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July 16, 2021 at 3:39 pm #382980AnonymousInactive
I listened to the meditation yesterday, it was really soothing. I should really do it again, and meditate more often. I only used meditation when facing anxiety during specific situations before, but not as an help for my healing process. I should see what I can get from a more regular practice.
You’re right, I definitely made it father than I thought I would when I was young. And I still got things to be grateful for. Healing could be possible. Since you invited me to share my insights, I will.
I wrote my first letter to my inner child. As I had difficulty visualizing her, I chose to expose old childhood pictures as I wrote. It made the process easier. I managed to dissociate those pictures from the shameful feelings they brought to me the few times I looked back at them. The wounds used to make me unable to look at any picture of myself without being attacked by some harsh inner dialogues and feelings. But this time I was able to as they are, without judgment and guilt.
It helped me remember the hope and happiness. I’m not gonna lie, I had depressive phase even during childhood, because of the difficulties. But phases were phases, so that wasn’t entirely without hope and hapiness. It was easier back then for me to openly express joy and love. Sure, I was introverted and had a lot of struggles, but I was feeling alive more often. I had a bit more confidence in myself despite the external factors that made me doubts. Until it became too much.
As I wrote the letter, I was able to focus on the parts I was proud of and liked about myself when I wasn’t in doubt. It was nice. My inner child had her wounds, but she has also her strengths. And as I wrote to her I was able to see how she could be lovable no matter the circonstances or the path she would have taken in life. She wasn’t the ‘bad’ or ‘not enough’ person as these wounds made her think sometime. She was trying her best with her circonstances, and she had the right to not please everyone. To not be the solution to everyone’s problem. To exist for herself, and not for others.
Wanting to be happy (and not being hurt) and thinking good thing about herself wasn’t selfish or wrong. She didn’t have to be perfect or didn’t have to put other’s people feeling before her own. She tried anyway because she thought it was the good thing to do, and a requirement for her to be lovable to others. Now I’ll have to reassure her about the fact she shoudn’t neglect herself to meet other people’s expectation/need. It’s not good for her, and it doesn’t even worth it. It brings nothing good and nothing real. People who would shame her for her boundaries, needs, or would expect of her to neglect her feelings or betray herself for them aren’t people who would truly loves her anyway.
I think, maybe, she fears that genuine unconditional love doesn’t exist, or is so rare she won’t encounter it. After all, she’s been raised on conditional love. And I’m not sure I can entirely reassure her on that. But I can at least tell her good people exist, and can appreciate her. I don’t know if this can be called love. Love from people isn’t a notion I entirely feel safe with, as the people who claimed to love me also had expectations from me that hurt me. And I believe a lot of people ‘love’ the same way the people who hurt me did.
These people who are willing to respect me and are appreciative of what I can provide to them without hurting myself, is it some kind of love ? I wonder. I like this though. Even, if it’s not love, it is quite good. Probably it is enough, I just wish I wasn’t such a rare occurence.
I think I can at least promise my inner child to try my best to love her unconditionally. After all, we’ve spent our entire life together, and we’re going to be with each other until the end. It doesn’t worth it, to play the game of life with the rules/conditions others taught us to believe. We learnt to love ourselves conditionnally because we’re imitating others. It is a painful game, and there’s no peace or happiness to achieve with those rules of conditional love. It is unwise to keep at it, if it only brings more suffering. Life is already tough enough, resilience is hard to achieve when having no support. And if I can’t rely on anyone but myself to support my inner child. It’s not like anyone’s love and care could efficiently compensate for lack of self love and self care.
All of this makes sense, but I have yet to figure out what actions I should take to reinforce these thoughts, to implement self-care and self-love, and to pursue my healing. Journaling and meditation should be good tools for this. And keep talking with people who shares similar experiences on this forum is very helpful too. There’s more clarity when I’m talking with people who understand.
Thank you for your encouragement Sarah, it means a lot.July 16, 2021 at 4:22 pm #382982
I’m so glad you enjoyed the meditation.
Here are two more by Mimi Page-
Here’s a quote I came upon recently: “If you’re unsure of your purpose in this life, look to your wounds. Where we are called to serve is where we ourselves have been impoverished.” ~Mira Hadlow
I love the book, Man’s Search for Meaning (by holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl). It explores finding meaning in the mess. I find it helpful for depression and trauma too.
Now that you’re reconnecting with your inner child and said things to her, what are some things she’d like to say to you? Try the reverse of what you did.
What childhood beliefs did you cultivate because of your trauma? What triggers you to feel these ways? When was a last time you had a trauma response i.e. Saying “I’m fine” when you’re not or avoiding conflict etc. What triggered that trauma response? Can you connect it back to your childhood beliefs?
Then strengthen the inner adult. Challenge those childhood beliefs. If you were told to stay small and quiet and weak and disempowered, say “I’m allowed to take up space.”
It seems like your relationships don’t allow you to take up space fully. You struggle to share your pain in them or get meaningful responses. (Again here and that facebook group as well as any support group or therapist would help that). What if you tried to put together these thoughts you share here and express it to a close friend or family member you trust? What if you tried to be a little vulnerable and let someone in? Maybe not the whole way but just to let them know how you’re feeling. That way you feel less alone.
I was depressed as a child too. I had a lot of trauma from that time period as well. Your inner child listens to you. She knows you are saving her. 🙂 And you can and will save yourself.
I’m glad you’re seeing how far you’ve come. Give yourself some credit. You deserve it. Not many could be so strong.
You deserve to know how wonderful you are. I can already see by your writing you’re thoughtful, intelligent, resilient, empathetic and kind. You are self advocating in a great way already.
Journal your thoughts to these points. Take your time. Get to know yourself again. Your inner child is someone you will feel triggered time and time again due to trauma. that is normal for the healing process. The point of this is to understand your triggers and healthily respond with self-compassion.
Self-compassion can be hard to muster when you’ve faced neglect. That’s why communicating with your inner child is so important.
Hope that helps!
SarahJuly 16, 2021 at 5:35 pm #382985EricaParticipant
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience here because finding someone with an experience so similar to mine was literally what I searched for today. I needed to know there was someone out there who felt all these things and had the same difficulties. I needed some hope today, basically, and you have given it to me. You give hope and a gift to others every time you tell your truth, and you never know who might be searching for their own story in yours.
