Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Afraid to Smile

Depression: Destruction of the Self

TW: References to emotional abuse and some tactics used in emotional abuse.

"Crap, I am smiling and laughing! Is it acceptable for me to be happy like this? I haven't got permission to be. Can I get away with this? Is there anyone around to catch me?" (Cont'd below image.)

Because when psychological torture involves demeaning a person for experiencing emotions or invalidating that person's emotions or opinions, that abuse survivor is likely to undergo Destruction of the Self - a disconnect with one's own identity. Most likely, the survivor will come to identify with the attacker.

The survivor may also have difficulty expressing feeling or even opinions on exiting the abusive situation. This can manifest in, among other symptoms, emotional numbness or indecisiveness. While these can also double as PTSD symptoms, their basis as symptoms of depression is a lack of sense of worth: I don't deserve to be happy; I am contaminated, so I need permission to be happy; I am not worthy of expressing my happiness to others, etc.

Remember that you have intrinsic self-worth, that you were born with it and no-one has the right to part you from it. You can laugh. You can cry. You can rage. You can be calm. It is all yours. You deserve it.

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