Posts Tagged Rape

The World Has to Change

About a month ago I was running. It was dark out. I saw this kid/young teenager acting strange on the trail. I decided to slow down and wait to see what he was up to. He turned off the trail onto a street. So I started running again. Next thing I know, he jumps over a fence at me past this building. I took off running as fast as I possibly could until I caught up to three people walking on the trail in front of me. This isn’t the first time I’ve had someone try to jump me running in my lifetime. It scared me, but I brushed it off.

Tonight I was loading groceries in my car when a man in the parking lot came up behind me. I just loading the last bag and turn and see him with a knife and he asked for money. Fight or flight. I just said, “No” real firmly and quickly got in my car and took off. I saw him return to another car in the parking lot out of the corner of my eye. Driving home, I broke down in tears. The night before I had more nightmares about someone trying to break into my home – it’s a re-occuring nightmare. I must have these kinds of nightmares and nightmares of someone trying to rape me every week. You would think by now they would stop. And then things like this happen and it reminds me why they don’t stop. The world is still an evil place and cannot be trusted. I got home in tears and my boyfriend immediately came to see what was wrong. I should have called the police. He says maybe he should go with me from now on.

I text my brother, and he says I should get a flashlight as bright as a football field to fend off attackers and “The world is full of people looking to take advantage of those who they think are weak. You were raised in one of the worst cities in the country. Next time you run into one of these assholes let them know.” Why should I have to fend off these people? Why should women have to feel afraid? Why can’t the world be a better place? I don’t want my children to have to deal with this. The world has to change. I have to help make this world a better place. This is not acceptable. I should not have to be afraid every day, every time I turn a corner, every time I come and go from my home, every time I go to sleep at night and check that my door is locked over and over, every time I walk down the street or to work, or on the bus, or anywhere. This has got to stop.

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Reflection: Steubenville Rape

I was a rape victim. I was raped by a person I thought was my best friend since high school when I was in college. When I went to the school clinic for help, the way they treated me was as if I was the problem, as if I asked for this, as if I made him do it, like it was my fault and I was so terrible. When I told my ex-husband about the rape, he insisted it wasn’t rape, it was regretful sex. It was rape. Years later I received an email from my rapist apologizing for what he did to me. He realized how very wrong what he did was. He had to live with it for many years and though I really never wanted to hear from him again, he had to say something to make him feel better.

This is probably the first time I am expressing any kind of impartial opinion on here. And possibly the last time. All of the stories about the Steubenville rape have been disturbing me today. It is interesting that I have a deep compassionate feeling for both sides. People have been complaining about the sympathy for the two boys, but there has also not been sympathy for the rape victim involved and another article surfaced the victim being attacked once the boys were found guilty. I wonder to this day if my rapist still feels remorse for what he did or since his email has been able to go on with his life uninterrupted by it. I know I have not. And I’d like to think he has not either. And I can only hope as a result it had changed him to be a better person or at least stop him from doing this again. I will never get an apology for how the people at my school clinic treated me or for how my abusive ex-husband dismissed my rape. But, I can know that they were wrong and that I did nothing wrong to deserve what had happened to me.

I did not report my rape and I did not report my ex-husband’s extensive physical and mental abuse. I wonder to this day how things would have been if I had. I admire the courage people have to report these things and speak out against them. I am relieved that people are actually talking about it now rather than sweeping it under the rug even if I do not agree with everything they are saying. A couple weeks ago I started following Erin Merryn on twitter and her appearance on Katie Couric’s show and I am so impressed and proud of her for what she is doing to try to pass Erin’s law in every state in the US to help save children from child sexual abuse. I think it is time we talk about these issues and we stop belittling them and allowing them to happen. Rape, child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, it is all unacceptable and we can all do our part to stop them by saying they are not acceptable.

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Quest: B Causes C, Cognitive Restructuring

I’ve been quiet for a while now because I’ve been so busy reacting. Weeks ago I left off in therapy and in my last post, working on memory of the last (or first, however you want to look at it) trauma of the 3 traumas I experienced that I haven’t addressed. The past 6 months have flown by faster than I’d ever want my life to go. My memory problem keeps popping up. What was 6 months ago feels like yesterday and what was yesterday feels like days ago.