I have had Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and PTSD from childhood abuse for my whole life, and I do treat it, but my life has gotten worse, not better. Last year I imploded my whole life and left my husband for someone who turned out to be a toxic narcissist. I also started using crystal meth (at 44, of all the absurd things!) in an attempt to…I guess, live in his world? I found that it took away all my depression and made me feel like a real person for the first time in so long….I started writing and making art again. My layers of toxic shame from so many years of failure at everything, at first, seemed to disappear. Soon enough, though, I was addicted and started to experience many of the side effects. Now i am about to start recovery and therapy. I have a lifelong pattern of quitting therapy as soon as it gets painful and difficult, but at this point it has become life or death. I know I must face, finally, all the broken, unlovable, and darkest parts of me now. I am entering the “long dark night of the soul” and I have to also, like you, learn how to reparent myself. My mother was not abusive, but she was “checked out” so much, due to her own history of abuse. It was the only way she could survive and raise 7 children. She did the best she could with the resources she had. Unfortunately, she passed her skills at dissociation down to me, and I became a master at making myself small and tidy so that I wouldn’t make anyone uncomfortable. It’s so sad that we do that to ourselves, and eventually we merely exist.
You mentioned you are young, but you seem incredibly self-aware, thoughtful, and empathetic. What I need to tell you is to be gentle with yourself, but learn now, whatever it takes, to be your own best advocate and fiercest best friend. That ‘s what I would actually write to myself if I were writing to my teenage or 20-something self. I didn’t. I ran away from everything and lived on crumbs from others and never learned how to take care of myself financially or emotionally. Now I am here. I’m not complaining. I know there’s always hope, but I would like to see others not have to suffer so long before they can find true help.
I am writing a book about my experiences and journey, which I want to be a living journey, that is, I am living it as I’m writing it. I want to help take the stigma away from experiences like ours. I still struggle every day with thinking that maybe I am just lazy, weak, broken beyond repair, or better off gone because I feel like I only damage everything I touch. And now I have another stunning level of “failure” (addiction) to add to the pile. But I also have always felt like I had a big calling in my life to write and heal. The world needs people like you, with experiences that can also heal. Never forget that. Your pain can become your gift. Energy can only be changed, right? So we have to find ways to transform what hurts into what heals.
Tonight I am going to try out some “Somatic Experiencing” meditation, something I’m fascinated by. Because trauma lives in our bodies, it lives in our cells and DNA. It needs to be processed, and our bodies need to be able to release it. You might want to look into it too…there are lots of videos on YouTube.
I’ll finish with this quote by Carl Jung that speaks to the importance of this, and “meeting the shadow”:
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate”July 16, 2021 at 5:45 pm #382987EricaParticipant
I did also want to share this list I made with you. As you learn to reparent yourself, (as I am learning) I thought that breaking it down into different components might help. I came up with three layers of this that I feel are vital: safety, bonding, and routine. Then I wrote some simple affirmations to help with each one. I hope this inspires you.Reparenting AffirmationsSafety“I am safe in my body and in the world”“I have the right to take up space”“I can meet my own needs and take care of myself”Bonding“I am learning to love myself”“I am worthy of love and compassion”“I am becoming my own best friend”Routine“Having structure makes me less anxious”“I decide how to spend my time and energy”“I am becoming comfortable directing my energy”July 16, 2021 at 6:10 pm #382988AnonymousInactive
” I think that a lot of the people, most of the time, do not selflessly and genuinely care about the thoughts and feelings of others: too many people are too busy and/ or too troubled to have the mental space to genuinely and attentively attend to others.”
I have come to the same conclusion in regard to that. It is good though, to hear that few relationships of quality can be enough. I think it could be for me too.
” You therefore did not have the thoughts you have today. Back then, the child-person that you were, was way more emotional than intellectual […] When you share about your childhood using words, thoughts, ideas, analyses- all which did not exist when you were a child- it is not really the child you were that is confiding. No wonder confiding with others as an adult did not make you feel better.”
It is an interesting hypothesis, I believe there may be truth in it. From quite early in my youth, I valued analyses (though there were probably very clumsy), I was very intrigued and craved an understanding of people and complex situations. I was trying very hard at that because I saw my family falling apart before my eyes, and being analytical was my way to cope. I sought help in gathering knowledge when I had the opportunity when I became older, and it did help to some extent, but I neglected the emotional aspect of the whole mess. Emotions were especially messy things in my eyes, probably because of how little control my mother had over her own emotions. From my observation of her, being emotional brought bad consequences, so as I grew up shutting my emotions down. Now I see this ‘solution’ have its own kind of bad consequences.
“Here is what I suggest, consider in your next post doing the following exercise: share about your childhood experience with your histrionic mother using very simple, child-like vocabulary, avoiding any wordings, ideas and analyses that you read about and thought about as an older teenager and adult. If you are not willing and/ or able to do this exercise- that’s fine with me. If you think that it might help you if I will do this exercise (regarding my own experience with my histrionic mother), on your thread- let me know. It will be difficult for me, and I have never done it before online, but I am willing to try.”
I am going to try right there, though I don’t know how successful it will be (how far I can go back with the childish thing) but I will try. You do not have to do it, as I am not here to force anyone either, but if it is something that can bring you something good then feel free do to so. I would be interested in reading it, but only if you sincerely do want to share it.
Here goes nothing : (These thoughts feelings are coming from different situations, which hopefully will speak for themselve)
– My mother talk too much. She is angry. She is upset. She is sad. She’s worried for me. She’s angry at the people outside, because the people outside are being bad with me. Are they really? I don’t know, but she feels very strongly about it. It is stressful. If she’s reacting like that, she must have good reasons to worry. And people wouldn’t just be bad towards me for no reason. I probably did something wrong, for people not being able to be good with me. Is there something wrong with me? I made my mother upset towards the strangers, she is gonna be angry at the strangers and the strangers will be upset too, and sad. And I can’t do anything about it. Why couldn’t I have the right behavior, so nobody would be upset and hurt.
– This person was mean to me at school. I didn’t understand why. I am crying. I shouldn’t cry, not in front of my mother. She will ask, and she won’t let me off until I explain. And I can’t lie. So I tell her. And, oh no, just as I thought, she gets angry. She warns me she is going to take action. I don’t like how she takes action. What if the student tries to get back at me after that? Will I be humiliated as she talks to protect me? I hate how she plays me the victim, even putting words into my mouth that I never said. I just wanted comfort, and maybe advice on how to face this myself. This is not her fight. Now I have no control over the situation, she’s taking action without caring how I feel. I would rather disappear than keep hearing her talking and taking over my businesses.
