123: Toxic Behavior in Survivors

It’s time to forgive yourself.

As survivors, a lot of the guilt and shame that we carry centers around the fact that we ourselves had a lot of toxic behavior.

Some of us, myself included, mirrored some of the narcissistic traits that we experienced.

This guilt weighs so heavy on us because we know what we went through and we don’t want to do that to people. Since the people who hurt us don’t feel guilt, we feel we need to carry the weight for both.

Here’s a question: if you witnessed a child being abused, and that child lashed out at school, would you blame the child? Would you scream and yell about how horrible they are?

Or would you look at them with compassion and understanding? Would you turn your attention to the person abusing the child and recognize that it’s not the child’s fault?

It’s time we took that and applied that same concept to ourselves.

I’m in no way excusing toxic and even sometimes abusive behavior.

What I AM saying is that the fact that we feel guilt shows that we aren’t like those who hurt us.

The fact that you’re reading this right now shows that you want to heal and change. You already know this behavior is unacceptable. This already puts you miles ahead.

I used to be an incredibly toxic person. I was mean, cruel, and manipulative. This was done in an attempt to control something. My life was so out of control and insane, I didn’t even have control over my own body. I felt that my life was in everyone else’s hands.

So I lashed out.

I took control in the way I knew how which was being manipulative and mean. I wanted to make other people hurt because I was hurting so badly.

It didn’t feel fair that they got to live a life of happiness while I was so miserable.

I’m not proud of it and it’s definitely hard to admit in such a public way. But I share this because I know I’m not the only one.

Sometimes, even now, I see shadows of my past, angry self begin to creep out of the corners of my life and it scares me.

The difference, however, between me and the people who hurt me is that I looked at my life and I recognize that hurt people hurt people. And if I want to stop hurting people, I need to change.

I took responsibility for my life and behavior. I found control not in hurting others but in taking my future back.

It’s time to stop beating yourself up for what your brain did when you were in survival mode.

When your brain is just trying to survive, it doesn’t juggle everything, or anything, well.

When your brain is healthy, it may be able to control 10 or more balls. But when it’s in survival mode, it can’t handle them all. So it drops some.

This is NOT excusing the actions of those who hurt you. Were they probably hurt at some point in their life? Yes. But they have to take action and decide to heal. They haven’t. You are.

A huge part of healing is taking responsibility for your life. Beating yourself up and carrying guilt isn’t helping you do that.

I understand how heavy this guilt can weigh, but you need to work through and process it.

When you have spent your entire life hunched over carrying this weight of guilt, the idea of taking it off can seem terrifying.

Standing up straight isn’t something you’ve done and you know that once you do, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to be uncomfortable. You’re going to have to work through the pain you’ve been avoiding and it’s going to absolutely suck.

I say this because I want you to understand that I know that feeling. I know how wrong it feels let go of the guilt because all you can see is all of those people you hurt.

You do not have to walk around hunched over carrying the weight of guilt. What you need to do is take radical responsibility and recognize what you did and recognize what you can do. You did not have a choice then but you have a choice now.

You can choose to heal and you can choose to move forward.

That very first step begins with forgiving yourself.

Forgiveness, especially for yourself, can be one of the hardest things that you ever do. It’s going to take a lot more time than you even want to admit.

I began my radical forgiveness of self journey a couple of years ago and I’m still on it.

It’s hard and it’s so much easier said than done. But I say this because I didn’t know that I was even allowed to take the guilt off. I truly didn’t know that it was even an option for me.

Is it going to take work? Yes.
Is it going to be easier said than done? Yes.
Is it going to be a continual choice where it’s 10 steps forward and eight steps back? Yes.

But once you get that guilt off and you begin to see what it feels like to not have that weight, you experience how freedom feels.

You deserve that freedom. You deserve to live life guilt free. You deserve to live a life where you’re no longer beating yourself up for the things you did when you were just trying to survive.

Self forgiveness is yours. You deserve it.

Sit up nice and tall, or lay with your shoulders down away from your ears.

Take a big deep breath in through your nose, feeling your belly expand. Push the breath out through your mouth.

Between each breath, say one of the following:

I deserve forgiveness.

I deserve forgiveness.

I forgive myself.

I choose to forgive myself every single day.

I know those statements can seem heavy, and I know they can seem uncomfortable.

In fact, it may even feel like you’re putting on a pair of shorts that are two sizes too small. But just keep saying them.

Even if you don’t believe them, that doesn’t matter right now.

It just matters that you’re saying them consistently. Whether you believe it or not, does not change the truth. And the truth is that you deserve forgiveness.

If you want to begin working towards healing but you don’t know where to start, check out my free 5 day confidence course. In less than 20 minutes a day, you’ll learn the skills you need in order to build the skill of confidence so you can let go of that guilt. Click here to grab yours.

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