Repost…a healthy reminder

Digging through my blog and found this old post from 2 years ago….always good to remind myself of these things I’ve re-learned.

In my quest to find my lost self, I am re-learning my basic personal rights as an individual. In the past I took it for granted that people would just respect my rights and personal boundaries. Not so, and it didn’t take very long for me to forget what those rights were, nor did it take long for my personal boundaries to become blurred, blended in with those of another. So much that, in regards to that other person, I did not see myself as me. I was an extension of that person, merely a tool that they could use. And yes, I did take on the habits and traits of that person, yes, after awhile, I began to reciprocate the violations of personal boundaries and rights of my significant other. I am ashamed to say, but, it is what it is and I recognize it, and I know in my heart that I will never again repeat that situation.
I’ve been attending a Women’s Group for a couple of months now and I gotta say, I’ve gotten a lot out of it. Mostly what happens there for me is the “light-bulb moment”, where I realize, everything I am learning there, I already knew. It’s just a matter of re-parenting myself.
So that I do not forget what my Assertive Rights are, I am going to post them here:

My Assertive Rights

I have the right to decide for myself what I will and will not do.
I have the right to judge my own actions, thoughts and emotions
I have the right not to offer justifications for my actions
I have the right to turn down requests without feeling guilty
I have the right to change my mind.
I have the right to make mistakes.
I have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
I have the right to be alone, even if others would prefer my company.
I have the right to say “I don’t know”
I have the right to say “I don’t understand”.
I have the right not to care.
I have the right to my own opinions and convictions, even though others don’t share them.
I have the right to protest unfair treatment or criticism.
I have the right to ask for help or emotional support.
I have the right to ignore the advice of others.
I have the right not to take responsibility for someone else’s problem.
I have the right to be listened to and taken seriously.

I know that these all sound so simple and they are, but, it is amazing how quickly one can lose oneself when these basic rights are consistently violated under the guise of genuinely caring and “just looking out for you” or “I’m doing this for your own good” and “I am worried about you”. You start to accept the violations of your basic personal rights, because you are led to believe and convinced that the violator is only acting out of love for you.

The leader of my women’s group asked us a very important question the other day. She asked us to write down what beliefs, values, and thoughts somebody told us about ourselves that we had internalized negatively. This is what I shared:

In the beginning of my unhealthy relationship, I remember being told one night that I was too fat, if I would just lose 10 lbs, I would be nearly perfect. If I would change my hair style to the way he wanted it, as opposed to what I preferred, then I would be perfect. I lost weight. I grew my hair out. Then, I was told that I was too skinny. Various things that I did or did not do were met with comments such as “are you f*cking retarded or something?” or “f*ck, you’re stupid”. When I went out with my girlfriends, I was berated for it because “only sluts go to the bar”, “the only reason to go out is to get laid”, when I kept going out, I was accused of infidelity and lying. When I protested being falsely and wrongly accused, the accusations grew more aggressive and the more I protested and fought back the worse it became. The unhappier I grew, the criticism and accusations grew with it. I began to believe that I was stupid, retarded, unworthy of trust, unworthy of being loved. I was selfish for wanting to be treated kindly and fairly, I only thought of myself and my pain that these accusations and criticisms caused me. When I began to suspect that his accusations were a projection of his own actions, I found proof, time and time again, that they most definitely were a projection of his own secret conversations and meetings with other women, he convinced me that I was crazy. Paranoid. I was told to “stop playing CSI” Near the end, I did doubt my own sanity and I knew that I must be ugly, stupid, unlovable, unworthy of his trust, unworthy of his time and I knew I was as selfish as he said I was. Because if I wasn’t all those things, why would somebody who professed to love me tell me that I was? And I so desperately wanted our happy times back I had to believe those things were true and work to fix those things about myself so that he would love me again.

I took all those things from my 5 years with him and I let it define my being. I lost my self and didn’t even really like myself anymore. Now, I can sit here and berate myself and lament at how awful he was to me and have a little “man hating party”, but, that doesn’t do me any good at all. I know now, that even though he did say and do all these things to me, I allowed him to do it. I am not saying that it is my own fault, because it isn’t. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. But, what I should have done at the first sign of abuse, was walk away. I did not stay true to myself for those five years, so how could, or why would anybody else be true to me?

After I shared all these things that I felt I had become, the group leader, then asked us to write down what we like and know to be true about ourselves. This is my self affirmation:

I am smart. I can fix nearly anything electronic. I am well spoken, I am a very good (and published) author. I am caring, loving, generous and compassionate. I keep my word. I am not ugly, I am beautiful and comfortable with my body. My intuition is very acute and I am adept at reading another’s body language, I know when I am being lied to. I am sane.

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