Archive for emotional healing
If you have not already downloaded my complimentary Guide to Getting Unstuck on the Journey to Emotional Healing, please grab a copy of it now! There is a box in the right hand side bar here>>> just fill in your first name (or any name you wish to use) and your primary email address and you will be sent the download link. In this 9 page mini booklet I answer some of the most popular questions that I get here on the Emerging from Broken blog, privately through the contact form and on the Emerging from Broken Facebook Page.
Welcome to the discussion page for the Guide to Getting Unstuck on the Journey to Emotional Healing.
As you may notice when you read the guide, there is a common thread expressed through the most popular questions that I get asked. Behind the questions is the belief that the people who have been authority in our lives are ‘right’. That if the people that have authority in our lives say in words or with actions such as disregard or disrespect, that we don’t deserve better or that we are not worthy, then for some reason their opinion is not questioned as much as it is ‘accepted’.
This is because for most of us it was communicated to us from a very young age that ‘they’ know best and that ‘they’ are right and that ‘they’ are not to be questioned. This belief is linked to the belief that ‘without them’ we may not survive. As an adult I had to work very hard at realizing that I COULD survive; through facing the origins of my belief system and how it was formed I was able to see my own strength; I was able to take my life back and learn to love myself and take care of myself. I learned this by seeing the truth about why I believed that I was ‘less important’ and why I ‘accepted’ that my needs were less valid than the needs of others. Seeing the roots of why I believed this about myself enabled me to see that it was a lie and that I was just as worthy and valid as everyone else on this planet!
People in authority are not always right just because they are in authority. I had not considered that truth when I was a child and growing up because of my dependence on those people. Going against the adults and caregivers in my life threatened my survival and therefore my life. That was true then. Seeing that it was no longer true was a huge part of how I was able to take my life back and overcome the manifestations of trauma, abuse and neglect. (When I refer to the manifestations I am referring to the resulting struggles such as depressions, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, low self-esteem and a few other common issues.)
There is another common belief expressed behind these questions; it leaks out through the questions how many of us had never been taught that we have the right to have boundaries and how habitual it is to accept that our feelings are not valid. I was taught that I ‘had’ to accept things the way they were. The funky part of that teaching is that many of the things I learned to accept were truly unacceptable but they were so normalized that I didn’t know they were wrong; in some cases the treatment was even Read More→
One of the biggest stick points on the journey to emotional healing has to do with the subject of TRUST. Somewhere along the way I came to believe that I had to trust people until they were proven untrustworthy. That is a false understanding of trust. It was through understanding how I learned the meaning of the word ‘trust’ in a manipulative way that really only served the ones teaching me that false definition of the word trust, that I was able to realize the truth; I didn’t have to trust anyone until they proved to be trustworthy. By the same token, I do not expect people to blindly trust me either. Trust in healthy relationship develops over time. Trust in healthy relationship is not mandatory and ‘blind trust’ does not prove acceptance or love. NOT trusting someone does not mean anything ‘bad’ and it is not a judgement against that person. Not trusting someone that you don’t know well enough to decide about trusting or not, is healthy. When I am expected or required to trust someone blindly, I consider that a red flag about the person who has this expectation of me.
From the Free Dictionary.com ~ Here is the definition of trust:
1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.
2. Custody; care.
3. Something committed into the care of another; charge.
Noun~ Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of someone or something
Verb~ Believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of
Based on this definition of Trust, I can see how I had the false understanding of the word and concept in the first place.
Trust is optional. Trust is something that needs to be earned more than it needs to be freely given without any knowledge of the persons ability, strength or reliability. As children, everyone older than us has ‘positional power’ over us. We learn to submit to that positional power because NOT submitting to it is a sure way to bring on a punishment, rejection, physical abuse and a host of other unwanted results. I learned to submit to positional power and I got my learned understanding of submission mixed up with the concept of trust.
As children we are taught to trust through other people; the people in charge of our welfare communicate Read More→
The other night we had a birthday dinner for our oldest son. All of our kids were home as well as a few of their friends. The conversation was lively, everyone was included, there was laughter, jokes, intellectual conversation about the chemistry my son studies and the neuroscience my oldest daughter studies. All kinds of information was shared and everyone had a voice. There were jokes and stories; everyone at the table was equally important.
I love those family dinners. We were joking with our youngest daughters friend who had never had dinner with us before this evening; we were explaining during our laughter about ‘bathroom talk at the table’ that this is how we are sometimes and we hoped we didn’t scare her off. She felt comfortable enough to add a few of her own jokes and the next day she texted our daughter saying “your family is awesome”.
I was thinking about our family dinners and how amazing they are. We talk to each other and we listen to each other. We are genuinely interested in each other! There are no cell phones or electronic media allowed at the table. We usually sit around talking about every subject under the sun well after the meal is over even when we don’t have company and it is just the 5 of us. This is incredible to me!
