When my emotions were really strong, my counselor taught me some exercises for coping that assisted me tremendously. The exercises helped me pay closer attention to the present moment and gain a better understanding of what I was going through at that time. They improved my ability to tolerate stress. The exercises taught me to observe and regulate my pain rather than reacting to it in ways that would not have been healthy for me or others.
- Fact-check your beliefs about yourself. Reframe these common example thoughts as questions:
- Did I deserve to be ostracized?
- Was the ostracism my fault?
- Now direct your attention to your beliefs about the perpetrators of the abuse:
- Are they horrible people?
- Do they deserve revenge/the same in return?
- If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may be making emotional judgments. This is very normal in the recovery process. Separate your emotions from the events that happened. Acknowledge your opinions as well as the details of the trauma, and let them go.
- Maybe those who ostracized you were young. Maybe they didn't have the social skills they have now. Maybe some of them had positions of power and the temptation to abuse that power overwhelmed them. Consider outside stressors like a divorce or domestic abuse, possible ostracism they faced. Only consider these factors if you know them to be truth. Never seek out information from people who no longer serve you and never assume anything.
Important Note: If your emotions become hurdles in your daily life, jump over them by opposite action.
- If depression or anxiety from the trauma tempts you to stay in bed, for instance, reject that by setting an alarm an hour earlier.