Archive for belief systems
I grew up receiving the message that I was not that important. My feelings were invalidated and my emotional needs were discounted. And ‘that’ causes some life-long belief systems to develop when it comes to self-care and self-love. Learning that I was not important led me to discounting myself. This led to putting myself and my needs last and to breaking agreements that I made with myself. Breaking agreements with myself leads to not trusting myself in the same way that I don’t trust other people who break agreements with me.
The start of a new year always reminds me of this issue. I love the beginning of a new year. I relate a new year to a new page, a new blank slate that I can fill up in any way that I want. A new year brings new choices, new opportunities and new adventures. I often think in terms of “this year I am going to…..” and when I don’t do what I promise myself I will do, I damage the relationship I am building with myself. I damage my self-trust.
When I first noticed that I was doing this and that I didn’t actually trust myself because of it, my solution was to stop making agreements with myself. That didn’t pan out to be the best answer because the message that I was giving myself was this: If I can’t keep agreements with myself I won’t agree to anything at all. And that thought is related to many of the abuse tactics that I lived with for so long. For example in the past when I got upset with my husband for always being late, his solution was to stop agreeing to any specific time. (he admits today that he thought this was a genius idea and also admits that it was abusive) So he would call and ask if I wanted to go with him somewhere, but he would not tell me 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→
Today I was thinking about how many emails I get from people who sincerely want to find validation. Unfortunately most of them want validation from the people who invalidated them in the first place. I am always thinking about ways to communicate WHY hurt people seem to think that if the people who invalidated in the first place would finally validate, then life would be so much better. It is the way our belief systems have been fed and formed that is at the root of this dilemma. And there are MANY hidden false truths back there that govern the confusion we are dealing with.
It occurs to me that the people in my own life who invalidated me had this kind of “if you don’t comply ~ Good-bye” attitude towards me. In realizing that truth I remembered that my mother always said “if you don’t like it, lump it.” I don’t remember if I ever wondered what the hell that meant but I always took it to mean that if I didn’t like it, too dang bad. And that means the exact same thing as “if you don’t comply, good-bye”. When I got older she started to say Read More→
My parents split up and eventually divorced when I was just turning 13 years old. After my mother went through her suicidal phase she started dating. She had not been separated from my father for very long when she started dating. Men and dating became her priority.
Through her behaviour she communicated to me that attracting men was the way to cope with low self esteem and pain. Looking back on what she taught me and how she impacted my belief system, she herself believed that men and having a man in her life was what she needed more than anything else. She believed that she needed a man in order to survive. She needed a man in order for her to feel complete or even good about herself. Men defined her as worthy and good enough. Her self esteem came from them. Their attraction to her identified her. Having a man meant that my mom was okay.
I had learned from my mother’s actions, words and teachings that men were the most important connection or relationship a woman can have. Because belief systems grow from layers of information, add to that teaching what I learned from the media (movies and books) and from observing Read More→
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding” Khalil Gibran
I struggled and fought for some sort of “place” in the world for a very long time before I began to find my way out of that darkness that I talked about in my last post. I felt as though I didn’t belong; as though I was different then everyone else; as though I was somehow on the wrong planet. My healing began when I was able to face the causes.
That was where I found the answers to all my questions about why I had struggled so long with low self esteem, depressions, and dissociative disorders. It was scary to face the truth about my past, but looking back what was scary was that I thought “the truth” was going to confirm what everyone ELSE taught me about me. And what I had been taught about me was NOT the truth. I had been taught through actions, inaction, voice inflictions, direct statements and indirect statements, inference and intolerance, nurturing or lack of nurturing as well as rejection and that others WERE more important and therefore more valuable then me, all went into a big melting pot that became the collection of all the experiences that made up “my life” in order to form my belief systems.
The ways that I was treated and not treated, communicated to me that I was not really a valid person
And then on top of being defined as invalid, I had been taught, mostly in non verbal ways, that I was the only one that felt that way. That “my problem” was something that was Read More→
I believe that depression comes from somewhere and that it starts somewhere. I don’t believe that I was born with it, or that I was born with something missing in me that would later determine that I would struggle with depression. I don’t believe that my mother, who struggled with multiple depressions, passed her condition down to me. I believe that my mother had her own post traumatic stress and abuse that caused her struggles and break downs, and that because she didn’t have the tools that she needed to raise an emotionally healthy child, I too was placed at risk. I was not protected from the things that caused my trauma; both me and the trauma were neglected. My self esteem and personal value and individuality was never established.
