Personal Growth Stuff Thread

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Scent of Cedar *, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is a personal growth kind of posting, with a special hello and a thank you to Recovering Enabler. Back on Feb 5th, Recovering posted to me on that page where we can go to change our profiles. I just saw it today and responded, but I received a warning that it had too many words. I think I may have typed my response in my profile space.

    Ha!

    Oy.

    With my rotten computer skills, the fear is that I will never be able to change it back. (!) So, I don't know whether I answered you or not, Recovering. The good news is that I don't see my answer to you in my profile. In fact, the answer is no longer anywhere I can see it, at all.

    Thank you very much, Recovering, for taking time to post to me like that. I was so pleased to know you had done that for me.

    *****

    As I posted in response to Recovering's kind questions about how we were, I realized that it might be helpful to each of us who is following the process of what happens, as we begin digging deeper to change self concepts formed at the hands of abusive parents, for me to post about it.

    I have been feeling very Quasimodo-like, lately.

    Sort of hiding in the bell tower, wishing I weren't...er, Quasimodo, I guess.

    :O)

    Because I have been so down on myself, it literally never occurred to me that learning about my process might be valuable to anyone else. So much of what is down there is so bad, so negative on every smallest level. Going back to get it, trying to sit with the feelings, recognizing and refusing the defenses evolved to counter the feelings has been a really crummy experience.

    For awhile there, I got into counting the "likes" or the "winners" I got, here on the site. I finally had to stop liking anything myself, and give up entirely on whatever contest I was having with myself over the ratings on my posts. It was the strangest, most ego-centric thing. I am not proud of that. Other ego centric things were happening, too. I get it, intellectually, that without my usual defenses, there are going to be vulnerabilities, things I am ashamed of. But there was not one aspect of my life that was not suddenly under this microscope with a direct line to my mother's old messages about who and how I am.

    It totally sucked.

    Fear, and awareness of fear, and the strangest comments about fear ~ that's been happening.

    Right. In. Public.

    I look different, to myself.

    I dream of looking into a mirror and seeing myself, my skin old and folded and lizardly looking. I am unrecognizable, except for my eyes, trapped in that face. I am assuming there is something here from my mother about aging. Maybe nothing she said, just an attitude toward life that I incorporated from her. I can feel her in here somewhere. I am finding my judgments about my mother crumbling. Which is good, but it leaves me with nowhere to stand.

    Literally.

    There is this heated, burgeoning compassion now where first there was numbness and then, hurt and disgust and rage.

    Most of the things I am working with now have no words. There is no concrete thing to explore. Feelings, inadequacies, raging egocentricities that just smack me over with their (my) pettiness.

    Again, Recovering, thank you so much. It was very healing, to know you had been thinking and wondering about me. Sort of irrefutable proof that the negatives were just that ~ negatives which needed to be brought into the light and healed; not real things, at all.

    So, for those who find themselves walking this path of enlightenment with me...it isn't all brightness and openness and light. There is so much darkness, so much pain and old poison at the heart of us. I was going to post "when we have lived through abuse." But I think we must all have defenses, all have old hurts. It gets to be painful ~ especially when I am in Quasimodo mode, myself ~ to see the defenses others employ. And once we have seen through that same layer in our own defenses, it's like we can't unsee it in others.

    I remember you posting something like that once, Recovering.

    I have been struck speechless with compassion. I am defenseless myself, before that kind of pain. But at the same time, I am speaking words like, "How are you I am fine. How about that weather."

    Because there literally is nothing else to do.

    But, with our own thought patterns so disrupted by the negatives, by the old sadnesses and incompetencies, by the living truths in the eyes of our abusers...cheesh, it really sucks.

    It is like being frozen in place. At some point, you can't just say, "Whoa. too much information." It is what is. Only this time, you know you chose it and you know sitting with it will change those basic belief systems.

    It's hard to remember that though, when I am in the grip of it.

    So, just lately, I am feeling more myself. I am coming out the other side of this layer. If past experience holds true for this time too, I will become familiar with this new level of ~ whatever it is. My personality, my personhood, will incorporate the changes, and I will be myself, again.

    More present, if past experience holds true. More here, more of me. More real.

    But it is as uncomfortable as you have ever heard that it is.

    I read somewhere that a person should not seek spiritual enlightenment unless he wants it as though his hair were on fire.

    I so get that, now.

    I am thinking of changing my screen name to Quasimodo. Does anyone know what happens to him, in the end? Remember that bag he is always hauling around? That bag I drag through the bell tower in my Quasimodo phase is still like, half full.

    Holy s***.

    Cedar
     
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I look for you daily Cedar and when I don't see you posting I really do get worried, hence the message on your profile page. So much for my computer skills I thought I was leaving you a private message!! SO asks me now, "so how is Cedar, how is her daughter?" You have become part of our everyday world here.............

    I'm sorry you've been down my friend. The world we inhabit has a lot of that going around...............Hold on Cedar, that compassion seeping through, it has to start with compassion for YOU............YOU. You deserve that compassion, with your earnest, continuing, relentless desire to be the best Mom, to heal from your childhood, to not be like your mother, in all your trying you forgot to notice yourself, right there, doing her very best..........always........

