Wednesday, February 12, 2020


There is a saying that you can't heal what you can't see. This is why I went searching for answers about how I felt because I knew what I felt wasn't how I wanted to feel, and intuitively I understood that I needed to know where I had been to begin to heal.

I've read a number of books now on topics that seemed related to my circumstances. There was marginal assistance through the psychology sessions I have had but nothing directly related to a full understanding of my circumstances and certainly no advice was administered as to what to do. In other words, there was no diagnosis and no treatment plan.

However, I feel quite clear about what happened to me now and this is a great blessing, to see the history clearly. This is profound.

I think when the brain has been subjected to thinking in a certain way over a long period of time - I am in my early 60s - it is not realistic to think that I won't have some tough moments going forward, but I definitely feel grateful to have understanding, and so long as I am kind to myself, which I see as vital, I think there is much reason to be hopeful that the shame and blame that I put on myself will fade.

It was difficult to say the least to learn that it was my inner critic that kept me in torment. I blamed myself for not being stronger and more resilient, whereas now I am learning to turn that message around:

"Things were difficult for you for no fault of your own. You had to survive, and you did what you could to survive. Now, new strategies are needed to thrive. And, you are putting those strategies in place. Be proud of yourself."

Without going into too much boring detail about my reading and understanding here's what I discovered:

- Although my parents loved me in an overarching way (the feeling was no doubt in their hearts) I was not given a childhood. I have no memories of being kissed, cuddled, held. I have no memories of being read to at night, or being tucked into bed. I didn't eat with my parents. My parents demanded that their two children be as little effort as possible and so I closed down my emotions, was 'good'.

- I began to masturbate at a very early age and this was my attempt at 'self-soothing'. My childhood environment did not provide me with a sense of safety and masturbating myself to sleep became a survival strategy for me; a way of soothing my troubled mind that was flooded with chemicals that made my body and mind anxiety prone.

- I am kinky and this is now hard wired and cannot be alerted. Fear and sexual arousal at a certain point intertwined.I don't seek to alter it. It is obvious, day by day, that I am aroused in a 'feel good' and sexual way when I have an overt sense of ownership. I want to be 'attached' to my husband. He gets this, fortunately. He is comfortable with it. I have shared my understandings with him.

- I was susceptible to having my attachment system activated due to the lack of mother love. I was also susceptible to having my inner critic activated and exacerbated. It hadn't occurred to me that the lack of mother love repercussions were the fault of my parents but rather I blamed myself, unconsciously. I now understand the thoughts. I wasn't lovable. I wasn't worthy of love. I wasn't pretty enough, or sexual enough. Importantly, I needed to be pleasing. I had learned this as a child. If you don't act how they want you to act, they reject you.

- In short, I was highly vulnerable to any sort of narcissistic behavior of another; to love-bombing, to verbal abuse; manipulation. My trained sense of loyalty to people, even when they behaved in a  selfish and unloving way made me feel that I needed to find even more tolerance and strength for toxic behavior.

- What I came to see was that in the end it wasn't about the Other. It was about the fact that I had failed to understand that any disrespectful behavior towards me should have been a red flag on which I acted to create a boundary against the toxicity of the relationship.

- I was kind of right. It was all my fault, no matter what the training of my childhood. You see, I can't change the behavior of others, but I can change my behavior and in this way I can change how I feel. It is in my power to say no to a sense of blame and shame, to have some control over the depression; to say yes to a sense of personal power; to have respect for myself.

This is a game changer. I can't say I won't have tough days. I know I will. But, there's a huge sense of power over my destiny now.

I am eternally grateful to Kelly McDaniel who wrote 'Ready to Heal: Breaking Free of Addictive Relationships' and to Abdul Saad of Vital Mind Psychology who has free on You Tube videos that have helped me so much.

There are very good people in the world. Of this, I have no doubt. If you have struggled in a similar way to the way I have struggled, I encourage you to seek your answers. Once you know what in fact happened to you, you are on your way to healing. Know that you are not alone. You deserve to be happy.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Being decisive

There has been a burst of action in my life. I think feelings had been building up  for me for some time so that when I really felt them with full force, action, not words so much as action, was easier than I ever imagined it could be.

For one piece of action, which came more like a decision, a decision to take no further action, it was decisive, but sad. I knew I had to make the decision. I knew I didn't have a choice. I felt strong. I felt a bit like a Warrior, protective of myself, and that part felt good. There was the smaller and more vulnerable part of me that felt sad, but the Warrior won, and I felt proud that that part of me insisted on being decisive and clear.

How it took as long as it did, well that's another story; a painful one. But, the decision was made to end the pain, like a surgeon saying that the patient would need to lose a leg but he could save his life. I haven't heard of anyone that said 'No, no, just leave me to die with everything intact' and I made the same decision.

For the second piece of action, I have turned the other cheek with a friend over the past few years. Conflict avoidant, I had chosen to not speak what I thought, any number of times, although I registered the intuitive thought that something was not right there, in the things she said. She's ratty at times; short tempered and comes across as fragile in a sense, but she's also a strong defender of herself. She has trouble seeing how she comes across and I recognized some time ago that she wasn't going to find a man, because there aren't perfect men/people out there, and that's what she insists upon. She must have gone through a dozen or more in the past few years.

The weird thing is she's good too. She works in the caring industry and she does good work on the whole, as far as I can tell. She does snuff off people along the way because she so wants her own way and most people don't want that sort of conflict in a relationship/friendship, but I chose to ignore the trait, until now. I guess I didn't process how much it bothered me. Or, maybe I was taking the bottom down position yet again and found myself tired of the view from there...

But, she turned on me this evening and said some truly awful things by text over the course of the evening. She sees me as a competitor which I said was a silly thing to do and she just kept upping the ante. The thing is a couple of people gave me praise for what I do, and what she does, and as far as she was concerned any praise for me, even though I am the new kid on the block with loads to learn, was a reason for her to garner more control; ensure I held my place in the pecking order, below her.

In the end, she acted like a domineering, son of a bitch Narcissist telling me what I was and wasn't go to do, and with full clarity and precision of thought I texted back that I wasn't planning to adhere to her demands and that our friendship was over.

(It's the morning and I don't regret this decision although I am sad about it. Something deep inside me tells me to defend that vulnerable part inside of me. My husband, furious about the way she treated me 'I told you she'd do this one day...', wanted to go and tell her off, and you have to love his protective streak, but no, I am standing up for myself.)

I've seen her behave with people in this way before, a number of times, and I kept my own counsel about it, but what's clear is that something has cleared in me.

I can speak up. I can protect myself if necessary. I have agency in this world.

In the past, I've been a Mamma Bear for my kids. I've stood up and protected them. But, it's a very rare day in my life when I stand up for myself in this way, and twice in two days! That's some sort of miracle. There is some sort of transformation going on. I may be growing up.