Do You Spend Life Waiting For the Other Shoe to Drop?
Believe it or not, this is a common side effect of PTSD. It’s pathology is easy to figure out once you have the key. Trauma strikes you out of the blue. You are never expecting your FIRST trauma. It comes at you with the speed of a freight train. You are living a normal, if not peaceful, life. Then WHAM!
Those who have experienced prolonged abuse are also particularly vulnerable. We never expect that a day can go by without trauma. So even when trauma is long past, our nervous systems are primed, on alert, ready to be assailed by our worst enemy. We live life “on the edge.”
The best way to get over this feeling is to re-learn trust. But first we have to get rid of our erroneous thought patterns brought upon us by the trauma. This is best tackled by cognitive therapy. David Burns wrote the definitive work: BE Happy. I have adapted his work to suit my own life. When I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, I take out a piece of paper and identify my automatic thoughts. They often go something like this.
I am beginning to feel peaceful/successful/tranquil/etc.
But I know that I am worthless
Because I am worthless, something is going to destroy my peace/tranquility, etc.
I have to prepare myself for something awful to happen
It is better to feel worthless and anxious than to be taken by surprise
This chain of automatic thoughts cankers our souls and keeps us from happy lives and success at what we most want to pursue. But it is full of errors.
1.) You are not worthless. You are a son or daugther of a God who loves you and desires your success. He desires that you overcome these feelings of worthlessness imparted by a traumatic event where someone used their agency to harm you. He (God) is offering you the healing power of his love. Take His hand by going to Him in prayer and asking to feel His love for you.
2.) This is the cognitive error of fortune telling. Everyone has trials when they are trying to do the right thing. However, they are not inevitable. Remember Moses and the Red Sea. When trials come, you have the Lord on your side. You are like Moses with his rod, commanding the seas to part, or David with his sling killing Goliath. That same power is available to you if you ask for it to defeat whatever comes to keep you from progressing. YOU HAVE PERSONAL POWER when you are in partnership with God.
3.) Instead of preparing yourself for something awful (we have dealt with that in #2, why don’t you redirect your thoughts, and prepare to succeed. Turn that negative energy into positive energy! Using inspiration from every source you can find, prepare for success, for happiness. Prepare by DOING. Take positive steps toward a happy life, a successful journey toward your goals.
4.) When you feel powerful, and when your hand is in the LORD’s, you will see immediately how to deal with negative things. Negative things always happen to people with a great work to do. The greatest tragedy is not death, but not doing what you were born to do. Are you going to let evil people or circumstances stand in the way of your divine destiny? There is no need. You have the power of the Universe on your side.