June 1, 1998
Though the 5am wakeup has worked for the past week, I may need to give up and just do this stuff in the evening. Though I've been quiet with my morning routine, my children are realizing that I am getting up earlier and for the past two days, they have been trying to do the same thing. Yesterday, they were up at 4:47 am. I showed them, I went back to sleep until 7.
Well, I've read a couple more chapters and it has occurred to me that though I have gone through the first part of some of these exercises - placing the proper responsibility on the proper person - I haven't really done the next part - expressing my anger so it can be relieved. I'm going to pretend that I am talking to my parents in the following paragraphs.
How could you do this to me? A small child, hardly able to take care of myself. How could you make me into a miniture adult? How could you expect me to take care of others, when you could barely take care of me? You didn't even try. I've talked to some of our older relatives and I know that my maternal grandparents took care of me most of the time. You've all but admitted it yourself, through the stories you have told me of my early life. I don't understand why, as the only baby of a stay at home mother, I was babysat so often. I wonder if you were able to take care of my basic needs.
My great aunt called me just to talked once, when my own children were going through some trying periods of development. We chatted pleasantly for awhile. Then we got on the subject of my children. "Well, children are like that," she told me. "You used to cry whenever your mom tried to feed you. You were okay when someone else fed you, but, boy, did you ever holler when your mom tried! You really gave her a rough time."
Why would an infant cry at her mother feeding her and no one else? I have read many things on early childhood, and the only answers I can think of are truly terrifying. In my mind's eye, I see this helpless infant crying for food and being ignored, until you finally got angry and then tried to force the food into her quickly, so you could get back to whatever romance novel you were reading.
I hate to think what it was like when we were hundreds of miles from the nearest relative. Those six months must had been absolutely horrible for that little toddler. The rash she had all that time probably had more to do with neglect than the humidity. And when we move near my paternal relations, you would give me to my greatgrandfather to babysit, while he ran his pharmacy. It is painful to think that a busy man running a business could take care of me better than you could. Yet, though I can't remember his face clearly, I feel a sense of fondness whenever I think of him. It was terrible when I found out about his death. I would have liked to have gone to his funeral, but no one seemed to understand how much this man, who I hadn't seen since I was six, meant to me. He was the only source of unconditional love that I can remember having as a child. I miss him even now, but I wasn't allowed to grieve for him. Even my sixth grade teacher thought is was ridiculous for me to be so upset about someone I hadn't seen on a regular basis since I was four. Damn bastard didn't realize that it's the first three years of life that are the most important for a child.
This was a suppose to be an exercise in releasing anger, it become a release of grief instead. Then again, maybe that is the source of my anger....
June 2, 1998
Since, I cannot visit his grave, I had my own memorial service for my great-grandfather, the pharmacist. I wrote this poem for him:
Does one ever forget love?
I don't believe so.
For the love you gave me
Was so pure, so sweet,
That it warms my heart still.
Even though I can barely remember
Your face, your voice,
Or your smile,
I feel loved whenever
You are mentioned to me.
To others, I am klutz,
But when I am among
The test tubes and ringstands,
I have the grace
Of a ballerina -
The reflexes of
A seasoned athlete -
And I feel completely
In my element
I know this confidence
Was born behind the counter
Of your pharmacy,
Where a toddler
Poured H2O from
One soda bottle to another,
Under your watchful eye,
Without spilling a drop,
As you beamed with pride.
I have been told
The stories of your
Charity and kindness,
But they were not needed,
Because that truth
Was already engraved
Onto the pages of my heart.
I still love you
Because of the love you gave me.
I changed the wording on my main and life story page. I had a talk with
a sister yesterday, and she pointed out something that her therapist pointed
out: Mom had the ability to choose where she lost control. She rarely if
ever did it in front of strangers or out in public. So much for something
being fundamently wrong with her brain chemistry.
So, where does this leave me? It means that she did have control over her actions. She chose to be violent. She chose to be cruel. She chose to be lazy and neglectful. She chose to be infantile. She chose to lie and rewrite the past to her desire. She chose not get help for her problems.
I'm sure that there's a psychological classification for her condition, but it boils down to that fact that my mother made evil choices of her own free will. There are no real excuses for what she has done. Scott M. Peck's book, People of the Lie comes to mind right now... Our younger sister was right, he was talking about people like our mother.
This revelation leaves me numb, though I can feel the fingers of horror start to creep through that numbness.