– Why does she have to compare me with this girl? She’s my friend, she did nothing bad. It’s not her fault if she has better grades than be, and that her parents have a “better situation”. Why does she have to be angry and jealous for my sake when I am not? Am I not good enough? I understand she feels rivalry toward my friend’s mother, but it’s her fight, not mine. Why should I dislike my friend for that? It’s not like we are very close, but it’s unfair. She’s kind enough to hang out with me, so she isn’t bad. But now I can’t enjoy hanging out with her anymore. Does my friend also think I am lesser? Does she secretly mock me? Does she stay around me because it makes her look better compared to me? Does her mother also behave the same as mine, trying to make my friend hate me in secret? Or is she a good mother, not pressuring her child? Either way, my mother makes me losing a fight I never wanted to be part of.
– Again with the comparison. I don’t care if it’s supposed to be a praise, mom, if you’re putting someone else down to make me look good, then I must not be any good to begin with. I don’t feel praised like this. But how can I explain it to her? She’s so loud, so confident. I’m so quiet. When I try to explain, she doesn’t listen. I am frustrated, I get angry. And even then the message doesn’t get across her mind. She is just upset with me, hating me for my bad behavior. Once again, I can’t do anything. I feel bad when I am angry, but it feels right. Am I a bad child for screaming at my mother? When she’s also screaming at me and carelessly hurting my feelings? I don’t think so. But she’s also the person caring for me, she’s the adult, she might know more than she lets on. What if she’s right? What if I am a bad ungrateful ignorant child? Should I let her me and say nothing? I am wrong for feeling hurt? Am I too being too sensitive, am I overthinking? Feeling too much?
I guess it’ll be enough for tonight. I hope I didn’t do the exercise wrong.
LinarraJuly 16, 2021 at 9:02 pm #382991AnonymousGuest
I am glad to see that you tried the exercise (I did not read it yet). I will read your recent post and reply further tomorrow morning, in about 11 hours from now.
anitaJuly 17, 2021 at 6:51 am #382997AnonymousInactive
Thank you for the meditations you recommended. The second link (Breathe meditation) doesn’t seem to work but I will definitely do the first one.
“If you’re unsure of your purpose in this life, look to your wounds. Where we are called to serve is where we ourselves have been impoverished.” ~Mira Hadlow” It is an interesting quote. I do think we are more likely to be invested and find purpose in the field we have been wounded on, once we started to recover. And finding purpose in those wounds give them a good reason to exist, if we don’t make good use of them they are just tragedy. If we learn from them and do something good out of them, it balances the pain a bit.
I will see if I can find the book of somewhere, this subject is always interesting and more thoughts and explorations are always welcomed.
It seems my inner child feels pressured by me a bit. I have been trying to grow stronger and faster to protect us both, trying to meet the standards I felt were necessary to avoid further attack on us. And she understands what I have been trying to do, despite being motivated by fear I tried to hear her needs and do what was necessary to have both safety and her need met. But since it is a complex thing to achieve I have been very hard and strict on ourselves.
She wants to have a meaningful worthwhile life, and she finds that only when she’s able to focus most of her time on creativity, but it is difficult to make a living in creative fields, it requires to face a lot of fear and unknown and even the people without my extreme anxiety and avoidance struggle to make a living out of it. So this need comes with great risks for our safety, and I’m trying to avoid a bad ending. So I’ve been asking a lot of us, and when it isn’t enough to reach the goal fastly enough, I let the fear and negativity win. Which isn’t helpful. She’s cooperating well with strictness, when things are going well for us, she’s happy we’re able to do exciting achievements by disciplining ourselves. But I was so focused on trying to save our future and meet that one need that is keeping us alive, I ended up neglecting to heal my wounds, neglecting to allow myself to live outside of this safe space. And she feels like she would be less anxious and sad if I were able to achieve that too.
The question about the beliefs around my traumas and the triggers is more complicated for me to answer. I will need further explorations. Partly because I have a hard time identifying trauma responses. So I can’t about the ‘last’ time for sure, but I can say about the last big upsettings time I denied myself to avoid conflict (and avoid hurting people feelings).
There was this friend who touched me in places that felt inappropriate, while talking about casual friendly things, there were no hints on his thoughts or intents. I stated years before with this friend I wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with him, after he asked me, because I didn’t see him that way. I also mentioned casually, multiples times after that, that romantic relationships weren’t something I was interested in at the moment. He never flirted with me with words, he just was very touchy, to a point that was uncomfortable. And I wasn’t able to confront him directly so I just find my way to give a clear general statement, not directed at him, but that should have made him understand gently it was still a ‘no’. He didn’t understand, so I went out of my way to send him a message and tell him I wasn’t ok with what was going on. He said he was just touching me out of habit, because he was used to cuddling with his teddy bear, that it was just an innocent thing that would be difficult to stop for him. I suspected the lie since he wasn’t touching any of our mutual friends that way, men or women. I didn’t dare to call him out on this and just asked him to stop eventually, even if it was difficult. He did, until he started again months later, again so casually and with no flirt, so it made me too uncomfortable and I couldn’t dare call him out. Until I finally refused to hang out with him anymore after it became clear for me no matter what he pretended before, it wasn’t innocent and he would only push further. I explained to him how disrespected I felt, and I got angry with him. He understood and acknowledged what he did wrong, but I can’t trust him anymore. For now, he didn’t harass me again.
It is not the first time my boundaries aren’t respected. My mother too, touches me into places I am not comfortable with sometimes. Her intentions are different, but still, if I don’t like being groped in an intimate place, just because we are family and it’s innocent on her part shouldn’t give her the right. I always scream from surprise and get angry when she does that. She stops the action but brushes it off, says that there’s nothing wrong with her behavior and tells me something is wrong with me for not allowing that. Even if stop when I tell her off, she keeps doing it again as she doesn’t respect any boundaries. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often. And people aren’t usually acting like her. But I am scared and triggered how some trusted friends can become close and use this closeness to innocently step over my boundaries.
I have difficulties making my boundaries be respected without feeling like I am a bad person who’s hurting friends who are just craving intimacy. I like intimacy too, but I only like it when I am sure both people are consenting to this. And where there are no manipulation/hidden motives, and disrespect.