    I believe we all have fear within us........and when we have so much fear, fear stuck inside ourselves since we were little, when the fear begins to release it's like the toxic stuff comes out very much like if you had an abscess and it broke, all that nasty stuff would come out and then it would heal. But when it broke it would hurt like the dickens before the healing begins. Perhaps that's what has been happening with you Cedar, all the toxins are releasing and it can be very unpleasant.

    However, the light is pushing out the darkness. I like looking at it that way.

    I was just reading that quote about your hair being on fire last night............I get that too Cedar. Geez, I'm lucky I still have any hair then.

    That bag may be half full but you've already unloaded half of it Cedar, let's celebrate that part now and realize that the second half may be much easier since you are now sort of a pro at this!

    SO and I are getting ready to go to dinner..............I will check in later to see if you are around.........Happy Valentine's Day to you and husband. I hope your happy hour was a lovely one.................and that this day of LOVE has filled you up with all the love that is around you............it's there, all you have to do is open your heart to let it in................
     
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Why, that's true, Recovering. Even the feel of not having compassion for myself as I go through this now...that's the feel of my mother. That same being watched through a magnifying glass feeling, that same feeling of FOG.

    So, this is about the distinction between pity, which speaks of contempt and identifies with the abuser to this day, which is the secret, shaming thing the abuser knows to this day...and compassion.

    Abuse is such an obscenity. The thing, the power thing that really happens in any abusive situation, I mean.

    You are right, Recovering.

    I can see the merit of compassion through your eyes. Not pity, stinking of loss, but compassion, thundering with light and strength.

    That was the thing so fully a part of the feel of these episodes that I could not separate it out, Recovering. Compassion. Which turns out to be so different a thing than pity. Compassion is what we have for someone determined to walk through a thing. It is bells thundering and sun rising.

    So, I am dealing with all this on the level before speech.

    :O)


    You are right. I have been as hard on myself as I relive this as my mother was on me to begin with.

    This is huge, Recovering.

    :O)

    Cedar
     
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, this is huge. I believe that the change we seek has to begin within us...........we first have compassion for us, then we can truly have compassion for another, not pity. It's all, as they say, an 'inside job.' Throughout the last couple of years, I could hear myself say to SO, so many times............so many.........."I feel so sorry for ME." My heart bled for my daughter, for my granddaughter, for my sister, for many.............but for me? I was busy towing the line. And, then, as my heart was breaking, perhaps in the breaking, it was actually cracking open, I was able to see myself, broken, hurting, fragile, vulnerable.............open...........and in that opening, I could really see myself........I think a lot of my own armor around my heart, around the tender parts of myself, was ripped away in this process of acceptance............and although certainly someone abused would want to keep that armor around to keep from being hurt ................as we grow and heal, that armor just becomes way too heavy to lug around ..............there comes a time to unload it and to take the risk of living without it. I don't think we undertake to do that lightly...........we've been wearing that armor for many, many decades. Throwing it off does not look like a good idea.

    Your resolution this year was to be kinder to yourself. You set up an intention. Once the intention is set, what we get to see is all that is in the way of that intention so that we can work through it. If kindness is your destination, compassion would have to be included. If we feel compassion for ourselves, if we can allow ourselves to recognize our own beauty and learn to honor ourselves, I believe we can then look upon the world with that same compassion which sets up a whole different kind of energy around us...........an open heart can receive love and give love without judgement and without having to change anyone or anything.............an open heart can accept what is and not suffer in it.

    We have spoken about perfectionism, the need for control, the deep sense of not being enough...........all components of fear. I believe if compassion begins to grow within us, the fear diminishes greatly............without the fear, we can allow, we can accept, we can receive, we can be open, vulnerable, awake, alive............in awe, in gratitude.

    I see myself differently now. You have said that as well. I think when our eyes are opened to the truth ............the truth of what is with our own children, our eyes are opened to the truth of who we are as well. Clouded before in our frozen stance of enabler, we were stuck in the FOG that surrounds that stance............compassion for us and for our kids breaks up the FOG, pushes the fear away, allows reality to come forth. ALL the reality seeps in, the good, the bad and the ugly. You've seen the bad and the ugly, you also have to see the good. The good in YOU.

    Cedar, if you could "see" you as I do, as the rest of the crew here does............you would "see" a loving, kind, earnest, caring, courageous, powerful, very sweet and bright endearing soul who has been through hell and still has an enormous capacity for love and spiritual depth..........you would be in awe of your own self..........

    Loving ourselves is vital to living that authentic, real life we so often speak of..........it is the basic component, to love oneself, to accept oneself, to honor oneself. That is the part necessary to model for our children now. That ends up being the most important part.
     
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    seems appropriate.............
     
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Recovering. That feels so good, feels just right, the moon passing across the sun, the sun brilliant, breaking....

    :O)

    So, perhaps I am not Quasimodo in the bell tower, after all.

    Maybe Quasimodo was the best I could do, before understanding about compassion. This understanding has changed the view, subtly but completely. You are right, Recovering. There is like, a Noah's Ark flood of water there....

    One has to be prepared, on guard.

    These are the tears I refused to shed. This is where they went. This is the source of the numbness, the separation between me and myself.

    I love it that there is so much water, there.

    Thank you for that imagery of something held back, of something breaking open, Recovering.

    It is perfect.

    ***

    On pity: Pity is my word for the taste of the way the abuser reminds you who you are and, most importantly, who you are not. If anyone reading along grew up with an abuser, or if you are living with one now, what I am calling pity is that sense of being watched so closely, of expecting to be hurt unexpectedly, of anticipating ridicule or of being discounted.

