You could ask me at any given moment what empowers me internally, and likely my immediate answer would be “knowledge”- followed closely by love, acceptance, family, trust.
Knowledge = power.
Knowledge is having answers to dilemmas that are harmful to you. Knowledge is protection- not knowing is frightening.
A person with PTSD feels powerless, unprotected and overwhelmed. The more power we can gather into ourselves, the more balanced we feel. And so for many of us, we spiral into a vicious cycle of THE QUEST TO KNOW- what happened to us, why it happened, how to protect ourselves from it happening again.
If we are stuck in yesterday as opposed to living in the Now, we will look at everyone and everything as a threat- maybe not now, but maybe tomorrow you could inflict harm upon us- hey, we never know, do we- and therefore, we need to know.
I sometimes visualize people like me dressed as slightly-bizzarish Einsteins, muttering to ourselves in our white smocks as we scribble mindless, endless equations that make no sense to anyone but us.
Geniuses win Pulitzers and are applauded for their quest to make sense of the seemingly insensible.
Survivors of DV and RR-PTSD do not win any awards, and this quest- this need to know everything- sometimes costs us dearly. We’ve created so much emotional distance that the applause is not there.
I might get a cosmic frown for using this word-
PARANOIA but honestly yes, most PTSD sufferers at some point feel so distrustful of everyone and everything that we feel as though we are losing our mind.
Because we learned through victimization and survival that in order to trust someone, we must be wary about who you are, what you do, if you are friend or foe..
we must have one eye on the exit while deciding whether you are safe..
We are likely psychologically picking you apart to find out if you may harm us..
If we happen to live with you? Naturally, you’re screwed. You are likely guilty until proven innocent.
Heaven help you if you’re a human being.. because humans make mistakes…
Unless you’re made of gears and wires- you are guaranteed to find yourself under a PTSD microscope the moment we feel unsure- which is DAY ONE.
We can find absolutely barely nothing and turn it into a life or death scenario. We can imagine the worst things that could happen (and the mind is terribly suggestive- those very things we worry about may end up happening because that’s all we think about- and because TRAUMA HAS ALREADY HAPPENED TO US.)
It’s not that we are incapable of trusting others.. it’s more so that we are wired for survival. Those that we trusted, harmed & betrayed us- forming the survival aspect of PTSD- so trust (for us) is detrimental to survival.
Trust = hurt. It is a purely illogical learned response that sounds perfectly logical to us- and even harder to unlearn once we wake up one day and it sinks in just how little we trust anyone.
It’s around this time of our awakening, that we run to support groups- we start calling our friends again- we admit we need help- and we accept help.
Now, I have a question to ask.
You’ve read this entire post and now you’ve come to the end, and so there’s something here that you had to know- something, that you needed.
What empowers you internally at this point in your life?