We remember that a major PTSD treatment goal is to integrate dissociated trauma material with associated memories so that the fabric of our memory becomes like one continuous memory. The problem is that traumatic memory doesn’t mesh with the way we want to look at the world. The dissociated memories often contain misinterpretations and inaccurate conclusions that were formed under great duress, while strong emotions and arousal continue to interfere with processing.” – Cognitive Restructuring Chapter, The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook

Every day I am making unproductive thoughts. I still stay “I’m sorry” too often. I still make decisions within split seconds in order to “protect” myself. The Chapter on Cognitive Restructing addresses a lot of the automatic thoughts and distortions that I am dealing with day in and day out.

A —-> B —–> C

A is the Activing (or upsetting) event. B is the Belief (or automatic thoughts) that we tell ourselves about A. C is the emotional and physical Consequences (or arousal).

I can think of several situations in the past few weeks where I have done these things.

  1. Flaw Fixation – Fixation on what went wrong
  2. Dismissing the Positive – Discount positive things, as if they don’t matter
  3. Assuming – Mind reading, jumping to conclusions, and fortune-telling (or what I call anticipating what will happen and trying to prevent a negative outcome except you have no control over the situation)
  4. Catastrophizing – making things much worse than they actually are
  5. All-or-None Thinking – or Black and White Thinking
  6. Shoulds (Should Haves) – “I should have done this better…” “I must be strong”
  7. Making feelings facts – I don’t know if I have this problem since I still have a hard time even expressing my feelings in the first place though I have really made an effort to
  8. Overgeneralizing – “Things always go wrong”
  9. Abusive Labeling – “I am the only moron who didn’t do this right” which I said tonight actually
  10. Personalizing – Seeing yourself as more responsible or involved in a given situation than you really are. I do this at work ALL the time.
  11. Blaming – I don’t do this one either and think I’ve talked about it in a previous post because I have a real pet peeve with people not taking responsibility for their own mistakes. I own up to my mistakes even when I am not really responsible (see Personalizing).
  12. Regrets – “If only I hadn’t…” In therapy I still catch myself doing this in regards to my marriage and divorce on why I didn’t know I was in an abusive relationship earlier and leave it much earlier, even before marriage.

So now that I torn myself down more, how do you fix this? Which I’m sure everything I’ve worked on is not to be thrown away. But, apparently I need a refresher course in this.

1. A Daily Thought Record

You know those “Things That Bother Me” posts and reflections I do? And the Babel-fish cartoons? Yes, those are good for this. But, I need to dive a little deeper. What are my thoughts? How much do I believe in them (rate them)? What have I distorted? Then be more self-compassionate. What would you say to a friend if they had said or thought these things?

The next chapter is on Confiding Concealed Wounds, which talks a great deal about Trauma and Avoidance, something I have discussed a lot. “People might find ways to avoid the topic by staying occupied with trivial distractions such as work, cleaning, or exercise.” I know I can be guilty especially of the exercise and talked a good amount about. But, this is for another day. Good night!

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Major Breakthrough: Understanding What It Is I’m Afraid Of

I wasn’t going to write about this because it is all too personal, but it is too important to pass up. Today in therapy, I had a major breakthrough on understanding why I was so afraid of “being alone.” Yesterday I was talking to someone about all the things I have planned and the time I’ve spent with my friends and they said to me, “You’re afraid of being alone, aren’t you?” This stuck with me. I couldn’t quite agree that it was being afraid of being alone that causes me to keep so busy and to be very social. But, yes, I have been wondering for some time, why is it my whole life I always keep busy? If I am not doing something, I feel like it is a waste of time. My therapist kept asking questions to help me get at exactly what it all meant. He asked me to clarify what “waste of time” means to me. I could clearly identify, to me, it means not enjoying life and not doing something that matters to me or applies to my goals.

He asked how does it make you feel if you “waste time.” I said, “aggravated.” “Unhappy.” He asked me to think about the times when I felt the most despair and on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the most despair and 10 being the least, what it was. I could quickly identify 3 of the worst times in my life where I felt the most despair. And this should be no surprise.

1. When I realized my ex-husband was abusive, I felt like I could not do anything to get out of it, that I was fully responsible for putting myself in it, and that I had lost all of my personhood

2. When I was raped in college and I was told a) to shut up b) that I wasn’t really raped and c) to get over it by the people I cared most about in life. This too removed my own sense of self.