    It is how the abuser stokes the fire between abusive episodes.

    Child or adult, we carry that with us, incorporate that weak, shaky, approval-seeking feeling as surely as people treated well incorporate positive feelings of strength and competence and independence.

    I don't think there is anything personal in what an abuser does.

    In the grip of it, the eyes are empty.

    Cedar
     
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    "These are the tears I refused to shed. This is where they went. This is the source of the numbness, the separation between me and myself."

    I was struck by that statement and reminded of a time when I was 39 years old and I went to a Homeopathic Medical Doctor who had an interesting book out which I read called Spiritual Nutrition. He was also a meditation teacher, a Reiki Master, a Nutritionist, this guy had a lot of degrees and training! I got into his program which was eating only fresh raw food, no animal products, taking supplements, homeopathic supplements as well, meditating and seeing him regularly. After the initial month where I had what is commonly known as a 'healing crisis', where your body adapts to the new regime, I actually felt better then I ever had in my life. During the initial interview with him, he took an incredible history, not just medical but emotional, physical, spiritual, all of it........he was like a detective. I started the program which was extremely detailed and initially quite challenging to abide by. About 3 weeks in this 'big cry' came out, I just wanted to cry and cry. It went on for about 3 days. I went to see him for my monthly check-in and during that time I shared with him my 'big cry' story. Since he knew my entire history, he told me that was likely all the feelings I had 'stuffed' when my divorce happened when I was 25. He told me something I never forgot and often have seen to be true for me, he said, "the body never forgets, all the unshed tears, the feelings not felt, are all still inside of you."

    I had always been a 'feeler' type of person so this gave me a real permission to feel since in my family of origin, feeling was something I got punished for. The gates opened up for me then and allowed me to express my feelings after that much more easily plus I started to see the real benefits as well.

    Tears have been studied and there is a different content to tears shed from an onion, from sorrow, from anger............the release for the body is different with different stimulus.

    I am a strong believer in allowing ourselves to feel our feelings and cry when it is appropriate. It is healthy.

    Years ago when I couldn't always access those tears, I would watch a sad movie, "Terms of endearment" comes to mind, or "Steel Magnolias" both of which always make me cry. It was a release, it helped to open those gates.

    If you are aware of those unshed tears Cedar, make shedding them a priority. I believe, even though it doesn't feel so good, it frees up your body, your spirit, your emotional being and allows us to be renewed and opens our hearts...........it's a surrender to the pain and releases it from inside of us....

    How are you doing today? And, how is your husband? As always, I'm thinking of you and husband and sending you caring thoughts and hugs........
     
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, we're okay, Recovering. I thought about you this morning, about your story about crying in the restaurant. I am having that kind of day. I went somewhere this morning and, sure enough, someone asked how we were and it was all I could do to make the appropriate response.

    Ew.

    I am leaving again in a few minutes.

    There just never seems to be an appropriate time for the kind of healing that shows on the outside. The energy it takes to hold it all must be phenomenal. It is a relief to have things to do, today.

    I am trying to work with holding the concept of both the cloud and the silver lining.

    How are you, Recovering?

    Cedar

    I wrote this yesterday, but didn't post it. Doing so much better, this morning. I am going to post it anyway, because if I am going through this, someone else may be helped by seeing my process. Today, yesterday's posting looks fine to me.

    Yesterday?

    It seemed stupid and wrong.

    These are the feelings of contempt, of second guessing, of looking for the wrongness in anything we do before we commit to it. These are the underlying feelings we will need to examine and refute ~ not just on an intellectual level, but down deep where there are no words. Coming to its fruition now, these are the feelings working up around the issue of ratings on posts. Anything that can be used to weaken us will be used.

    Just let it happen. Once you decide to see it, there is nothing else that needs to happen. It is right and good to cherish and befriend ourselves. These feelings of contempt or pity (my words ~ yours will be different) are the abuser's "valance." They are belief systems that were toxic and wrong and harmful and hurtful from their inception. See and feel and reinterpret them out of existence. These are not legitimate interpretations of self. They are the abuser's remnants, and they are both pointlessly cruel and criminal. They have no place in your heart. They are spiritually misdirected interpretations ~ and it was your abuser's intention that this be so. Refuse. You have that power, now.

    When dealing with difficult child kids, these are the unseen emotions that cause us to collapse into enabling.

    We can change them to places of strength. Just like a broken bone is stronger from the being knit back together, so are we, once we see.

    Recovering, thank you again. I love the feel of that last posting. I like that the person is bald, vulnerable. I like that she is taking the sun slowly, and that she will not be burnt, that she will be strong enough, by the time that the moon passes, to live through the power of the sun in that strength.

    Cedar
     
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good morning Cedar. I feel a lot of gratitude to "meet" with you each day like this............like meeting a dear friend for tea each day and sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings........you are a treasure Cedar..........really. I value our "time" together.

    I am glad you feel better today. Perhaps it's best to stay at home when the crying begins.........you don't want any managers asking you to leave............!

    Well, when we are abused, I think for a time, we abuse ourselves, we take over where they left off, obviously not in it's entirety but certainly self cruelty reigns for some time. Each step out of that is a victory. Each step towards loving oneself and accepting oneself is so precious. You are moving through a lot Cedar, like in your dream..............be so very kind to yourself now........

