During my most informative years, as a young 13 year old, my father started to have violent flashbacks from his time as a Marine in the Vietnam war. I believe these surfaced because of a minor surgery and the general anesthetics they used to put him in a deep state that triggered these memories. At least this is the narrative that I have taken with me. He is no longer with us, otherwise I would love to sit down with him, Jack & Coke in hand (his drink of choice), and ask these questions — assuming he would be in an ok state to answer them.
When a family member has PTS(D) and not the right support, it can be a living hell. Violent streaks, the inability to manage big emotions, compulsive behavior etc. The listed behaviors are what I witnessed so I am only going to talk about PTS from my own experience — - I am by no means an expert. I am sharing this part of my story and my relationship to my father because it is a story about how others, in their wise mind or not, can shake your confidence. My amazing, witty, outgoing, smart and loving Dad, definitely shook mine and it has only been in the past few years where I was able to say, “oh, that’s where that belief system came from!”
I have always been somewhat of a rebel, an unconventional type that likes to swim against the tide. So when you have a father with a trauma and a daughter who has a mind of her own, yes, you will have a recipe that looks nothing like the Norman Rockwell painting of the perfect nuclear family in your mind. Instead, I was often only valued for my good grades and my clean room. The things I was most passionate about like dance and acting were not as valued and I noticed this and it made me angry. This anger caused me to rebel. I stopped caring about school, I started ditching classes, smoking cigarettes and going on coffee breaks which meant buying a cold coffee in a carton from the local market and sitting in a parking garage with a car full of teenagers. These choices lead to horrible grades and a father who had no patience for it and so the short-term consequence, and I am choosing to not go into details here, was being on the receiving end of unkind words that broke me down and did not lift me up. The long-term consequence was spending the next several years rebuilding my confidence so I could finally get to a place where I can now, unapologetically, own who I am.
Here is what I learned over the years that I offer back to you:
Being tender with yourself
Noticing your words and the negative self-talk
Transforming your words to a more loving self-talk
Finding people who lift you up
Going for walks
Finding joy in the little things
Doing one thing a day that scares you(thank you Eleanor Roosevelt for that one)
Living the story you want for yourself
I am still practicing. What I have also learned, and what I see in my own clients, is that confidence is not something that you just get and then have for life. It is a journey that ebbs and flows and is tended to. It is a process.
My father was not perfect, none of us are, but he did manage to heal what he could in the time that he had on this earth. My invitation to you, is to be kind with yourself, meditate on where some of your negative beliefs come from and tend to them. Don’t ignore them and don’t allow them to take over either. Allow them to be noticed and then start writing the story you want to hear. YOU HAVE GOT THIS!
Please reach out to me if you want to be a more comfortably uncomfortable speaker! Happy to help. In the mean time, here is a link to affirmation cards I made to help you feel supported for your next presentation. Enjoy!
🎙YOU CAN LISTEN TO THIS POSTING HERE