Shame, Blame and All Things Self-loathing

Grace is my gift of self kindness, darkness clouds of thoughts, reach down, reach out Grace stands here where she always stood

Evelyn M Wayde

Have you ever thought about why it can often be easy for us to get stuck in feelings of shame self loathing or self blame? Have you ever noticed how these emotional states can become like an emotional and mental loop? Have you ever wondered why we so easily believe the voice of shame, believing we are wrong naughty or bad? I want to begin this topic with a sense of curiosity, because let’s face it no one wants to dive in to discuss or feel into these difficult and sometimes very sticky and dark emotions.

Shame used to be a very familiar place for me to sit to stay to wallow to sink into, to drown in, to mourn to doubt myself, to suck up and to swallow down. Some might even say heavy emotions became like a knee-jerk reaction in response to anything I became remorseful for or judgmental of. Back then I was not equipped with the tools I have today, so if I sunk far enough into heavy emotions it would be difficult for me to get back out.

Often I would go into a depressed state or ‘depression’ sometimes lasting for days sometimes months at a time.

Looking back and observing it wasn’t the events themselves necessarily that was causing me to drop down into these emotions. It was my own thoughts feelings and perceptions around what took place that brought them on. To explain further they would begin with an emotion washing over me such as shame and as my thoughts lead one into the other they would feed into the emotion increasing the emotional intensity in my body.

As the emotional intensity increased I recall feeling physiological changes beginning to occur, especially in the onset of the feeling or emotion. As these changes intensified they began altering my ability to think or move. If I wasn’t aware of what was happening in the moment it was like quicksand.

It was much like a feeling of being taken over, as my body was flooded with emotions fuelled by my thoughts. My thoughts followed an emotion feeding and compounding it until I no longer felt like myself.

I became the heaviness the blackness, and the blackness and heaviness became me.

When we begin to do work around understanding our emotions we start to get a better picture of what is going on for us holistically and even energetically. From doing my own inner work I can now fully accept, and understand it wasn’t the experience or situation causing me to feel bad, it was my own judgements perception and thoughts that brought them on.

This was debilitating for me as with the guilt shame and blame comes more and more of the same making it difficult to ever see the light. It can be very isolating to sit in judgement of ourselves. We convince ourselves whatever took place was somehow our fault therefore, there must be something about ‘us’ that is innately ‘bad’. We buy into the belief that we ‘deserve’ to feel these extremely heavy emotions and the more we buy into this belief the more alone and twisted we feel and the more and more separated we become from the people we love and the world around us.

Question? What if we are not innately bad? What if the situation or event was not a reflection of us or even a part of us, but rather completely separate from us? What if we could choose or reach for a different emotion?

What if it was the stories in our mind and our own judgement of ourselves that was leading us to shame, blame and self loathing? What if we could choose to accept what happened without the need to change it? What if instead of self blame we were to seek to see things differently? What if instead of shame we allowed ourselves to feel disappointment anger or rage?

The key to breaking free of the perpetual pool of shame is to stop feeding it.

What if we could allow the event or experience to be as it was without placing blame or attaching meaning to it? How could this change the relationship we have with ourselves? Is it possible we could see ourselves differently?

How would this change the way we see and perceive our life? How would it change our interpretation of the event? Could we then offer ourselves some understanding or grant ourselves some compassion?

When we are able to be a witness to a feeling or situation without placing meaning or judgement on it, it allows us to gain our footing through a new perspective and approach the situation in a proactive positive and impactful way.

This is what giving ourselves grace looks like.

This is an act of self kindness and gives us permission to be human. This is how we learn to make new choices by allowing ourselves to move forward instead of being weighted down and feeling stuck in dark heavy emotions.

When we don’t allow ourselves grace we will often seek to blame ourselves. However, self blame is not helpful or constructive nor is it useful as a learning tool. Rather it perpetuates more shame. If we allow it we can build up the shame so much we end up making it so catastrophically big that it almost annihilates us. This is what I did.

