Unfortunately it can be very easy to take advantage of people who were traumatized as kids, and make them THINK that some uncomfortable or painful situation will lead to being loved.
I’m talking about certain New Age or personal development ideas out there that are totally common and widely believed, but that are… just not true.
For example, the idea that everything you experience, you created — unconsciously in your mind — so that you could learn from it. I know this is an idea held very innocently by many people who intend only to take responsibility for their thoughts, not to manipulate anyone.
But when someone has had their perception damaged, which is often the case with people with CPTSD, ideas like this can become a kind of magical thinking. This leaves the door wide open to those who push these ideas, so that they can take something from you — your money, or your hopes for a relationship with them — and then they totally let you down and tell you that YOU created the situation. They will insist you wanted it and they were just “helping” you. Have you ever had someone play that game with you? Ugh!
And maybe you went along with the magical thinking because thinking that you created some terrible situation is a little easier than facing that you’re actually being emotionally ripped off — and that the right thing to do is get out of there, because this person is a jerk who doesn’t care about you. And you’re both using magical thinking to keep YOU from seeing the obvious (which you don’t want to see because it scares you and makes you feel foolish). And that is that you’re actually alone — not loved, like you thought, but alone.
I want to show you how to protect your boundaries, as well as that hope and tenderness in you, because that is the very reason why someone is going to fall in love with you. Not because you’re so good at going along with bad situations, but because you are your real, worthy-of-respect self. And that you thrives in reality. That you recognizes dishonesty and instead craves truth, and hears that little voice inside when something doesn’t feel right. That you is fed by love and goodness, not unkindness, and definitely not some complicated spiritualized explanation of why it’s actually good for you to be used by someone.
So let’s talk about a few of these toxic ideas so you can watch out for them! You hear them all the time; they tend to sound profound, or like ancient wisdom, but also too good to be true, which they are!
The first is when people challenge the way you’re thinking, or the fact that you’re thinking by saying “Hey, you’re all up in your head” or “You need to be more your body,” or “You need to just breathe” or “You need to be in the moment,” or “You’re just being all left-brained about this.”
And I just want you to look at the pattern here — what these all are, is criticism of you. Someone who wants you to go along with something finds your need for clarity and logic difficult There’s this implication that you’re not evolved or free enough — like they are. Do you know this kind of interaction?
When you feel criticised, when you take that hit, for a moment you’re very tempted to override your own better judgment so that you can get this person’s approval. So there’s pressure to not be in your head — in other words, to abandon what is logical, like being careful with your money, or guarded with your sexuality.
It’s so basic but it’s so persuasive! And this is exactly how you can be talked out of your natural sense of self-determination, and into doing things you don’t want to do. You then may even feel shame about any reservations you had!
You don’t need to feel ashamed. What’s at work here is what I call CRAPFIT. That’s a word I made up for the way people who went through trauma as kids get way too good at fitting themselves to unacceptable people and situations — fitting themselves to crap (because that’s what we had to do back then, right?).
But now, Your crapfit reflex has you hiding the thoughts where you’re thinking “Ew, I don’t want to sleep with this person,” or “Yikes! I don’t think I should give them my credit card.” And the only thing that makes you override these feelings is a deepdown belief that you can’t trust your own judgment, that other people probably just know better.
Another New Age myth: “You’re right where you need to be.” Now, I know, I understand what the meaning behind this is supposed to be — life’s a journey, there’s suffering, we learn from it — all true. But insisting that we’re always where we need to be? First of all, it blows up when you try to apply it to an abused child, or someone spending the last 30 years of their life in front of a television. It’s just obviously not true. And I want to just want to tell you flat out — you have OFTEN been not at all where you need to be — when you were crying and no one came to help you as a child — that wasn’t where you needed to be. When you were mocked by your classmates, or crippled by your own triggers and unable to break out of isolation — you weren’t where you needed to be.
And in the same way, being in some so-called relationship where you don’t get to have expectations? You know what I’m going to say: It’s not where you need to be.
You weren’t made for that!
