The process of learning to love myself is best understood backwards; there are so many layers and levels to it; so much confusion. There was so much deception; deception that I had come to believe was truth, and on top of that deception, there was this thick layer of fog kind of hiding things, making my memories murky. At the core of my belief system were mixed messages and among them a very confusing conflict; I was sexually abused at a young age and at the same time raised to believe that my only value was in my looks and appeal. My parents were very popular and seemed to be well liked, but with me, my mother was controlling, unloving and very sexual; my father was disinterested, un-relational and emotionally unavailable. These things made up my life and formed my identity and resulted in a dissociated mess. I had some serious sorting, revealing and re-organizing to do in order to heal.
It was in finding out why I did not value myself that I realized the lies I believed from the past. It was in discovering the lies about my past that I was able to find the actual truth. The lies, once I really looked at them, were obviously lies that I had been raised, fed and nurtured on and then I had to set those lies right.
But I had to do the work.
I had to dig through all that information. I had to face the pain. And each blog post is filled with stories about why and how I came to the false conclusion that I came to and processes of how those discoveries helped me to dispel the lies. I can tell you how I did this, but I can’t do it for you.
I already doubted my memories were accurate because I was told that I made up stories and was punished for it. My mother told me that I needed too much attention. My father told me that I talked to hear myself talk.
The truth is that I didn’t have enough attention. I made up stories to get someone to notice me. I was ignored when I told the truth and there were some big things that happened to me that I should have been protected from, but I wasn’t. Continued… Eventually I believed that I must have lied about everything and deserved the punishment. I did not feel loved or valued. It became almost natural for me to also accept that the abuse that I suffered was my fault too.
Being affirmed as a liar and invalidated by the only people that mattered in my life, has its own path of destruction. I kept trying harder to be “good enough” believing that if I were good enough then I would be loved. I also believed that if I were loved by someone else, then I would be able to love myself. This goes to show that I believed my worth came from someone else, and that I accepted the low value that was assigned to me by others ~ what choice does a child have other than to believe their parents?
It was in the process of untangling the wild mess buried deep inside of me, that eventually I realized who I was in the first place and discovered the original me. I realized that I was not at fault, that I didn’t cause the abuse, that I didn’t deserve it, that I had been lied to, tricked and manipulated and that I never grew emotionally because of it. I realized that this faulty and rotten foundation my life was built on was why I believe that I was valueless, useless, unlovable and was the cause of not only my dissociation, which had become my survival method, but also my constant depressions.
In my last blog post there were some comments asking me for more details about how I recovered my value and learned to love myself. I get asked these kinds of questions often and I believe that I try to infuse the answers to those questions into each post that I write and publish.
I was 3 years in this process before I knew that I would never believe those lies again, or let anyone make me feel “less than” again. Then I worked in a counselling firm with a gifted therapist for 3 years as the director of client relations and learned how to support people in this process. I also returned to school for 1.5 years and studied under a brilliant Psychiatrist. I got my life coaching certification, learned the difference between coaching and counselling, and then took specialty training with that same Psychiatrist, learning about the process of coaching people to live a New Life Story while continuing to do my own New Life Story work.
My own process of recovery from depressions, addictions, and dissociative identity, combined with my training with these two men, and my continued exploration of where and how the broken happens and how it happens goes into producing this blog, Emerging from Broken. I encourage those of you who have not done so to take advantage of the information here.
The more that I discovered who I really am and recognized the gifts that I have and the truth of how they were shut down by other people, the more interested in life that I got. I wasn’t born broken and I began to see that at my core I was very sweet, smart, loving and gifted. I worked hard on getting down to the core of myself and I am no longer willing to be defined by someone else or by someone else’s value system. When I started to value and appreciate myself, life took on a new meaning and I discovered living with a purpose and excitement that I never thought possible. BUT I had to do the work.
I have great success helping others to find the truths that I have found but each of us has had to do our own work to find our own belief systems in order to restore them back to truth.
Susa shared the following metaphor on my previous blog post and it illustrates the process of changing our life long learned belief system in order to re-establish our own self worth and value.
“We envision that we’re driving a tractor out in a field… The wheel has been rusted in place, so that the tractor keeps going around in the same circle, again and again, until the ruts are very deep. We must not only try to break the rust loose, but then use every ounce of strength that we can muster to turn the wheel the other direction, so that it climbs out of the “dysfunction ruts”. The longer the unhealthy boundaries have been in place, the more rust there is, and more strength is required to break the steering wheel loose before we can even attempt to strong-arm the wheel and turn it to climb out of the old, dysfunctional ruts. So far, I’m starting to break some of the rust loose!” Susa
I encourage you to add your comments. Revealing the lies and pain, and speaking the truth has so much healing power.