    Thank you for asking how I am. Sunday and Monday were odd days. I felt sorrow. I couldn't identify it at first, I sat with it and talked to SO and cried a little bit. (I am quite an expert in tears!) Yesterday I worked and was busy but as the day progressed I started thinking about all the changes SO and I have been making with granddaughter. The last three weeks, since the car accident, have been all about SO and I changing the dynamic between granddaughter and us. It is timely, it is appropriate, it is right............and it feels weird.

    With my difficult child things were always so dramatic, so challenging, so hard and there was such a back lash. With granddaughter, it just feels mostly like her growing up and we need to establish boundaries which will be healthier for all of us. We have taken a lot off the table, a car, a senior trip, not giving much.........we told her we would put out to her what she is putting out, we would match that since that is real life, what you put out is what you get back. She has "senioritis" big time so she is goofing off a lot. All of that is okay and feels right.

    It's the stopping of all the giving that struck me.........

    What I didn't expect and perhaps is a part of the recovery from enabling, is the sadness I feel. I recall a therapist telling me a very long time ago that even when you let go of behavior that you really wanted to let go of, behavior that was in fact harming you.............when that behavior leaves, you grieve............you feel loss............you feel sad. I've been feeling pretty good for quite some time so this sadness was unexpected.

    I started thinking about how enabling is such a part of my ego...........it defined me in so many ways..........as another therapist mentioned once, "it looks good on paper" you're a good, helping, giving, wonderful character who is selfless..........people admire that...........and I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but I had an attachment to that part of me, that's who I've been for so long, not just with my daughter, but within my entire family............I was the "good" one, the helper...........yada, yada, yada................

    Over the years I've had to let go of a lot of my attachments to who I thought I was. Each time there was grief and then freedom from that attachment. Little by little I am simply becoming me. I am once again struck by our ability to keep ourselves in the dark where our attachments keep us stuck in having to be a certain way which is to us more acceptable then simply being just us. All of the facades, all of the in-authenticity, all of the pain in trying so hard to hold on to that false persona, and sometimes we die defending our right to be that fake guy.

    Here in California I observe people fall upon a "spiritual path" and within a very short time their egos place them in the realm of the "enlightened one" on a higher plane then the rest of us mere mortals. One can stay stuck there for a long time since it strokes the ego so well. In reality, quite a large part of the spiritual path is letting go of those egoic tendencies to make ourselves better then, higher then, smarter then, or in my own case, martyred for my amazing ability to help. I am a helper. I want to be of service, it really is who I am. I've had to heal and grow and look at the parts of me that use the helper to cover up my own lack and then use it to be more then I think I am. Sigh. I read once that "the spiritual path is always under construction" I think that is truly the truth. There is no where to get. All we keep on doing is letting go............letting go and then............more letting go............

    This enabler persona sure has a lot of "lives" ..................

    Once I admitted all of this to my SO, it lifted. I am a believer in "telling on oneself," it has worked for me to own my "stuff" rather then try to look good and keep it up. It hurts a little and I am embarrassed, and yet on the other hand, I am freer from the grips of that persona. Putting it out there here brings forth more of that vulnerability I spoke about awhile ago.........seems healing brings on more and more of that...........a lot of defenses are gone, not too much control left.........I am naked!! ............... I wonder what persona I will run into next to have to let go of!!!
     
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Seems appropriate to this conversation......

    "This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor...Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." Rumi
     
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is true, Recovering. But what I would add to the so harsh judgments you are making about yourself in the enabler mindset is this: When we have been in that place where evil is, when we have grown up with it; when, for a time, we could not even separate the taste of what was evil from the heart of ourselves...there are those who tie a knot. There are those, and I don't know if there are many or few of us, who know the harshness of evil so thoroughly, that they decide they will do what they can to make things better. That is what we call enabling now too, Recovering. But if it weren't for those people who see the wrong and refuse to give up in the face of it, where would the world be, today?

    Yes, we enable. But not forever. I have been a fool for lesser things. I would do it again and again, until I get it that this isn't helping. Then, like you, I will do what I can know of what will help. I don't know why our paths are so filled with pain.

    I don't know the answer to that one.

    But I do know that, like you, I will do my best to tie a knot, to make it better.

    It isn't wrong to enable. It is wrong to enable from a harmful perspective. These are the distinctions we are making as we heal. Instead of taking it all on, we are taking on what we can while celebrating our own lives. It is a hard thing to know. But once we see through it, there is a strength, a brightness in those of us who trust, and believe. This is the engine that moves the world in a better direction, Recovering.

    We are not wrong.

    We are not foolish.

    We are building good, strong things. New concepts, new thought processes. New ideas of right and wrong, based on what we feel, strong and sure and true, of love. Of the power of it, of the sureness of it.

    You are right. There is a razor fine line between what is ego and what is real. We are learning, Recovering. Each episode which finds us appalled at what has run wild within us ~ each time we see, accept, and, well, I don't know a better word than heal for what happens, deep inside where no one can see...this small portion of the world for which we are responsible is stronger, better, completed.

    I swear we send that bright new strength, that completed wholeness, out around us, Recovering. Those we are fortunate to walk this path with are doing the same. All those ripples, sweet and healthy and strong, instead of what might have been.

    And it matters, Recovering. It matters more than we know or can imagine.

