“When a child has been in a dysfunctional family system, that child grows up with some dysfunctional thinking. It can’t be helped. The dysfunctional ways of thinking in my family system got passed on to me. Dysfunction and mistreatment, psychological abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse all contributed to the survival methods that I had to adopt in order to stay alive”. ~Darlene Ouimet
I have this “to do” list. I tell myself that I am going to get “this much done” each day. I have it all mapped out. But I don’t stick to the plan. I get distracted, I want to chat on the phone, I want to read a book, I want to spend more time on facebook talking to all my peeps and updating the Emerging from Broken facebook page. I want to catch up on Twitter. I tell myself that all these activities are part of the greater goals that I have to spread this message. But the truth is that I am not respecting the path, plans and goals that I set out for myself to accomplish in the first place.
I break agreements with myself all the time. If I was me, I wouldn’t trust myself anymore… (Oh wait.. I am me.)
So how does that happen? How did I get to this point where suddenly I only do some of the action steps on my to do list when I have taken the time to set them all out in a neat orderly fashion, I am well on my way to accomplishing many of my goals and am fully determined to accomplish those pending tasks? Why would I hurt my relationship with ME? Especially since I have worked SO hard on my recovery, my healing and on learning to love and value myself.
When a child like me, lives in a dysfunctional family system, the child does not grow up with a sense of their own value in place. I developed a lot of “trust issues” because I had been treated with disrespect and my feelings had been disregarded. I had no reason to think that anyone was going to ever treat me with real respect and regard, so I built a wall up against other people in order to protect myself from danger, pain and even disappointment. This is part of survival.
But at the same time when we are abused or devalued, we come to accept that we are NOT valuable and not loveable and as I have mentioned in countless other blog posts, we come to accept that it must be some defect in us and we try harder. We are accustomed to trying harder. And most of us have never stopped trying harder. Trying harder was a big part of how I survived.
I was constantly ASKED to try harder by the very ways that I was taught it was “my fault”.
Sometimes in my adult life, trying harder has been like this “default mode”. Trying harder to please others is something I had always done and it was a really hard belief system to break out of. Sometimes trying harder to make others happy and to fit into to what they want was a way to avoid facing the pain of the past too. Trying harder allows me to stay in the spin of the whole false truth system. As long as I am in the spin, I don’t have to face the truth; that for some reason my own family did not come through for me and that I was a big disappointment to them. Even once I recovered enough to know that those things weren’t true, that I wasn’t a disappointment but that they were dysfunctional, facing that pain of being unaccepted and in many ways rejected is lots of work and it is very scary.
And my mind was very good at helping me to survive so my mind didn’t really want me to face the pain. Even when I started to face the pain in the first year of my emotional healing process, my mind would scream at me to stop, turn back, this isn’t safe! I learned my survival methods from a very young age. Survival methods are the systems that we learn that enable us to cope, to avoid the pain, and they work for us as children. They saved my life. My mind convinced me to stay in “survival mode” because it seemed safer in survival mode, then it would be to come out of survivor mode and face the pain.
In my process of recovery I learned to let go of survival modes and embrace the life giving truth. The truth that I had never known before.
Breaking agreements with myself allows me (and forces me) to keep trying harder only this time I am trying harder with me, in the same way I tried harder with everyone in my past who defined me as not good enough. Even though I broke my pattern of trying harder with everyone else, and defined myself as good enough, worthy and wonderful there is still this pull backwards to the familiar comfort zone of the survival mode. SO sometimes in this one area of my life I venture backwards. It feels safe because it is about my own relationship with me and I can tell myself that I am not letting anyone walk on me. BUT when I do it, I am devaluing me, just like they did! I am telling myself that I need to try harder again. I am setting myself up to give myself heck and call myself a failure!
Breaking agreements with myself allows me to visit that familiar survival mode, where my own mind lies to me and tells me that survival mode is still the safest place to be. And since that is yet another lie that my brain accepted into my belief system long ago, it is high time that lie is corrected and expelled.
Today I realized that breaking agreements with myself is like having one foot in the past when I want to strive for increasing freedom and recovery!
Please share your thoughts.