What went wrong #1: I think that, somehow, when I made a mistake or when someone acted hatefully toward me, that it zapped me back into my childhood mind-frame. I felt an old self-hatred come up inside me. It sometimes happened even after long periods of time without a suicidal episode. Each time, it felt sort of like a flashback, but it felt impossible for me to come out of it. I now believe that there are ways around having flashbacks in the first place. I believe that right thinking and right choices can prevent these suicidal episodes. Here are some more of my patterns of thinking and acting:
What went wrong #2: I chose to see myself through someone else’s eyes. I felt someone else’s hatred for me, and I projected it willingly onto myself. That was a choice. Now I have stopped doing this. What works for me now, and for the last 20 years, is seeing myself through God’s eyes. He is stable, like no one else can be. Even if I am wrong or have acted foolishly, God is on my side, because He created me and wants me to have life, and to have it “more abundantly.”
What went wrong #3: I focused on my past failures that could not be undone. I could not change the past, but I chose to obsess over my mistakes. I made myself very anxious this way, and then wanted to self-harm because it was the only way I could feel in control of something (my body).
What went wrong #4: Someone I cared about rejected me. This made me doubt myself: “Am I really a good person? Am I lovable?” I wondered. But I had no confidence in myself, and eventually I gave in to the other person’s “vote” against me. I agreed with them. Again, the solution is to see myself through the eyes of my Maker, not anyone else. People are faulty; they will probably let me down at some point. Their rejection does not say anything about me as a person. I am me; I am the person God created for a purpose. That is my identity.
What went wrong #5: I saw the future as hopeless. For instance, I thought, “I’ll never find a good mate,” “I’ll never be happy,” or “No one will ever really love me.” But I did not know the future. It never occurred to me that I could be wrong. The future just might be happy. (And indeed it is!)
What went wrong #6: I practiced damaging negative self-talk, as an act of violence toward myself. I told myself that I have very little worth: “I have no skills, no talents. There is nothing special about me.” I had “tunnel vision.” I ignored the good and focused on my
shortcomings. That is a choice. It’s a decision to be my own worst enemy. Since I was converted to be a follower of God, I have done service for the King in as many ways as I could. I have used my talents and skills for the good of others. There is so much love inside me that has been waiting for all these years dormant. The Lord brought it out of me. I am a different person now. I am “beloved” by God and other people.
What went wrong #7: I reasoned, “My mother abused me, so I must not have worth or I must not have any lovable qualities. My Mom’s behavior toward me is the proof of my worthlessness.” Later I came to learn that my mother had her own illness which caused her to act the way she did. Her criticisms and her abuse were never about me. Her behavior did not prove anything about my worth. I learned that people with abusive qualities are very insecure of themselves, and often lack self-esteem. That’s why they have a need to push others down (so that they could feel on top, or above someone else.) It’s all about control. I used to continually choose to be with people like this, but I was dissatisfied and left the situation many times, until now I choose a better life for myself. Though I am attracted to the familiar, I can walk a different way and find new situations that are not harmful to me emotionally. There really are loving people out there that I can be friends with, work with, or marry. I now choose relationships, jobs, and a mate who are nurturing to me.
What went wrong #8: “I made a mistake that can’t be undone.
There’s no turning back. I’ve messed up big this time. (I felt terror.) Any consequence that comes at me, I well deserve.” Perfectionism is a curse. I will never be perfect, and neither will anyone else ever be perfect. I am human, and human is good. I will learn from my mistakes. I will not make the same mistake again. I found that there were some dysfunctional behaviors that I continually practiced over and over again, so I sought a therapist’s assistance, in order to problem-solve my behavior. I got through my dysfunctional behaviors. But I accept my mistakes when they come. They are no longer devastating to me. I recognize that things happen for a reason, so that I can learn. I trust God despite the feelings I have. “All things work for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
What went wrong #9: After all the obsessing about negative experiences and beating myself up, I despaired: “I just want the pain to end. I just want peace, finally. I know people will miss me. I know people will be hurt and grieve over me, but I can’t live my life for somebody else. It doesn’t work. I’ve tried, and it is so painful. All my energy is sapped away just from the effort of trying to hold my feelings. In the end, I can’t worry about anyone else. I am completely desperate to end the pain.” These may well be the final thoughts of many people who take their own lives. But read on. The pain will pass. There is no way around it, only through it. And guess what?! My feelings cannot kill me! They’re just feelings. We process them, and they become resolved. We cannot run from them or make them disappear by engaging in addictive behaviors. That is a myth. We must face them head-on. Later we will be glad we did not fall into the trap of addiction that lasts a lifetime. If you need help processing events that cause emotional pain, there are many therapists available who are called “bereavement counselors.” There are experts who help people who have been through death of a loved one, abuse, divorce, loss, and lack of self-esteem. All of these situations are healable. You can overcome them and move on. Because of your experience, you may be able to help someone else later.
After all the years that I suffered pain and abuse, I can now see God’s reasons behind my tribulations. I have a tendency toward pride, and my experiences kept me humble and made me more understanding of other people. I have become more respectful of the feelings of others. I have moved away from any feelings of superiority, and I have come to be down-to-earth and to treat people as equals. I have also become able to help other people who have been through similar experiences. And I do help as many as I can. Additionally, I learned to be a forgiving person. When I was able to forgive my abuser, her illness went into remission spontaneously. My ability to forgive has brought me closer to people and to God, who is the greatest Forgiver of all sins. Does this give credence to the old saying, “Pain builds character”? Perhaps.