If you had a lot of interpersonal trauma, abuse and neglect in your life, then you most likely grown up feeling unwanted & unlovable.
Bowlby (psychologist, psychiatrist
- Children who have nurturing caregivers, who make their child feel lovable, grow up feeling that most people or everyone likes them or finds something lovable about them.
- But if you’ve grown up in a toxic environment, where caregivers made you feel unwanted and unlovable, then you most likely grew up feeling unwanted and unlovable by EVERYONE. Not only that, but you also may have a lot of hate, blame, anger, disgust and shame toward yourself. You may feel unworthy and alien too (I always thought that I was not a real human…)
The combination of this makes it really difficult for us to feel wanted, lovable and connect with other people. So, what can we do about that?
A couple of decades ago (my early 20s 😊), I had an eye-opening experience. I was really horrible to a co-worker. That verbally horrible that he walked off the job for a few hours… but when he came back, he said one sentence to me that I still think of today. It changed or shaped everything thereafter. Yep, one of those wake-up calls.
He said: “If only you could like yourself a little bit better, then you could start liking other people too.”
Oh, that got me deep, because I wanted to be a caring and loving person towards others.
Clearly at that time of my life, I was not that person.
I had many discussions with professionals and all ended up with the same conclusion:
My self-hate and deep sense of being unwanted, limited my capacity to like and connect with other people.
How do you change that when you didn’t receive nurturing & caring support when you needed it most? At a time when you:
- were too young to soothe and comfort yourself…
- needed adults to demonstrate and teach you those skills…
- were dependent on adults…
Many of us were that severely affected that we developed complex PTSD, that is, the trauma affected the development and function of our brain.
Now in adulthood it’s just so difficult to switch from all this self-hate and constantly beating up on yourself to finding something likable about yourself.
It’s hard to accept yourself when you struggle to cope with the seemingly normal day to day stuff…
Key is to start in very small steps, for example, liking parts of yourself: your toe or a freckle, your smile, your eyes, your determination, your brave heart (remember you survived unspeakable crimes, neglect, manipulation, mind games…) whatever it is about you that you could possible like, practice liking that part 😊
To gently shift from self-hate to being a little bit more accepting of yourself.
Once we give ourselves permission to be self-compassionate despite our struggles and symptoms, everything will shift. I wish I didn’t delay this for decades. As all the self-hate just kept me stuck. I didn’t want to do the self-compassion thingy before I was *fixed*…
We don’t need to be fixed. We have wounds that need nurturing, so they can heal…
Here’s some EXERCISES I used and you may find helpful too:
Maybe you can start of by saying something nice to yourself while brushing your teeth or have a cup of coffee…
Or saying something nice to yourself while looking in the mirror is very powerful, especially when you can say it out loud. It’s OK to start with thinking about it – remember start with small steps – practice makes progress!
Instead of beating up on yourself place your hands on your heart and say it’s OK, I am OK, I am an OK person.
Have alarms or reminders on your phone go off throughout the day with messages like:
- I got this, I will get through this phase
- I am enough just as I am in this moment
- I am an OK person
- I am giving it my best (our best changes from day to day and that is totally normal 😊)
- I like the way I keep marching on and on
- I am resourceful
- I got within me what’s necessary to heal
- I am worthy of a better future
- I trust that a better future is possible for me
- I got a brave heart
It’s the small little exercises that help us heal our core sense of self. You were born worthy and lovable. The people in your life were just too toxic to see that.
Now that I can be more self-compassionate, I really noticed that:
- The way I can connect with other people has changed.
- The people I attract into my life are so different now
- The way I feel about myself and what I think is possible for me has change
- I have a sense of inner peace that I never thought would be possible for me
-> and that’s so my wish for you to get to experience all of this too and so much more…
There’s a correlation with how we treat our self and the way we allow others to treat us.
> The more self-hate with have, to more we beat up on ourselves to more we put up with toxic and abusive behaviour directed at us from others. Stuff most people wouldn’t put up with!!
> The more self-compassion and acceptance we have, the more we will attract people who are nurturing, caring, loving and kind into our life.
People who have your best interest at heart, are the people we can begin to let our guard down with little by little. Over time we will feel a sense of connection, acceptance and belonging.
And we can start to feel lovable and worthy and good enough just as we are.
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