autobiographical,  Every Damn Day In June 2019,  Sex and Mental Health

The other CBT (as in, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

CONTENT WARNING: breakups, negative self-talk, depression, anxiety, invasive thoughts, self doubt

A new-ish relationship (7 weeks or so) of mine ended yesterday. It was an online DD/lg connection and “Daddy” cut me loose. He wasn’t cruel, he didn’t belabour it. It was tidy and kind and reasonable. I was taking up a lot of time and energy that he no longer had for me. Totally fine. I didn’t freak out or take cheap shots. I told him I understood and I hoped he found what he needed. I made some distance (unfollowed on some, but not all, social media channels, changed my bios, deleted the app we talked on, etc.) I was rational. Calm even, for awhile.

But then the sting started to set in. Then the sting made way for an ache, and the ache made way for the pressure, and the pressure built up in my head and chest like steam trapped and desperate for release. This is what that agonizing pressure looked like when I hit the release valve and it all came swirling out:

  • I’m a failure
  • I’m a shitty sub and I should give up looking for DD/lg connections
  • If I’m a shitty sub, does that also make me a shitty Switch? Probably.
  • Is D/s even something I’m capable of?
  • I’m probably just wasting my time
  • Worse yet, I’m wasting other peoples’ time
  • I’m disposable to people
  • People don’t mean it when they say they care about me
  • I’m way too needy
  • I’m pathetic and unfit for new connections and relationships
  • I’m too opinionated to be submissive
  • My real Daddy Issues need resolving before I connect with a Daddy type
  • Wanting attention and validation makes me weak and unworthy
  • I should delete my blog
  • My partners are embarrassed by me
  • No one could ever be proud of me
  • Everything he said was a lie, a trick
  • He’s laughing at me now
  • And so is everyone else
  • My body is disgusting and deformed by my weight
  • I hate myself and my body
  • My face is unforgivably ugly
  • I don’t deserve emotional healing
  • I’m a garbage person
  • Ugly inside and out, that’s me!
  • I’m grotesque
  • I’m a bad person and I failed a partner
  • I ruin everything
  • I deserve to be punished, hurt, excluded, exiled, ignored, and abused because that’s my lot in life
  • I should definitely delete my blog

There’s more, but I’ll save you the agony of the rest of my downward spiral.

And so I wallowed. I sank into that fetid point of view, I strapped on the shit-coloured glasses and ran that demented monologue through my head a hundred times. A thousand times. So many times that I lost count. It’s still churning now, but it’s quieter. Writing it down expedites the exorcism but I’m still choking on the bile of rejection because even if you know it’s not all your fault, rejection hurts. It fucking hurts.

Breaking the cycle

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behaviour that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel.

A common exercise in CBT is writing self-statements to counteract or re-route negative thoughts once you recognize that that they are interfering. Recognition is a hard step for me because there’s something almost soothing to the pain of those negative thoughts. It’s hard to admit, but when trauma and the resulting anxiety have always been your norm, pain and negativity become comforting because they are familiar and consistent and it becomes possible to believe that the pain is a necessary part of relationships being valid (i.e.: if it doesn’t hurt it’s not/was not real)

I’m the author of my story

In light of trying to do better, I am replacing the above list with the following:

  • I’m more than my relationships
  • My submissive side is valuable and worth exploring
  • Sexual expression is nuanced and important. I am learning.
  • I am able to give myself in a number of ways, including in D/s dynamics
  • Human connection is important and requires courage that I have
  • I’m not wasting peoples’ time if I am being genuine and engaged with the relationship
  • Some people in my life have abandoned and rejected me, but not as many as have loved me with consistency
  • I can trust people to be truthful about how they feel about me
  • “Needy” is relative. We all have needs. I am improving my ability to communicate my needs.
  • I am capable of strong, healthy relationships. I have proof of that.
  • Submission is not one size fits all; my way of expressing submission is valid
  • My past hurts and relationships from my younger life and family don’t have to dominate my adult life.
  • I can work on myself and exist in the kink world simultaneously
  • Wanting attention and validation makes me a normal human person
  • I have put a lot of effort into my blog and lots of people believe in me
  • My partners think I’m beautiful
  • I’m proud of myself, regardless of anyone else’s pride in me
  • He’s not a liar, he meant what he said and what love he gave (which was a lot)
  • He misses me too and we both wish it was different
  • No one is mocking me or wishing me ill
  • My body is reliable and worth more than aesthetics
  • I’m learning the value of self love
  • My face is beautiful, but beauty is not the cost of admission to life
  • I didn’t deserve my past abuse and it doesn’t have to colour my present or my future
  • I’m a good person
  • I have a big heart and I wear it on my sleeve
  • I’m lovable
  • I didn’t fail, circumstances changed
  • I am creative and put far more good into the world than bad
  • I deserve love, safety, consideration, respect and opportunities for happiness
  • I’m not deleting my blog

 

“Take a day to heal from the lies you’ve told yourself and the ones that have been told to you.” 
― Maya Angelou

 

That’s my Monday. How is yours?

 

4 Comments

  • J. Lynn

    These are some wonderful affirmations Violet. You are indeed a valuable person! Not every day will be sunshine and rainbows, you just have to weather the storms. ?

  • The Lexy Experiment

    Oh, I was so glad to read your final list Violet. This post really touched me because it gets at vulnerabilities that I feel in some similar ways. It’s beautiful the way you turned it around and I leave this post feeling more calm, less distressed. I’m sorry that you had a loss, and I know it will take time to heal but I’m glad the process and the self care is working.

  • jupitergrant

    I’m sorry that this relationship didn’t work, Violet. I’m so thrilled that you used CBT techniques and re-wrote your list to challenge your negative thoughts. It’s a fantastic list, and I’m so pleased that you’re not going to delete your blog! ??

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