    We don't know the purpose. We don't know when we have reached an ending, where we are in the process, or even if an ending exists. We are doing what we are here to do. In every moment of our time here, we are doing what we are here to do. There is no medal, no time card, no way to know whether we did rightly or wrongly. You have made a great difference in my path. Somehow, what seemed unremarkable when I struggled alone with it now seems a valid path, a thing worth pursuing. Maybe, that is all we will ever know, Recovering.

    But if you consider the darkness you have changed, the tiniest spark of sweet, bright light that we may never know we created, but that shines through eternity? That is what is true.

    That may be the only truth there is. Whether we chose to tie that knot, to try, or let the whole thing fall apart.

    The strength and compassion in you nourishes the strength, the compassion, the decision to continue, in me. In all of us here, Recovering. No one can know what the tapestry is weaving. But you, and me, and everyone here who is doing the best, the utmost, very best, to make a better thing out of what we were given...that is what it is to be human.

    You are strong, Recovering, and so the path is not easy.

    But you are still on the path. You are upright. Others of us are stronger because of you.

    That is enough.

    We are as we are, warts and all. And that is enough, and more than enough. That is a miracle, Recovering.

    A bona fide miracle.

    I'm pretty full of myself, today. That is part of this journey, too. Freeing ourselves is not an easy thing. It would be way easier to defend, to hunker down in anger or shame. We are not doing that. None of us here is doing that. We are risking, sharing, choosing to shine.

    Well, I am today, anyway. I might be in a really crummy place again, next week.

    :O)

    Cedar
     
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks Cedar. You are a kind soul.

    Perhaps I look at growth in a more clinical way..........could be the 22 years of therapy I've had! (yikes) I didn't think I was harshly judging myself, I felt I had uncovered a truth which needed the light of day to grow.........Even though that doesn't always feel so good to realize, the results are usually more of a sense of freedom and wholeness.

    The therapist in that codependency course I took told us that codependents/enablers were the kindest, most soft hearted and loving folks around...............AND, along with that, there was a fear based component, the part learned in a dysfunctional system, the part that the ego corrupted.............that's the part I wanted to heal from. I do believe I am a kind, soft hearted, loving person............the distinction being that there were just some parts that didn't work for me, the enabling.

    As the fear subsides, that enabling persona has been dying, replaced by a more vulnerable, softer, more loving person which feels better and fits me.

    My intention was always good Cedar and that is very important, I never intended to do harm, I just didn't know any better. That distinction is not lost on me.

    And, yes, you and I changed the format of our parental conditioning...........that was my goal, to not pass the insanity on and to that end, these changes with my granddaughter are necessary and timely. Seems like I got it together in the 11th hour to make sure she got the best shot out of the gate!!

    It is a miracle Cedar, I completely agree. There are days I just can't even believe how many changes have happened, how much we humans can transform ourselves, how different I feel and how much happier and peaceful I am. We are remarkable creatures with an amazing capacity for courage, for growth, for love.

    It's good to have company on this journey of self discovery...........thanks for riding along Cedar.................good thing we're wearing our seat belts!
     
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    I am liking the discussion on this thread and there are lots of insights here for all of us who are working hard to change.

    Telling releases the shame and throws the doors wide open to let the light in. I remember when I started telling my Sponsor things about myself---(I'm still on Step four so haven't even officially gotten to Step five---Admitted to God, ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.). I was scared to death to tell her the dark parts of me. But sharing it freed me. I could then let it go. It's like fear---we think feeling the fear will literally kill us but it doesn't. If we don't feel it, we do all kinds of crazy things in an attempt to keep it at bay.

    I am so glad you have a trusted someone to tell, RE. It is a step on the path to healing, I believe.


    Oh, the sadness. I think there are so many reasons we feel the sadness. First, for the person whose life we can't fix or make better. For them because we love them so much and we want them to have it all. And most of them, they have nothing. That is so hard to watch and to bear. It is sad.

    Then, the sadness at letting go of who we are. Then, if we are not this, then who are we? We were taught from day one to be helpers and givers---that is the role, especially of females, in our culture. Help others. Don't be selfish. Don't think of yourself. Give freely. Be strong. Don't think about yourself. It's not about you. Help those less fortunate than yourself.

    On and on and on are the norms, the cliches, the platitudes, the words we live by. And of course, there is truth in them.

    It's the degree.

    I like to say this in explaining what happened as I enabled my ex-husband---first I compromised......then I accommodated...then I enabled. I couldn't even see it, it was so subtle, slow and insidious. His alcoholism progressed, and he became "irritable and unreasonable without knowing it." I danced to make him happy, and soon, I was dancing faster and faster and faster, trying harder and harder and harder.

    Oh, we can't go to that restaurant, he doesn't like to wait. Oh, I'll take care of the car repairs, he'll get upset. Blah, blah, on and on as his world shrank, it became more and more about him and his disease, and less and less about anybody else. I tried to hold it all together. That's what I thought you were supposed to do. You sure didn't pack your tent and leave without giving it all you got, right?

    Anyway, you know the drill.

    And then my son---of course, you take care of children. That's a given. But when does caretaking morph into managing which morphs into enabling? It happens, of course it does. Again, hard to see and one day, you wake up. He's nearly 25 years old and his life is a disaster. And although it's not your fault---not my fault, not your fault---we contributed with our enabling.

    It would have been better if he had faced the music earlier. A lot better. Would it have changed the future? Who knows?