Funny enough, my mother compared me to a teddy bear too once. I’ve got nothing against teddy bears personally, but it’s starting to be a red flag. I don’t like being used as an object of comfort, not at my own expense, not without my choice or my consent. And too many people looking for love, comfort, and who feel lonely seemed to use me as an object without sincerely caring about my feelings. No wonder I am very wary of intimacy and closeness. And have a hard time trusting people in general.
I guess one of my hurtful beliefs is I feel like my own boundaries could possibly hurt someone else feelings and I’d be guilty for their wound. I also feel lonely and would appreciate some genuine intimacy, with someone who I can trust, but since the only intimacy I am given feels wrong to me, I feel like I might be too picky, too demanding. Maybe unable to love people. And that it would be hypocritical to wish for someone to like me when I have been rejecting people myself. I am afraid by rejecting people so much I am wounding my ability to love others.
What if you tried to put together these thoughts you share here and express it to a close friend or family member you trust? What if you tried to be a little vulnerable and let someone in?
I do that, to some extent, sometimes. There are few people I let in before, because I trusted them enough (they aren’t much available now though, life is busy). I only was able to confide in because they were there at the right time, right place, because they were part of my routine and seemed like good people, and opened themselves first. They were open with their emotions, in a reasonable way, one that didn’t make me feel responsible for them but still allowed me to comfort them, not at my own cost. So eventually I was able to open up a bit too. College was the time I was able to live the most, to exist the most. Even if I was still quiet. Because I was away from my family and was surrounded with healthier people, who weren’t emotionally abusive, and who would sometimes care and listen. But now those times are quite gone, I see my other friends, those I am no open with, only a few times a year. When we see each other there is no time for deep bonding. We are a whole group, and spend too little time together. I’m just catching up on their life, watching them live, unable to be part of this. I feel alone with them because they are living and I am not, at this moment. I’ve been too busy with surviving.
It is normal, I shall take my time to build myself better circumstances, until I manage to open up.
“You deserve to know how wonderful you are. I can already see by your writing you’re thoughtful, intelligent, resilient, empathetic and kind. You are self advocating in a great way already.”
Thank you. I’m trying, it isn’t easy, but I’ll keep trying. And I’ll try to nurture more self-compassion, especially when facing traumatic events or difficult emotions. I will try to be as compassionate with my inner child as I’ve been trying to be towards others.
Thank you for your response,
LinarraJuly 17, 2021 at 7:34 am #382998AnonymousGuest
Following this post I will stay away from your thread for some time and let you communicate with other members. My reason: I believe that it is ineffective and distracting to have 2 or more parallel ongoing and elaborate conversations (on emotional, personal topics) between the original poster and replying members. If and when I notice that your communication with other members has slowed down and leaves space for me- I would like to return to your thread.
Thank you for suggesting that I do the exercise myself only if it benefits me. You are very kind. I would like to do the exercise later, when I return to your thread.
“Emotions were especially messy things in my eyes, probably because of how little control my mother had over her own emotions…. so as I grew up shutting my emotions down. Now I see this ‘solution’ have its own kind of bad consequences“-
– When emotions are messy, a tidy thinking makes us feel better. Problem is that the function of emotions (before they become messy) is to give us needed information, information to which we have no access if emotions are shut down. When thinking about emotional issues, without needed information, our thinking as tidy (and as fancy) as it may be, is flawed to one extent or another.
A few comments/ thoughts in regard to the exercise you did:
(1) “My mother talk too much. She is angry. She is… She is… She’s worried… She’s angry.. she feels.. she’s reacting.. she must.. she is gonna be angry.. she.. she.. she gets angry. She warns me… she.. she plays the victim… she’s taking action without caring how I feel… Why does she…She’s so loud, so confident. I’m so quiet.” etc.
The histrionic, loud, confident-sounding mother who talks too much is the Actor in her daughter’s life, and the daughter is the Reactor. Often the reaction to her is to become the Opposite of what she is: She is loud- You are quiet, She talks too much, randomly, nonsensically, haphazardly, impulsively indiscriminately- Your talk is purposeful, logical, selective, disciplined, She plays the victim- You overtake responsibility, and so forth.
(2) “When I try to explain, she doesn’t listen…. am I overthinking?”- you talk, but your words don’t land on a receptive brain (your mother’s), so your thoughts remain suspended in mid-air, circulating, having no place to land.
(3) “am I… Feeling too much?“- giving feelings words calms us. Without a word (ex. sad, angry, hurt), a distress is added to the feeling. It is the added distress that makes a feeling messy.
* Sometimes an original poster does not notice a replier’s post because of double posting, so please let me know if you received and read this post, and let me know if it is okay with you that I return to your thread at a later time (see first paragraph).
anitaJuly 17, 2021 at 7:52 am #383000AnonymousInactive
I am glad sharing my experience was able to provide you some hope, and helped you feel less alone in your fight.
” Now i am about to start recovery and therapy. I have a lifelong pattern of quitting therapy as soon as it gets painful and difficult, but at this point it has become life or death. I know I must face, finally, all the broken, unlovable, and darkest parts of me now. I am entering the “long dark night of the soul” and I have to also, like you, learn how to reparent myself.”
I am proud of you for being willing to face your wounds, and go to recovery and therapy again despite the real difficulties there are to face such pain and darkness. A lot of people chose to never face it, it’s a sad truth, but you are willing to and it means something. It means a lot, for you, and for others. It means you are strong, you are not giving yourself up despite knowing the difficulties you’ll meet ahead, and it’s a great gift your are giving yourself and anyone in a similar situation. You are not alone. We are trying, we are struggling, we may be quiet, but we are many. Seeking for this strength inside use, seeking for this strength within others so we can have the hope it can be done. And I firmly believe it can, it’s not easy but it worth every little bit of efforts. The courage you are gathering when facing this recovery, is flourishing everywhere around you and within you. You are planting seeds of hope for your future, and for the future of other people like you. It is priceless and beautiful.
“You mentioned you are young, but you seem incredibly self-aware, thoughtful, and empathetic. What I need to tell you is to be gentle with yourself, but learn now, whatever it takes, to be your own best advocate and fiercest best friend. That ‘s what I would actually write to myself if I were writing to my teenage or 20-something self. I didn’t. I ran away from everything and lived on crumbs from others and never learned how to take care of myself financially or emotionally. Now I am here. I’m not complaining. I know there’s always hope, but I would like to see others not have to suffer so long before they can find true help.”
