Over the course of several sessions, my counselor asked me to think about the way I saw myself. At the beginning, I had a tendency to focus more on the actions of my abuser (and how I reacted). My counselor was patient for a while because he understood my need to get rid of all the negativity. After a while, he began to gently remind me that I was there to deal with MY issues.
The reason I found it so difficult to define myself was because I wrongly substituted my sense of self with what my abuser believed about me. His view of me had become MY view of me, through the power of his unrelenting voice inside of my head. It was as though I had an invisible tape recorder that would rewind and replay everything he had in his arsenal of abuse, even when he wasn’t around.
In order to silence his voice, I had to consider what I knew to be true about who I really am and dismiss everything else. With my counselor’s help, I concluded the following: 1. He did not truly listen to me when I spoke; 2. If he didn’t listen to me, he didn’t really hear me; 3. If he didn’t really hear me, he didn’t really know me; 4. If he didn’t really know me, how could he accurately define me? Therefore, his credibility was zero. An even bigger realization ~ the only one who had the knowledge and right to define me was me.
I believe it’s beneficial to create a list of qualities beginning with “I am…” followed by positive, truthful personal statements. I know how difficult it is to quiet the critical voice because I still have trouble, even now. I think it never completely goes away but recognizing it allows me the opportunity to challenge and dismiss it.
Which qualities would be on your list?