3. An incident with my caregiver growing up that also removed my sense of self and having needs and wants

All of these times I felt so much despair, what I categorized as a 1 (the worst) that I wanted to not be alive to just escape the pain of them.

I came to the understanding that I’m not afraid of being alone. I’m afraid of feeling so much despair that I keep busy to avoid that feeling. In these past two weeks I have found I am quite content being alone. I never get bored. I never hate being with myself. I actually love myself and have a lot of compassion for myself. But, now I fully understand what it is I’m afraid of. And thinking about it, is enough to make me cry. But, I also know I am incredible for getting through all that I have gotten through. I am a strong woman who has regained my personhood. I am me. And no one can ever take that away again. Ever.

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Quest: Broken Babelfish Cartoon

Quest: Broken Babelfish Cartoon

I had set this Quest a long while back, actually at the beginning of starting to play SuperBetter. It has now been 6 months that I’ve been playing SuperBetter and finally sat down and did this quest for a few scenarios in my life where I have been hypervigilant. It didn’t exactly come out like I envisioned it, but I did it! And it has helped me become more aware of situations where I am hypervigilant and misinterpret what people are saying and actually mean and have a much better understanding of why I do it, which I’ll talk about in a future post on Expectations and Hypervigilance.

Here was the original Mission / Quest:

Mission #3: Help Fix My Broken Babel fish – Every other week

This mission got turned down already! But, I think it would still be fun.

I have what I like to call a broken Babel fish. I hear people say something and think they mean something else, which is usually something negative. I almost see drawings being involved here with what was said, what was heard, what they really meant. Then I’d figure out why I thought they meant something negative and stop doing that. This is something we could do once a week or every other week.

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Quest: Challenge Guiding Fictions or “Supposed to” Beliefs

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Last week I had some not so great moments. I could tell my self-esteem was slipping. It was like I had an engine going down and I needed to do something about it fast before I crashed. I noticed my negative self-talk was back and running rampant. I pulled myself out of it by thinking about the positive things that were going on in my life and instead of getting caught up in my anxiety, looked outward and was caring towards others. I realized this could be a little dangerous because I have just been avoiding what I wanted to say. But, I admit I feel a zillion times better and things have been going a lot better. I reminded myself that if I exhibit confidence, that then it will seep out into my relationships and interactions with others too.

The other thing I did this week was finish the next chapter in the Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence workbook, “Supposed to” Beliefs That Lead Women to Stay or Go Back. After finishing the chapters on guilt, I was amazed how easy this went. There is no doubt in my mind that leaving my abusive relationship with my ex-husband was in my best interest and the best decision I have ever made. And there is no doubt in my mind that I never want to be in an abusive relationship again. 

This week “Guiding Fictions” or “Supposed to” beliefs were on my mind. In one of my conversation with my SuperBetter ally, we talked about beliefs that have been very deep rooted in myself. These beliefs may have caused me to make certain decisions along the way in my life that I would not have ordinarily made if I didn’t have them. Some of these beliefs I have become aware of, especially the 7 “Supposed to” beliefs they discuss in the workbook chapter.

Some of these beliefs I realized I developed as a way of coping with what was going on in my life. I don’t know how many of these beliefs I’ll be able to recognize and see how they’re impacting the way I interact with the world. But, at least I am now conscious of the basic symptoms of post traumatic stress that I can now stop and question and even change what I am doing and why I am doing it, which may be the beliefs behind them. I realize that this can take a lot of work and I’m willing to do it because I’m going to feel a lot better and push what I can accomplish in life beyond what I thought was possible.

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Quest: Guilt & Forgiveness

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I know this is another post on guilt, but I needed to continue to work through to end of this week. I asked Thomas Skinner, a US Army veteran who writes about his battle with PTSD on http://www.understandingPTSD.org, earlier this week, what things have worked for him to overcome guilt? He responded with:
“working on forgiveness, and living, thinking and talking in the present.”
I knew what he meant by living, thinking and talking in the present as I’ve worked on that a lot already in earlier Quests in SuperBetter, but I wasn’t sure what he meant by forgiveness…

Until later in therapy this week, I worked through that my guilt is very connected to the belief I built when I was a child that everyone should be forgiven no matter what. I developed this belief to help me cope with the way my caregiver treated me when I was a kid. And then when I met my ex-husband I applied it then to when he first showed signs of abuse, that he should be forgiven. “It’s ok. He’s just having a bad day and things are difficult and that’s how some people react to that.” The same idea could apply to myself. I never knew what I always did that was so bad it made my caregiver angry as a child and then again with my ex. So I needed to be forgiven for what I did that was wrong that made them so angry, which was nothing really or nothing in my control. I need to forgive myself. I need to let go and realize I can’t possibly be responsible for everyone. And I will make mistakes and it’s ok.

