In case you don’t know, intrusive thoughts are thoughts that shove their way into your mind & are often impossible to get rid of. They are very common with PTSD & C-PTSD. In my experience, a brain injury combined with C-PTSD made them even worse. Yay me..
A few minutes ago, I had yet another experience with intrusive thoughts. My newest cat, Minnie Rose, is named after my great grandmom, who I absolutely adore. She passed when I was 11, but I still have many fond memories of her, some of which replayed in my mind when Minnie Rose walked into the room with me. Suddenly, I remembered that my parents never asked if I was ok or offered comfort when she died. My granddad held me & let me cry at her viewing, & that was the only comfort or love I was shown regarding her passing. I began to get angry that my parents didn’t care that I was grieving or even talk to me about her death. I decided to get on facebook & distract myself for a little while as I really didn’t feel like dealing with this anger right now. Even a short break so I could finish my housework in peace would have been nice. That was a bad idea. The “today’s memories” feature popped up & in there was a link to this old blog post. Remembering how cruel my mother was to me last year at this time was very painful.
So now, I’m sitting here pretty pissed off. Fun times… Not.
This type of thing has happened enough times that I’m used to it. I also have learned how to handle it in a way that works for me, & I want to share it in the hopes they will work for you as well.
I have yet to find a way to stop intrusive thoughts. They seem to have a mind of their own. Also, I’ve noticed when I try, often something else happens that pretty much forces me to deal with what is on my mind. This has shown me that intrusive thoughts have a purpose. They serve as a reminder to say, “Now is the time to deal with this! Get alone, get quiet & get with God so you can do it.” This is actually a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time. (Apparently for me they also can serve as fodder for blog entries..lol)
When I can get alone, quiet & with God, I tell Him how I feel. I let it out, all the anger & ugliness. In return, He comforts me. Sometimes (well, often..) I don’t feel like saying things out loud, so instead of talking to Him, I write in my journal as if I am talking to Him. Either way, God does the same thing- helps me to get rid of the anger &/or hurt & comforts & often heals me from that painful incident. It’s really that simple. Healing isn’t always complicated. Sometimes you just need to get your feelings out, be validated & receive some comfort in return.
Sometimes, I also ask God to tell me the truth about what happened. Was it right? Did I deserve it? His answers are always amazing! When God tells you that you didn’t deserve to be abused, you can’t help but believe it! I’ve often sensed His anger at the injustice of the experience I went through, which also, believe it or not, is very healing. It validates the fact that you were done wrong, very wrong.
Another thing I have noticed is that doing this may help you to release some anger, but acquire a new anger. A righteous anger. I know this can be difficult for victims of narcissistic abuse, because we were never allowed to be angry. Often we carry that dysfunction well into adulthood. And, as a Christian, many folks misunderstand anger. They often believe you should forgive & forget, anger is from the devil, & shamed if you feel any anger no matter the situation. We often feel wrong & ashamed if we feel any anger, so we try to ignore it. I want to tell you today, Dear Reader, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with righteous anger! Remember Jesus in the temple, overturning tables & freeing sellers’ livestock for sale? That was righteous anger. People were doing something offensive to God, & that enraged Him, as it should have! Abuse is also offensive to God- why shouldn’t anyone be enraged by that?!
Righteous anger has its place. It lets you know that something is very wrong & change needs to happen. It also motivates you to make that change by stirring up your emotions. I have only recently learned to embrace righteous anger. It has helped me when I have to deal with my parents & their abusive, dysfunctional behavior. Realizing that they expect me to behave as they want after how horribly they have treated me makes me angry with that righteous anger. That anger gives me the strength to be firm in my boundaries & not tolerate things I would have tolerated without that anger.
In conclusion, I know intrusive thoughts are painful, upsetting & disturbing, but please be encouraged, Dear Reader. They do have a purpose! Dealing with them as quickly as possible will help you to heal & grow stronger.
Also, when you are done dealing with your intrusive thoughts, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Emotional work is so exhausting. Be gentle with yourself. Pamper yourself. You’ve earned it!
And now, I’m off to write in my journal then take a relaxing, long shower & goof off for the rest of my day…