These dinners and this kind of communication are what make me feel the most successful as a mother. I was saying to my husband that sometimes when we are all sitting around eating, talking and laughing that I feel as though I Read More→
Every so often I get a comment that I just have to share with everyone because it is so full of the truth that can help so many others. This is one such time! This comment from Doren came in on my article “Survival Mode and an Alternate view of Narcissism.” Doren has given me permission to re-print her comments for the sake of highlighting this very common concern;
Doren wrote: “All my life I’ve been in survival mode, barely able to make eye contact in public (in case people see the ‘real’ bad me I guess), trying always to please them, and if they have a problem with me they are right and I am wrong. It stems from this deep down feeling of badness in me—it’s hard to admit, but this feeling of badness gets to where I think I’m evil or the devil himself and that I will go to hell when I die. This has caused me a lot of distress and I wonder if feeling such a degree of badness is normal?
Here is what I struggle with—that I’m the ‘exception to the rule’, that yes other survivors deserve healing and are essentially good but NOT me. Perhaps this just tells me how ingrained my sense of badness is.
I have no choice but to work to heal or to die. My entire life has been greatly diminished due to childhood. It hurts so much to see the extent of the damage, but inside I feel, to get better I have to face this. Essentially I have been in hibernation since about 15. And I have thought that this was because I am weak, bad, unmotivated, etc.” Doren
I can assure you that this degree of ‘feeling’ is normal and even common. This is how we are brainwashed to become submissive and compliant. We are convinced that we are ‘bad’. We are slowly persuaded that everything would be okay with ‘them’ if only we were not such a problem. Part of the problem is that we have been so convinced of their faultlessness that we forget to examine them or any of their actions. It doesn’t occur to us that they don’t abide by the rules of love and relationship that they demand we abide by. That is what ‘brainwashing’ is.
The definition of Brainwashing: (link from the free dictionary by Farlex)
1. Intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person’s basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs.
2. The application of a concentrated means of persuasion, such as Read More→
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. find out what it means to YOU………
A lot of my emotional healing grew out of realizing the truth about some of the concepts that I had been taught wrong. The people who were in a position of power in my life taught me a lot of false definitions of words like love, respect, relationship, trust, forgiveness and a few others. Growing up from so young with the false definitions I had been taught caused me to automatically accept them as the truth.
Yesterday on my previous post “how to recognize when your best interest are not being considered” when referring to her mother a commenter wrote “I am sure she thinks she deserves to be respected…” and it got me thinking about how much learning the truth about definitions of certain key words and concepts helped me in my process of overcoming depression, trauma and low self-esteem.
When I refer to a person in a position of power I am not just referring to our teachers, the police, or judges or government. I am also referring to “our elders” and our families. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were all in a positions of power in my life. My in-laws were in a position of power in my marriage and in our lives. All these people were in that power position because they were “the adults” and I was a child. In my childhood that meant that they were right and I was wrong. In my adulthood, this belief didn’t change because they never let it. In both cases (as a child and as an adult) this is called a dysfunctional relationship because the elders decide and communicate that not everyone in the relationship has equal value.
It was a huge part of my survival mode to go along with these false teachings and when I became an adult I still believed the false truth that Read More→
Sometimes I get comments from people that are so filled with judgement that I don’t even consider publishing them. I am sharing the following comment with you today because it is a fantastic example of the judgement that is out there in the world about what we reveal when it comes to our dysfunctional family stuff. I didn’t publish this comment on the post it came in on~ I didn’t see the point in giving this woman a voice and her comment is so ridiculous ~ especially since it is from this total stranger who doesn’t know me, my story or my family.
This comment speaks volumes about her judgements; she really thinks that she knows my family history and sides with my father. She offers proof that I misunderstood my father’s intentions and decides that it is up to me to mend this broken fence. She absolves my father of all responsibility for the abandonment that I suffered at his hands.
And because this kind of lecture is SO common, and since we have been hearing this kind of stuff since childhood, it is easy to get sucked into this kind of judgement and “feel bad” for MY actions; or at least it might have made me feel bad 5 years ago. Today I was shocked. I thought “how the heck does this woman KNOW anything about my parents or what happened in my family or to my mother? Why does she think she knows anything about my father, his decisions, his actions or his intentions?
I didn’t publish this comment on the post where she left it because this kind of stuff heaps more damage on the already damaged reader. I am publishing it today to highlight a typical example of what survivors of abuse and dysfunctional family stuff hear all the time from Read More→
Deep in my subconscious mind (my belief system) I have always thought that taking some leisure time was the same as being lazy. When I started to learn how to do self-care, that little “feeling” constantly whispering to me that I was being lazy began to get stronger. I found that when I took time off to just kick around, read a book or watch a movie, deep down I would reprimand myself. I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it for a very long time.