Moreover, by making ourselves responsible for things that we could not of changed, we assign ourselves blame that was never ours to take on. Taking responsibility is healthy and necessary in life to flourish and to grow, but not when it causes us harm and not when it is not ours to take on.

We are all human beings having a human experience, we are going to make choices that sometimes are not in our best interest or that hurt others. However, when we find ourselves stuck blaming or rejecting ourselves for a decision or choice we have made this is not helpful. This will not move us into a whole state of being nor will it heal us.

We have the power to cut ourselves some slack, we can practice self forgiveness. We need to accept we are going to continue to make mistake and even ‘FUCK UP’ sometimes, but we can choose to learn from our choices and we can allow ourselves to be okay with them.

On a side note ponder this for a moment.

When we feel any emotion positive or otherwise it alters the bio chemistry in the body. When we get hooked into self loathing blame or shame these bio chemicals begin to flood our body with toxic chemicals leaving us more susceptible to sickness and disease. Not only are we putting our health and well-being at risk we are also strengthening the neural pathways in the brain that activate our shame response. Which means we are strengthening the very thing we don’t want to experience.

Just like strengthening the connection in the brain to shame guilt and self-loathing we can also strengthen the connection to move towards grace, and as we do we begin to move forward. This is how we go from surviving to thriving. This is especially important while we may be unpacking trauma and traumatic events. Self kindness is more powerful and less fluff speak than we realise and if we can just for today allow ourselves a moment of grace maybe we can find another moment tomorrow.

With love Evelyn xx

©All Words Written By ~ Evelyn M Wayde 2020.

Reminiscent…. is the Scent of You

Reminiscent…. is the Scent of You

Reminiscent, it ain’t me and it ain’t you

Reminiscent is it me missing you

Reminiscent of a sky holding hope for you

Reminiscent of a space my heart held on for you

Reminiscent walking holding your hand

Reminiscent

Locked up tied down, she drowns in a swamp filled with memories

A lingering scent of all but bare bodies, as she kneels before him once again

The darkness it fades into one hundred thousand shades of grey

His hatefueled words cut maliciously

Tortured by the affliction, mesmorized, and stuck in everything in and of you

Time it drifts away, like the warmth of the sun

Little miss sweetness of butterfly kisses,

Scars left as a reminder she now wears on her face

Locked up, tied down drowning in these pictured pieces of you

Die for you, she would of died in the arms of you

Searches for a flame a kin to you, I was lost in my own skin

Thinking too, thinking of me, thinking of you

Night time she breathes in new life breaks freefalling within her mind’s eye..

Tricked or treat, be still she heard him say

A racing heart now wakes her from a once peaceful slumber owed unto you

A sickening smirk haunts her still, with blood dripping oozing from her face

Locked up tied down, your lefthand gripping at her throat eyes locked wasted on you

Tripped up on you, entranced by you, no one else to save this forsaken women-child from beneath you

Desperate and dying, swept up by his killer looks controlled by his deathly stare

Locked up tied down, stabbed left stung by a killer bee, blood dripping from her cheek…

His sculptured puffed out chest laughs in mockery as he hangs black plastic sheets

The mind it fixes on and off again…. drowns out the sounds of where his voice once took up space

A young girl in a women’s body, enslaved by you, her once secret wish to be owned by you

Locked up tied down, no longer a slave to you, no longer the girl kneeling before you

All Words Written by Evelyn Wayde © 2020

Dead of the night

Day dreams are my daymares like nightmares circulating my mind in the light of day… it’s been days now, why now what’s up now?!

‘Your’ love slips me over pulls me under, slipping me under, got me fighting the pull, don’t let this one slip, don’t let me go back, under you.

My skin crawls with memories of you, I saw your face in my hands last night… I saw you standing there glibly. Why now, what’s up now?

Who knew through so many moons a blackened heart could still slip through, not tonight dear I’ve got too much fight left dear. No longer do I flinch when I speak your name.

