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Indeed, I’m a Survivor

Coral Cortes

My story? Well, my story is very much like yours. It’s long, full of pain, trauma, unanswered questions, anger, frustration, confusion but one thing is for sure: like you, I’m a survivor. A survivor of violence, childhood abuse, sexual abuse, a survivor of emotional and psychological abuse, and finally narcissistic abuse. 

You must ask yourself how in world can I endure all this pain? The answer is simple and a little complicated as well, because I was not aware of it. I didn’t know that a lifetime of trauma and dysfunction will program you to believe that you don’t deserve anything good, that you are not worth the effort, that somehow you need to pay for your happiness when in fact; all the effort has to come from within you,  

I knew something was off with me, that feeling of not belonging anywhere, nobody could understand my thinking process, my excessive compassion, my need to care for others, my need to rescue, fix, help and assist. Do you feel the same? Then if you are this exceptional human being, full of gifts, talents, with a big heart, ask yourself again: Why do people keep walking out of your life? Why do people keep taking advantage of you? Why are your boundaries never respected? Why do friends, coworkers, bosses, family members, and past personal relationships; ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands, keep going down the drain?  Why me? I’m a good person; loyal, thoughtful, empathetic. I’m a giver to the point of depletion; I’m a peacemaker to the point of my own harmony and tranquility. I see the best in people despite the red flags. I’m always the one giving second, third, fourth and fifth chances. I’m a protector even if it costs me my own safety. I’m a provider because I want to see people happy even if that means sacrificing my own happiness. 

The question remains: Why me? Here my sister is the hurtful truth; because I was broken inside, I was asleep to the evil out there, because I ignored my beautiful intuition when it was screaming at me: “Don’t do it,” because I had unresolved emotional issues, I had unaddressed past traumas, I was carrying old wounds and because I never knew the meaning of self-love. 

Nobody told me that I needed to take care of myself first. Nobody ever mentioned to me that you needed to look within for understanding. No one ever said to me your happiness is your responsibility. Nobody looked at me and said: Stop looking for validation outside yourself, stop waiting to be rescued, be your own superhero, stop giving away yourself to others when it’s you that needs you the most. 

Like your story, I thought I found my prince charming, that, unconditional love is real (outside yourself).  That people can see how nice, good, sweet you are and how you go above and beyond for people that do not deserve a five-minute conversation with you but it was all a lie; a lie from “hello, how is your day going?”. 

See, this person knew that I would do anything for him. That I would break my boundaries for him, he knew that I would betray myself in the name of love, I would disappoint myself, neglect and dismiss my needs, I would stretch myself to the point of breaking.  He studied me, every time he asked a question about me, he was gathering information to use later against me.  Every time that I thought he was interested in my likes, hobbies, the way I see the world, he was just collecting data to use it later to squeeze me like a lemon for supply. He also knew that I had a life of training in the field of pain,  I would pretty much do anything for him just to keep him happy because he knew that I needed to make people happy to feel happy; that my sister, its call codependency. 

Every story begins the same; it was perfect at the beginning. It was glorious, an unbelievable love story; so unique, like no other. Finally, here, someone that understands and appreciates me. Another cruel lie. Someone caring, sweet, stronger, good looking but rotten, empty and poisoned inside. I went through the whole cycle of narcissistic abuse; love bombed for 4 years, devalued in less than one, discarded in a blink of an eye, and finally hoovered like every victim. I learned the script; I learned the mind games of these creatures. I studied their textbook so I can have the upper hand, because they are, after all, very predictable. 

I know how you feel, I’ve been there, exactly there, but I’m here to tell you that it’s going to be ok.

Let me tell you something I discovered in my healing journey: The only weapon the narcissist held on us was our naiveness and our ignorance of their existence and evil tactics. The starting point of your healing is the idea of “Get out. Stay out, & Never again” Pete Sapper I would add the following statement as well: “Be strong. Stay strong & never give up on yourself” It will take all your might, but it’s possible.

I’m always aware of the fact that to heal from this kind of abuse, it will literally “take a village”. Among other things, it’s vital to have a strong support system. I could have never done it without my sisterhood’s help, their wisdom, perfectly timed advice, and without their genuine friendship. So, you see? We are here to stay.

I joined forces with my sisters to break the silence, to educate, to inform, to prevent, to stop the cycle of this abuse, and, our best weapon is knowledge. To help victims with questions, to aid victims with missing pieces of the puzzle of what happened to them. To pull victims from the dark pit of pain and confusion. To extend a helping hand to those in the gates of hell of devastation and hopelessness. To bring light in the shadows of their suffering and doubts, but most importantly to show women that self-love is not just a concept, it’s a lifestyle. To inspire survivors to move forward, to dream big, to rediscover themselves, to regain their power and purpose in life. To build a bridge where people on the receiving end of this abuse, go from victims to survivors, and then thrivers.

I read something the other day that holds so much truth: “The best minds in mental health aren’t the docs. They’re the trauma survivors who have had to figure out how to stay alive for years with virtually no help. Wanna learn how to psychologically survive under unfathomable stress? Talk to abuse survivors.” And that my sister, is real talk, real facts. 

After the fog, I finally understand the why of all my processes, and I can summarize it like this: “My Pain became the Platform for the Promotion of my Power and my Purpose.”

Welcome to the first step in your healing process. Welcome to your healing journey. Allow me to give a glimpse of your future: For us, survivors, the grass is indeed greener on the other side. My name is Coral and I’m here to help you.

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