Thank you for your kind words. I am still learning about all of this, and it feels good to have people encouraging me towards this path. Some others who didn’t learn to take care about themselves, especially emotionally, encourages people to follow their path, they think neglect is the way. You know better than to pass this on like your mother unintentionally did to you. We know better, and there’s plenty of hope to share here.
It is very difficult to learn to take care of ourselves financially and emotionally when had nobody to teach us these things. But thankfully, we are not alone, and help can be found. Life is waiting for us to make this recovery, we can find our way back into existence, overcome this, create meaning out of our experience.
“I want to help take the stigma away from experiences like ours.” “I also have always felt like I had a big calling in my life to write and heal. The world needs people like you, with experiences that can also heal. Never forget that. Your pain can become your gift. Energy can only be changed, right? So we have to find ways to transform what hurts into what heals.” It is really important, a lot of people need this. We need this, we needed it before and we still need it. I am glad you are finding a calling and a purpose in transforming the pain and difficulties into something meaningful. Life shaped you, was rough, and yet you’re thriving to build strength from there. It is beautiful and hopeful, and so many people need to know healing can happen, and what helps.
I’m going to research on these “Somatic Experiencing” meditation, I am willing to try anything that could be helpful. And the relation between the mind and the psyche is interesting, I didn’t explore it enough.
I agree if your quote, I have been interested by Carl Jung’s ideas and psychology for a while, especially the “shadow”.
Thank you for sharing your affirmations. I think the safety components are those for which I am struggling the most, even all of them will need a lot of work on my part.
I wish you well on your recovery and therapy, you can do it. You are strong, intelligent, and aware of what you need, you are already on the journey, and you will get there. This calling your pursuing and these good habits you’re nurturing are building your strength and resilience. Keep taking good care of yourself, struggling isn’t failing. You are doing great.
Linarra.July 17, 2021 at 9:31 am #383005AnonymousInactive
“Following this post I will stay away from your thread for some time and let you communicate with other members. My reason: I believe that it is ineffective and distracting to have 2 or more parallel ongoing and elaborate conversations (on emotional, personal topics) between the original poster and replying members. If and when I notice that your communication with other members has slowed down and leaves space for me- I would like to return to your thread.”
I understand your reason. It is indeed overwhelming to have different elaborate conversations. I am trying to reply to everyone with as much investment as I can give, because I am very grateful for anyone who spent time replying to me, they deserve thoughtful answers. There were more constructive responsive than I was expecting, which is great, but I can’t deny it is distracting and my focus is splintered.
“ let me know if it is okay with you that I return to your thread at a later time”
Of course, you are always welcome to return when you’ll deem it right.
“Thank you for suggesting that I do the exercise myself only if it benefits me. You are very kind. I would like to do the exercise later, when I return to your thread.”
If it’s something you would like to, feel free to do it anytime that will feel right for you once you are back.
“Problem is that the function of emotions (before they become messy) is to give us needed information, information to which we have no access if emotions are shut down.”
Good reminder, I tend to forget that quite a lot since I observed for so long my mother expressing her emotions very loudly yet somehow never listen to them, nor gathering information.
“The histrionic, loud, confident-sounding mother who talks too much is the Actor in her daughter’s life, and the daughter is the Reactor. Often the reaction to her is to become the Opposite of what she is: She is loud- You are quiet, She talks too much, randomly, nonsensically, haphazardly, impulsively indiscriminately- Your talk is purposeful, logical, selective, disciplined, She plays the victim- You overtake responsibility, and so forth.”
I can’t think of a more accurate depiction of this phenomenon. It is so true, and makes so much sense. I tried, in my teens, to be loud when communicating with her, with hope by speaking her “language” I would reach out to her. She hated me when I was doing that, she didn’t listen much more.
At another time perhaps, until then I thank you for this nice conversation. It is always good to be understood and seen as clearly. I wish you well.
Linarra.July 17, 2021 at 10:12 am #383008AnonymousGuest
You are welcome. I was glad to read that you agree with my logic, and that I was correct in my thinking regarding carrying on multiple parallel conversations being ineffective/ overwhelming. And so, I’ll stay away for awhile. If you need me to respond to a particular concern/ thought/ suggestion before I return, simply address me by name and let me know what it is.
anitaJuly 17, 2021 at 11:54 am #383015
I’m glad you are going to watch the meditations. Sorry the Breathe one doesn’t work. If you search it with Mimi Page, it might come up. And yes get “Man’s Search for Meaning.”
Some other books good for the soul:
“Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed.
“Try Softer” By Aundi Kolber (goes over trauma responses)
It seems like your trauma response is feeling like you’re a burden, desiring any attention even if negative because of neglect, guilt for boundaries etc. The next thing you need to do is connect these with childhood beliefs. Where do these stem from? Once you make that connection, soothe your inner child and change the inner dialogue by strengthening the inner adult and telling her what is really true. You are NOT a burden. You deserve meaningful connection, nothing inappropriate. You do not need to feel guilty for saying no. It will not bother people who are good. Repeat these statements as necessary. This would be a great journal prompt to explore further.
You were right to tell off that guy. It seems like you are really traumatized though because of how long you fought him off without just breaking it off. It shows me you have trouble saying no and goodbye. Make a list of things you do NOT accept anymore. Inappropriate touching is one of them. How will you respond if someone does this to you? Plan ahead of time. Will you tell them once and then see what happens? Or will you cut them off?
I think you need to cut your mom off and anyone else who traumatized you as a child. When you say she touches you…what does that mean? Like sexually or just lack of boundaries in general? Neither is okay.
Self-advocacy and self-esteem are the struggles I am seeing you have due to trauma responses. What are some kind things you can say about yourself? What do you deserve?
Know what you stand for or you’ll fall for everything.
I’m proud of you. I’ve been reading your responses here and am so amazed at how intentional you are to heal and how you take in everyone’s advice. Don’t exhaust yourself though in the process. Give yourself breaks too from this. It’s a lot to work through. People will understand if you don’t answer right away. I just wanted to give you that option in case you are in any form people-pleasing in this forum too. 🙂
SarahJuly 18, 2021 at 5:17 pm #383051AnonymousInactive
I found the Breath meditation, thank you. I also found an audiobook of Man’s Search for Meaning so I’ll be listening to it. The two others seem more difficult to find for me but I’ll keep their references for later.
