According to an article from the School of Life about overcoming anxiety and traumas, I need to spend more time thinking about the specific event that once traumatised me. Directing my mind back to the past, and revisit certain damaging scenes with compassion and in kindly company. I'll scrap the 'company' part, because I am home alone at the moment.
"A consequence of not knowing the details of what once scared us is a fear of everything into endless future."
In order to cope, I need to figure out what kind of trauma it was, what it did to me and how it made me feel for it to stop haunting me everywhere for all time. I also have to think about what will, and what might, happen in the future.
"Only with a lot of time, luck, self-reflection and perhaps and odd breakdown do I come to a position where I start to notice the way I think is not necessarily the way it actually is."
"Overcoming trauma is the work of years - but the beginning of the end starts with a very small step: coming to realise that we might actually be traumatised and that the world may not be the dark, overwhelming and dread-filled place we had always assumed it to be."
Let's give it a shot.
The kind of trauma I experienced is mainly an emotional trauma. It made me feel small, patronised and worthless. But above all, it made me feel used. My relationship with my ex was extremely toxic, almost on a neurological level. Nothing remained of my former self. At first I didn't notice, but every day more damage was done until I reached my breaking point.
I felt used. Whatever I did was never enough, even when at some point I completely ignored myself to take care of her and my family. I accuse her of using me to be able to start a life in a different country. I accuse her of thinking that keeping the child was her way of making sure I wasn't going to run away once I noticed what I'd become. I accuse her of hiding her true, borderline personality until my point of (almost) no return. I started to think everything about her was fake from the very beginning. All her sob-stories, history and feelings.
That reminds me to add one more thing to the list of how it made me feel. It made, actually still makes, me feel ashamed.
Ashamed about the fact that I ignored certain red flags.
Ashamed that I let it come this far.
Ashamed that I let myself be used to that degree.
Maybe shame is the most important feeling of this list.
"You must let go of your feelings of shame, for your anger to go away. Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source. True humility is the only antidote to shame."
A wise old man once said.
Unfortunately I cannot tell what is anger or what is fear. What do I do to make my fear go away as well? Let's continue with the instructions of the School of Life.
I completely forgot to mention what it did to me first. As you might've guessed. It made me a scarred, and scared human being. Everything related to the demon of my past (literally) frightens me to death. Where the fear comes from, I do not know. No longer will she be able to hurt or control me the way she used to. I might be scared of the fact that she might try. I need to find a way to not let things affect me as much as they do now.
With that, I've reached the last suggestion of the article. Which part of the future scares me? What might happen, and why does that frighten me?
There are several thing. I'm afraid that my ex-partner will manipulate our child, or worse. I'm also afraid that she will keep trying everything to affect me in any way. Maybe I won't be able to put things in the right perspective. I'm afraid that subconsciously she still has some influence on my personality. I am almost certain she will try to use our child for that sole purpose.
I do realise there are solutions to everything. As I avoid every way of contact, there are things I can do to take that power away from her. But it's a great sacrifice, and will come at a huge cost I am not yet willing to make. In the end, I'll have to choose for myself no matter what. Let's hope it will never come to that. What? No I am not talking about anything illegal.. though there's nothing illegal about fantasising. At least no one can take that away from me. Hmm.. I guess there's still some anger left in me. And in order to get rid of anger, I must let go of my feelings of shame. A topic for my next project.
Now that I've reached the end of this analysis, I need to figure out my next step. According to the article, I need to realise the world is not such a dark place. Where the hell do I start? Yes, there are solutions to everything. And yes, I am extremely happy with the relationship I am currently in, all the help I am getting and the changes that await me. Getting rescued while drowning allows me to start over. But I barely made it out alive. A new life, a new beginning. Only thing left to do is to get rid of the feelings of fear.