Self Help Activity 2: Share Your Understanding of Your Meaning w/the Group

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C.

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Reminder: In order to honor our group process we ask that only current ASCA workbook group members post and respond here please.  If you would like to join in at this time or a later date please send the moderator a PM.  Thank you.

Note:  Your recovery is unique to you.  These topics and activities are suggestions.  Please feel free to do and respond to those that work for you at this time.

2.   Share your understanding and meaning about your abuse at ASCA meetings and listen to others' explanations and thoughts. You may hear conceptualizations that capture a feeling you had but were unable to put into words. Continue to refine your thinking on this topic.


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VeryFoggy

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My philosophical viewpoint today.

I cannot get along with anyone in my family of origin.  They are all mentally ill to some degree, and they all see me as something I am not. They are incapable of seeing me as I am. 

Therefore I am sadly leaving them behind.

And from this day forward I will focus that love, attention, and caring on myself. I will spend all of my resources and my tremendous capacity for love upon myself. And those who deserve it. I will focus on healing the damage that has been inflicted on me. I will stop making that damage worse.  The way I have made it worse was by trying all of my life to try to make people who are quite literally insane and incapable of love to love me. I will stop.

Instead I will love me and treat myself like the very dear and important and worthwhile and worth loving person that I am.  I will treat myself like I wanted them to treat me.  And I will accept they cannot ever love me. And I will walk away. And I will take me with me!

I will love myself and I will accept myself unconditionally.  Even if I do have DID.  Even if I was sexually molested or abused or even raped as a child, I will still love myself.  I know I was spiritually and physically and emotionally abused. And maybe even sexually.  I understand none of those things is my fault, and I still love me.

 I did not do anything to deserve it or to cause it to happen.  I was innocent. I will love me and heal me and care for me. And now as an adult, I will protect myself from people who wish to harm me. I will see others as they are, and not as I would wish them to be. And I will no longer allow myself to do harmful things to myself, or expose myself to harmful people who are not good for me.  I will stop repeating this behavior of chasing people who are not good for me to try to find love.

And I will trust that God loves me, and that he has a plan for me, and that I am a part of his plan. Even if I donít understand it today, I believe I will understand someday. I will believe I am His child and that He loves me, even if no one else does. I will believe He cares and wants me to learn and grow and love.

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C.

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VF all of what you wrote rings true for me.  Iím not sure Iím there yet, but itís the goal.  And I know that when I feel fully at peace and connected to God like you describe, I feel contentment, joy even.   Iíd say that highest level of joy happens a couple of times per week for me, which is pretty good.  And Iím noticing a pattern of when that happens.  Itís when Iím taking the best care of me, like you describe.  Some of those activities include praying wholeheartedly, connecting w/one of my kids on a deep or fun level, connecting w/a supportive friend (I have one and a half lol), participating on this forum and some artistic inspiration like an uplifting movie or creating a multidimensional picture.  I admire your diligence and discipline VF w/your activities. I need to really fight against the tendency to disassociate in to less healthy things for joy which are:  too much Netflix, too much of my telephone game, and eating too much sugar.

Before I thought that love periodically hurt.  That love is such a strong emotion that those who you love sometimes use words to hurt, criticize, blame, etc.  My mom ďtaughtĒ me that at a very early age.   My husband reinforced it w/a roller coaster ride marriage.   I remember ďhelpingĒ her to cope w/my dad when I was about 10 yrs old, helping her to not feel so bad when he was being inappropriate.  Not a fair role for me.

Then two years ago a friend told me that those behaviors simply arenít love.  And that was a new concept for me.  Sad that my FOO and my exH said that they loved me, but w/my new definition they never did so due to the off & on, but ongoing, emotional abuse.  Thatís something I seem to understand on an intellectual, spiritual, and Iím close to catching up emotionally.

I hope that I get to a higher level of acceptance where I understand on a deeper level that these experiences, though painful, made me who I am today and thatís ultimately a good thing.  Like see my marriage as a life lesson.  Early in the divorce I periodically felt that type of peace and awareness that I was doing was necessary given my circumstances.  Now, itís an intellectual understanding and my heart is gradually catching up.  Itís hard for me to dump the stigma that I somehow internalized about being a divorced person.

A childhood friend of mine who has experienced domestic violence, divorce, and being widowed said to me when this began that she hopes one day I can see and understand ďwhyĒ I was married and what I gained from the experience.  At the moment I feel like I simply rode that rollercoaster of periodic yet ongoing emotional abuse.

I think that what Iím saying is that I hope that further along in my recovery I can simply accept the tragedy of my experience and feel good about aspects that I gained and learned from my marriage.  I just thought of one.  I donít sweat the small stuff.  While I was married I often felt irritated about household mess.  Now I like things organized and clean, but I donít often feel irritated when someone (daughter, son, etc.) doesnít wash a dish, or leaves out the cereal.  Iím much more careful about when and why I feel angry or anxious if that makes sense.

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VeryFoggy

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If it wasn't for my T. I am pretty sure I would be locked up in a looney ward somewhere medicated so I could just forget about all of this stuff.

 I spent a lot of time today digging out the old albums my mother had given me a few years ago, and just looking at pictures of me. I found a couple I could not make heads or tails of.  I don't know how I old I am, I don't remember the clothes I am wearing, and I am not smiling, even though they are professional photos where they try to make you smile.  I just look scared and stunned and leery, and wary.  ALL of the other pictures I have I remember the clothes. Both older and younger.  I have always remembered my clothes from about age 2.  I DO vaguely remember a photographer trying to get me smile once a long time ago, and really trying my people pleasing best to give him what he was asking for.  But I could not do it. So it must have been this photo.

