I was. For years and years. Not only was I a victim of constant mental abuse, but I was also the perpetrator. I was a serious bully, and as Carol Look says, if I spoke to a child the way I do to myself I would be charged!
For years I’ve thought I was pretty damn good to myself. I ate very healthily, I didn’t dare drink much alcohol because who knows what that would do to my body, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t take drugs, and I made sure I exercised regularly. I was extremely disciplined in certain areas and had lists of internal rules that I HAD to stick to otherwise ‘watch out’! And boy oh boy if something wasn’t done up to the standards I had in mind, on would go the boxing gloves and there would be a barrage of internal abuse.
Sound hideous right? Well in truth it was. I was missing the point that I could be as strict and as ‘healthy’ as ever, but that if my relationship with myself was so unhealthy and mentally abusive, something was going to have to give. And give it did.
At 21 my body had had quite enough of all the mental abuse and decided it was time to stop – clearly I wasn’t listening to the messages. Enter a Crohn’s diagnosis following a physically and mentally harrowing few months. This prompted me to slowly begin learning new ways. Slowly being the operative word. I didn’t think I was such a slow learner but it turns out I am…and that’s OK ;).
11 years after being diagnosed with Crohn’s and managing my way through a number of flare ups over that time, I’m only now starting to get the hang of this ‘being nice to myself’ thing. Fancy that…at 32 beginning to learn to talk nicely to the person I live with 24/7 and who walks by my side through everything on this journey. Good grief…no wonder that inner me was begging for a divorce ;).
I’ve had an anal fistula for just under three years and I do believe that it has forced me onto the path of self-kindness and self-appreciation more firmly than anything else could have. In August last year I had my first tummy flare-up since my fistula developed 2 years before. I turned to all the things I normally turn to, but I also decided to book in an EFT session with my tutor, Deborah, in America and see what would come up (I do a lot of personal tapping, but I believe it can sometimes be more powerful with someone else, especially someone who doesn’t know you well). Anway, she was very straight up with me and when she heard what was going on inside my mind all day she told me that with 90% of my energy going on beating myself up there was definitely not enough energy left to run my digestive system…fair call! I sat with that and let it sink in.
A week later I saw Angela, my Chinese Energy healer in Auckland, and she pretty much told me the same thing. She said we could literally fire-fight – she would do the fire and cupping and acupuncture for me which would bring my internal chi back up, but if I didn’t address what was going on in my head then I would eventually sap away all that energy again. After my sessions with her my digestive system returned to normal and I thought I had it all sussed (bar the fistula business).
I took it on. Well I thought I had anyway, and I became a little kinder to myself. The moment a challenge arose, however, or if I was in more pain than normal…along would come the bully, boxing gloves back on: ‘you’re not doing enough’, ‘it’s not good enough’, ‘what have you done wrong this time’, ‘you’re not trying hard enough’, ‘it’s not going to work out’…on and on. It exhausts me just reading that!
Sure enough, in April this year, following a festival where I had a stall and my stress levels were a little raised, I had a flare up. First of all I was quite disappointed, because usually I go for years between flare ups. Secondly I wasn’t impressed because the pain levels in my bum sky rocketed, sleep plummets, I turn into a manic depressive monster and then I beat myself up a little more for not being able to fix it quickly enough or not being able to rise above it.
Before I saw Angela, to bring my chi back up, I decided it was time to commit to regular tapping and therapy that wasn’t self-administered or from my mum. So I booked in with Deborah – a 1 hour session every Tuesday for the next three weeks. That has moved mountains for me. In between I also had 4 sessions with Angela, but I have felt a tremendous shift in my self relationship. When I got back from my energy sessions my tummy was back to normal but dipping in and out of functioning well. Instead of freaking out and looking for the next person to give me drops or tinctures to stop it in its tracks I decided to start talking to my body…gently, kindly and softly. I did actually freak out, but more due to a lack in anyone within 100km who could ‘rescue’ me, I decided to try a little bit of self work. I thanked my body every time something went well (which was actually really often), and when things weren’t good I was compassionate and gentle with it.
Don’t get me wrong it was hard not to let fear get in the way, but I knew that wasn’t going to be helpful. I just knew that what my body needed was some serious loving. I also observed the foods I ate, and what felt best for my body – not what my mind and books/internet were saying I should eat. I returned to Donna Eden’s energy work and started working with my meridians and doing her 5 minute energy routine every morning. I talked to my food and water and I talked to my body when I ingested anything.
I felt a sudden gentleness with myself that I have never felt, and day by day my tummy improved to the point where it is functioning 100% perfectly again. I still have a fistula, and I have a niggling blocked lymph node under my left arm, but I am feeling the most peace I have felt in my body for years!