TIPS ON HOW TO NOT GET MANIPULATED EVER AGAIN

When you’re trying to deal with issues and problems that you’re facing, you’re obviously having a lot on your plate. Therefore it’s quiet easy for others to try and manipulate you and try and confuse you. Trying to find ones tru self is a very sensitive stage in the process of coping, and it makes you extremely vulnerable for all those people to mess with you again. One thing I learned and experienced was, that a lot of people tried to tell me how I should be, they tried to mess with my already low self confidence to tell me otherwise and what I should be like.

And that I find one thing was very hard to not fall for and stay strong. But you have to, you have to trust in your instincts and not listen. You’re trying to build yourself up from scratch basically. So I found some strategies that helped me not fall for it and be stronger then them.

1. I wrote down who I wanted to be. 

When I first started to actually think about who I wanted to be, I started to wrote it down. I wrote specifically what I wanted to achieve, what I wanted to believe in and who I not wanted to become. And I kept it. I read it over and over again, to try and remind myself of those things.

2. I wrote post it notes and put them everywhere 

I wrote notes of encouragement, that I can do this, that I have the strength, that I’m worth it, that I will not give up, that I’m powerful, that they can’t beat me. And small reminders of my goals. I wrote what I believe in, what i want to achieve, specific goals I had for myself, small reminders of personality traits that I wanted to remind myself of not giving up and not staying strong on. Just tiny things to remind myself that I got this, that all the work isn’t for nothing and it will pay of. And i put them everywhere! Next to my bed, in the bathroom, next to the door on my way out, in my wallet, just basically everywhere where I could constantly see it, and be reminded of it.

3. While being in a situation that might be one of those, asking myself questions about it!

I got into situations, where I could’ve easily be manipulated or been vulnerable a lot. With everyone and then some people I didn’t even expect it off. So I started to ask myself questions. Every time someone said something I want sure what to make out of, i asked myself “is this what I believe in?” “Is this what I want to stand for?” “Is this who i want to be!” And while asking myself that, more and more it got easier to see the games, and I was more and more able to stay true to myself and what I am standing for. It took a while, I’m not going to lie. In the beginning it was hard to detect and I fell for quiet a few people, but the more I worked on it, the better I got. I made fewer and fewer mistakes and I got more and more aware and stronger to fight back. This definitely helped me the most to be honest. And was one of the most important things I did to get myself to where I wanted to be.

4. I believed in myself!

It was something I definitely had to do for myself. I never believed in myself ever before, and when I finally started to realize I had to it changed a lot of things for me. Believing in yourself is super hard to begin with if you’ve never done that, but it’s a game changer. When I finally was strong enough to believe in myself and stood up for that, I felt empowered, I felt strong, ready to take on the world and scream out loud “here I am, come and try me! I’m believe in myself, I’m stronger then your games. You can’t get me!” It made such a huge difference and I’m so glad I was strong enough to do that. And to anyone out there, that is doubting themselves if they’re even able to believe in oneself, YOU FREAKING CAN! YOU’RE STRONGER THEN THEM! AND YOU CAN BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! 

So these are the things I tried to do, to make myself less vulnerable, and yes I failed. Multiple times over and over again! But all you can do is try, and when I tried hard and long enough you can get there.

There will always be people that will try and do that to you, try and manipulate you and mess with your head. But with enough practice and some confidence in yourself will help and you’ll get there.

I believe in that, because deep deep down in you there’s a fighter that wants to come out and fight with you! You got this, whoever you are reading this, you’re a fighter. Just like me and everyone else that had to go through that!

FIRST IMPRESSIONS/WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot of first impressions. First impressions are a daily thing. Everywhere at any time you make a first impression. Whether it’s at a job interview, or just on the street walking.

So whether or not you like it, it’s inevitable and a constant in everyone’s daily life. But the thing with that is, that most of the time, we don’t think about it. It doesn’t even cross our minds what the first impression, the first thought, the first look at someone is.

But for someone that struggles with anxiety, it’s a bigger deal then we might think. For someone that struggles with anxiety, a first impression is a constant reminder of how do I look, how do act, and most importantly, what does the other person think of me. It’s a tough thing to even think about some days.

