One major thing holding you back from living the life you want, from being the mom you want, is trust.
I’m not just talking about trusting other people. That’s obviously a struggle because we’ve experienced abuse.
What I’m referring to right now is trusting yourself.
It’s incredibly difficult to trust ourselves when we’ve gone through what we have.
Many people who haven’t experienced abuse say things like, “You should’ve left sooner,” or “you should have gotten help as soon as you knew it was bad.”
And what these people don’t realize is that we know. We know that we should’ve done all those things. And because we’re aware of this, we believe that we’re inherently flawed and therefore can’t trust ourselves to make decisions.
It’s incredibly difficult to believe that we’re going to make the right decisions to keep our kids safe when we couldn’t even keep ourselves safe.
It’s hard to trust ourselves to follow through with goals, to let ourselves even believe that something is possible for us. All because we don’t trust ourselves to follow through or we don’t trust ourselves to keep it once we have it.
This is holding you back more than you know.
I’ve been on my journey for over four years now and I still find myself struggling with self trust, so you’re not alone.
But building up this self trust is key so we can step into the life we truly desire.
First, however, before we get into the ‘how,’ we need to understand why this matters so much to begin with.
What I believe to be the number one, most important reason, is the fact that if we don’t trust ourselves, our kids will not only not trust us but also not trust themselves.
They’re going to see their mama, their leader, not trusting herself. So if she can’t trust in herself, how can I trust in myself?
I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty. I’m saying this bring awareness because a lot of the time these things are subconscious beliefs. We’re not actively saying, “I don’t trust myself.” Instead we say things like “I’m not good enough. I’m a bad mom. I can never do that.”
This is your brain trying to keep you safe from disappointment and failure.
The reason I’m sharing this is because without awareness, it can’t change. Now that you’re aware of it, you can take the time to make changes.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but I’m saying it’s worth it.
It’s important for us to make the commitment to ourselves in the fight against the mistrust. We have to believe in ourselves enough to take baby steps toward trusting ourselves so we can model it for our kids.
That way we can tell our kids that we’re trying, that things are getting better, that we’re fighting for better.
Another reason you want to build trust with yourself is to make sure that you can be aware of unhealthy or unsafe situations.
When you were in the relationship, you were gaslit so bad to the point that you believed your reality began and ended with the abusive person. If you said the sky was blue and they told you it was green, they’d make you feel so crazy that you’d believe them.
We have to reacclimate ourselves to understanding what reality is. Because if not, we will believe that we are incapable of seeing the reality in front of us as true.
This can push us back to the original relationship we were in, push us into another abusive one or worse, leave our kids without a mom.
I don’t take these subjects lightly. They matter. You matter. We have to trust ourselves enough to be who we want to be.
If you can’t stomach the thought that you trust yourself, start small. Start with something like “I’m capable of learning how to trust myself” or “I know I have the skills, I just have to learn how to trust myself.”
That way you’re not fighting hard against your brain. Instead, you’re meeting it where it’s at.
Here’s an important piece: it will take time.
This doesn’t happen overnight.
This stuff takes time. The annoying truth is that it’s going to take your brain however long it takes.
I’ve worked with clients who made massive progress in a few months and other clients that are still working toward it after their yearly check in.
It’s because their brains are different and that’s ok. As long as you make the commitment, I guarantee you change will come.
Next, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for getting into the abusive relationship, for giving your children an abusive parent, for falling into the trap again and again.
I know it’s easier said than done, but begin to process this. Right now, your brain is telling you that it’s your fault and that you deserved it or even asked for it.
It’s telling you that if you did better, worked harder, argued less, weren’t such a prude, that maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so bad.
That’s really heavy to carry. You need to take time to forgive yourself.
Self forgiveness doesn’t mean that it was your fault. It means acknowledging your very valid feelings and letting yourself feel them and release them.
You may not fully believe that it wasn’t your fault and that’s ok. You can still begin this journey, one baby step at a time.
I have to make the active decision to forgive myself every day. It’s a continual process.
Now that we understand why self trust matters and how to start our journey to self forgiveness, how do we actually build self trust?
