This might be a female thing, but I realized this morning just how guilty I feel whenever I make a decision in favor of my own happiness. If I decide to do or not do something because I know it would make me feel better or even make things a little easier for me, I feel like I have done something wrong and need to redeem myself in some way.
Some of these habits of are the result of the abusive childhood I experienced. As I recognize these things I let them go, which is good. But there are so many things that are subtle and insidious playing in the background unnoticed until something triggers them strongly enough that they can be ignored no longer.
What is to be gained from behaving like a martyr? The perspective that leads to this syndrome is messed up. I believe it stems from having one’s needs ignored in favor of accommodating a selfish parent or parents. Kids living in volatile situations learn very early that their only real need is survival. Every severely dysfunctional family has its own dynamic and prevailing messages. The one I grew up in taught me: 1) Do not want anything for yourself; 2) Be afraid all the time; 3) Don’t rock the boat; and 4) Be ashamed, always. There were other messages, but those are some of the big ones. The biggest (and most damaging) was probably: You are not loved or lovable and never will be.
Interestingly, I do not feel badly when I write about this stuff. It used to hurt and I used to feel ashamed for even sharing it. Now it just seems like a fact of history, nothing I need to carry negative feelings about. Now it’s all about making connections and correcting thinking.
The reason I share this process is I know I am not alone. I write out of the gut feeling that I am not the only one who thinks the things I think. For one, it’s not possible for me to be the only one. We are all one, so whatever I am dealing with comes from the universal experience. I am drawing my experience from the collective. If my words turn a light on for anyone, then it’s worth it.
Every time I post a blog it makes me feel vulnerable and a little scared. But something in me tells me that it’s more important for me to write than to feel insulated from potential judgment. Especially when I consider that I know of nobody who can judge me more harshly than I have judged myself.
I am the only person in my family who has sought help reconciling the events of childhood with the reality of needing to function well in the world. That makes me sad. Something that makes me even sadder is that my own sister recently told me that what we went through wasn’t that bad. And yet one does not have to be a psychiatrist to look at the devastation that has manifested in the lives of every member of my family to see that suppressing it is not working. Twelve years ago one of my sisters died at a young age from cancer. I am certain she got sick from carrying the toxic waste that was our childhood inside her for too long. I don’t want to die young, so I am releasing the poison now while I am healthy.
Day by day I am learning to value and trust myself. I am a good person. I do not make decisions out of desire to hurt anyone. I have found the well-spring of love in my heart, so I can go forth in confidence knowing that my intentions, and therefore my actions, will produce only good.
Screw feeling guilty. It’s a trap of the ego meant to keep people afraid and unable to see their greatness.
This has been an interesting journey writing this blog. Being truthful publicly is amazingly healing. I truly believe that when a wounded person chooses to heal openly, someone will be helped by it. All it takes is one to make it worthwhile.
Giving thanks to God for the gifts of healing, love and forgiveness that have blessed my existence and enabled me to share the truest part of myself.