The reason why I’m writing about this, is because in 4 weeks I have to attend a very important family event. And even though it’s 4 weeks away, I already think about it. I think about what I should wear, should I wear the very expensive and formal dress that i already own, or should I buy a newer and better one. Do the shoes that I have match the dress, do I need better ones. Will what I already own leave a good impression on other people? Will it be enough? I also think about, if the way I am is good enough? Should I act differently, change the way I talk, smile, act? Or is it enough to make others think that I’m enough, that I’m a nice and kind person.

The event is 4 weeks away and I can’t stop thinking if I will be at the top of my game and leave the perfect first impression.I know it’s ridiculous, I know it’s nothing I should worry about, I know that I’m enough!

But for people like me, with social anxiety, it’s an actual real problem. It’s a constant struggle, and it’s a constant reminder that you’re different, that you have a non fixable situation.

Yes it’s a struggle, yes it’s something you always will have to work on, but it’s also nothing that should hold you back. It’s nothing you can’t work on, it’s nothing that has to control you.

So every day when I experience that, I have to remind myself, I cannot let it go too far, I cannot let it control me. I have to fight it, I have to be stronger.I have to remind myself that I’m good enough, that I can’t control what others think about me. I’m good, and how I am, will be enough.

FINDING MY TRUE SELF

Finding yourself after going through experiences most don’t go through is something harder then I ever expected. It’s like you just have to complete redefine who you are, what you like, what you don’t like, what you want to do. And the constant pressure of doing that as fast as possible is real. But it takes time. Figuring out who you are is the real fucking deal and for me, I’m still in the process. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I still don’t know if I want to life here or there or if I want to go to university in this country or another. But that’s okay and that’s what I have to accept too. I like to have everything being taken care of instantly but it doesn’t work that way. So it’s okay taking time with everything, realizing what you want to do. But that’s the beauty of life. There are so many options for every single one of us. And we can choose whatever we want. And if it takes one two or three years that that’s cool. No pressure. Just take it at your own pace and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise, because we just overcame that.

I came back almost 3 years ago. It took me one year to get over my parents and another one to just be and life at peace. So now I can finally think about what I want to do. And I have plans. It’s not like I just want to end up at the grocery store for the rest of my life. For now it’s perfectly fine for a while but I want to study. I want to travel and do all the things ’normal’ people do. So I set myself goals. This year I’ll finally start university. I’ll start applying wherever I want to and then figure out where to go. And after that who knows. Nothing is set in stone and I don’t care. Because change is the only constant in life and that’s good.

Speaking up/Owning up to Problems

Talking about mental health problems is hard. Even more so, when you’re an extremely insecure child, that is denied to speak up about their own problems and needs. In this case, it was me. 

Growing up in Germany, with parents that were not capable, and still aren’t, to become parents, i got forced into a live of emotional and physical abuse. I was taught to be quiet, to be obedient and to never under any circumstances speak up about my feelings or things that troubled me. 

As a person with ADD my childhood therefore, consisted of continues spanking, slaps in the face and in my opinion even worse, ignoring, living with the constant knowledge of not being good enough and being a failure that would never achieve anything in live. 

As I grew older the differences between me and my family became bigger and more visible. I liked art and books and music. My parents and my younger ‘perfect’ sister did not and made sure I knew. 

Even though i did not get diagnosed with ADD and anxiety until i was 22 years old, my younger self always realized that there was a difference between how i was and how they were. 

So when i finished school at 19, I left. I went to america to escape it all. I promised myself to become a better person, to figure out what i had to do, so they would accept me and not be such a problem anymore.

Thats when I met my now partner in crime and his wonderful caring and loving family. All of a sudden i saw how actual families interact, how they accept each other no matter what and how they love one another unconditionally and for the first time in my life i realized that I wasn’t the problem, it was my family. 

They taught me how to not judge each other, how to openly talk about any problem one might have, and most importantly that it is not normal or okay to get physical or abusive in any kind of way. 