“It seems like your trauma response is feeling like you’re a burden, desiring any attention even if negative because of neglect, guilt for boundaries etc. The next thing you need to do is connect these with childhood beliefs. Where do these stem from?”
It sounds right… I think I felt like a burden because my parents were never meant to be together and used their children as an excuse to stay together and make each other miserable. Because of that, my mother made me felt like we had to be indebted for the basic care they provided. When we were expressing disapproval when we weren’t respected, when we stood up against verbal abuse, or when we were expressing any displeasure with our environment/education, she would argue she has sacrificed her life for us. We were a mistakes and we should be grateful for the care she provided. She also constantly wanted me to take her place as the mother when I was a teen, and I constantly refused despite knowing she was struggling, so I felt guilty and like a burden. Like, I owed her to be a more responsible functional adult than she was despite being too young so I could relieve her from her duties, and I was failing her and my family for refusing.
Of course I know such expectations weren’t right, and I didn’t do anything wrong, it was normal to not be able to be something she wasn’t even able to teach me. Especially with the regular traumatic events going on. I shouldn’t have been left alone with the responsibility to fix my family.
The only attention I got, and the only acknowledgement was when I was a successful emotional support for her. She used me a lot, to do the communication she couldn’t/didn’t dare to do. Among other things: facing my father, trying to convince him to stop alcohol, be the third neutral party in arguments… She confided in me too much. She got me involved in family wars at times I wasn’t able to think through everything. I had to translate the emotions of adults to try and make them understand each other instead of fighting. It left no time to figure out my own unimportant emotions.
But my emotions were important. I was trying to do the good thing by helping my family, I was trying to fix my environment with hope it’ll be peaceful again. It’s alright, I couldn’t know it wouldn’t work, I didn’t know better and I tried my best. I wasn’t in control of what was happening, but I tried very hard to do what I thought was the right thing. It wasn’t enough but it wasn’t my fault. It shouldn’t have be my job. And now I deserve to focus on myself, it isn’t selfish.
“It seems like you are really traumatized though because of how long you fought him off without just breaking it off. It shows me you have trouble saying no and goodbye.”
I do have a lot of trouble saying “no” for sure. I have not been taught putting much boundaries with outsiders, once they get close I mean. After all I’ve been pretty isolated when I was young, so I have lacked experimentation. At school, most of the time I would be alone or bullied. Then I started hanging out with people (because you’re less likely to be bullied than alone) and I had a hard time saying no because making enemies could make me bullied more.
As for “saying goodbye”, I don’t think that was the issue there. I didn’t care much about this guy, he just happened to be there and were insisting that he wanted to hang out. I said ‘no’ to him a lot, but I chose to make effort because I didn’t go out of my home nearly enough (a few time a years) and it seemed wise to use these occasions as a sort of exposure therapy for what seems to be some kind of agoraphobia I am having. I was troubled because cutting him off could be confused by me avoiding my fear of seeing people and going outside, and I try to cure myself from my avoidance. It was problematic my friend ended up behaving badly, I felt extra betrayal because I needed a friend at that time, I was clear about my issues, and he still pushed me in a corner where I would have to both be the ‘bad girl’ and give up of the only chance of safe exposure I had.
“Make a list of things you do NOT accept anymore. Inappropriate touching is one of them. How will you respond if someone does this to you? Plan ahead of time. Will you tell them once and then see what happens? Or will you cut them off?”
Making a list of things I don’t accept should help me to be clear with myself. And well, depending if I like the person on other circumstances enough to have patience, I’ll give them a warning and see how they react, if they don’t respect it I’ll cut them off. If I don’t like the person enough I should just cut them off.
The empathy is playing hard on me though, it is difficult for me to ignore people when they are trying to reach out and I feel/know it’s out of loneliness. It shouldn’t be a reason to sacrifice my bondaries though. It’s hard to keep self-advocating when my empathy for others is blurring my own feelings.
“I think you need to cut your mom off and anyone else who traumatized you as a child.”
My mother is the only one who is still in my life, from those who traumatized me as a child, and it isn’t because I want to. If it was possible, my siblings and I would be far away from her and she would never hear from us. Don’t care what happens to her at this point.
It can’t happen yet though. Neither or us is financially independant, the circumstances, abuse and neglect made it quite difficult to be functional enough for regular jobs. So we’re just avoiding interaction with our mother as much as we can.
“When you say she touches you…what does that mean? Like sexually or just lack of boundaries in general? Neither is okay.”
Her touches don’t have sexual intents, she just doesn’t want to understand I don’t want her anywhere my ass, pubis or any sexual organs for that matter, playfully or not, affectionate or not. She thinks because she’s my mother and raised me I shouldn’t be weirded out by that. But, no? I gave up on her understanding as she doesn’t have boundaries for herself as well. I’ll just keep yelling at her when she’ll do it, no matter what she thinks. Thankfully it isn’t happening often, only during weird manic phases. And has not even her worse behavior to deal with. Like, it’s not a traumatic event, just a casual lack of respect among all the others.
“Self-advocacy and self-esteem are the struggles I am seeing you have due to trauma responses. What are some kind things you can say about yourself? What do you deserve?”
I do struggle with positive affirmation but I will try. I am a good person, having boundaries and wanting them respected doesn’t make me bad. I have the right to take actions to protect myself and my boundaries even if it means possibly hurting someone’s feelings, as they are responsible for themselves. I am trying my best to be respectful, but if I am not respected in return it is right to make it known and expect changes, or cutting off. I won’t stand for emotional blackmail, I don’t have to be the caretaker of anyone, especially not to my own detriment. I deserve to have healthy relationships, with mutual respect, and boundaries, not relationships that make me feel like my emotions aren’t respected. My well-being shouldn’t be sacrificed to make any relationship work, this ISN’T a good thing, or a good message to send to others for that matter.
“I’m proud of you. I’ve been reading your responses here and am so amazed at how intentional you are to heal and how you take in everyone’s advice. Don’t exhaust yourself though in the process. Give yourself breaks too from this. It’s a lot to work through. People will understand if you don’t answer right away.”
