Abuse and Gaining Back Your Self-Worth: From Victim to Goddess
It is always inspiring when stories of abuse can be examined in ways that are motivating and insightful. This is an empowering story resulting from an abusive situation. Through her experiences, Christine Gutierrez learned important life lessons about gaining back a sense of self worth as she examined her own deep pain and suffering. She courageously shares her story with us here, offering ideas for how we can find new perspectives for our lives as well.
This article is about abuse+ how to gain back your self worth. I speak from my personal and professional experience, and having gone through abuse, I know how much it can tear your insides up and turn your life upside down. It’s my intention to share some feelings of understanding (YOU ARE NOT ALONE) + clarity (YOU CAN GET THROUGH THIS) + guidance on how to work your way out from the dark pit of insecurities and lack of self worth in order to the light and the grace of a goddess.
I can’t say I had a horrible life, because I didn’t. But I can say it was hard for me -very hard. I had love and I had abuse. My parents loved me and still love me tremendously but emotionally weren’t able to nurture me in the way I needed as a child. Some background on me: I grew up in New York in a Puerto Rican family. My parents divorced when I was 3; however, my father stayed super close in my life and raised me along with my mom. My grandparents watched me most of the time because my parents worked very hard to put me in Catholic school and keep me from “the streets”. I grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, before the trendy cafes and hipsters. It was not miserable, but not the best. There were drugs, and this “ghetto” mentality that for sure wasn’t what you would call inspirational. There was a lot of stress and I was sensitive, I was intuitive and it really affected me. I was the kind of kid that wanted to save the world. Still am.
To make a long story short, I felt my mom was very distant. She seemed very stressed all the time and I remember wanting to talk things out (obviously, I am now a therapist) and her saying, “I am just going to ignore you.” I remember the pang in my little heart; I felt so unheard, so ignored, so unworthy and unloved. In her world, she was stressed and felt I had a big mouth and wasn’t being respectful, but in my world I needed nurturing and comfort. I needed to be mothered. I needed to be loved.
I resented my mom for a long time. I moved out when I was 14 to my father’s and while my father had a big nurturing and warm heart, his police officer ways were not kept to his job. A little while after I moved in, I remember being verbally and sometimes physically abused. I remember always being confused because nothing made sense. I was a good kid – straight A’s and B’s – and I had punishment that didn’t match the truth, the reality. I just remember him calling me names and asking, “What are you, retarded?” or “What’s wrong with you?”
I remember feeling like no one, that I wasn’t good enough and on top of it nothing I ever did would ever be good enough. It was extremely emotionally damaging, especially to a young, growing girl, but I was strong. I KNEW that it didn’t feel good and somewhere in me that I didn’t deserve it. However, as children, psychologically we are not capable of not making it about ourselves. We still internalize meanness or abuse as “It’s my fault.” It isn’t your fault and remember, THERE IS NEVER AN EXCUSE FOR ABUSE! It isn’t easy, but you are not alone. Below are some tips that have helped me and hundreds of my clients and now hopefully you, too.
I shared this more detailed story of my abuse because it was time and hopefully this will resonate with you if you have gone through painful abuse whether it was verbal physical emotional sexual or all. I am here to let you know that it’s more common than we think and we have the ability to heal this and inspire others to have healthier relationships to themselves and in turn have healthier relationships to children and others.
Through my experience, I have learned these tips:
HONOR YOUR PAIN. ABUSE IS NO JOKE. IT HURTS. IT STINGS. IT’S TRAUMA. Don’t make excuses for the abuser. Honor that it wasn’t fair and you didn’t deserve it. ‘Cause you didn’t. No need to stay a victim, but in order to release the feelings of being a victim, you must first honor your pain and that at one time you were a victim. Now you are a goddess – older, wiser. Honor, too, that you are a goddess- strong and capable of healing and with the ability to conquer it all.
MOST SUPER HAPPY PEOPLE HAVE GONE THROUGH MASSIVE PAIN. All energy is energy and we can alchemize our pain energy into motivation and healing energy for not only ourselves, but others, as well. Think Oprah: she was abused and is now one of the biggest containers for spreading consciousness and well-being around the world.
TURN YOUR PAIN INTO PURPOSE. Ask yourself: What gifts has this pain brought you? For example, for me, I have the capacity to empathize with my clients more. I know what they feel because I went through something very painful, as well. I also have turned this experience into my main purpose in life, which is to hold space for healing with clients 1-1 in groups. I put it in writing because I know this pain I want to let others know they are not alone and provide tips to heal.
So how can you find your purpose in your pain? Write in the comments below so we can all share + connect together.
Remember: We are all divine, perfect, whole. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE! Connect to that feeling of something more whatever that is for you. I like to think of myself as a glorious and strong goddess, radiant and full of light. This archetype provides me with a strong visual that provides strength and self worth. I encourage you to find a goddess that resonates with you to give your strength and work with her energy, perhaps print a picture out and carry it with you or of a strong woman you admire and internalize that you too are her – strong and powerful.
I hope my story and these tips have helped and in the meantime, be kind to yourself and remember: you are so worthy, you are so loved. You are a goddess.