But after two years as an AuPair, I had to go back to Germany again. Luckily for me my boyfriend came with me. And thats when the real horror went down. I thought it would be okay for us to live with my parents for a short time until we would find an apartment. Though i didn’t really think it through. Everything i experienced in 19 years of living there came straight back but worse. My father did not accept the man I chose to be with. His yelled rants in the middle of the night to me, about how we destroyed his family, that I seemed to be too stupid and brainwashed by my boyfriend to see reality. To both my parents threatening me to force my boyfriend to move to Italy to take care of is mental issues or else we both would be sitting on the street that same night. 

So after 5 very long and hurtful month that threw both our progress how to deal with our issues years back, we finally found our own place.

And thats when I decided I simply could not do it anymore. I couldn’t constantly listen to them criticizing every move i made, telling me that i ruined everything and everyone. Everyone always told me to keep trying so i did with trying to confront my father about what he said, by talking to my mother. But for me it was broken beyond repair so i ended the relationship with my family. 

Sometimes you have to realize when something is not worth fighting for anymore and you just have to let it go. Even if its the relationship with your own parents. But 6 month later, I have to say it gets easier. Yes in the beginning it was hard. I cried and then i cried again and after that i cried some more. My boyfriend just like back in america listens to me when i try to tell him things i had to endure, things that should’ve been reported, things that make him so very angry. But it gets better. I dont ask myself ‘why me’ all the time anymore. Nightmares about my father become less and less.

TO ALL THE SURVIVORS AND INCREDIBLY STRONG PEOPLE

Today I write to everyone that lives in a toxic environment, to everyone that is broken inside, to everyone that doesn’t know where to go, to everyone that puts on a smile but cry inside. Today i write to those that got sexually abused by someone they know, by a stranger or someone that’s closest to you.
I write to you to tell you that you’re strong. I write to you to tell you that you can break out of this. I write to you to tell you that it’s hard to heal and get yourself back. I write to you to tell you to say NO to stop it, to remind yourself of what you want and who you want to be.
Today I write to you because I’ve been there, because I’ve been through that all. I’ve experienced all of it. Every single thing.
I lived through abusive parents, I lived through being not heard, not being able to speak up, being manipulated by my parents, being mentally fucked up by the ones closest to you that you’re supposed to trust. I lived through the abuse and the sexual assault of a stranger. And I finally was able to realize I had to get out. I finally was able to open my eyes. I saw what’s wrong, I saw how I was manipulated, I saw!
And I decided I had to leave.
It’s not easy to leave, I overthought it a million times, I doubted myself again and again. I thought I wasn’t worth it, I thought I wasn’t strong enough, I thought without my parents I’m nothing. They doubted me, they tried to tell me no, they tried and tried and then I got my flight information. And that was it
That was my ticket to freedom and I took it.
It made me feel free, it made me feel empowered, it made me feel strong, it made me feel independent, it made me feel my own person for the first time in my life at age 19.
At age 19 for the first time in my life I thought I had my own life in my hands. I had all the cards in my hands and I felt overwhelmed.

Being finally free, being finally feeling empowered, finally feeling like your own person for the first time in your life is something scary. It’s scary and overwhelms you. I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I knew was I would never go back.
And the last night in my childhood bed I made a mental note that I will never go back, no matter what. I gave myself a promise that once in America i would either stay there or not survive. And I was fine with that. I was free and I my decision was set. There was no going back because going back was going back to being abused and not heard.

I left and I cried. I cried and cried until there were no tears anymore. But after the crying I felt better. I had a new life that was up to me. I had all the choices in the world. I be and do whatever I wanted.
And when I found my fiancé it opened my eyes even more. I realized all the shit that was wrong back home. I realized how manipulated I was, how I was not allowed to think of speak, how I was put in a cage and told what to do or be punished.

It opened my eyes and I saw myself for the first time in a different light. I saw myself as an empowered and strong woman. Someone that got you broken down to the last piece, someone that was suppressed, someone that had no mind. And finally someone that had no voice!
But I picked up the pieces, I found my strength, I found my voice and I found myself.