The sister who brought this fact to my attention, told me about one of her memories of our childhood. I don't remember this actual incident, but it followed the pattern of so many other incidences. Mom had slept in late one school morning, and I was trying to fix breakfast for my siblings before I left for school. (I was probably in first grade.) I was trying to figure out how to make oatmeal. Unfortunately, my reading skills were not advanced enough to read the instructions, and my sister went into the master bedroom and chewed out my mother for not getting up and fixing her children breakfast. My mother told my sister that she couldn't talk to her own mother that way, and my sister said she didn't care because she hated her. Though my sister doesn't remember getting hit, we're both sure that's what probably followed.
I do remember rushing home from school during lunch in first grade, so I would have enough time to fix peanut butter sandwiches for everyone and eat, before I rushed back to school. I even cut the sandwiches into little triangles, arranged them on a large plate, and then served the rest of my family like a waiter at a party. Years later, when I complained about this, my mother said, "But you liked fixing us lunch! That's why I let you do it!"
June 4, 1998
I still have dreams of my mother trying to destroy me. It's scary to think it might not be just my paranoia. I think the only thing that had stop her in the past was the fear that everyone would think that she wasn't a neat person. She once told me, that in ancient days parents were allowed to stone their children to death for being disrespectful. Of course her idea of disrespect was not catering to her every whim. I always remind myself that the Bible says to "honor" your parents, not "humor" them. Of course, honor and trust are things one must earn, not demand.
It's weird, just admitting this to someone else, had made me feel warmer inside. I am still emotionally drained, but it feels as if someone just drained a boil inside me.
I know a lot of people who twist religion to gain unrighteous dominion over other people. I was lucky. When my mom was a teenager, her family became members of a religion where children are considered to be precious gifts from God and that "authority" should be maintained with kindness and patience. At a very young age, I saw that my mom really didn't believe in our religion. Oh, she would act like it at church, but at home it was another story.
I know a lot of people had this problem too, and it only served to confuse matters for them, but for some reason it wasn't that way for me. Maybe having other people take care of me, when I was baby, was the difference, because instead I decided it my mom who was the problem. After all, Mom changed her views on things all the times, but church stayed pretty much the same. I'm not talking about the people, I mean the things that were taught there. I knew first hand that just because someone claimed to believe in something, didn't mean they actually did, and I was always able to find someone whose actions matched their beliefs.
So I became a student of religion, so to speak, and it drove my mom nuts. She would declare some "truth" and I would ask where she found it. After a while she would just shut up, because she knew I would look it up and challenge it. When it became apparent that I had chosen God over her, she started to bad mouth people she thought I respected at church - trying to prove, I guess, that she was better than them. lol! While she accused me of being "holier than thou", she would berate my siblings for not being religious.
Once in therapy, I described our conversations as "scripture distructions". My therapist nearly fell out of his chair laughing. "Do you realized what you just said?" he asked. I paused and replayed the comment in my head and started to chuckle. It was a classic freudian slip.
June 6, 1998
Talk about the power of suggestion! I had a nightmare early this morning. For some reason, my children and I were living back with my parents. I was talking to Mom, when we got into a disagreement. She became hysterical, but I held my ground. Then she narrowed her eyes and announced she was going to kill me. She grabbed something and came after me with it. I ran through the house to get away from her, being glad the whole time that the kids were in school, and hopefully things would settle down by the time they got home. As I dodged this blow and that, no one else in the house made a move to stop Mom. Finally, I had no choice but to run outside and as far away from the house as I could. I found myself on a old downtown street in front of a hotel, watching the traffic go by as I stood there in shock, trying to figure out what to do next. I remembered my mom saying that if something happened (I don't remember what or whether or not this had been an actual conversation) that she would take my youngest and hide out from everyone. My mind was in a state of panic. I had a check for $100, which I had received earlier in the dream, before it bacame a nightmare, but I wanted to save it for later. I spent the night hiding in doorways and watching people go in and out of the theater nearby. The next morning I was offered a cell phone, and I dialed the first number that came to mind. It was a "former" friend of mine. Though I knew she thought I was overreacting, I manage to convince her to come get me and take me to her house, where I could be able to plan my next move. She is a very slow person, so I knew I had a long wait in front of me. I watched the children line up for the matinee showing of a movie, feeling sick to my stomach as I contemplated the fact that my parents had my children, one more time. I was praying for the safety of my little ones, when I recognized that they were standing in the line before me. When they saw me, they ran to me and we joyfully hugged each other. Apparently, their grandparents had just dropped them off with some money. Then the woman I called earlier, finally showed up in her car. I looked at my children and the little car, and decided that there was no way I was going to desert them. I told me friend not to worry, I had a check that I could cash and use to pay for food. She just gave me this patronizing smile as we entered the car. As we drove, she talked me into going back to the house and sneaking some clothes out for my children. My children came inside with me to help me grab more. As we were gathering stuff, my father came in and told me that he had the kid's medicine and if I wanted them to have it, I would have to at least let them stay. I turned around to gage whether I could run fast enough with my children to get back to the car, only to find that my friend had deserted me. I wasn't very surprised, she had betrayed my emotional health before. That's when I woke up...