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Quests: Overcoming Guilt and Thinking Errors

I have a lot of ground to cover in this post. In my last post on Guilt, I had only gotten through the first 2 parts of the chapter “How to Get Rid of Your Guilt” in the workbook Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence. A few weeks later I have finally finished the 3rd and 4th parts and the Analyzing a Second Guilt Issue section of the chapter. I have still not gotten the results that the authors of the book expect, for me to feel “I was in no way responsible for causing what happened.” I still feel responsible for not recognizing earlier that I was in an abusive relationship and for never mentioning what was going on to anyone in my family or to a friend. So I need to walk through this again one by one and have some kind of conclusion I can live with on it. Here it goes.

Analyzing Guilt — Part 3: Analysis of How Responsible You Were for Staying

Who or What Contributed to My Staying?

  • 50% – My history of good times with my partner
  • 100% – My socialization or learning history that taught me to believe that marriage is forever
  • 100% – My socialization history that taught me “if you make your bed you have to lie in it”
  • 100% – My partner saying that I promised him that I would never leave him
  • 100% – Friends and relatives who encouraged me to stay
  • 70% – My socialization history that made me very prone to guilt, allowing others to influence me by making me feel guilty
  • 100% – My socialization history that taught me to believe that if the marriage doesn’t work, I failed.
  • 100% – My socialization history that taught me to believe that if someone apologizes to me, I am obligated to accept the apology and go back to the way things were – a fresh start, so to speak.
  • 100% – The abuse by my partner that resulted in my self-esteem going down so much I didn’t think I deserved better
  • 90% – My partner making me believe that I would never find another man who would accept me for who I am
  • 50% – My partner’s guilt trips that he would fall apart or commit suicide if I left him (I didn’t believe him, but still worried it may be true.)
  • 100% – My social isolation
  • 75% – My partner’s abuse of me that caused me to develop PTSD (I had experienced abuse and trauma before my relationship with this partner. It is not all caused by this experience of abuse.)
  • 60% – My PTSD, which impaired my ability to concentrate and make rational decisions
  • 85% – My partner’s threats that he would physically harm me if I left
  • 100% – My naivete or lack of knowledge about domestic violence (e.g. “I didn’t even know I was a battered woman”)
  • 50% – My socialization history that taught me to believe that all relationships are like mine
  • 100% – My socialization history that taught me to believe that if I get out of this relationship, the next one will not be any better — maybe even worse
  • 90% – My lack of knowledge about domestic violence resources, such as support groups or shelters
  • 70% – My socialization history that taught me to believe that the violence was my fault (e.g. My partner always said, “Why do you keep making me do this?”)
  • 100% – My trauma history that resulted in my self-esteem going so low
  • 100% – My socialization history that taught me to be so ashamed about the violence that I was ashamed to tell anyone
  • 75% – The continued physical and emotional abuse that taught or caused me to believe that it would be impossible to get out of the abusive relationship
  • 80% – My memory of how charming and wonderful my partner was at the beginning of our relationship
  • 70% – Drugs or alcohol that clouded my judgement and my ability to make logical decisions
  • 80% – My partner’s pressure on me to use drugs or alcohol
  • 100% – My partner’s repeated apologies and assurances that he would change
  • 100% – My dissociation or emotion-focused coping that prevented me from even thinking about how to get our of my relationship
  • 100% – My socialization history that taught me to believe that I had to keep my promises
  • 100% – The social stigma of being a divorcee

Reappraising My Degree of Responsibility

d. I was largely responsible for staying

Who or What Contributed to the Negative Outcomes of Staying?

