Shock, Trauma, and the Awesome Feeling of Acceptance

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Straight from the mouth of my favorite website, biddytarot.com, “The Ten of Swords reversed indicates a painful ending which must occur for there to be growth and regeneration.” As you can tell from the bulk of my content, this is a very relatable concept for me.

However, even with growth and regeneration, there is some trauma left behind from the painful ending. While that is normal, it indicates the need to heal.

For example, the other day I ran into my ex on the street. Yup, the one I always write about. After making a pact with myself to stop obsessing over his social media, I thought about him less and less until I kind of forgot how close he lived to me. It seemed like he fell off the face of the earth. Well my earth.

Anyways, it was a completely unavoidable collision at this point. Our relationship, while tumultuous, ended even more dramatically, and in all fairness my participation was, at times, just as dirty as his. So we DO NOT TALK. And seeing him a hundred feet in front of me with no where to go was like seeing the accident happening before your eyes and just preparing for the crash.

I quickly diverged. Eyes on my phone, frantically trying to keep cool and like I didn’t even notice him. But the physiological response of a pounding heart and racing thoughts looked like anything but cool from the outside. I tripped over my bags and held my breath, and once we passed each other I high-tailed it, praying that I could keep my head from looking back.

So now I’m like, why the hell was that so difficult? Shouldn’t I be over it by now? I got out, I’m free, my life is big and beautiful now, why am I freaking out???

Well, it’s because of the associated trauma. My mother, in all of her wise motherly ways, told me that I should be happy because he lost out and messed up and I’ve moved on in a healthy way. That I shouldn’t get hung up because I won. And although that is true, pain is energy, and that really never dies. It just depends on how you transfer it; and that depends on if you even know it’s there.

Right before he and I got together, I was sexually assaulted by a stranger. I had to go to the police, the whole shebang. It was completely and utterly traumatizing, and instead of reaching for help, I got black out drunk.

Then I met him. And on our first date, I blacked out as a result of my pattern of behavior, and basically drank my way through our relationship too. I hid an original trauma in drinking and codependency, and then gained new trauma from being totally emotionally robbed by someone I thought I loved.

I never healed in the first place, so I had compounding traumas being tamped down by alcohol. What a damn party.

So this small instance of basically a millisecond of walking past my ex stirred up years of trauma and pressed my anxiety button. The fact that I couldn’t breathe and could barely put one foot in front of the other was a sign of my scars.

My point is, I guess, that emotional wounds are like physical ones. The deeper they are, the longer it takes to heal, and the more likely it will leave a scar. And you have to be OK with the fact that you have a story. My gut instinct was to beat myself up and say “Why did you react that way?? Aren’t you over it??” But in reality, even if I am, it is still not fun to be reminded of trauma’s past. This is why your tribe is so important. My mother, my sister, and my friends got me to a point of exploration and curiosity, and then a step further to acceptance. And you’re always going to need that human connection in your life to help make sense of it all. Keep your coven close, be kind to your scars, and stay witchy ( *)

 

Teaching Others How To Treat You (Personal Responsibility)

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All too often we find ourselves being treated the same way by different people and we’re left scratching our heads as to why this keeps happening to us. Well, as the Justice card implies cause and effect and accountability, it shows us that we need to take responsibility for how we TEACH others to treat us.

Well what the hell does that mean? This is the question I asked myself in the beginning of my recovery. Because I had no idea what that looked like and that I just found out it existed, I time and time again found myself in unhealthy relationships. Which brings me to the cyclical nature of boundaries and values. If you can not name your core values, you can not have clear boundaries. If you do not have clear boundaries, people will go too far with you because you haven’t created a mental sanctuary of protection. And when you get hurt because of that, you lose further site of your values. This is why boundaries are so important.

I talk about this subject at length because not so long ago I had no boundaries and my life was pretty fucked up. But when I got the help and did the work, my boundaries started coming out of the ground, and my relationships of all kinds were strengthened. If you are like I was and have no idea what this looks like, let me offer up some clear cut instructions:

Step one: find a list of core values online. Write down the ones that stick out to you on a piece of paper and keep whittling that list down until you get to about 10 core values. This seems like an extremely daunting task because all of these values are super great, but this is a personalized list to find out what means the most to YOU. You’re looking for priorities, not abundance.

Step two: cut that damn list in half. Again, we’re looking for values with utmost priority in your life. This is tough, but use your intuition. Your gut will lead you to what is important.

Step three: look at the complete opposite of your value (aka your threat.) See what will come in opposition of your value and make a pact with yourself to not allow it in your life. This takes practice but this is how you create a solid and valuable life. You don’t deserve to tolerate someone or something that completely bowls over your values.

Step four: realize that you just created a boundary. Yup folks, that’s right. The ability to protect your value is the creation of a boundary. So congratulations!

Let me give you an example of what that looks like.

My top five values are authenticity, balance, courage, friendships, and self respect. From the balance area, I’ve created a boundary in which I will not over exert myself by working over 40 hours a week. I need my me time and so I have created a situation in which I am respected by my employer. If I feel like I can’t be myself around someone (authenticity,) I choose to not be around that person when I have the choice. And most importantly, if someone does not respect me, I stand up for myself because I do not deserve ill treatment. This includes shutting down my inner critic. All of these acts take courage, and a strong tribe to support you.

Through all of these examples I’ve tried to paint the picture of exactly what the boundaries/ values relationship looks like because I sure as hell had no clue when I first started my recovery. I am a visual learner, and having been stuck in a black hole of depression and martyrdom, I couldn’t see outside of myself far enough to know what a healthy relationship looked like. So don’t wait around for change. Grab a pen and get proactive. There are plenty of lists online so you don’t have to think up a value out of thin air. Get some values, create some boundaries, and stay witchy ( *)