This whole dream has made me sick to my stomach. I was verbally abused, almost killed, betrayed, and blackmailed. The only comfort I have is that now being awake, I am in my own home with my husband and children, and if I was ever forced into such a position, I could make escape plans in advance using people I can trust.
Of course, I would probably try to do everything to stay out of that situation in the first place.
June 9, 1998
I have finished my rereading of Toxic Parents. It's main purpose is to help me identify the abuse I did go through. It would probably shock anyone who has read the other entries in this journal, but I didn't think I was an abuse child when I first entered therapy because I wasn't beaten every day or week. Afterall, there are other who have gone through so much worse, how could I see myself as abused. So, I wanted my mom committed by the time I was twelve and lived in terror waiting for her to blow up - I was normal. LOL! The things we tell ourselves to quiet our inner torture.
I am now rereading Healing the Shame That Binds Us. I'm still reading the part where it identifies terms and concepts. It's hard to fix something when you don't understand what the problem is. I found myself high-lighting parts I hadn't the first time I went through it. I have also identified more of my self-distructive tendencies. It is as if I wasn't really paying attention the first time I read it.
Insights I (re)gained this time:
I also found Bradshaw's descriptions of natural emotions very enlightening.
June 22, 1998
It's been awhile since my last journal entry. My family went on a vacation out of state. We had a good time for the most part. I'm still recovering from it.
I continued reading "Healing the Shame that Binds You". I'm still in the information and definition sections. I should start the exercises in a day or two. Bradshaw points out that shame-based people don't believe they have a right to depend on other people. I know this is true for me. I do my best to be there for other people, but I still have problems believing I can expect someone to do something for me. I have a few friends who I can depend on without feeling major amounts of guilt, but we have been there for each other for a good amount of time.
I still find myself hooking up with other shame-based people, but I'm working harder on staying with just those who are trying to overcome their problems, too. It's hard, because I tend to ignore some of the warning signs, and even screwed up people can be interesting, but sooner or later, the interesting parts go stale and the angry outbursts without apology, the verbal abuse and other shameless behaviors would become the norm.
I am very thankful that I have found some very choice people who are also on the journey to emotional wellness. Their unconditional love towards me have been a godsend. I hope that they can feel that they can depend on me and I will try harder to depend on them.
June 24, 1998
Tonight, I re-did the "Embracing Your Lost Inner Child" meditation from Bradshaw's book....
There is a long flight of stairs before me. I walk down them slowly, humming to myself. I want to run down them, but I remind myself that I am suppose to relax and take it easy. Finally, I reach the bottom, turn left and walk down a long corridor, with doors on my left and right. Each door has a colored symbol on it. One to my right has a purple rose on it. To the left is a dark mustard arrow pointing further down the corridor. Next to it is an indigo geometric design made of a circle and interlocking squares. As I walk further down the corridor, I see a magenta sunburst and a coral bird's wing.
At the end of the corridor glows a rectangle of white light. I shield my eyes and walk through. The light dims and I find myself next to a busy highway, in front of a floral shop. I know this place. Beside the brick floral shop is a gravel driveway. Behind the shop is a boxlike red brick house. Steep stairs lead to a wood door on the narrow side closest to me. There are no windows on this side, only the door.
The door opens and a little girl carefully steps down. The top step is extremely narrow. She stops on the second to the last stair and shuts the door. She has honey colored hair, cut short with bangs. She is wearing a pleated dress of a light-weight plaid of rust and browns, with mustard colored tie-like thing under the collar. Her tights are also mustard color and she is wearing black shoes. She looks up at me with emotionless eyes, her hands clasped in front of her. I walk over to her and crouch down to her eye level.
"Hello, little one," I say.