There is no going back, to feeling me, dead in the night, you’re dead to me.

Silhouettes of you haunt my room, beneath the dark side of the moon. With a reflection of a man, I can no longer stand, for him my heart bled dry.

My voice it sings chasing away the presence of you, the you of a past I once knew. Who knew… there would be a likeness of a man in a ghost of you. Who fucking knew?!

All Words Written by Evelyn Wayde © 2020

Surrender

In my head now I hear a voice say, don’t stop now

In my heart now I hear my self say don’t stop now

The quiet of the mind drowns out the sounds of were other peoples voices once sound, the quieter they become the louder I am able to be

For it isn’t just in the trying but in the surrender in the now, letting go of what you may of been, letting go into endless possibilities.

I say this not to entertain or to entice, but to let what comes come, to let what will be be, to let the knowing be known and to let go of what you may not see.

There is much in surrender there is much in letting things be for you are not the saviour of the world, your heart it rests on me.

All Words Written by Evelyn Wayde © 2020

Self-care Tips for Everyday Life After Narcissistic Abuse


Self-care Matters

Sharing my Personal Practice & Journey of Self-care

In the initial stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse I remember a question I posed to myself was….

How do I get back to functioning and living in everyday life now I am physically free from abuse and my abuser?

This may seem simple and even counterintuitive to anyone who has not experienced long term relationship trauma. However for abuse victims, we often struggle for months, years even a lifetime trying to gain some form of normality and traction in our healing after exiting from a family or a relationship where our most basic needs were overlooked, denied or ignored.

Many of us come away stuck in a state of survival with acute symptoms of complex trauma in the aftermath, and though we are experiencing these symptoms life does not stop. We have bills to pay, and children to feed and so we must find ways we are able to support ourselves in showing up to function in life, in our jobs and in our roles as parents and as caregivers.

I understand firsthand how trauma symptoms can interrupt our most basic daily tasks and that is why I initially created a list of reminders for myself. These simple yet effective tools continue to assist me to not only cope, but with the fine art of balancing life through all its ups and downs. Giving me practical everyday tools to deal with the inevitable emotions and feelings that may arise, while keeping me feeling safe grounded focused and supported. Assisting me as I navigate my way through healing, helping myself to cultivate a calmer happier mental state of being moment to moment and day by day.

These tips are a guide only to get you started, please feel free to adjust them to your specific and or personal needs or requirements. The aim is to bring simplicity and ease into your everyday, through listening to the cues of your body. When we learn to listen to how we are feeling in any given moment we are learning to honour ourselves through gentle focused attention. With this attention and through the completion of what may seem like menial tasks we are in fact taking actionable steps of self-kindness.


Take Time to Tend to Your Basic Needs

The Simple Things

Some of the most important steps of self-care are the simplest of all. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life that we can forget to take care of our most basic needs. This first step has become a foundation of what my day is built on and will set you up for the day.

Eat a healthy breakfast, see to it you eat something, preferably something of sustainable sustenance to get you through the first part of your day. When we come away from living in a toxic relationship our nervous system is on high alert. While our nervous system remains like this it continues to flood toxic chemicals back into our bloodstream. These chemicals can then contribute to illness and disease in the body. One of the ways we can start to reverse these affects is through our food. I will be expanding on this is weeks to come but for now let’s start with eating a nutritious breakfast and try reading up on healthy ways to reduce stress on the body through your food. There are so many things we can do.

While eating a healthy breakfast should be at the top of our list, being ‘hangry’ can also distract us from staying focused and on task, wasting time and making our day less productive. Something simple but effective that has helped me to have less distractions, is having a snack along with a bottle of water close by at all times. This will help to keep your blood sugar levels up, while also aiding to keep yourself hydrated.

Staying hydrated is essential for the body and is imperative for us to heal. Dehydration can have major impacts on the body, for one it can cause our brain to shrink, literally making it harder for us to think and to recall information. When we are managing complex trauma there are already significant stresses placed on the body, so by including these things in your day, you are already alleviating some of the ‘controllable’ stresses, while also seeing to some of your most basic needs.