Thank you for giving me this option. Since I don’t have the habit the hear my emotions very well yet, I don’t always notice when I overdo things and exhaust myself. I think it’s necessary to be intentional and proactive to heal, but it is important that I remind myself to have breaks or it won’t be as efficient.
LinarraJuly 18, 2021 at 5:38 pm #383054
You aren’t just taking steps to healing. You are taking leaps. Pretty soon you’ll be on top of the mountain looking back on the person you are now thanking her for getting you here.
Sounds like your mom is a narcissist. There are support groups for that such as this facebook one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1443764532410920/?notif_id=1626611656633604¬if_t=group_r2j_approved&ref=notif
Let me know if that link works. 🙂 If not just do a search.
She’s inappropriately touching your private parts during manic moments where she doesn’t think anything of it? Intentional or not that is abuse. She seems like a very sick person. She is the one who has serious boundary issues- both physical and emotional. You deserve better. And it’s okay to forgive yourself for not knowing she was using and manipulating you as a child. You had to be the adult, the emotional support. Reminds of that Kelly Clarkson song “Because Of You.” I hope you know that you deserved love and attention and emotional support too. The childhood messages you received as being a burden well you are just started to uncover and deconstruct them but it will take time. I would revisit this issue with a professional if you can afford one. If not, note this is a major healing milestone- just to acknowledge one’s own suffering in life is important. You know the causes. You just need to go through the actual awakening of the person you were born to be.
That guy sounds awful though. I’m sorry you had trouble with that experience, esp as you were trying to be less avoidant. Nothing is worse than trusting again than being forced back into our shell.
As for not letting your mom go right now, you can still have boundaries of staying away from her. This might help – you cannot control or change her actions. So if they are triggering to you, remember that she will never change no matter what you say or do. It is not your responsibility to change her. You are her daughter but you are not hers. You belong to you. You do not belong to her.
Let me repeat that. You belong to you. You do not belong to her.
There are things you are uncovering about yourself that are I’m sure difficult to face. The fact that trauma affected your functioning as an adult is something many experience with narcissistic parents.
Forgive yourself for not being perfect or where you want to be at. Don’t associate it with your worth. The two have nothing to do with each other. You’ve lived through a lot and it’s still hard. But you’re not alone in this mess. 🙂
I understand what it’s like being stuck. Networking is a really great tool to finding answers though. For example, I’m a writer so I network with #writingcommunity on twitter. Or I join support groups like The Soulsisterhood I mentioned posts ago. I tell others about my struggles and they offer solutions.
I want you to try a visualization practice everyday. Focus on what you really want your life to look like. How would it feel like to be there? What would you need to get there? It doesn’t have to be a conventional life. Maybe you start a business or you partner with a person who has a following already or you build a brand rather than have a job. Fyi- I’m on disability living at home with my mom and I’ve used this time to build a brand image of speaker, writer and activist. I volunteer and am very involved. Volunteering is another way to get yourself in somewhere. It will also give you meaning and purpose to find things to do like this. You never know where it could lead. Maybe back to yourself 🙂
I’m here for you. I’m not going anywhere! So message here as much as you need. If you want to read Man’s Search for Meaning, let me know if you like it. The other two books are on Amazon just search the titles. 🙂
Lastly, I know this is hard but see yourself. See your true self. See your beauty. See your worth. See that you’re a survivor. See that you mean something. See that you can make a difference. See that your story isn’t over yet. Because life has so much more to offer you. Everything could change tomorrow so why stop now?
I’m cheering you on.
SarahJuly 19, 2021 at 3:28 pm #383106AnonymousInactive
“You aren’t just taking steps to healing. You are taking leaps. Pretty soon you’ll be on top of the mountain looking back on the person you are now thanking her for getting you here.”
This is a journey I already started years ago, so I am meeting less resistance than I was at the beginning. I already debunked a lot of bad beliefs and opened up to possibilities. Your advice couldn’t have reached my teenage self. I used to be very pessimistic, skeptical at any traces of optimism, I would have liked to be proven wrong but my pain and negativity would have put a big fight if told so without solid proof. I was too closed off to have been reached out. I couldn’t believe outside of my own experience and I hadn’t experienced enough good to believe good people existed. Or healthy people, for that matter. And if it existed I wasn’t one of that breed so there was little hope for me.
Thankfully, I ended up in psychology major and was taught very interesting scientifically proven things that changed my beliefs had a great influence on my reality, and I also was exposed to kinder people. I was still in great denial of my trauma though, didn’t want to open that can of worms when I was finally experiencing positive things. When I quit college and was alone again, and back home, the real healing journey had to start though. It’s been 4 years since the beginning. I’ll be 25 soon. I am already thankful for some of my past choices.
But I’ve still a lot to do and to uncover as I have been alone on this healing journey, with my biases and fears. And without enough positive input from outside. This led me to another depressive phase with suicidal ideation, which I couldn’t let pass with how far I’ve come already. That’s when I decided to seek some hope and help on this forum. I didn’t expect it would help that much, I needed this more than I would have thought. Even when I opened up to my friends, nobody was able to help me reaffirming that what happened to me wasn’t in my head, that it was wrong, and that I didn’t deserve it. Then again, I didn’t go into the details of the abuse too much with most of my friends. I was too afraid every time I tried to put my reality into words.
My mother had made me lie and hide about the family situation for so long, I had to lie because if people knew she wouldn’t be the one to fall for failing as a mother, I would be the one to fall for being a bad kid. Or rather we would fall together, as I knew she censored me because she was also afraid for her reputation. I guess a part of me is still afraid that if I was sharing my reality people will think bad of me for what I went through, or wouldn’t believe me. It sometimes doesn’t feel real for me too, as I had to convince myself everything was normal and alright for so long.
That’s why it feels good to be able to tell things here and not be shamed for it.
“Sounds like your mom is a narcissist. There are support groups for that such as this facebook one”
Yeah, she does have those traits, and the link works thank you.
“Intentional or not that is abuse. She seems like a very sick person. She is the one who has serious boundary issues- both physical and emotional. You deserve better. And it’s okay to forgive yourself for not knowing she was using and manipulating you as a child. You had to be the adult, the emotional support. Reminds of that Kelly Clarkson song “Because Of You.” I hope you know that you deserved love and attention and emotional support too.”
She is very sick indeed. She has started therapy years ago, but the follow-up is irregular. She’s not at her worse at the moment so there are some improvements. She’s still very difficult to deal with, but I’m grateful for the lesser amount of drama.
