Sense Of Self

Ugh.. hard truth time. I tend to lose myself in relationships. It's like I isolate myself, and put everything on my partner and I don't have a clue why. Even in this last codependent & short dating experience, I still lost myself. I was using it to avoid facing having to take action to take care of myself better and truly be alone with myself. It was so unhealthy, I literally went from my ex leaving the house, to talking to someone on the phone every night for hours on end. I would wait until he got off work, feeling miserable during the day because I had to sit with me. Not engaging in any of the fun things I wanted to do... just being lost in this person. Since touch is my love language and I was getting some of that, it was so hard to leave it. As much as this part is hard, I'm relieved I can breathe again and not be entirely focused on someone else.

What I love/like/neutrality-to-DGAF/dislike/hate
- What I Value
Honesty, stability, touch, acts of service, health, empathy/patience with my disorder, and options for embracing dominance/submission into our lifestyle
- My Beliefs
I believe in life long learning, kindness, if someone really knows me and cares about me they can sometimes anticipate my needs/wants, and no one has the right to control other people's lives without their consent.
- My Aspirations
I want to be a mental health professional and finish my advanced degree in counseling. I want to better myself and be able to find happiness with just myself so I can truly enjoy happiness with others.
- My Boundaries & Expectations
I expect to be able to make mistakes and not be perfect. I will have boundaries for how much time I spend with someone especially when they are new in my life and how much I share with them. I will limit how much I divulge about myself when meeting new people, and limit how much I overshare with friends/families/coworkers. I will choose what to share instead of rambling it all out without control over it (this is hard for me).
- My Ethics & Moral Code
I will respect other people's boundaries and leave situations where I am not able to. I have to start doing what is right for me, not everyone else. I will not settle for anything less than someone respecting my own boundaries.

I'm supposed to be working on getting back to me. I've done that through exploring with someone else to an extent. I've also done an exercise my therapist recommends where you have three columns to fill out. One is what you need out of a relationship, what you want, and what are dealbreakers for you.

This sense of self exercise seems similar, but with more detail. Thank you for sharing it, it was helpful to fill out and save to talk about later with my counselor.
Thanks so much for this amazing thread. Super long reply... no need to read... I was just excited to work through these questions

What does ‘sense of self’ mean to you?
- To me it means knowing and loving who I am. Being in touch with my emotions, having clear thoughts (rather than brain fog) that allow me to choose my actions and words from integrity and not reactivity, it also means having a purpose - knowing what I am here on this planet to do and having the courage to do it and the resilience to fight through moments when I feel like I am drawing in quicksand because my PTSD got triggered.

Have you ever lost it, suffered damage to it, struggled with it, had to repair or rebuild it?

- absolutely. After I was drugged and raped at 13. It crushed my soul. I hated myself. I hated that I didn't see the warning signs. I felt broken. Dirty. Discardable. I felt like I should have died that day. I felt like all my dreams were crushed and like I was forever doomed to just 'exist' but not truly feel alive. I was severely suicidal throughout my teens. Drank to excessive amounts - almost died of alcohol poisoning at 16. Got high on dope almost every day. But somehow managed to get good grades. My mom said recently (I am 48) "I didn't think you'd make it past your teens"... But I did. What helped me repair it was learning to do EFT and sound healing. Sounds totally ridiculous, but it helped me feel embodied, safe, at peace and strong and confident. It stopped the flashbacks and nightmares. It helped me self-regulate. It turned off my amygdala hyper-reactivity. Also, learning about mental programming (Silva Method + The Power of Your Subconscious Mind) was a total game-changer for me.

Has your sense of self been affected/altered by your trauma history?
- more than words could ever say. It crushed it. Distorted it. I was never a confident person. I was born into a family marked by war trauma. My mom was a single mom and we lived at my grandparents... my grandfather was shot in the chest and had a grenade blow off part of his face... he was totally dissociated. My grandma lost two of her three brothers in camps... No one in my family ever healed their trauma. I came out feeling dissociated and like I shouldn't be alive... Getting raped was just the almost logical conclusion to a decade of feeling out of my body, helpless and worthless... The sad thing is that it was no one's fault. They didn't mean to f*ck me up for life. They were themselves totally f*cked up by their trauma history. I still often cry about how sad it is that so many people's lives are dominated by all that unhealed trauma that they then pass along to the next generation.

Challenges, struggles, surprises, triumphs?
- challenges: learning to love myself, learning to develop a sense of self-worth, learning to forgive myself... triumphs: learning all of that... and now helping others who lived similar stuff, it's been the thing that gives my life meaning... before going down that path, it all felt meaningless, I felt desperate and like I had lived all this for 'nothing'... now it helps me relate to my clients who are grateful to find out that they don't have to be ashamed of having been abused and feeling suicidal and broken... because I get it, I was there too and so they feel safe to share. Plus having tried so many different forms of therapy and what-have-you and training in the methods that worked the best for me has been the most life-affirming thing for me.

Thoughts in general?
-- thank you so much for posting these questions. They made me lean into things, dig deep for answers and recognize how far I've come.
I so appreciate reading everyone's replies and feel so glad I joined this forum.
I lost my sense of self years ago . it feels like I’ve been in a coma or something only hearing what was going on around me in the background whilst other me’s took the body and the life.
The peri-menopause triggered something the chaage in hormones and the erratic fluctuations in the beginning. I seriously felt like K was possessed at some points!
Incredible,y a stroke changed things again as I found myself ‘this me’ back at the front. As it caused some memory issues I had to read old diary entries to remember some parts of my past life but it doesn’t feel like it was my life.

I lost friends because I didn’t see them as ‘my friends’ they were the ‘friend of past host’ I couldn’t remember meeting them or why we have become friends (due to stroke to) . Getting back into spirituality and meditation has helped a bit

I’m trying to make a fresh start as just this me after the stroke but people I don’t know keep accusing me of ghosting them. I’m finding it confusing when there’s people expecting me to still be ‘the me’ they knew. Sometimes I wish I could move away somewhere no-one knows me but unfortunately I am not physicallly able and don’t have that kind of money!

I’ve had ti totally isolate myself to be able to be myself. I really want the ‘other me’s to disappear now or at least to be able to block them from taking over the front , but don’t know how to make that happen.