Given the response to my last post, and the discovery that this month’s blog carnival against child abuse topic is Freedom to Heal, I thought it would be a good time to expound a bit on the idea of taking care of yourself. As the comments point out, survivors often struggling with feeling like they need permission to take care of themselves first.
I actually liken it to a scene in Shawshank Redemption. After spending most of his life in prison, Red is finally paroled and finds it difficult to go to the restroom without asking permission. He makes a somewhat crude reference to not being able to physically go without a boss giving him permission. He’s simply been in prison so long that his body is trained that way.
Survivors making the choice to take care of themselves is a similar situation. So many of us have been conditioned to take care of others, to think of our own needs last, perhaps even that our needs don’t matter. It can be difficult to look after our needs first and foremost because we’ve been trained not to do that, and just like the reaction of the boss at the grocery store that Red works in after being released, it makes absolutely no sense to anyone else. That’s because it’s perfectly normal to want to take care of ourselves.
Survivors need to remember that, and then we need to give ourselves permission to do what we need to do as human beings, take care of ourselves!