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Messages - woodsgnome

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Hiding my true emotions became habitual for me early on. Mostly this was due to fear of disapproval; and/or worse. That was rather contradictory, I now realize, in that I was considered worthless, that no matter what emotions I dared to have were automatically disapproved of.

On the one hand, I was hypervigilant; inside, I was grieving and furious at this state of affairs. This also happened frequently at a  private school where I ran the risk risk of disapproval for even the silliest of reasons. I learned the game but at the risk of losing my sense of self. Why? Fear -- so I learned the ways I thought would win approval despite the odds. Which of course increased the sadness. Nothing worked, and I took in further the notion that I didn't matter; that hiding my true emotions might help (it didn't!).

Had I been honest, the consequences were too fearful to contemplate. Nowadays there's a huge difference -- I'm not trapped back there in the FOO or in that travesty of a school.
I'm free to be who I am. It's taken a while for me to catch hold of my habit.

Which leaves me with just one suggestion -- to be honest with oneself at all times. Those people I had to please (or so I thought) are long gone from my life. It sounds easy, eh? It surely hasn't been, as the other part of the process is I still fear the consequences of others, no matter who they are.

You've taken a first step, though; which is just the self-realization that you're prone to this. If you trust your T enough, just try and be as honest about your deepest reactions to what you're discussing. If your T has already mentioned this, and there's trust between you, you might find it freeing to react from your heart, and not the mask that's become habitual.

I know that's helped with my own T, but it took loads of trust before I felt bold enough to loosen the mask, and finally let it drop, at least in that relationship. At our most recent session, she took pains to note that I can now speak more easily in my authentic voice that is more willing to share from the heart.


Recovery Journals / Re: SaB's 2nd journal
« on: November 22, 2020, 04:22:58 PM »
SaB, I also was intrigued with your comments regarding 'some' narcissism. I grew up being affected by a huge number of n's both at home and private schools. To the extent that I vowed never/ever to be anything like I found them.

Trouble is it seems, as you indicated, perhaps some n traits aren't wholly bad; it's the extremes that become problematic, as it did when I was trapped in the nest of n's. But now I have probs appreciating good stuff about myself, as I still fear falling in to that foreboding narc pattern. My T especially has tried to steer me around those snags but it's slow, driven by fear as it is. This I feel has also contributed to my tendency towards seeming like an easy push-over to others; because I'm running so hard from anything resembling narcissism.

I hesitate to bop into your journal this way, but I also sensed a feeling you weren't getting through. Communicating these things is always rough, but I want you to know your voice has come through here, and I appreciate your insights in this regard as well as in other ways. Thank you.  :hug:

Introductory Post / Re: Wingsunclipped
« on: November 21, 2020, 04:46:03 PM »
Welcome  :wave:

It can be a huge step, or leap actually, to take flight with wings finally unclipped. It's a scary place, too -- the freedom to fly.

Your intro also reminded me of a song from decades ago by the folksinger Kate Wolf. If it's alright, I'm including a link to it below; as I feel it describes well this new feeling of finally flying free.

The song can be found at:

Introductory Post / Re: New me? or the True me?
« on: November 18, 2020, 05:31:15 PM »
 :wave: Hi, Cazzles.

Sorry for the circumstances that have brought you here, but now that you've opened the door it's an honour to welcome you here. You'll discover others here slowly but surely finding their own way ahead.

The only known thing -- it isn't easy, but finding a better way with life's awful twists is worth the effort. 

 Best wishes as you seek to get a handle on this and turn the corner into a brighter path.

Physical Abuse / Re: Does it ever get easier?
« on: November 18, 2020, 06:26:16 AM »
First, your questions aren't in the least silly. They may seem that way at first, but only because so many of us are conditioned like you were -- to live in fear and shame. When we believe we can't be any other way it is hard to picture ever escaping into the better sort of people we know we are inside.

This gets to the point where those false beliefs get in the way of what we need to share in order to keep our wits about these things that were senseless then, and remain so now.

But here's the good part -- you DID speak out about how you feel. That's huge, coming from a place where you had to endure what you've described. But now you're free to do so, and it's great to see you finally be able to say it loud and clear.

