When you’ve experienced betrayal trauma, you may feel like you don’t know who you are anymore.
For a while, you are living in survival mode. And it takes all your energy to make it through the day.
But as you slowly start to process all the things that you’ve been through, you may start to miss yourself, and the person you once were.
But how do you connect with your authentic self again?
Here are some ideas that might help with this:
1. Consider doing something new and different. For example, experiment a bit to see if you can match an external experience with an internal experience. Teenagers do this all the time when they do things like dye their hair turquoise, or create a band with their friends.
Doing something new and different also includes giving yourself permission to break free from old narratives (or lies?) about yourself, and distancing yourself from the opinions, beliefs and expectations of others.
You might also want to mull over questions like: Who is the real me? How can I best describe her? How do I want to be seen by others? What kinds of things do I really want to do/ achieve, and why?
2.You might find it useful to complete some personality inventories in order to get a better sense of your values, strengths and traits. Then ask yourself if the results resonate with the person you feel yourself to be. Maybe ask others (who know you well) for their opinion of the test results as well.
Make use of whatever helps you to understand yourself better; toss aside whatever doesn’t sit comfortably.
3. You could ask people you trust and know well to help you identify one strength or positive attribute they can see in you. This can be very powerful, especially when we find it hard to see anything good in ourselves.
4. It’s also important to cast your mind back to the time before the trauma occurred, and write down the answers to the following questions (if it feels safe for you to do so):
a) What was I like before the trauma occurred?
b) What did the trauma take from me? For example, my confidence, my sense of security, my ability to trust others, my ability to trust myself, my sense of safety, my peace of mind, my ability to love and accept myself and my body.
Don’t be surprised if you find this upsetting. You can put the activity aside for a while if necessary. Don’t push yourself too hard. You are working on the grieving process here, and that is a slow and painful process.
5. After looking back, look forward to the future. In light of what you’ve discovered so far, ask yourself the following questions:
a) What parts of my old self have I lost contact with?
b) What can I work on recapturing?
C) What would be the easiest thing to start with/ where would be the easiest place to begin?
d) What is one small step I can take to start to move in that direction?
You are now in the place where you can start creating a new you.
The you you want to be.
The you you can be.
Start working towards it.