Suffering and pain are part of life and can’t be avoided entirely. And with a little grace we can endure hardship and loss and even grow through it, but please get over this idea that being demeaned would ever be sent to you for your own good.
You hear this one a lot around bad relationships. A really wonderful student of mine shared this thought the other day, where she described a past relationship as really good for her, but really hurtful. And I didn’t get it and asked her about it and she said she felt like maybe this man who treated her badly was sent by the universe so she could learn from the experience.
Mind you, I see the little tiny kernel of truth here — that sometimes we are so far off base that it’s only through a terrible experience that we will course-correct and get clear about what we want. And sure, that is true sometimes. But not time after time after time!
I can’t tell you how many times people I’ve coached people who were in some horrible situation — where they were hoping for love and what they got instead was to be cheated on, gaslit, left and more hurt than they were when they first met the person who treated them like that.
That’s not “learning,” and it’s not a “gift” from the Universe. It’s crapfit. It’s you trying to make sense of absolute crap, hiding from your own shame about it, not being straight with yourself.
And I’m telling you, if you’re willing to second guess yourself about bad treatment, people who treat you badly will have a funny way of showing up at your door.
IF what you want is a loving, committed relationship — or let’s be specific, a marriage, crapfit has no place in your life.
Relationships that leave you feeling ripped off and demoralized are not learning experiences, they’re crushing you. They’re sabotaging the happy openness that IS you, that IS the only thing about you that anyone is very going to fall in love with you… You being freely yourself.
If you’re not clear what constitutes a good person or a good relationship, that’s got to be your first order of business. Because your vagueness is where the bad people get in… like flies. Doors wide open, right?
You’ve got to get out of vagueness. You’ve got to be clear what your actual standards are. What kind of behaviors in other people need to be a red line?
One thing that used to be a problem for me is, I had a blind spot around people’s addictions, at first anyway. And twice I ended up in relationships with people who developed, or in one case already had, a serious addiction. And it was a nightmare. If you’ve taken my courses you’ve heard the story of how my life got dragged down by that and how I eventually got myself back. And one of the most important things I did, which happened not long before I met the man to whom I’m now married, was I made a decision that I would never again date someone with a drug or alcohol problem. And no judgment on those of you who are struggling with addictions now — I’m glad you’re here! This is a place of recovery and you’re in the right place. But I knew after I had been through with addicts and alcoholics in my family of origin and dating relationships — that for me, that was a red line. That’s not who I was going to date anymore.. And I wrote it down.
And I was almost afraid to do that, because of another New Age myth that had gotten into my head and had been preventing me from being clear like that. And it was “Be careful what you wish for.” I didn’t think I believed it but I had absorbed this idea that some people have that you can tell the universe what you want and you’ll get it.
BUT (as the myth goes) it’s a cruel and capricious universe — or God himself is just waiting for you to wish for one wrong thing. And then BAM! You wanted someone who was loyal? You got a STALKER! Or you wanted someone who liked adventure? Oh no! She ran off with a skydiving instructor!
And again, I get the point that sometimes we haven’t yet developed a clear picture of what we want. But God or the Universe is not just sitting there waiting to f*** with you and teach you a lesson about your little wishes. We are created for GOOD.
I knew when I hit bottom with the second drug addict boyfriend — he died actually. And I knew that I was not at all where I was meant to be. That if I was going to be in a relationship, it needed to support the good that was already in me, and support my potential, and that I would know if a man was the right one for me by the sign that he made my life better. And that worked two ways — he would know it was a good relationship because I made HIS life better. And eventually that’s what I found. I was never mistreated, never disrespected, never ashamed of being with him. And that’s what I’m meant for — to be loved and befriended.
And look at all that’s happened for me since my circumstances changed back then. I get to be here with you!
The universe is not a slot machine, and it’s not Amazon.com. You don’t place orders and then see if you got ripped off by a sneaky deity. What I’m teaching here is that, if trauma made you vulnerable and unsure of yourself, it’s time to become clearer and stronger so you can live your life in a good way, that leads to your own happiness, and the fulfillment of all you can be, all you can bring to this great big community of life.
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