Editor’s Note: If you need inspiration and motivation, you NEED to read this post! This beautiful submission came from one of our SPANily members and fellow survivors named Julie Liang. Not only is she a gifted artist, but she is an inspiring example of someone who is beating the odds and creating the life she wants and deserves. I am so honored to share Julie’s artwork and thoughts with you here. She is truly amazing on so many levels! Thanks to Julie Liang for giving me permission to share. ~Angie Atkinson
Artwork and Story By Julie Liang
I drew this picture last night to empower myself as well as add some positive energy to my room, which is being turned into a galaxy/space sensory room. I have Down syndrome and I am also on the Autism Spectrum. I just enrolled in college for an associates degree in physical science. My plan is to then go to university for my bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering.
Ever since I was little I have been obsessed with outer space. All my life people told me that I would never be anything. That I could never accomplish anything. My mother didn’t put me in special education classes instead she pushed me into regular classes that with time turned into advanced classes.
You see, first, my mom was the game changer. She knew that one day I would achieve great things and she didn’t let the world or anyone put her daughter into a box.
I’ve been abused and taken advantage of and pushed around my whole life. Narcissistic people have tried my whole life to pull me down, but I’m a fighter.
Something inside me changed when I found out that my mom is very sick. I had to become my own game changer. I needed to believe in myself and just look up.
My time of looking down is over and it’s time for me to put my helmet on and block out all the voices that say I will never touch the stars. It’s time for me to show them who I really am. I am powerful. I am strong. I am smart. I know who I am now. I remember and now the game has changed.
The abuser has harmed you again, is perhaps gone having discarded you, or you’ve left.
…but you’re still thinking you “love” them. These are the words in your own voice echoing in your head—the soft-focus, romanticized ideation that your abuser actually deserves your love. You may likely be telling yourself that you have to stay in/get back in this nightmare relationship because you can’t ever get anyone else who’d treat you properly anyway.
This your internal narrative…and it needs significant redirection, an upgrade, and remodeling. This is a brainwashed-by-abuse mindset that must be corrected with truth.
Seeing an abuser as a person to still merit your feelings of love is a target point for telling yourself the truth. Remember the old adage, “The truth shall set you free”? Truth is your light to banish the darkness of abuse.
Change your internal narrative…you need to tell YOU the truth:
This person harmed you purposely and repeatedly without remorse.
The abuser did this because he enjoys harming people.
This will not change.
They have no human merit, therefore
Tell yourself the truth…change your vision of the abuser to the truth. No more twinkling, soft-focus ideations of still loving or the abuser being worthy of those feelings.
You’ve always been the person of merit…the abuser never has. Abusers target good people to oppress because it gives them a power high to cause harm to the admirable.
It’s time to get real. Is your toxic relationship making you fat? How exactly does the narcissist affect your health? Can being in a relationship with a toxic narcissist cause you to gain weight, or to have otherwise disordered eating? How does it work and why does it happen? Being manipulated by someone with NPD can be exhausting and can do a real number on your self-respect, not to mention your mental health. This kind of manipulation can lead to obesity and a number of other health issues. That is exactly what I’m talking about today.
What is Self-Love? (the carpenter’s level illustration) ______________
The concept of self-love and honor is woefully undertaught, even being misunderstood as egomania. To love, care for, appropriately protect, and maintain yourself is absolutely necessary for a healthy life, healthy life choices, and healthy relationships.
Self-love reflects upon how you nourish yourself, how are you keep healthy practices such as self-care, nourishment, and exercise, and even reflects upon such things as the job you choose and how you choose to maintain your home environment and its protective, nurturing qualities.
What happens when we do not love ourselves? Often, we do not think we deserve good structures in life such as a safe home environment, or decent, honest, appropriate people in our lives to honor us and treat us well. We often think to ourselves, “Oh well, I should just go ahead and date this person because I can’t get anybody any better anyway”, or “It’s okay that he/she treats me miserably, lies, etc. … he/she pays that bill or did that nice thing that one time, etc.”.
A tidal wave of horrendous treatment is not wiped away by some small measure of what looks like good. That’s a little like someone shooting you, but handing you a Band-Aid.
So what does self-love look/feel like? Imagine a carpenter’s level with the fluid-filled cylinder holding a single bubble.
Your sense of self and self-honor are represented by that bubble. Self-love keeps your bubble between the centering lines. If someone mistreats you, you are tuned in to the fact that your bubble is being pulled out of center. You are not being appropriately honored as a human being with value and merit. This is your moment to stand up and clarify your right to be treated well.If that person mistreating you will not correct their behavior, gaslights you, projects upon you, etc., then that is an individual who does not deserve to be in proximity to you.
It’s very important also to understand that self-love exists appropriately when you love yourself as well as loving and honoring the good people around you. Only can self-love be construed as narcissism/sociopathy when it exists in a detrimental state, cutting out honoring any/every person around.