  • 90% – My partner, who inflicted the abuse
  • 60% – Alcohol and/or drugs that increased the likelihood or severity of my partner’s violence
  • 30% – Overuse of alcohol and/or drugs that resulted in lowering my self-esteem

Reappraising My Degree of Responsibility

c. I was moderately responsible for the negative consequences associated with staying

Analyzing a Second Guilt Issue section

The following are the common issues of guilt I related to:

  • guilt about starting arguments or talking back
  • guilt about not doing more to stop or prevent the abuse
  • guilt about using alcohol or drugs
  • guilt about having an abortion
  • guilt about a rape or incidents of childhood sexual abuse
  • guilt about the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one (for example, guilt about not spending more time with someone prior to their death)

Initial AAGS for a Second Guilt Issue

Foreseeability and Preventability Analysis

1. What is it that you should have known better?

  • That my ex-husband would be abusive from the first time he had done something to indicate he would be
  • That my relationship with my ex-husband strongly mirrored the one with someone growing up where I had to do everything I could to keep him happy so he would not hurt me

2. What are some of the negative outcomes that could have been prevented?

  • Continued abuse from my ex-husband. If I had said something to someone I could have left much sooner.

3. What is it that you should have done differently?

  • I should have talked about what was going on with my family or a friend

4. When did you first realize or learn that this was what you were supposed to do?

  • When I was so afraid of going home, I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to so I called a Domestic Violence hotline

Reappraising My Degree of Responsibility

b. I believe slightly that I should have known better

If you still answered anything but a. There is no possible way that I could have known better, there is a good chance you are still remembering some unforeseeable outcomes as foreseeable. What were some of the negative outcomes you could have prevented?

I feel like I could have prevented all of it.

Justification Analysis

1. What were your reasons for doing what you did?

I was afraid for my own safety, for my own life, but I still stayed because of the reasons answered in Part 3.

2. What alternative courses of action (if any) — did you contemplate or consider (but rule out) at that time?

a. say something to someone earlier

b. recognized early on that something was very wrong

3. Why did you reject or rule out each alternative course of action? In other words, what did you think would happen if you had taken each alternative path (knowing only what you knew back then)?

a. my ex-husband did not want me to say anything negative about him because my family already did not like him and he was my husband so I should fully support him

b. Because I felt everyone should be forgiven no matter what

4. Review your reasons for what you did and for each alternative course of action that you contemplated but rejected.

I didn’t have good reasons for not doing either.

How justified was what you did?

c. What I did was not justified in any way (very poor reasons)

Although I continue to think I am responsible for what happened to me, I understand that I could not have prevented or foreseen what did happen to me. I really wish I could help everyone who is going through abuse to get out sooner. It’s not worth it to stay. It really changes a person and it’s very hard to undo all of what you have learned when you are abused. I am still paying the price of it. And that goes onto something else I wanted to talk about again, nightmares. But, all I can do at this point is to show you some of the things I am doing to get better.

Earlier this week I had a nightmare that my ex-husband showed up at an arcade I was at with my brother. He got up next to me and waited for me to react to him being there. I felt so shaken up, I turned to walk out of there and he grabs me and shakes me and says, “You have no right to leave.” My brother went to stand up for me and my ex-husband hits him. I woke up and was so shaken up. My brother always stood up for me when I was a kid and was the rebellious one in the family. So it shook me up to see my ex-husband over power him. It shook me up to hear those words I heard so often. “You have no right.” I heard words like that growing up too because someone would have complete power over me. But, why wouldn’t I rebel and not put up with it like my brother? People have different temperaments and develop different ways of dealing with things. I shut down and develop an incorrect way of thinking. Now I am working on not doing that.

I notice though that these ways of thinking run very deep and are on complete auto-pilot. Someone asked me the other day why I never say hello to someone. I had quite a few reasons: 1) They never talked to me as if they were too above me to talk to me, 2) They never asked me why I left my last job, 3) And sometimes I just don’t see someone to say hello. I am passing judgements on people all the time for things that they cannot know without me saying something. I need to stop doing these types of things.

Anyway, I know I’ve turned this blog entry into a big tear myself down session, but I needed to work through it and recognize these things so I can get better. And hopefully sharing it with others who have survived domestic violence or are dealing with related guilt issues, it helps you too.

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Quest: Asking for Help & Breaking Free of Isolation

Last week I really tested out what I learned about Hypervigilance with a great group of people. Each time my mind started to wonder things like “What did they really mean by that?”, “Maybe they don’t like me,” and etc., I stopped and responded to myself with things like, “Let’s table that for later in case I still feel that way about it”, or “Do you really think that’s true?” Before I knew it, the hyper arousal turned itself off and I had a great time. People even commented on how much more involved I was with the group than last year. I got to know two amazing people on the trip a lot better now too and am looking forward to hanging out with them more over the next year.