Check In With Yourself

It is important to check in with ourselves throughout the day. Take the time to check in with how you are feeling physically emotionally, and mentally, repeat this process throughout the day. As we continue to check in we show up for ourselves in a new way. Repeating this begins to build a stronger connection and relationship with ourselves based on self-care and trust.

Self trust is almost non-existent after experiencing narcissistic abuse, so it is imperative for us to take the time to be with ourselves and to cultivate genuine feelings of self trust. This will also allow us to make better and more informed choices, in our own best interest.

Here are some suggested questions you may like to incorporate into your day to begin this process

How do I feel? Do I feel safe? How does my physical body feel? Am I holding tension anywhere in my body? Do I feel hot or cold? Notice if you are holding your breath or if your breathing is relaxed or shallow. What is my state of mind right now? Am I feeling open and optimistic or am I feeling nervous or withdrawn? Am I focused and attentive or am I distracted or scattered?


Meditation

Practice Makes Perfect

When we start practicing to check in with ourselves, it can feel very strange or maybe even overwhelming at first, especially in the beginning stages of recovery. What I have found to be useful in helping me with this process of ‘checking in’ is to include some form of meditation and journaling into my day to complement this process.

Meditation helps to quiet our mind giving us some much needed relief from the turbulent emotions we may be experiencing, even if they are only brief moments of peace. You don’t need to make this a long process just a few minutes once or twice a day is all we need to begin to calm the mind and to give our brain a rest from thought.

Meditation helps us to be more aware of our mental, physical and emotional states, bringing more awareness into everything we do. A higher level of personal awareness or consciousness sets us up to be better human beings and better parents. Meditation continues to be a key part of calming my nervous system and assisting my body to heal itself. There are many benefits of meditation, I hope these few inspire you to try it for yourself.


Get in Touch With How You feel

Tune Into Your Body

One tool that can help us get back in touch with our body is any form of grounding exercise. Grounding like meditation gets us out of our head giving us a break from the circular thoughts we so often experience and can get stuck in. Getting grounded puts us back in our physical body and is a great way to minimise any stress response symptoms we may be experiencing.

Getting in touch with how our body feels is an essential step in healing work. I am sure most of you are aware survivors can be prone to getting lost in dissociative states, these dissociative states or sometimes episodes can completely disconnect us from our body. When we are disconnected from our body we are unable to monitor our environment or emotions to keep ourselves safe. Feeling safe is the first step towards making tangible progress in our healing.

With the help of grounding the practice of feeling into our body and listening to our emotions then becomes easier. The skill of tuning into our emotions can assist us in making micro decisions towards safety, allowing us to then make necessary adjustments throughout our day to our environment, which enables us to meet our need to feel safe right there in that moment.

Learning who and what was safe was a crucial part of my healing. When we have unresolved childhood attachment trauma it can be especially difficult to know who is safe and who is not. Early childhood trauma bonds related to fear can cloud our judgement, often resulting in choosing unsafe partners.

What I found especially helpful through this process was to start to really listen to my body’s responses, tuning into who or what exasperated the stress response or feelings of fight flight freeze or fawn and then to do the same with who what where allowed me to feel safe. I found this to be especially helpful with weeding people out of my life, and also to show me where I had gaps in my boundaries.


Suggested Grounding Exercise

I Am Safe

Do a full body scan, you can do this simply by focusing all your attention towards your body. Close your eyes if you can, taking a few deep breaths and starting at your toes, slowly moving your focus up through your whole body. Once you have completed your body scan, ask yourself if you noticed any emotions feelings or sensations come up in your body?

For some of you this exercise may feel foreign or even silly to do at first, however I would encourage you to continue to try this exercise or to find new and different ways to connect yourself to your body. Some other great ways to do this is through exercise, gentle stretching or breath work. Anyone of these can be incorporated into your day or morning routine and doesn’t need to take longer than ten minutes.

