I'm in one of those moods so here's my Survivor's Manifesto. If I repeat myself, it's intentional:
1) Don't judge where I am. You don't know where I started or how complicated my journey has been.
2) Don't pity me or assume I'm fragile or flawed. I may very well be stronger, more resilient, courageous and creative than you are.
3) Respect the courage it took to survive.
4) Respect the resilience I've shown becoming who I am in spite of the abuse or trauma I experienced.
5) Respect the creativity and intelligence I used to survive.
6) Expect the best of me AND believe that ultimately I can do anything I choose to do—including fully heal.
7) Don't assume my emotions are a flaw.
8) Laugh with me.
9) Don't give glib answers or ideas. I KNOW deep down what I need to do next.
10) Don't freak out on me, no matter how horrible it was, I DID survive.
11) Don't minimize what happened or ask me if I want a book on Christian forgiveness. If it felt
bad to me it was. I'll forgive if and when I'm ready to do so.
12) Set limits that protect you and understand that sometimes I won't know what those limits should be—BUT I CAN LEARN.
13) Accept the boundaries I set. You can negotiate but don't cross those boundaries unless I agree.
14) Understand that I won't tolerate bullies.
15) What matters is not what you intend but how it feels to me.
16) I'm not a patsy. I may go extra far to be nice and keep things calm, but try to take advantage too much or disrespect me and I'm gone.
17) I'm just as smart, courageous and resilient as you are and maybe more so.
18) Just because you don't get it doesn't mean I'm wrong!
19) I'm always questioning my assumptions and working to change and improve my life—are you? If not, don't ever be condescending or act as if you're superior to me!
20) If you want my trust EARN IT!
21) Just because you don't want to believe it could happen to nice people or in families like yours doesn't mean I should stop telling the truth.
22) Treat me with respect. I don't care who you are or what your credentials might be or what success you have achieved in life. I'll stack my courage, resilience, strength and creativity against yours any day.
23) I am the expert on who I am and what I need. You may not believe that and sometimes what I say or do might contradict what you think you know but there is no way you can have as complete access to who I am and what has happened to me as I do. TRUST ME.
24) Trust me to know what I need to do next.
25) Trust that I am doing the best I can every day of my life.
26) Trust that I can and will heal.
27) Trust that finding joy in my life is the surest way to my creating a happy, healthy life—NOT scolding or blaming or otherwise feeling bad.
28) If you want to help, TRUST ME.
29) If you want to help, BELIEVE IN ME.
30) If you want to help, encourage me to see my successes and strengths NOT focus on my weaknesses.
31) Never, ever encourage me to wallow in my pain! I don't care how angry I get, remind me again that you believe in me and that you believe I can heal NO MATTER HOW BAD THE PAST MAY HAVE BEEN.
32) What seem to you like weaknesses may actually be the foundation of my strengths.
33) Treat me with respect and kindness and trust and look for the best in me because that is what every human being deserves.
Wishing for each of you reading this post respect, kindness, trust, and people who believe in YOU.
Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))),