    I do know this---the whole thing is sad to the core. It's sad for us, because we could have been different, better people much earlier. It's sad for them because we propped people up and that robbed them of the chance to grow and change and take care of themselves---which is a great thing to know you can do. It is life-affirming to know you can chart your own course. It is essential.

    But one day we have to shake off the sadness, like a dog shakes water off his back. Shake it off!

    We are also on our own spiritual journey---the one God is guarding and watching over and encouraging us to walk. The path isn't straight. God has lessons for us to learn and we are learning them---oh it is so painful and so sad to learn them---but we ARE. We are slowing growing into the people he always wanted us to be.

    We couldn't do it without this. People don't grow and change when they are happy, "fat and sassy". They just rest in that, as anybody would. People grow and change when there is discomfort, pain even suffering. We have suffered, all of us. We have gone beyond pain.

    But like someone said, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. I am working hard today not to suffer. I acknowledge the pain of all I have done and all others I love have done. We have all done it.

    This is such an imperfect world. Why don't we get that? We think things are like country music songs, love stories and romantic movies. I'm one of the worst---a hopeless romantic! I freely admit it and claim it! (lol)

    The path is not going to be straight.

    The whole point of this, I believe, is to bring us closer to God. To make us know that he is our strength and not ourselves. We can't do it alone. We have to reach out to other people, who represent (re-present) God to us through their actions and their love and their words. We are all connected. We are all in this together. We are not an island.

    Gosh, I got wound up there. But I think this stuff is profound. Instead of sitting around and wondering why our difficult children do the things they do (which we will NEVER figure out as we all know), let's spend time instead wondering about God's grand plan for each one of us. He wishes us joy and hope and love and abundance and everything good.

    Let's keep on walking toward that, crying, grieving, stumbling, pounding the ground in anger and despair, but also lifting our faces up to the sun, smiling, laughing and opening our hands and our hearts to all that is available to us.

    Even if. Even if. Each person---our difficult children, our PCs, us----has to walk his or her own journey and we can't know what that path needs to look like for them.

    I woke up last night at 1 a.m. heart pounding, thinking my difficult child had died. I told myself to calm down, I read my Kindle for a few minutes and I went back to sleep. That is new behavior for me. I am slowly, slowly, slowly accepting my powerlessness over people places and things. I am powerless but I am not helpless.

    You guys are great! I am so grateful today for the sun shining, this board, plenty of work to do, and the ability to do it.

    Let's plan that cruise! :cheerful:
     
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It is not our attachment to the glorious nice guy personality that keeps those of us raised as we were stuck in that place where who we "really" are doesn't feel like enough, Recovering.

    That is who we were taught we were. Not enough in ourselves. Our abusers had to break us to get the response they needed to feed their own emptiness. That is what it tastes like. You are right where you need to be, Recovering.

    That is the nature of the abuser's valance.

    That feeling that we are not the people we wish we were, that feeling that anything good or right that we do is done to cover and contain that horrible darkness that surely lives at the heart of us, those feelings, that certain knowledge of "not enough"...that is the spoor of the abuser.

    We need to track it down and confront it.

    And that is what you are doing and, shaky as I am, I am strong enough to hold for you through this.

    We will get where we are determined to go, Recovering.

    Children who pattern themselves on parents or caretakers (or even, a teacher) they respect and can cherish don't have that broken place where they have decided never to be like the parent or caretaker.

    We do.

    It was our own little brand of defiance, that decision to protect, to take joy in generous giving, to feel so happy, so safe, when things are going well. The problem with all that wonderfulness comes in because we don't let ourselves believe the bad things cannot be changed if only we try harder. Our boundaries have been eradicated routinely, and we no longer know the difference between something we can, indeed, make better and something dangerous to us.

    And that gets us into all kinds of trouble, as we keep trying to prove to ourselves that the abuser was wrong, that the world is or can become a good, kind place.

    Because we haven't gone back and addressed the abuser's inappropriate definitions of self that are still as poisonous as they were the day they were laid down, we are prime candidates for abusive relationships in our friendships, our marriages, our employment situations...and with our children.

    We keep trying to prove the world can get better. The truth is that it can, but that we cannot believe it better for someone else.

    We have committed no sin, Recovering. We are healing now because it is time. Everything points to that. There is nothing we need to do but what we do routinely. Kind, happy, generous, angry and out of sorts, crying our eyes out, we are doing what we have decided to do.

    GOOD FOR US.

    It isn't easy. Here is the thing: When we suspected the who we created of our shattered selves needed to be changed, we just leaped right in, battling old demons with teeth like needles and we are booting them the h*** out, Recovering.

    Or loving them out, I am not sure which.

    I suspect it is that white light, that powerful thing depicted in the last picture you sent.

    So, that would, hokey as it sounds to say it, be the power of love. Not that mushy kind, but the other kind.

    There is nothing in you to be ashamed of. You are a being of light and mercy in a world which can be as bright as you believe it can be. For the past few months, since shortly after daughter's beating, do you know what I did to counter that feeling of evil? I tied a knot, Recovering. I did a positive thing. Small knots, little everyday things to make my little portion of the world a better, saner place. None of these things were big things. The world works at the cellular level. I take care of feeding the feral cats someone else began feeding, and yet another someone raised money to pay a vet (who spays and neuters feral cats for her at cost) and yet someone else contacted me to take that over so the man who took the cats in the first place could take periodic trips to his home in another state.

