When we think of oppression, we usually associate it with political and economic subjugation in our societies. What can be just as harmful, however, are the many ways in which we oppress ourselves. Self-oppression keeps us trapped and locked into lives full of pain. It prevents us from seeking out happier paths for ourselves and the opportunities that will better our lives. We stifle our progress and keep ourselves from healing. When it comes to our addictions, we oppress ourselves by choosing self-destructiveness over self-love. We are subconsciously so self-hating that we consciously choose things we know are bad for us. We fear having to face our pain, so we use substances, behaviors and relationships to try to escape it. When we’re oppressing ourselves, we’re literally robbing ourselves of the chance to grow, to learn, and to do better for ourselves. We’re keeping ourselves small and drastically limiting our potential. Freedom from addiction means liberating ourselves from the clutches of our own self-oppression.
Oppressing ourselves can look different for different people. Some of us will be visibly insecure and self-hating. Our struggle with addiction and mental health issues is apparent, and we’re visibly suffering, our lives in total shambles. We might constantly berate ourselves, we’ll have a very hard time taking compliments, and we’ll be the first to spot our flaws. We dwell on the things we regret rather than focusing on how we can turn our lives around and make better choices moving forward. We choose partners that disrespect and abuse us.
For others of us, our self-hatred is more covert. We might keep our pain hidden from sight. We might sabotage our chances at happiness. We might appear fine outwardly but are inwardly subjecting ourselves to cruel treatment. These people tend not to raise concerns with the people in their lives because they seem as though they’re happy. Their loved ones might not even know they suffer from addiction or mental health issues because they’ve gotten so good at hiding their self-destructiveness.
However we’re oppressing ourselves, we need to learn to be kind to ourselves if we’re to heal. What would self-compassion look like in your life? How would you treat yourself differently if you were supporting rather than oppressing yourself? How would you talk and think about yourself differently? How might your life be transformed? Each of us has within us unlimited potential for transformation. We can heal. We can liberate ourselves from our own internal self-oppression. It begins with becoming more aware of how we’re treating ourselves, and then making the conscious choice to be better to ourselves in all ways.
Bayview Recovery’s treatment programs include mental illness as a focus, to help you heal not only from your addictions but from the co-occurring disorders that often accompany them. Call 888-570-7154 today for more information.