When I got home though, something devastating happened. Instead of internalizing everything and isolating myself, I reached out to someone and I am really glad I did. Reaching out to one person triggered a chain reaction of reaching out to more people throughout the week. I made plans and spent time with people who I enjoy spending time with who gave me great support and who I wanted to get to know more. I even stopped someone in the hallway to talk about one of my most favorite hobbies, running, and made lunch plans for next week. It was a big difference from the rut I kind of got myself in since starting my life over a year ago. Every once in a while I make the effort to get myself out of it, but this time I felt like I had a major click go off in my head and I hope that this will be a permanent change. By Friday, I responded to a post about needing allies for coping with major life changes to not be so isolated.

Over the past year and a half I’ve dealt with major life changes and so are a few of my friends. A few of us have now gone through divorces, new relationships, moves and one of us have lost someone who was extremely close to them who they used to be a caregiver for. All of us have been dealing with these changes by asking friends for help, setting days and times aside to regularly spend time with friends and continually making plans with each other to do things, even if it’s a couple months in advance like running marathons together or going to a wine tasting or camping or renting a cabin for a weekend together to hang out and go skiing. These things and asking each other for help make us grow stronger and closer together. The key thing is anytime someone invites you to something try to arrange things so you can accept the invitation and open up to people and listen. Also don’t be afraid to call, email, text people to make plans for anything like coffee, a walk or just to say I saw this article you’d think was cool or etc. it’s funny! I’m just learning this stuff and am getting the hang of it. Once you start doing this more and more you get hooked on it. If you don’t already have people in your life, you can get some by making time to do activities you love or talking to someone in the grocery store or on your bus or who you work with who you think is neat.

I couldn’t believe I found myself giving this advice. I’ve know all along how to do this from watching other people, but what made it so hard? Why do people isolate themselves?

Looking into myself and my past, I realize I had been “shut down” or “numb”. I also had a large amount of social anxiety from past experiences. But, this devastating event pushed me to completely open up and need to reach out. I would like to really encourage others who are going through something similar to not be afraid and reach out to people. You might be told no or be ignored from time to time, but do not let that discourage you, and keep trying it. I think back to the day I left my abuser. I made one phone call to a domestic violence hotline and having that one person support me and help me through it made the world of a difference. Why wouldn’t I keep reaching out? The world is full of amazing people and some of them are really going to care, as you will for them too.

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Quest: More Tools to Bust Hypervigilance

In my last post on Hypervigilance, I talked about some tools to help you break it down, to question yourself, give yourself pep talks, witness your experience, and live in the now. I hope to do that this weekend to continue working on my current Epic Win to Bust Hypervigilance.

Some more of the SuperBetter Quests from the “Mind Master” Power Pack were quite fun to do in working to bust hypervigilance. A really good one was to write your “Side Kick”, which is that part of your brain doing that ultra-fast reactivity or working over time to over analyze everything, a Thank You note to tell it 10 reasons how it helps you both survive and enjoy life. Here’s my Thank You note to my Side Kick:

Dear Side Kick,

Thank you for helping me survive and enjoy life. There are a zillion things you do for me, but I want to thank you for the following 10 things today. Thank you for helping me:

1. Keep safe, by recognizing strange behavior and possible predators on the street
2. Do well at work
3. To understand what’s important to people
4. From saying things that I shouldn’t say
5. Make decisions about what I want
6. Identify my goals
7. Set boundaries that keep me comfortable
8. Identify what is normal and what’s not
9. Cope with things like nightmares or high stress
10. Be a great problem solver

Best Wishes,

Mia

Another thing I liked learning about this week from another SuperBetter Hero was to make a list of everything you like without any influence or thought of what someone else thinks of it. I think this is a good quest for Hypervigilance and Avoidance. One of the things I’ve been dealing with this past year is continually hearing when my abuser said things like “You shouldn’t like this. It sucks.” And then I felt like, I couldn’t like those things. Now I have no one to judge me for what I like and don’t like. I can like whatever I like and do whatever I please, whenever I want. So I’m going to give that a whirl.

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