Today I’m a woman that knows what she wants, a woman that knows what she believes in, a woman that figured out herself what’s right or wrong. Today I’m a strong and empowered woman.
And that’s what I want to share, that’s what I want to tell other girls, boys, woman and man.

I want to tell you that you are strong, you are worth it, you are important, you do matter, you are someone worth living and you are someone that deserve a voice you just have to find it.

The process is hard. It will hurt. It won’t be easy and it will take time. You will have to take all the broken pieces and put them back together. You will have to find your voice and shout out loud that you deserve to be heard. You will learn that your body is not ugly that you’re not worthless but that you’re worth every single bit and that you’re beautiful. You’ll have to learn that you’re beautiful inside and out, that you’re worthy of love, that you’re someone that only deserves the best in life, that you only deserve a partner that appreciates you for who YOU are, who won’t judge you for being broken, that you’re someone that still figures out how to heal and someone who won’t judge you when you wake up ay night screaming because you had nightmares of flashbacks but rather calms you down and comfort you in those hard time. You deserve someone that will accept your bad days and your good ones, that will be okay when you need space that will comfort you when you’re crying and will take care of things when you can’t.

Getting out of a bad, horrible and broken environment is never easy but let me tell you, you CAN DO IT. You’re on this earth for a reason and that reason is not to be mentally and physically abused and tortured. You’re here to do good things, to speak up, to do good, to be an empowered person. You’re here to have a voice and use it to speak the truth and call out wrong things. You’re here to be the best version of yourself you can be.
They will try to stop you, they will try to silence you and break you apart again, they will try to bend and shape you.
But you have to remember you’re not alone, we’re all broken somehow but we’re strong, we’re here and if you reach out there will always be someone that will help and support you. No matter who you reach out to, if it’s your best friend, a therapist or someone that went through the same thing like me. You will get help and together you’ll get through it. And if for whatever reasons decide to reach out to me, I will give everything I have to help you break free and become the person you want to be. Because I know how hard it is and you can’t do it alone
So to everyone that is stuck, reach out and say NO
You are worth it! 

THE WAY OF COPING/IT WORKED FOR ME

How do we get through challenging times, times that are rough on your mental health, times where you’re completely broken down? 
It’s one thing I ask myself every single day. How do I cope with it, recently I asked myself that a lot, and I try to come up with answers. But to be honest I tried all sorts of different things and some of them failed and some worked. 
But even though it gets easier, I still struggle. Sometimes it’s a constant reminder and sometimes I completely forget. So how did I deal with it?
First of all traumatic experiences, trying to move on from childhood abuse and a life time of bullying from everyone around me is a never ending story that I will always be a work in progress. And as hard as that is, i have to accept that. It won’t go away, i will never forget and i will always have to work on it. 
I’m not trying to give advice, I’m just telling my experience of finding my way to the right choice. 

In the very beginning I was oblivious to everything that I was going through until I met my fiancé. Of course we talked about it, as we got to know each other and he opened my eyes. We talked, about self awareness, being mindful, telling me that it was never my fault, showing me how real families work and making me realize that i should never blame myself for what happened. It wasn’t and isn’t my fault and I should not be ashamed about it, that I’m perfectly fine the way I am and that I should never be quiet again and speak up. 

It definitely helped to a point where I got mindful enough to see the bullshit and the wrongdoings and the abuse. 
Then when when we came back home to Germany, I thought I should try therapy. I started talking to a complete stranger about my thoughts, my problems, what I had to go through, how I should cope with it, what i should do about this and that. 
But it felt odd to me, strange and uncomfortable. How could I talk to a stranger that didn’t know me about my most intimate and hidden experiences. Things that I never even had the chance to talk about with my parents. It didn’t feel right and i just couldn’t get myself to fully open up to her. It wasn’t her fault, it just wasn’t right for me. 
So I thought maybe I need a different therapist. Maybe find the ONE. The one that doesn’t have that judgmental look whenever I would talk about things that hurt. Maybe I just never to find the right one I could trust and feel comfortable enough sharing everything with. But I didn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to start looking for someone new, that I had to get to know again, where I had to start all over again. 