 Congratulations  :applause: and :hug:

Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: What are you thankful for?
« on: November 18, 2020, 06:00:55 AM »
My perfectionist part, probably 'working' for my inner critic, is sure I'll forget something, if not most of what I'm thankful for. So here's just what pops in at this moment:

1) that I survived at all
2) my cat, nestled on my arm as I write this
3) a wise, caring, and patient therapist I wish I'd known years ago
4) a cozy home set in a peaceful wooded area
5)  this web forum, where fellow survivors can find comfort and understanding from each other, against great odds of ever finding anyone who'd 'get it'  :)

The Cafe / Re: Favourite Quotes - Part 3
« on: November 16, 2020, 12:13:48 AM »
Former astronaut Eugene Cernak: "...there is only light if sunlight has something to shine on. When the sun shines through space, it’s black. The light must have something to strike.”
       :yeahthat: :sunny:

I just read this in a wonderful book by Paula D'Arcy -- Stars at Night -- When Darkness Unfolds as Light. Written as a commentary on her own grief survival story, its dark topic -- what to do, and be, after devastating personal losses -- I found highly relevant to what we discuss on this forum; our grief over our own deep losses.

Recovery Journals / Re: One day at a time
« on: November 15, 2020, 11:55:27 PM »
Along the lines of how the light finds us, and why even on the worst of days it might help, I found this quote by former astronaut Eugene Cernak: "...“there is only light if sunlight has something to shine on. When the sun shines through space, it’s black. The light must have something to strike.”

Instantly I thought of how this relates so well to times when it seems bleak, and all is darkness, but that the light can still find us through it all.

I hope this finds you well and living in what light that is shining through; or will.  :sunny:

General Discussion / Re: more recovery notes
« on: November 15, 2020, 06:14:14 PM »
James G wrote: "...You don't return to life before the trauma. There is no normal to return to, I really see that now. You build a new normal, brick by brick. Accepting its a new life is really important. The trauma can't be removed, it's a part of your new reality. Somehow it has to be just one more brick in the wall you construct around the new person you become."


Perhaps it's like the ancient practice of alchemy, where the goal was to find an ultimate object (the Philosophers Stone), to be derived by melting down and combining all sorts of elements, like a grand chemistry experiment. Cloaked in archaic language (to avoid persecution by the 'authorities'), it usually didn't result in finding its intended object, but often something appeared that proved useful, even surprising.

I suppose it could be said that when all expectations were at least altered, if not shed entirely, the new result might seem strange at first, but then it slowly begins to prove to have been worth the effort. Good for you on finding a new trail, JamesG. I wish you well with your new 'normal' and can indeed fashion new bricks to insert as you build the new life.


Recovery Journals / Re: One day at a time
« on: November 12, 2020, 07:00:08 PM »
I feel badly for that turn of events, Windflower. While it's unfortunate the initial good vibes of the supplement faded, it's also encouraging to note that it was there, for however long and for whatever reason. Meaning -- there are good things, too. It just often takes longer than we wish it would.

I've had many awful days, yet somehow find ways to stay with building up what was a shaky foundation. It just can be so slow, so repetitive, and sometimes almost entirely discouraging.

It won't be this bad everyday -- as you recently experienced, there are at least moments when the light seems to still be there. There's always a light that somehow can find its way through.  :hug:

Recovery Journals / Re: Moving Forwards
« on: November 12, 2020, 06:41:57 PM »
Blueberry, your new turn reminds me of something I recently read. It suggested that mindfulness, often thought of as 'living in the moment', is actually more effective when considered as 'living in the movement'.

Everything's in constant movement, even though we stop for a moment at various times and places in life's trek. Especially regarding coming out of trauma, I tend to think of life as a long wilderness journey, with no maps.

So -- welcome to the new movement you're sensing. May it prove to be full of discoveries and insights as you continue the path towards wholeness.   :)

Other / Re: First Day Home Overnight
« on: November 12, 2020, 03:21:51 AM »
 :thumbup: Here's to more safe  and steady recovery   :applause:

                                      :cheer:     :cheer:     :cheer:

It's good to see you've take the step to .share. It's obvious yours is a caring voice. I hope you also found that reaching out helped lift your mood.