    Each of us doing just a little something, tying just a little knot, and yet, for those cats, for the man who took them in out of agitated pity and fell in love with them over time, the world is a way better place.

    Am I enabling, Recovering...or changing the world?

    Does it matter?

    Or is it the only thing that matters?

    We are not bad to be the way we are, Recovering.

    You are so beautiful that you cannot see yourself, cannot see your effect on the world at the cellular level. As surely as our abusers changed the world, made darker ripples in it (and for all we know, they abused us less than they were themselves hurt), we made the decision to try to are making things better.

    That is who we are. That is the choice we made. That is what we do.

    There is no harm in wanting to be generous, in feeling so happy to think about a granddaughter having all the things that will make her happy. But even there Recovering, you tied a knot when you saw that, happy as it might make you to do these things, Granddaughter needs a stricter hand, right now. It is a rough ride, especially given the flesh stripping pain of your own lost daughter.

    We so shy away from anything that smacks of abuse that we go too far the other direction. We do it knowingly, proving we are not our abusers, not who they taught us we were.

    We do the best we know, Recovering. We are not rigid, not locked in. It is a practice.

    :O)

    **************


    Wow.

    Hi, Child of Mine. I am so glad you are here with us.

    Cedar
     
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes, COM, I am also glad you've joined us.

    And, thank you Cedar for your unending, warm and caring support.

    Yes, you're right COM, "telling releases the shame" I like that.

    I didn't feel so shamed as I did embarrassed, I saw the ego part of the enabling in a different way and it felt good to let it go.

    Yes, there is so much sadness, so very much. I have been filled with sorrow for my daughter, my sister, my brother, my family.............for the world really and all the pain we humans can experience and survive....................this time the sorrow was for me. I felt sad for the loss I sustained, even if the loss is what I really wanted to happen. I also felt sad for me and how much I have gone through not only with my daughter, but throughout much of my life. I think that sadness is very, very important for me to feel, it ushers in a new era of compassion for ME. I have felt enormous compassion for others............it has been the compassion for myself that has been lacking. Another hallmark of the enabler...........along with that external focus on others all the time...........that has shifted for me, the focus is now on ME!! Wow.

    I think when we are bolstered up in our inauthentic self, born certainly out of the dysfunction of a childhood based in fear, we are unable to recognize our own true self, the self that deserves and requires love, care, compassion, kindness...........with each new level of awareness I am able to be much more loving towards myself. That new vulnerability I feel is healthy, the awareness of my own version of my enabling self dying is healthy, my sadness about that death is healthy and my compassion for myself is healthy too. All of this is good.

    I look upon this as "expanding my connection to Divinity" as my old meditation teacher used to say. I agree with you COM, that is what we are doing.

    Cedar, I was using the word 'attachment' as in the Buddha quote about attachments to anything being the greatest source of suffering. So, in letting that 'attachment' go, my suffering dissipates. I don't have to hold on to a persona which is not who I am. It may have been born out of the way in which my parents raised me, however, in the now, I am the one who has to let it go.

    I think I have been healing from my childhood for 40 years, since I was 23 years old when I first began this remarkable journey of self discovery. What is going on now feels like the culmination of a very long history of enabling. Certainly there is always stuff to work through, I see that..............but this particular enabling/codependent/rescuer persona is healing by that 'light' of awareness that's been brought forth by my own relentless search for my own freedom from it. Everything feels different. Even my childhood.............my compassion for myself has promoted compassion for all of it..........I am no longer defined by the past, the present moment has arrived for me................all of these lessons with my daughter and my granddaughter, although so very challenging and often so painful, have left me more whole, more capable of simply staying here in the present moment and dealing with whatever...............the other day it was sadness................today it is excitement............I love that Rumi quote about inviting them all in.

    And COM, I agree, in letting go of my difficult child, in letting go of enabling............ I am available for that Divine plan.............and that cruise!!! Or maybe the cruise is the Divine plan!! Let's do it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  16. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love the Rumi quote, Recovering. What a perfect way to know the truth about those negatives, as they come to possess us for a time. This is like the practice of seeing the cloud and its lining at the same moment that Child of Mine posted about. And then, we understand the someone doing the seeing, the welcoming, the laughing, is the real who that we are.

    ****************

    Yes, fear or any negative emotion. It works for me to envision it as a valance, an electric or spiritual charge of some kind. The concept is the same. I agree wholeheartedly.

    It's like the Eckhardt Tolle quote about the pain body:

    "The pain body may seem to you like a dangerous monster that you cannot bear to look at, but I assure you that it is an insubstantial phantom that cannot prevail against the power of your presence."

    Eckhardt Tolle
    The Power of Now

    It's really difficult to stand up when this is happening, though. Well, it is for me, anyway.

    ***************

    WHAT CRUISE? I AM LIVING RIGHT BESIDE THE OCEAN. YOU CAN SAIL YOUR BOAT TO MY HOUSE.

    :O)

    Cedar
     
  17. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    The cruise we all need to take because I like all of you so much! :adoration:
     
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Here is an interesting thing I just realized. The tears in public when I hardly cry even in private, were required for the healing to happen. For me, tears meant I had lost the one thing I had left to the abuser, meant that my will had been broken. These tears were not overwhelming ~ except that I never cry in public.

    Maybe one tear in each eye.