Pull out a journey and turn to a fresh page. At the top, write “Learning to Trust Myself.” This is going to be your journal to come back to as you’re working through this.
First, I want you to braindump whatever comes to mind when you think of your life right now.
If you need some prompts, here you are:
How do you think that lack of self trust is showing up in your parenting?
How do you think lack of self trust is showing up in your relationships?
Do you have walls up?
Do you have a real connection with your kids?
Do you feel qualified to parent your kids?
These questions can be really heavy but the reason why I want you to answer them is because they’re going to open your brain up to what’s really going on.
Note: if you’re answering a prompt and all the sudden your brain goes in another direction, that’s ok! Don’t force yourself to stick to the question. These will trigger your brain to think of things that feel connected. So write them down. Don’t limit yourself.
After you’ve had this brain dump, look over the list and see what comes up for you. Read it through the lens of, “Is this connected to self trust?”
If you’re reading through what you wrote and find something that does feel like it connects to self trust, even just a little bit, highlight it.
Once you’ve gone through your list, pick one of the things you’ve highlighted, turn to a new page, and write that thought at the top.
Ask yourself, “how is this connected to self trust?” And let yourself just write whatever comes to mind.
The reason I’m having you do this exercise is because when you begin to ask yourself these questions, you see things differently.
You may currently think that this doesn’t apply to you, but after going through it you’ll find that it does.
You may find that something you didn’t think was impacting you is.
Once you’ve had a chance to process through these questions, look at your answers and celebrate. This is important because what you just did wasn’t easy. It’s hard. People spend their whole lives avoiding this work and you’re doing the damn thing.
Taking time to celebrate solidifies in your brain that you CAN do hard things and that maybe you really can do what it is that you want to do.
Another thing you can do towards building self trust is learning how to find and manage your triggers.
Your triggers are what cause you to react instead of respond.
A trigger is an event that causes another event to happen. Similar to veterans experiencing PTSD flashbacks during firework shows, we experience triggered reactions.
Kids are extremely triggering all on their own. Add in what we’ve gone through and it makes it so much harder. Taking the time to find what your triggers are and learning how to cope with them is a huge part of learning how to trust yourself.
Because once you do, you’ll stop reacting to your kids and start responding to them. You’ll slowly begin to trust yourself to react in a way that makes you feel proud instead of guilty.
If you’re wanting to learn how to manage your triggers but don’t really know where to start, I have a gift for you.
I wrote Triggered, an eBook that breaks down the framework I share with paying clients but it’s completely free. I want this to be as accessible as possible.
But even though it’s free doesn’t mean it’s basic. Triggered takes you through the step by step process of finding, managing, and coping with your triggers.
Click here to grab it!
The third thing you can do to build self trust is learn how to set and keep boundaries.
This is going to take time and effort. It’s not going to be easy and yes, you’ll feel uncomfortable. That’s ok because you can do hard things. Learning how to set and keep boundaries is huge because right now, you don’t even trust yourself to set a boundary let alone keep one. You can’t keep a boundary with social media, family, your kids, yourself. So you’ve given up because you just don’t trust yourself.
This leads your brain to telling you that you suck at boundaries so why bother anyway?
But the truth is that you don’t suck at boundaries – it’s that you don’t know how to set them. Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon, especially with survivors.
If you’re wanting to work towards setting better boundaries, I have another gift for you. Boundaries is an eBook I wrote that teaches you the 3 step boundaries framework I created that WORKS. Whether you’re setting boundaries with yourself, your kids or your spouse, this book will absolutely change your life.
Grab your free copy here!
Taking the time to learn how to trust yourself is far easier said than done. But I promise you that it’s worth it.
If you don’t feel worthy enough to learn how to trust yourself, don’t do it for you. Do it for your kids. I think the right thing for the wrong reason is perfectly fine, especially when you’re just starting out. But really, healing for your kids is a pretty noble reason. So it’s not a wrong reason at all.
This is hard work and I’m so proud of you for showing up for yourself.
You’ve got this mama.
For more resources, click here!