In the course of the last few weeks, I have experienced trauma, support, and the lack thereof. I am not writing to go into what happened, what I’m doing about it, or who did me wrong; instead I want to focus on the fact that I have learned an important truth about myself in the aftermath.

I have learned that one of my biggest triggers is feeling invalidated by others, no matter who, or how. I have learned that being told or made to feel like my experiences aren’t real or that I’m making it all up, or it’s all in my head, or that my emotions, needs, and reactions aren’t valid is the number one way to piss me off pretty much instantaneously.

I’ve also learned that having someone tell me that my feelings are valid, that I am worth while, that these things really are happening and I’m not a total nutter, is so rare in my experience that my eyes well up with tears and instantly overflow before I’ve even had time to process the fact that I’m going to cry, much less figure why.

I learned that the inner me is so deprived of that validation, and convinced on some level that everyone who has invalidated me on every level for so long is somehow right, that I have been doubting the validity of my own experiences and emotions, like the child in the news this week who told the police their name was ‘Idiot’ after being removed from their abusive parents.

Most of all, I learned that there is still a piece of me that I need to get to know, accept, and learn to love.

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