The past few weeks have taught me a lot about how it's okay to be angry sometimes. I worked very hard to not be an angry person anymore because as a child I was always angry. It felt like I had no control unless I was angry. I didn't know any other feeling really except anger growing up that when I left all of that behind I decided I didn't really need to be that angry anymore. It doesn't mean I didn't have problems with it, I still do. Just the other day I yelled at two people I loved because I was frustrated by something they were saying. How I responded wasn't okay, but how I choose to respond now makes it a learning experience.
First off, if you have any sort of rough emotional patch, there are three things you should be focusing on before anything else: food, shelter, and sleep. Out of those three, sleep is in my top 1 because if I don't get enough sleep, my ability to control my own behaviors is almost impossible. There are moments where I will just start crying out of nowhere. Sometimes I'll go on these rants where I have no idea what I have said but apparently I needed to talk about it in the moment. Other times I will just not even make any sense because my brain is so wired from lack of sleep that every thought that comes in to my head slips out of the cracks. I call it my verbal diarrhea moments.
As soon as I got more than 4 hours of sleep, or if I take a nap instead of running myself ragged, all of those issues go away. That's how important sleeping is. I haven't slept well for about 7 months now. Because of this, all I can focus on is those three basic needs because if I don't do those, I can't function. That can happen to a lot of people. Ever notice that when you are fighting with your significant other or family member, and it's late at night, you somehow seem to say a lot more than you actually mean to? That's from the fact that you need to sleep.
A therapist of mine way back when told me a very simple rule when it comes to dealing with conflicts: don't fight after 9 PM. Recently I have also learned through experience that you shouldn't fight before 7 AM. If I'm asleep and someone wakes me up to fight, it's way more likely for me to be mean than it would be after 7 AM. Same goes for after 9 PM. I'm not alone in this, because a lot of girls I have talked to have the same issue when they come to me for advice.
The hierarchy of needs is a vital piece of information in regards to dealing with how to not react like that, step by step. I will just be focusing on the first three for now. Abraham Maslow was one of the first psychologists to focus on behavior rather than clinical analysis.
First off, if you have been following what Sigmund Freud preaches, stop, because he was actually a sexist bigot. Many of his ideas about woman were in fact way off target. Not every woman envies a penis, and if they do it is not because men are the superior being. If you want to follow any psychologist, follow the teachings of Abraham Maslow. Behavioral psychology focuses on the behaviors that are happening in the present moment instead of why those behaviors exist. Behavioral psychology works better for illnesses like anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. Some of us don't understand why certain things bother us. I myself had no idea why I hated bathrobes so much until three years ago. There are plenty of things that I think to myself, why the hell do I do this? But, that's why behavioral psychology works so well!
Maslow's hierarchy of needs breaks down how a person can build themselves up after a trauma. If you want to come from the perspective of growth, the first step to recovery is the physiological needs of a human being. These are the needs that I was talking about before. Building a healthy foundation leads to a healthy human being. So, while it may feel nice to go and date someone right after being traumatized, building a foundation can help prevent being retraumatized later on.
Safety is your physical and emotional safety. This could include finances, where you're living, whether or not you understand healthy boundaries, etc.
Love/belonging is having intimate relationships and friendships with other people. What's the unhealthiest way to heal from a trauma is to jump right to the love/belonging. If you are not emotionally safe within yourself, you can create intimate relationships with people you don't even know. While you might think that it wouldn't hurt you, 99/100 times it will if you are not taking care of yourself and not creating safety boundaries for yourself.
The time period between each level can vary depending on the situation. Sometimes it will take someone way longer to be financially secure because they are homeless. Other times it will take 5 years for someone to understand what healthy boundaries look like. If you don't know what healthy boundaries are and how to set them with others, then you probably shouldn't be dating.
From all the stories that I have heard, it seems to me that many women struggle with understanding what it means to be safe. The most important way to understand how to be safe, especially if you have been assaulted and are recovering, is knowing how to set healthy boundaries within yourself and with others. This means that if you don't know how to tell someone no, learn! It's always so flattering to be seen as pretty and treated like royalty for a minute, but when the first situation happens where you don't like what someone is doing to you and you don't say something, you WILL get sucked in to a situation that is toxic and out of control. If you don't know how to communicate with others how you feel, I will give you a few examples of mine that I've dealt with over the past 7 years.
Five or six years ago I worked with a man whose long-term girlfriend worked with us as well. From what I observed, every time his girlfriend was not working with him, he would gravitate towards me and start flirting with me. I didn't think twice about it up until I was giving him a ride home from work and he started to suggest that we start making out as a joke. Some girls don't care, but because I'm me I thought about his girlfriend and their four kids and I responded with, "In your dreams." He laughed it off and so did I, and we were still friends afterwards. But, every time he would hit on me without his girlfriend at work, I would respond with something similar.
There is a massive benefit to setting healthy boundaries when you are uncomfortable and not ready for an intimate relationship. When you say how you feel, you not only are preventing a situation that might hurt you, but you also gain a lot more respect from those men that choose to treat women like that. If they are a good enough man they will no longer treat you like that, and if they continue to treat you like that, you just get need to be more blunt. If you have to say, "Dude, leave me the fuck alone." do it! If someone's not getting the message, it doesn't matter how nice you're being they won't stop until you tell them no or cut them out of your life.
If you want to date after after experiencing trauma, you have the freedom to do so. All I'm saying is maybe there's a reason why situations happen with significant others where we become involved in a toxic situation that spirals out of control. Deciding to say no and setting boundaries is what caused my ex husband to leave abruptly. If that's how I have to set boundaries with someone, that is what I will do, because I will respect myself more because of it and it will prevent situations like this from happening in the future.