You deserve to be heard and cared for.  :hug:

Recovery Journals / Re: Not Alone: Reduced Visibility; One Step at a Time
« on: November 08, 2020, 03:19:04 AM »
I've known that loss of a beloved pet so many times. So often they are the only friends we need at times when things are rough.



General Discussion / Re: Am I too far gone?
« on: November 04, 2020, 03:29:00 PM »
I've thought a lot about your question, Edenjoy; about what it is that's helped me; and a lot that hasn't. As I have rampant perfectionism, it's hard to answer and I'm never quite satisfied with what I come up with. It can vary from day-to-day. Plus I have a constant fear of being misunderstood.  :spooked:

I've done the same complex sort of thinking about the many facets and multiple abusers of my youth, but also how I fell into a pattern where I allowed people to abuse me almost into the present. None of it made sense then, and makes even less sense now. So I've been trying to turn that around -- I guess that's called changing my attitude, mellow out grandiose expectations which always seem to fall short. That in turn may reflect the perfectionism I spoke of.

In the case of my expectation of others, I was desperate for someone to trust who wouldn't take advantage of me. But I'm also harder on myself than on anyone else. Although I've had some vocational/social service sorts of occupations, I also live alone in a very lonely spot, but that's by choice. So that's a huge part of what I've done. It's like I knew early on I needed major recovery, but also needed a place where I could be alone to go about it.

While that situation landed men in a more peaceful environment, living this way of course has cut me out of any potential for much of any 'ordinary' social life. That said, I did have a wonderful 'pseudo-family' of about 6 friends I cnould finally trust, all of whom died in short order within the last few years. It's set me back, I know; but the key has been, like so much else -- adapting.

Adapting equates to self-acceptance and other notions I strive for; more attitudinal sorts of healing, I guess. Mind you, lots of self-acceptance can be painful, but something else I learned growing up in such turbulence was that pain is survivable, though not preferable. While I'm mostly speaking of emotional damage, the physical elements have also crept up on me; some of them resulting from years-ago abuse, along the lines of 'the body keeps the score'.

I've been through a long series of therapists going back a couple of decades, though I didn't find one I felt compatible with until around 5 years ago. Her approach dovetails with my own. Her concept of therapy, while founded in her own depth of knowledge, is also based on the concept of not doing therapy FOR someone, but WITH them. That's helped loads, to have a T who regards me as fully human, and not just as a patient to be fixed in a predetermined way.

This is already too lengthy, so I'll just touch on couple aspect of what I've done in this process of self-compassion which came about mostly through dogged and extensive reading to discover what I used to call self-help but nowadays regard more as self-realization. Acknowledging the worst but also sensing what's best. This is more about my inner workings, which I call 'being' in lieu of 'doing'. Among the best of these readings were ideas expressed by writers named Jeff Foster and Tara Brach, to give just 2 examples.

Okay, just one more mention. Filtering in the back of my ego-mind's view of all this was a sense that something was still missing. I felt this way extremely early, and was always more attuned to that -- the basic idea that there's more to life, and people, than the pit in which I grew up. Grew up? Okay, relatively; as I remember as a youth not wanting to ever grow up if it meant being like 'them'. The inner sense of searching for that something else has driven most of my life's turns, again in favour of what I valued more than what I was doing.

I'd better stop -- this reflects something else I know. Which is that I really don't know. I just follow that inner instinct that there has to be something better; and something beyond mere ego or mind.  I hesitate to say spiritual as that's such a loaded term, but what I'm saying relates closely to exploring that as well. Much to my surprise as my early abuse took place within a very pseudo-spritual context, but it took years to realize that.

  I say all of this with hesitation, as everyone's path can be so individual, dependant on so many factors. It is complex, for sure. But I'm still drawn to the road less traveled, it seems. My life grew out of abuse I've given up trying to understand, beyond the surface realities. Some might think of some of what I've tried as radical, even; but in my quest for self-acceptance and basic sanity, I still follow that 'something else' quality.

This is far too lengthy, but I've never mastered sound-bite discussions either. So I hope that can be accepted. Thanks for being here, Edenjoy.


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