It takes time to build these new habits, and new ways of living, and as you rebuild your life it may take a lot of effort in the beginning. However if you stick with it, these new practices will become second nature and with practice and repetition we begin to understand ourselves more and more. Gradually as we tune into the queues of our body, these emotional and physical indicators help us as we learn new ways to support ourselves each and everyday.

When we continue to get in touch with how we feel at any given moment this then acts as a very important tool, helping us to form and enforce healthy boundaries. Having healthy boundaries allows us to feel safe as we reestablish our sense of self after narcissistic abuse. Forming strong healthy boundaries is another way we can continue to support ourselves in keeping safe in our body, our mind, our emotions and in our environment.


Through practice and repetition of these behaviours we are better able to take care of some of our most basic needs and through doing so, it will allow us make better judgements regarding our safety and wellbeing. Feeling safe is built on micro steps of self-care and through nurturing of self trust. I believe each one of us has the capacity to take care of these needs for ourselves. We owe it to no one but ourselves to put in the effort. If you need some more support around any of what I have covered here today please reach out here on WordPress, Twitter or alternatively you can connect with me on Facebook.

Thank you all for the hard work you are doing, I see you, I appreciate you. With love and support. Evelyn xx

All words written by ~ Evelyn Wayde © 2020

How do we begin to accept our lives flashbacks and all After Narcissistic Abuse. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), as a Lived Experience.

It can be extremely difficult when our waking hours along with our resting hours are hijacked by flashbacks unnerving memories nightmares and seemingly endless thoughts of circulating abuse, it can feel like a slow death and like we have no control. The affects of trauma and the loss of control over our inner world can often feel like we are in a permanent state of disconnect from the exterior world around us and from ourselves.

For myself it’s felt much like being in a permanent dissociative state if you will, we are so disconnected from our bodies after the event or events it can be much like watching ourselves from the outside. We no longer feel like ourselves or who we used to be, yet we try desperately to cling to what we have known, and to what has made us feel safe in the past. While we try everything in our power to cling to the past for soothing and comfort the traumatised self searches for relief desperate to numb out or numb down the fear, the shame, the pain and the horror that keeps resurfacing over and over in our mind in a subconscious memory loop.

When we are stuck in this memory loop we can feel completely helpless as everything begins to happen around us with seemingly no means or way to control our thoughts or our emotions. In the beginning we are at the mercy of our thoughts, and our emotional states that we are faced with and coming at us throughout our day. This loss of control begins to wear us down often into a state of panic with an overwhelming amount of things coming at us from all directions inside and out.

This state can feel extremely uncomfortable and for me this was initially my normal while I began to blindly navigate my way through healing, combating and managing Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) symptoms while unraveling it’s long lasting affects.

For this piece I will now be referring to CPSTD as ‘Complex Trauma’ as this is what resonates with me.

In the initial stages of healing I didn’t have control over any of it, I was living completely at the mercy of my thoughts and my emotions. I was walking around in a constant state of fear and dread. I was also grieving the loss of my family, my friends, my support network, my partner, while also living a great distance from my son. I was completely devastated, and I wanted anything but this to be my new normal.

How was I going to live with this ‘disorder of the mind’? How was I going to function in the world? How was I going to support myself and hold down a full time job and how long was I going to have to struggle with these nightmares, cold sweats, racing heart and flashbacks?

My emotional state was fragile and tumultuous, I was scared, scared of what the future held and so scared of being judged by others. What if someone noticed there was something wrong with me? What if I cannot control myself? What if I burst into tears in front of everyone? What will people think? Would this affect the way people interact with me? Will people notice I am suffering with complex trauma? I was terrified, desperate for connection and desperate to be understood within the chaos of my mind.

I was so sad, yet I was completely angry, so angry I had to deal with this, angry at myself angry at my ex for his abuse. I was angry at my body and my brain for the reactions they were having post abuse. I was angry no one was here to help me, I was angry at a world that had little understanding or compassion for people who are experiencing the side effects of complex trauma.