I would even go so far as to say that my depressions were a coping method. They were a way for me to shut down and to get through the overwhelming circumstances in my life. They were a way that enabled me to survive.
That is what I have come to understand now ~ that is my NEW belief system, and coming to understand this and all my other false belief systems greatly assisted me in overcoming my constant depressions and in living beyond depression. That is what I used to believe about depression, so now what about the old belief system that I broke out of?
The Stigma of Depression
There is a huge stigma in our society about mental health struggles. There is a universal judgment about depression and about Read More→
In today’s blog post I am taking a look at motives driven by beliefs about ourselves that are not based in the truth. In order to do that, I am going to post some food for thought questions. You may answer them in the comments if you wish. You may share them with your friends. You may click the facebook “like button” or not. You have a choice. I want you to have a choice. The point of this post is not to make you feel guilty about yourself. The point is that in answering these questions for yourself, you will see some truths about your belief systems.
How many of us hide our communication in facebook from our families and close friends? There is nothing wrong with using that option and I am not suggesting that you stop hiding your likes and dislikes or comments in facebook. This exercise is merely an exercise in fog busting and truth realization. Everyone will have different answers. Some of us never use the hide button. Some of us really must use the facebook hide buttons, because to neglect to do so would truly be dangerous.
Having said that, here are the questions. Not all of them will apply to everyone;
~Why don’t I want my family to know that I am going to define my own value from now on?
~Why don’t I want my family to know that I participate in or read discussions about emotional and psychological abuse?
~Why do I use the hide button on some comments and not on others?
~Why don’t I want my family to know that I am reading a self empowerment blog?
~Why don’t I want my family to know that I am finding out that they were wrong about me?
~Why don’t I want my family to know that I do not belong to them? They don’t own me; or do I still think that they do?
~Why don’t I want my family to know that I have a mind of my own? That I am thinking about forbidden things; that I am going to grow up without permission from them?
~Why do I feel like or believe that I have to hide my actions?
~In thinking that I am protecting their feelings, why do I worry more about their feelings then I do about my own.
~Why do I question myself and my actions, MORE then I question theirs?
When I stood up for myself and took my life and my identity back, I was not using facebook for any kind of self improvement type work. If my family would have been on facebook with me, I would have been terrified they might find out what I was doing. I would have used all the hide features. That is not the point of this blog post.
The point is that It was in answering these kinds of questions that led me to realize my own belief system and all the problems that were rooted in that system. When I asked myself why I questioned my own actions more then I questioned theirs, I was stunned. I felt as though someone had punched me in the gut. These kinds of questions served as a giant spring board into the depths of my mind and greatly advanced my own process of changing the lies I believed, back into the truth.
Please remember that I am in no way encouraging you to stop using hide features or to start standing up to anyone, either family or friends. This is not about judgement. I am not judging you and I do not want you to judge yourself. This is an exercise in exposing your own belief system. This is not easy. This was what worked for me.
Please feel free to share your thoughts with me and with each other.
Finding treasure in the darkest places;
More on Mother Daughter Dysfunctional Relationship ~ there is a discussion in the comments that relates to this post
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I’ve written a lot about my childhood belief system; how it developed and how I came to believe that I always had to try harder; that it was my fault if others were unhappy and even that it was my job, my task to make others feel better about themselves. This all tied in to why I ended up in such serious depressions and need so many coping methods. It was in realizing some of this stuff that I was able to move forward and recover my life. Taking a look at the mother daughter relationship with my mother and how one sided it was, and the father daughter relationship with my father and how nonexistent it was; adding individual events, and adding the way that I was regarded, (before, during and after) mixed in with the way that I learned to regard myself, all added up to the bigger picture of who I was and where my problems started.