So I did the only thing that seemed logical to me. I got myself a new psychiatrist, one that didn’t know my parents, and started all over there. And truth be told it was the best decision ever. She doesn’t ask me if I want to do therapy again, she doesn’t ask unnecessary questions. Of course in the beginning i told her about it, but I also told her I don’t want another person telling me what to do or how to cope with it or how to do it. And she accepted that and I’m grateful that she does it that way. She just gives me the medicine I need and that’s it and we both trust each other that I manage. 

So after all this I thought about it and realized that someone I had to work on it more, but not with a new therapist, not with my parents, not with some stranger but with my fiancé. And I found my own way of coping. He’s the one I talk to and when we talk, I talk a lot. It’s not all the time and not about the same thing always but when I start it’s a never ending story that goes on for hours and hours. And it helps. It helps to get whatever I struggle with at the moment, or whatever else is on my mind. And he listens, he just listens, to me talking, to me crying, to be being irrational, to me freaking out, to me not being able to let go of something. Because he understands. He has his own issues, his own struggles, his own bag of stuff he needs to talk about sometimes. He doesn’t judge, he doesn’t try and give me advice that I know won’t help, he just listens to me. And that, after a long and hard journey of figuring out, is exactly what I need. He helps me cope, he helps me be rational, see things from a different perspective. He taught me to finally accept myself, to love and cherish the person I am. He helped me realize that who I am is good, who I am is nothing to be ashamed about, who I am is someone that’s been through shit but came out stronger in the end. He helped me see the strong, independent woman I am today. I’m not afraid anymore, I speak up, I know what’s right and wrong and I know what I want. And he helped me get there. No one can take my voice, I won’t be quiet anymore. I’m loud and I’ll speak up because I’m ME.

This might not be anyone else’s choice or option but it’s mine and I wouldn’t change a thing. And for everyone that is still struggling and trying to fight their own battle, I’m right with you. But one thing we all have to remember is that we’re strong. Whatever helps you, to make it better, makes it bearable, makes it less painful, go for it. Do it and stick with it, even if it takes forever and sometimes seems like it will never get better. 
But one day you’ll wake up and it won’t be hurting so much anymore. It will always be a part of you, something that you can’t forget, no matter how hard you try but that’s okay. Because it will always be a reminder of how hard you had you worked for it, what you had to go through and it will always be a reminder of how good it feels to break out and be yourself, however much you had to get through and invest to get there. You finally have your voice, an opinion, your own values, you know what’s right or wrong and no one will ever be able to take that away from you again. They won’t be able to shut you down because you are strong enough to stand up for what you believe in and be loud. It will annoy others, they will try to control you again and they will fight against you being strong and your own person. But in the end it won’t change anything, because you are YOU, you are STRONG, you do MATTER, and you have a VOICE. 
And when that day will finally come you will realize that all the work and pain and struggle and problems and all the shit you had to carry with you and always will, all those hard times, you finally overcame them and you will realize how special and wonderful and gifted and worth everything anyone ever said you’re not. 

So I will end this, speaking to everyone. that’s in the shit and can’t get out. Everyone that feels like that they’re not worth it anymore. You ARE worth it, you MATTER and you are IMPORTANT Don’t give up, talk to someone, figure out a way to find your TRUE SELF and you will get there. We are all strong and just have to be remember it. We are all worth it no matter what happened. We are all special in our own way and that’s good. 
We are all human, we all make mistakes and we all deserve kindness and forgiveness. And as hard as it is, even those that did the worst to us, deserve forgiveness. You might not agree on that but maybe one day you will think about all you’ve done and how far you’re come and will be able to forgive them. Not forgive and forget and be happy with that person again but forgive them for yourself. Forgive them for how they treated you, forgive them for who they are and forgive them for your own peace of mind. They don’t have to know, you don’t have to tell them but forgive them in your head and in your heart and accept that some people are the way they are and that you are the way you are, let their burdens and problems be forgiven and focus on your life and where you want to go. 
Because you’re the only one that limits what you think you can do. Don’t let the sky be the limit, your mind has no limits and what you believe you will be able be to achieve because you have no limits no one can stop you, you’re unstoppable