with my body is complicated

I’ve started working with my therapist on a topic I’ve been avoiding for years: my body and how I feel about it. As a sexual abuse survivor with CPTSD, my relationship with my body is complicated. It is not the dissociation from the sensations I wrote about in my previous article; it is the untangling of so many thoughts and beliefs tied to it that has proven rather difficult.

My therapist has been on vacation off and on after the holidays, which is fine, but it does create a pause in the process. I have a propensity for intensity and can become obsessive about wanting to finish something. It is probably a God thing to break me out of my obsessive focus on working through the topic so that I will receive that as an act of care on His part.

While my therapist has been gone, I have kept busy with my full-time job and setting up my coaching business. During this past week’s pause, I became aware that I was keeping myself busy ALL the time, too busy. In the middle of the week, I hit the wall and couldn’t even move, never mind work. I noticed this was a pattern in my life around how I use busyness as a coping strategy. I thought that was interesting, so I started paying attention to it.

There is nothing wrong with intensity or singular focus, but I used it to avoid being still and sitting in silence

There is nothing wrong with intensity or singular focus, but I used it to avoid being still and sitting in silence, waiting to get back to work. In the past, I have waded into the deep end of my trauma alone…thinking I could handle it myself. Let me say that I don’t recommend that approach. I have found it so helpful to have a compassionate witness who can comfort the wounded parts of myself.

I did not want to take that approach with this topic because it is highly complex, and I knew I needed help untangling this rat’s nest. There was a battle going on inside me between wanting badly to touch the forbidden fruit (if you know what I mean) and wanting to avoid it altogether. This battle caused so much noise in my head, driving me crazy. At some point, I must’ve decided to distract myself from this battle, even though I don’t remember making that decision.

Our coping strategies were developed at some point in our lives to keep us safe

I am not shaming myself for using busyness as a short-term coping strategy (my therapist is back this week so we can get back to work). Our coping strategies were developed at some point in our lives to keep us safe. There comes a time in the healing journey when we must assess whether these tried and true coping strategies still serve us.

As I began the assessment process, I wondered how often I use this escape mechanism to avoid dealing with or confronting painful or difficult things. I do it often and know I am not the only one. I see it all the time in the workplace with trauma survivors who keep themselves busy so they don’t have to deal with the pain of their past or try to earn the right to feel worthy. We work so hard to prove that we are somebody, that we are not that person who was told they would never amount to anything or that they were a loser. We exhaust ourselves trying to outperform our inner critic, and we can never escape it.

What happens when we stop the busyness and remain still? The noise and condemnation of our inner critic rise to unbearable decibel levels. With the condemnation comes the pain, shame, anger, and all the other emotions that we’ve pent up for years that threaten to overwhelm us and our ability to function. We are triggered into a younger version of ourselves that does not have the coping skills to handle the situation.

We need a compassionate witness to validate our emotions

This is why we need help on this healing journey. We need a compassionate witness to validate our emotions, comfort our littles, and heal our boo-boos. Whether it is a therapist, coach, or both, find someone to walk with you on this journey.

You don’t have to do this alone, and neither do I. I’m walking the same path toward healing and living the life I want to live.

I’m here for you. You can find me at Schedule your complimentary discovery call today.

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