I was a people pleaser in sacrifice of myself for most of my life. I believed it was my top priority to make everyone around me comfortable—even when I was uncomfortable. Being sure that everyone else felt happy and content ensured my safety (in my mind). Today, I am the unwavering protector of my own well-being. My boundaries protect me from souls who intend to use or abuse me. I no longer tolerate shame, blame or devaluation—if it’s not a conversation it’s not for me.
Having people in my life today who value me and communicate with me has helped me build healthier boundaries. During my last therapy session I had a realization about my current relationship: I don’t have to pretend, ever. I sing and dance and act silly without ridicule, I can cry or be angry and I’ll be heard and held until I’m calm again. He endorses me building and practicing personal boundaries with him and others (and he always respects my boundaries). It feels very unfamiliar, a little awkward and even uncomfortable to me sometimes. We practice clear communication with each other and it’s amazing to me how much compassionate conversation can solve.
In past relationships I would make excuses for being mistreated. I would explain away any careless behavior to not address that the behavior was careless. In abusive environments the abused who fawn in response to trauma learn to do everything in their power to keep their ‘handler’ happy (to not be abused even more). It’s a very real means of survival to people please a person who becomes aggressive or cruel when they’re not happy. Know that abuse is not exclusive to physical assault—for any readers who are not aware that emotional and psychological abuse is abuse.
At this stage of my life I have a mix bag of anxieties, including social anxiety, and my fella will invite me to socialize with him then analyze the evening with me after. Sometimes I choose not to go and he always assures me that’s ok too. I am not pressured or manipulated to comply. When I do go, he asks me how I felt, what was good, what was bad. Since we’ve met he’s been studying me, doing his best to figure out how he can help me feel more comfortable. I am filled to the brim with gratitude for the care and compassion he shows me daily.
When we first met and he talked to me about being comfortable, my trauma brain questioned his motives. After being in relationships where my value was dependent on my obedience or my compliance to the ideals of my handler, I suspected his want for my comfort had some nefarious foreshadow. I couldn’t understand why this person I was getting to know would want me to be comfortable. Was he trying to convince me to put my guard down for him to hurt me? Now I know (after collecting ample evidences) he wants to love me, fully.
I have had a lot of survival traits to unlearn, my survival mode began at age 6 and I’m still working on acceptance and healing trauma wounds three decades later. I got serious about healthier choices and boundary building in 2018, determined to be better. Having a partner (who may not understand many of my struggles) that chooses to stand beside me each day is an incredible fortune in my life. I have healed by leaps and bounds having someone I can lean on and be myself without concern. If you are seeking your betterment too, my biggest advice: Go where the love is.
Be well, sweet souls. 💛
If you identify with the neurodivergent community, would appreciate an adult space with a focus on support and betterment, I’d like to invite you to check out my discord server! Where shame, blame and devaluation are discouraged while compassion and personal growth are encouraged. The server is designated mature (18+) and minors are promptly removed. Multiple categories allow Members to decide what sort of content they’d like to see from the server using selections in the #about-you channel after joining. You’re invited!