With the back ground that I had from my unhealthy dysfunctional relationships to my parents, believing that I was not worthy, not lovable, not good enough for the love and regard that I thought other people had, coupled with the fact that I had learned to try harder and harder and was willing to get angry and frustrated at myself when I “failed”, is it any wonder that I started to have trouble in relationships as I got older?
I was attracted to guys who were “troubled” and I thought that it was my job to love them enough that they would feel better about themselves. Deep down I was pretty sure that if I could love them enough ~ they would realize that they were lovable, and then they in turn would love me back. I was very attracted to these broken guys but I went into the relationship with the idea that I had to “earn my love” from them. I didn’t realize that I felt that way, but I looked back on my relationships and that is the way that it played out. I carried the beliefs about myself and about the way life worked, into my relationships.
The guys had their own belief systems that they brought to the table with them. I picked the ones that needed me to “restore” them, and it seemed that what “restored them” what made them feel good about themselves, was if I put up with devaluing treatment. It was as though they were saying “Will you still love me if I do this?” (for example, forget to call me and ignore plans with me) And if I did accept that treatment, (I always did), then they upped the ante. “What about if I do this….?” and maybe the next thing would be flirt with another girl in front of me or call me a nasty name, or stop talking to me (punishment) because I made a better joke then he did which took some of the attention away from him. There are a billion examples and ways that we can be “asked” to prove our love; their worth, and our worth (or lack of it) in a relationship. There are a million ways that we can be “manipulated” and taught that the way we are isn’t acceptable ~ and if I wanted to be accepted/loved then change was the silent message. I was used to not being accepted.
When I was 17 I had a big crush on a neighbour who was 20. He drank, but I didn’t mind because he liked me better when he was drinking. I didn’t have the self esteem to take that as an insult. I wanted him to notice me. All the girls thought he was dreamy, and I thought that if he noticed me, then I must be okay. I sought my value through other people, just as I had learned to do my whole life.
He used to come over to my house at around 10:00 pm at night and with no prior phone call or any prior arrangement, he would beep the horn from the driveway, and I would grab my jacket and go with him. I was “sure” that I could prove to him that I was the right girl friend for him, but I never considered that he was the wrong boyfriend for me. I accepted that kind of treatment from him for almost 5 months until on New Years Eve, he didn’t ask me out, but he showed up at my house at 1:00 in the morning after the party he was at, raped me, and then demanded that I call him a cab. That was what it took for me to realize that he was “not the one”. That was also when I reached a new depth in giving up on myself.
P.S. It isn’t surprising that I had these beliefs, I have written a few blog posts about how my mother expected me to define her; to make her feel loved and valued and how by her actions it was obvious looking back on our mother daughter relationship, that she thought my purpose in her life was to restore her value. I just accepted that as “my job” and carried that with me into all my future relationships. See ~ The beginning of Broken ~ Family Foundations about my mother’s expectations in our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.
The Emerging from Broken book “The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing” is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing. Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing
As a child, I had no understanding of why things were the way they were. I don’t think I even thought that the rest of the world was any different from my world. My parents lived in denial which stemmed from their own childhoods and the situations that they were raised in. They had organized their worlds around their own wounds and traumas and they developed their own belief systems. I would imagine that years of denial led them to raise their children in a similar way to how they were raised, expecting their children to have that fierce loyalty that they themselves developed for their parents and never questioning why.
I don’t write this blog to blame my parents for their shortcomings; I refer to them only to illustrate what happened to me in the parts that had to do with my parents. I write about how I came to be an emotional mess, constantly struggling with depression due to many different incidents, how I discovered the lies that formed my belief system and how exposing the lies enabled me to see the truth; the same truth that set me free.
I was conditioned to hold it all in. When we are children, we don’t have a choice if we have not been helped through a trauma. We just go forward from there, with the pain and the scars of the trauma. We can only learn positive self care if we are taught self care but because no one helps us through the things that happened to us, we learn to not take care of ourselves we learn not to speak about the trauma or about anything else. We don’t know the difference between what is serious abuse or what is just a person or parent in a bad mood. Everything becomes our version of “normal” We keep silent because either we have been told to keep silent, or because we have learned from experience that we will not have any impact if we do tell. We learn not to speak about our emotions, believing they are wrong and that no one will listen. If we learn that telling won’t make a difference we also learn that we are not important and we try very hard to prove that we are important. If only we believed it ourselves we wouldn’t have to prove it.