    This was like...a lot of tears in each eye. My nose was even running.

    It totally sucked. It was the worst crying in public thing I have ever done. I hope this part is over and it never happens, again.

    I felt so weak, so humiliated. So swollen and ugly.

    But I think that was a necessary part of my healing. The women I was with (and they were all women) handled it perfectly. Silence, compassion; something about understanding the breaking open and the healing that attends it.

    I mean, they didn't say that, or anything about my having sprung a leak in lieu of saying good morning.

    (OH BROTHER!!!)

    So, I thought I would post about that, as crying in public, being overwhelmed by that need in public, seems to have played its part in both our healing processes.

    I read a story once by a Russian person. I don't remember the writer's name. I wish I did, then I could share it with you.

    On a darkened street in Russia, there is a secret door. When you knock in a certain way, the peephole is opened and you are allowed in. It is a very expensive club. There are many round tables in the room. Each table is big enough for one, maybe two people. Each table has a lighted candle in the center. When the prosperous customer is seated, the waiter brings a cutting board, a knife, and an onion. Each of the patrons sits at his table alone in front of the burning candle, slicing the onion until his tears run free.

    Afterwords, each of the patrons goes home without speaking to the others.

    Cedar
     
  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    True. Perception, how we see what we see, determines what is real for us. It is very scary to risk thinking in a different way. It feels wrong...in fact, that is where the feeling of fraudulence lives. In challenging the abuser's interpretation of who and how we were.

    So, that feeling of fraudulence is a good thing, then. A feeling which should be tracked down and reworked, freeing the child made to suffer ~ and who knows how many generations of children were made to suffer that same condemnation since the injury first occurred and began to be passed down ~ beneath a judgment that was an error to begin with.

    It doesn't seem that there is anything I have to do but acknowledge the feelings. Which is impossibly hard not to do, since the buggers are overwhelming.

    :O)

    I like what you posted about setting up an intention to be kind to myself, Recovering.

    *****************


    I do too, Recovering. Even worse, I always wanted to ~ I mean I meant to and I did it ~ give the best, the most, the whatever. It is the same feeling beneath the ratings on the posts thing. Like gluttony and starvation, in a way. There was pleasure in the giving but it was my pleasure, and it could be destroyed by a nicer gift given by someone else.

    In fact, the nicer gifts, whether I received them or someone else who had also received a gift from me received them, could and did toss me right into starvation mode.

    Oh Lord, I don't think I can take anymore of this!

    Just kidding. I am sure all that stuff was perfectly obvious to everyone but me. It usually is.

    Color me pink with embarrassment, again.

    I will say this for myself. I always did start out with the right motive and intent. It just never felt like enough, and then, it had to be more. And that was never enough either, and pretty soon, I was lost in it, chased by it, exhausted by it.

    I've told this story before, but for anyone who hasn't heard it, this is how I dealt with that feeling without even realizing, until this minute, that the comfort I felt had to do with the gluttony/starvation continuum.

    Maybe this is true for all the deadly sins? Are there seven or ten? Sloth, gluttony, coveting.

    I know darn well there are more than three.

    Here is the story. This is true. So, you can imagine how exhausting anything involving gift giving (or getting) got to be for me. Taking Christmas as an example, then: At the end of the day, after everyone was asleep and the house was back in order, I would have fresh coffee in a beautiful, bone china cup that had belonged to my mother's mother. In that way, I would touch base with something real, something so calming and comforting. Each time that whole ordeal of gifting and holiday cookies and dinners and parties came around, I would find it so calming to know I would make that coffee for myself in that cup which had belonged to my grandmother.

    It was a gift.

    And, viewed in this light, an everyday miracle, of which there are so many.

    So, so many.

    As each of us, here on the site, understands.

    *********************

    You have such an easy way of telling profoundly true things, Recovering.

    I just hope that crying in public part is over for me. That so sucked.

    Cedar
     
  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Recovering posted to me once that we can tell when we are enabling because we resent the giving.

    You are right, COM. It does happen by degrees. We didn't wake up one day and begin to enable. The caretaking began when they were little. That is the part both our difficult children and ourselves have to break, now. They needed to rely on themselves even in grade school, even in kindergarten.

    I was a helicopter mom, too.

    Only I think I may have been a helicopter mom for all the wrong reasons. I was always so proud of my parenting, my baking, my blah, blah, blah. You could have knocked me over with a feather when this happened.

    Did I say proud?

    I meant...arrogant.

    Yes.

    Darn it, yes that's true.

    That is what Joel Osteen says. His sermons have been so helpful to me on this path. It was always there for me. I just never felt the good things, the best things, were mine for the taking.

    I love this! I feel the sun on my cheeks, on my palms when I read this. I feel it as a little girl. What a special way to view a childhood I see through such darkness. Now? I see myself in this very sunshine, laughing and reaching and having without furtiveness or shame.

    God is more powerful than my mother, after all.

    :O)


    A beautiful, strengthening post, COM.

    I love the imagery of laughing in the sun with palms and hearts innocent and open. There is no expectation of hurt, there. And if the hurtful thing should happen to that child? It would be the hurt that was the wrongness, not the child; never the child.

    This imagery is perfect for me. I go there, go back there, as a child. Always before, I have envisioned myself as the unseen adult, witnessing and reinterpreting events for a child made utterly powerless.

    Now, I have this imagery.

    Love it.

    Cedar
     
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