I know this song by Kelly Clarkson. I related to it a lot. I didn’t know I deserved love, attention, and emotional support. Now I do, intellectually at least. Emotionally I am still unsure. I will try to not feel guilty or weak for needing that.
“The childhood messages you received as being a burden well you are just started to uncover and deconstruct them but it will take time. I would revisit this issue with a professional if you can afford one. If not, note this is a major healing milestone- just to acknowledge one’s own suffering in life is important. You know the causes. You just need to go through the actual awakening of the person you were born to be.”
It will take time for sure. I’ll still have to face some fears to manage to find a therapist. I started searching. I have tried seeing psychologists years ago but it didn’t work out well. They were listening but didn’t give much feedback. There was too much silence, too little reassurance, it stroke right into my wounds, letting my fears filling the absence of feedback. I just stopped, as they weren’t of any help to me.
Now I am searching for a psychiatrist. I didn’t start searching because I felt ready, I did it under the pressure of my brother and my mother who both wanted my disabilities to be diagnosed, so I could receive financial help until I manage to make a living of my own. I am worried, I am unsure how to approach it in a way that would work out well for me.
Until now I was able to progress better alone than with the psychologists I saw. I know therapy can be useful when finding the right one, but I know I can move forward on my own too, at least.
“So if they are triggering to you, remember that she will never change no matter what you say or do. It is not your responsibility to change her. You are her daughter but you are not hers. You belong to you. You do not belong to her.”
Thank you, this fact is clear to me. I had to assert it and repeat it to her enough to not doubt it. I would never give up myself to her.
“Forgive yourself for not being perfect or where you want to be at. Don’t associate it with your worth. The two have nothing to do with each other. You’ve lived through a lot and it’s still hard. But you’re not alone in this mess.”
Self-worth has been way more difficult to reaffirm. I was able to fight my mother about the abuse and possessivity. I was less able to argue when she attacked me on my difficulties. I mean, I argued, but my insecurities show I was still influenced.
She wasn’t the only one though. My father was also verbally abusive and the fact both my parents questioned my worth made me question myself. I considered they could be wrong, but adding the bullying and some insulting observations from some teachers definitely made me think there was some truth there.
Now, well… I guess there are a lot of judgmental people out there who have no idea of how destructive their behavior is. But repairing the idea of my self-worth is quite a lot of work. I’m trying, though.
I am glad I am not alone in this mess though, even if it’s unfortunate so many people went through such difficulties. At least not being alone gives some hope.
“I understand what it’s like being stuck. Networking is a really great tool to finding answers though. For example, I’m a writer so I network with #writingcommunity on twitter. Or I join support groups like The Soulsisterhood I mentioned posts ago. I tell others about my struggles and they offer solutions.”
Thank you for the tips, networking definitely is on my plan. I very much dislike being stuck so I’m always seeking solutions. the putting into action is still the hardest part, it is slow and there’s a lot of obstacles, but I’m not giving up. I believe at some point I will get there.
“I want you to try a visualization practice everyday. Focus on what you really want your life to look like. How would it feel like to be there? What would you need to get there? It doesn’t have to be a conventional life. Maybe you start a business or you partner with a person who has a following already or you build a brand rather than have a job. Fyi- I’m on disability living at home with my mom and I’ve used this time to build a brand image of speaker, writer and activist. I volunteer and am very involved. Volunteering is another way to get yourself in somewhere. It will also give you meaning and purpose to find things to do like this. You never know where it could lead. Maybe back to yourself.”
Thank you for saying it doesn’t have to be a conventional life (being forced into a conventional life is one of my fears, as I am unsure I would fit it and if I can find my meaning there). I am glad you were able to use this time to find a meaningful path and turn your life around. You deserve it. And it is nice to talk with someone who is allowing herself to become what she’s meant to be and follow her purpose.
I stay open with my options, as I know I have to be flexible in case I fail, but after my exploring my needs I chose to go for an artistic path, as it was a calling I was always aware of, yet that I always denied myself (while I followed a more conventional path because it was the ‘responsible’ thing and with hope I could escape my mother faster.) I’ve been learning and exploring for the last years, and my path is becoming clearer as I keep following my instinct and giving it my best shot, even if sometimes I am being hard on myself for not being able to make a living yet. It is a constant game of figuring out the next step, and fighting against my fear and low self-esteem. My mental health has improved as I followed this path, and my self-esteem too. It’s just not enough as I have been pursuing my calling in shame and fear of the judgment of others.
I will try to do more visualization practices, even if I do struggle to have clear visualizations. I want to be able to bring able to live my passions fully and shamelessly. I want to be proud of what I’m dedicating myself to, instead of feeling ashamed. My strength and abilities are expressing at their best when I’m dedicating myself to what I love, they are florishing and if I keep at it I will get farther than what I could have hope for myself. I already am way farther.
Stories saved me so many times, and I want to write stories that can move people and soothe their hearts. I want to figure out a way to be myself, find a place in this world, and be helpful. I want to reach some peace and stability while not denying who I am anymore. What I need to do to get there isn’t exactly clear, I am open to possibilities for as long they feel right. I think if I learn to listen to myself and my needs well enough, learn to stop working against myself with unhealthy self-talk, and if keep learning and figure out each step as I go… Well, I should get there, probably? That’s what I am hoping for at least.
“I’m here for you. I’m not going anywhere! So message here as much as you need. If you want to read Man’s Search for Meaning, let me know if you like it. The other two books are on Amazon just search the titles.”
Thank you :). I started listening to the audiobook of “Man’s Search for Meaning”. It is very interesting. I especially relate to the retreat in our inner world to survive the traumatic experiences. My inner world has been everything during most of my life, I relied on it a lot. I had the conversations I couldn’t have outside, I asked the questions that wouldn’t be heard, I found joy inside my own head when I didn’t find it elsewhere. And same when he mentioned finding joy in the beauty of the world, or art. These are important things that keep us alive. I am curious to listen further.
“Lastly, I know this is hard but see yourself. See your true self. See your beauty. See your worth. See that you’re a survivor. See that you mean something. See that you can make a difference. See that your story isn’t over yet. Because life has so much more to offer you. Everything could change tomorrow so why stop now?”
Thank you, I can see bits of it. And I believe it will become clearer as I try to keep healing and create a healthy path that respects who I am.