When being sad and angry didn’t work, I broke down, I broke down but in breaking down I had a break through. I made a choice I would do whatever it took to overcome these symptoms I was experiencing on a daily basis and I made a commitment to myself and to my healing. A light of hope was cast that day and from there self care and self compassion became my mantras. A new perspective was born and I was open to learning new ways of being and of living.

I began to read articles and books on whatever information I could find on PTSD and complex trauma, I searched and watched YouTube videos on trauma, searching for answers on how I could be healed from this debilitating state of being. What I found was not complete healing, but ways in which to minimise the effects of complex trauma.

Everything about PTSD and Complex Trauma changes your life and because it changes your life, it is my belief we must learn to embrace the changes it brings. Some call this a form of radical acceptance. All I know is once I began to accepted what I was experiencing as my normal, slowly my normal began to become more manageable and more liveable. The less fixated I was on getting rid of my symptoms the easier life became. As I began to accept my thoughts my emotions my reactions, nightmares flashbacks and all, it was okay. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t life as I had known before but it was lighter, and it gave me room to breathe.

We may not have control over when we have flashbacks, but if we can take a step back acknowledge our emotions, flashbacks or state of overwhelm while they are happening, or on waking from a nightmare it gives us some time and permission for the unravelling to begin. We are ultimately then giving ourselves permission heal. We cannot expect our minds and bodies to be the same after trauma, but we can make it okay to unpack and process the inevitable impacts it will have on us.

When we fight against what ‘is’ it will only ever get louder stronger more disturbing and in our face. When we ‘remember to breathe’ through every panic attack, every trigger, every dissociation. When we ‘become more aware’ and conscious of these episodes and events we slowly begin to ‘build our resilience’ to them. Acceptance of what is occurring even though it is out of our control is key. The more we practice bring ourselves back into our bodies, and reassure ourselves we are safe the less severe our PTSD and complex trauma symptoms and reactions become. It takes practice, it takes time and it takes commitment and perseverance, but we are worth every effort.

Since the repercussions from the abuse became real, I have had no choice, but to take on a whole new way of being and living. I still have flashbacks most days, sometimes they might be visual, sometimes emotional, but the way in which they affect the rest of my day and the way in which I respond to them has shifted and now feel more manageable than ever before.

Counselling and trauma work with a professional psychologist or therapist were my first go to’s and is always recommend, however to complement this work I would highly recommend using some additional healing modalities to offer additional support outside of counselling and also to help speed up the process of getting our body out of the stress or trauma response. I have gained so much headway in my healing just from the combination of modalities.

Complementary healing modalities have always resonated with me and here are a few I continue to use to assist me on my healing journey.

  • Chiropractic Care – Helps to restore the nervous system, while placing the body back into a state of rest and digest, the opposite of fight, flight or freeze.
  • Reiki – Works to shift stuck or trapped energy in the body, which is ultimately what trauma is.
  • Kinesiology – Helps with processing difficult emotions and to restore equilibrium in the body. This is important especially after shock from a traumatic experience. Kinesiology can also help in rewiring the brains blueprint, which is important for us to do after years of abuse and trauma.

What has also been especially helpful with my self healing work is to have a daily routine. Adding simplicity and predicability to my life especially after coming away from narcissistic abuse has been a godsend. Being in contact or living with a narcissist or psychopath can be highly unpredictable and unsettling. Our bodies have been trained to be in a constant state of fight flight freeze or trauma response. It is up to us to take our lives back and to take control over what we can and to accept what we cannot. I hope by practicing or bringing any of these things into your life they will slowly offer you some relief.

Remember it takes time to build new habits, but once they become part of your everyday you can then start to add and integrate more and more new things into your life that may have major impacts on improving your everyday experience and existence.

Much love to all 💛

All Words Written by Evelyn Wayde © 2020