Just a lot of the time it feels surreal, just completely surreal that my WHOLE family is just gone. Like they never even existed. I mean they still exist, but not only did they not ever know me?  But also all of this time I lied to myself and tried to make them over too. Just as hard as they were trying to make me over?  I was trying just as hard to make them over too.  I pretended they were like me. For 58 years.

It's mind boggling. I just can't quite take it in and absorb it. It's like they all died in a plane crash except they are not dead.  They are still carrying on doing their NPD stuff with each other and with their NPD friends.

But not a single one has had even a morsel of sympathy for my "coming out letter" where I told them all I had CPTSD and that it was due to abuse. Even my closest brother who I thought would be a staunch supporter turned on me and started screaming the party line. Which goes like this:  "You are too weak!  You are too soft!  You need to toughen up!  You need to learn to take this stuff and blow it off! I am ashamed of you for cracking like this!  I thought you were a better stronger person than this! I always thought you were the strong one!

But between the lines today I think what I really hear him saying is, "What am I to do now? You were my idol? I worshipped you. I thought you were strong and tough and invincible. But if even you cannot stand up to this madness, to this insanity that is our FOO?  Then what am I to do?  What hope is there for me? Who will I look up to now?  Who will protect me now if you won't do it anymore? What is going to happen to me?

I think that may be what he is really saying.  Because  I assumed enormous responsibility as the oldest, and as the scapegoat to both take the brunt of the abuse, and to try to shield the rest of them from it. And since I quit my job, then everybody is very, very angry. Because now they have to take care of themselves and they don't want to do it. And they don't even know how to do it.  Because I mainly did it for them all of these years.

I suspect that even my mother, my own mother feels this way about me.  As she always treated me like I was much stronger and more powerful than her.  All of my life I have felt like she lived vicariously through me.  When I would tell her things I had done or accomplished she was always amazed and said to me, "I could never do anything like that!" I feel like everybody thought I was a machine that could take and tolerate and do anything, and still get back up and fight another day.

And I can't. I have found out I am human after all. And my convincing faÁade is now biting me in the rear end. Being strong and all powerful is not all it's cracked up to be.  Because if all you have is a bunch of weak followers who believe you will always take care of them?  Then when you crack and become human?  Then they turn away in disgust to look for something else, and throw you out like yesterday's trash.

But it doesn't matter. I am proud of me.  For coming out and telling the truth. Because telling the truth is truly the bravest thing I have ever done in my life. And I knew up front I was probably going to lose them all. I hoped I wouldn't? But I knew I probably would.  But for once I did what was right for me and decided to get down off of the cross and stop sacrificing myself. I mean after all, who did I think I was?  Jesus already did this!  It's not my job!

So, I know in my heart my true Father does not want me to destroy the gift He gave me. And it was wrong of me to believe it was my job to do so. No, instead each person must take care of their own gift, and I sin if I try to take that right away from them and try to do it for them.

So I have taken the first step. Now it is up to them to either learn or else find a new scapegoat / protector within the FOO. They can either keep lying to themselves, or they can start learning the truth. And I was an impediment to them learning the truth.

But it is still surreal.

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VeryFoggy

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C, Prior to writing the previous post I MEANT to try to reply to yours, but got caught up in today's feelings. And, well you see what happened.

Yes meditating or praying and feeling that warm healing love steal into your heart is quite comforting. I need to do it more often.

As far as all of the "bad" relationships I have had in my life and the lesson to be learned? For me the one most important lesson is "Don't do that anymore, it doesn't work."  I have been reading a lot of books lately about trauma, and some of the patterns that are ingrained in us, and one I keep reading about is "Repetition Compulsion."  Yep.  That's me.  Trying play the same old tune and make it into a new song and it doesn't work.  I have repeatedly chosen to establish relationships, close relationships with people who are INCAPABLE of delivering what I am seeking. So that is the lesson., the biggest lesson I have learned.  Stop doing that.

What you are doing and feeling with your 1.5 friends and your son and daughter is the right way to do it!

I think often of something Schrodingers Cat said a while back.  I miss her tremendously BTW!  But anyway she said something like, "If you have to work and try to get people to see your value?  Stop!  Walk away.  Those who can and who are capable?  Will see it easily. Will easily accept you and love you as you are."

This sounds simplistic?  But it is deep, a deep lesson for me. I have been locked in the trauma battle and this is a lesson that I needed to learn. Love is free and easy, and not battle to prove who you really are.

And as I look back on all of the failed bad relationships?  THIS is the one true thing that shines for me.  I was always doing all of the work and trying so hard to "make" people see me.  NO!  If they cannot see me easily?  They are NOT the right people to try to establish deep close relationships with!

Of course you cannot turn your back on your children who are not old enough to be on their own? But you can eventually. If they just cannot see you and if they insist on treating you like someone you are not.

That said I have had great success with using the Respect Me Rules book on my own son. He has done a 180 and is no longer tearing me apart and attacking me and he is LEARNING that I have boundaries now, and that he must deal with his own problems.  I am truly amazed.  I don't think we will ever be close, close?  But it is very pleasant these days. Much better.