So much of this problem comes from being told who we are and who we are not and from being told who we should be and who we should not be. When we are defined by others we are invalidated as an individual and as a person. Invalid. That means NOT VALID. That is a serious thing for a human being and it can cause serious problems with emotional health, physical health self image, self worth and self esteem. One lie (one false belief about ourselves) builds on another lie and we carry the whole mess with us into our adulthoods.
The false beliefs that we have about ourselves have to be undone if we are going to have any lasting freedom from the results that manifested in our lives from being invalidated, mistreated, unloved, devalued, neglected or abused.
We have to relearn how to validate ourselves.
I had to learn how to validate myself. I had to dig into that foundation that was built on those lies, expose it and talk about it so that I could knock it down and start fresh with the truth. I had to face the fear that the situations and the people who taught me “who I was” might actually be right ~ because in facing that fear, I found out they were wrong.
The truth will set you free,
Note: This week I did a ten minute audio interview with Christina Enevoldsen from Overcoming Sexual Abuse ~ here is the link : how we uncover the truth.
For the article I wrote and refer to in the audio about the Dr. discovering that I was being psychologically abused ~ you can find it here: Psychological Abuse ~ how self doubt grows
My history with body issues and eating disorders goes way back to even before I was a teenager. My body issues, weight concerns, bulimia etc. have their roots in both sexual abuse and emotional abuse. I have told you about how my mother began to teach me at a very young age that my only power and value was in sexuality, which even as a young child I knew had something to do with my looks and my body. Over the years I realized that my fear of weight gain was equal to my fear of being “just the right weight” because both would result in abuse. With the belief system built on my value being in sexuality and body image, I was afraid that if I threw my image away, I would be rejected by everyone. I got a lot of approval because of my looks. At the same time I had this belief that it was my body and the fact that I was attractive, that attracted abusers. Even from a very young age I suspected that it was my body they wanted to do things to… it was my body that was being used. So I separated from my body. It seems logical when I put it that way. Eventually my body became the enemy.
What was harder to understand was that these two belief systems conflicted with each other. They were polar opposites. If I gained weight, I would be rejected, if I was the perfect weight, I would be used.
Several weeks ago I found a website called “letters to my body” and read a few of the letters that others had written there. The concept of writing a letter to my body and some of the things that other women were saying to their bodies made me realize that I too was angry at my body. I was angry as though my body did this to me. As though I didn’t ever realize that it wasn’t my body that caused the problem. These realizations are always powerful and usually can become the starting point for a new area of growth for me. This particular one was painful.
About a week after I found that website, I was sick with some kind of throat and chest thing and coughing virus for a couple weeks and was talking to transformation coach and author Kim Vazquez on facebook. I told her I was sick. She told me that whenever she is sick she asks her body what it is trying to tell her. It was funny because having just discovered that website “letters to my body” I thought it was a very cool concept to ‘talk to my body”. So later that day I decided to get very quiet, and relax you know, kind of do a meditation and as Kim suggested, I asked my body what it was trying to tell me.
The response that I got was shocking. My body didn’t hesitate. My body said “You neglect me, you devalue me, you treat me with disrespect, you expect too much from me but you don’t take proper care of me and you break your promises to me. You mistreat me and invalidate me. I don’t trust you anymore. “
I was shocked. It was true. I have not been taking care of myself physically this past 2 years. I have gained weight. I am not eating as healthy as I used to. I am not getting regular physical exercise. And even prior to that, I had some odd ways of doing physical health. My body was telling me that I was an abuser. It was saying all the things that I say to identity abusive people. My body said that I am my own abuser.
As a result of this insight, I took a good long look at my history and the way that I view my physical self and it has given me amazing insight into the relationship that I developed with myself as a result of mistreatment from others. There is so much to this whole topic when it comes to mental health recovery. Body issues and eating disorders seem to be connected to many abusive situations and events, so I have decided to make eating disorders and body issues a regular feature in this blog. I welcome your feedback, contributions and comments.
Exposing Truth… one snapshot at a time,