If I was spending my leisure time with my kids are with another person I was not so hard on myself because I knew that was important to the relationships that I have with them, but if I was just doing something to rejuvenate ME, I got a little restless. I really noticed my conflict with this when my oldest two children moved out of the house to attend school this fall.
Because we are selling the farm/ranch I had spent the summer cleaning, packing, sorting, purging and organizing 30 years worth of accumulated stuff and as a result of all that hard work I feel really caught up on everything. I feel really good about having done all of this but emotionally it took a toll on me. It has been an emotional roller coaster to decide to let go of this life here and on top of that to have two kids move out of the house! Add that to the level of emotion that I invest in this website and with my clients and I found I needed some extra time for myself this past few months.
BUT when I took that time I realized that my self-talk was whispering some judgemental things to me. I was hearing words like lazy and unproductive barely under the surface of my subconscious mind.
Within minutes of reading my clients homework, I get a glimpse of what is operating under the surface in their belief systems but when it comes to me it takes a little more work because I am up against MY OWN belief system. And since our belief systems form in the first place as a way to help us survive, sometimes they are not easy to crack into.
I was journaling about this whole thing and as I was experiencing a deeper realization that when I take time off I feel guilty about it, I suddenly heard my mother’s voice talking about my father.
This is where it gets complicated. My father, as I have talked about in other posts was emotionally unavailable. He was a passive abusive father and husband. He abused by his passive ‘whatever’ kind of attitude towards everything. My mother used to say that the house could be burning down and my father would sit in the middle of it playing his guitar and ignoring the emergency. As an adult today I can see why she said that. My mother could not get my father to do anything or even to ‘react to anything’ and I remember as a child thinking Read More→
Earlier this week I received a comment on the post “Thanksgiving and Gratitude ~ When the little voice rebels” and a commenter asked some excellent questions. Since I get questions like these frequently, I decided to answer them in this new post. Here is the paragraph from “Coffee” with her questions;
Coffee79 wrote: One area I struggle with is when that voice comes along I want to call someone, anyone to tell me this isn’t the truth. When I tell myself that truth, why can’t I believe it? Why does it mean more coming from someone else? My self-esteem will not stay consistent, and my therapist says I need to learn how to be my own best friend. I feel like I do work at it more than I used to, but how does someone become these things when they never had it? I do not have a healthy reference. I respond to this voice by telling myself it isn’t true and I tell myself positive affirmations but I am not convinced. Darlene, how did you become your own best friend? How did you build your self-esteem without relying on the words others?”
Anyone who has been reading Emerging from Broken for any length of time knows that I find the answers by looking back to where the damage was caused and the messages I got and accepted about myself. I had to find out where my self-esteem went ‘missing’ in the first place. I know that’s easier said than done and I am not minimizing the actual ‘work’ for one second but that was the first part of the work. Becoming my own best friend came later. I had to clear a new foundation on which to build my relationship with me, before I started working on becoming my own best friend and validating myself.
When I look back on my own life, I realize that I was ‘trained’ or taught (by words and actions, outcomes and circumstances) to believe that without certain people I would not survive. When a child’s efforts are met with impatience there is a clear message communicated to that child. This message does not have to be communicated in words. It was only by finding out what that message WAS that I was able to overcome it. There were a LOT of false messages stuck in my belief system but the bottom line was that in the mind of a child, not being loved, ‘good enough’ or acceptable means being rejected and rejection means death. (I had to think deeply about this concept in my own life in order to relate to it. It isn’t something that I understood just by hearing it).
Through looking closely at these messages that were communicated to me, I came to the conclusion that I associated not being approved of or not being “good enough” with death. MY DEATH. And the survival instinct is very strong and something I realized is that I was Read More→
It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I have been thinking about gratitude these past few days in relation to the past and the present. I had been in the process of ‘trying’ to heal a lot longer than I have been in the actual process of healing and I have many new insights today that I didn’t have in the past.
Something that sprang to mind this morning while I was doing my gratitude journal* was how much the way that I practice gratitude has changed over the last few years.
I have heard most of my adult like that practicing gratitude is one of the most important aspects in any kind of recovery and I am no newbie to the action of being grateful. What is different today is that I don’t have that little voice in the background reprimanding me for my failure with the concept of gratitude.
For example, my gratitude practice in the past would go something like this:
“I am grateful for the abundance in my life! I have food, shelter, clothing and friends. I have everything I need” and the little reprimanding voice full of self-defeating disgust would respond “jeeze but you still think you are so hard done by; you have no excuse for ever being depressed, you have no excuse for ever being sad, you are pathetic and you SHOULD be grateful. If you were really grateful you would not have any of those ‘problems’ that you have.”
The problem is that I didn’t actually ‘hear’ the voice. It was hidden under the surface of my mind, whispering at me constantly, tearing me down in my subconscious and I didn’t actually ‘hear it’ until Read More→