"Hi," she says.
"I was hoping to see you today."
"Why?" she asks.
"Because I came from your future," I tell her, "and I know what you have gone through. I know about the time you broke the cookie jar lid. I know about your mother sticking you with the diaper pin. I know that no one cares that you've been getting sick from cleaning out the cat box. I know how scared you feel most of the time. You try so hard to be a good girl, but it never seems to be enough. I know you don't think you deserve to be loved, but I do love you. Of all the people you will ever know, I am the one who never leaves you. I am you."
She watches me with furrowed brows as tears come from my eyes. She frowns and looks around.
"Will you come home with me?" I ask. "I really want you to be with me."
There is hesitation in her face, as she looks back at the door.
"Don't worry about your siblings," I tell her. "I have seen your future and they will be all right without you." It is a small lie, but I know her - she will not leave her siblings unprotected. She would even sacrifice herself for them. I put my hand out to her. "Please, come with me," I plead.
She bites her lip and with tears in her eyes, she finally puts her hand in mine. I gently squeeze her hand.
"Are you sure they'll be okay?" she askes.
"Someone will come from their future and take them away, too," I tell her. This, at least, is partly true. A shudder goes through her small body and she gives me a small smile.
"They won't wait too long to get them, will they?"
I am shaking as I look into her eyes. "I hope not."
She frowns, but doesn't remove her hand from mine. "Can Mitten come with us?"
I smile and nod, releasing her hand. She runs around the corner of the house and a few minutes later, returns with a grey cat with white paws. She puts her hand out to me and I take it. "But, until you get older, I'll clean out the cat box, okay?"
She gives me a sweet smile and says, "Okay."
We start to walk away. As we reach the corner of the florist shop, my parents come out and called to us. I crouch down again and whisper into her ear. "It's okay. Wave bye-bye." We both wave at my parents and walk away.
We walk until they are too far away to see. Then we turn the corner, where a glowing white being meets us. He bends forward and pets Mitten head. Then he smiles at the younger me.
"I'm glad you came with your older self," he tells her. "You will be much safer with her. Come, there are others who want to help you."
He turn sideways and behind him are other people glowing in pastel shades. I smile as I realize that they are my dearest friends. Some I had never even seen in real life, but I recognize the glow of their hearts. I start to introduce them to my younger self.
"Why don't they look like normal people," she asks.
"Because we are seeing the power of their hearts," I tell her.
We hug my friends and turn to the white being. He pats her head and strokes my cheek. I hug him and he disappears, as this feeling of warmth and peace enters my heart. We wave to my friends and walk to a lilac bush. I kneel next to her.
"Now, I am going to put you and Mitten somewhere safe," I tell her, "but I want you to know that you can call for me, whenever you need me. I promise I will come and visit you every evening, even if you're not having any problems. Is that okay?"
She nods and I make her and mitten shrink into the palm of my hand. I hold my hand to my heart and place her in it. I walk into a nice grassy area in the mountains. I close my eyes and replay the events in my mind. I let my muscles relax and peaceness flow into my soul.
I will write more tomorrow . . .
June 25, 1998
I know that John Bradshaw meant for this exercise to be a meditation one, but I experience things stronger when I write about them. So I will write my daily visits with my inner child here.
In my mind, I imagine myself in a grassy valley in the mountains. I put my hand to my heart and bring out my younger self. She is still holding Mitten.
"Hello, little one," I say, "what do you want to do today?"
She smiles at me. "Let's just pet Mitten."
We sit down on the soft grass and pet Mitten as she holds her in her lap. The cat curls up and purrs. As I pet her, I feel all the tension leave my body. I smile at my younger self.
"Are you sure that this is all you want to do?" I ask.
She nods. "You're still sick."
I look at her in surprise. "I didn't think that would matter."
She shrugs. "It's nice to just sit for awhile with nothing to do. I don't do it very often."
I nod. "I remember." We sit there some more and pet Mitten. Finally, Mitten got up and walked off. My younger self and I smile at each other.
"See you tomorrow?" I ask. She nods and shrinks before me. I gently pick her up and place her back into my heart. I feel good.
June 26, 1998
I walk down a path into our mountain valley. The sun is shining softly and wildflowers scent the air. I put my hand to my heart and pull out my younger self. She stands before me, with her hands clasped.
"So, what do you want to do this evening?" I ask.
She shrugs. I bite my lower lip and look around me. Finally, I feel like I need to draw.
"May I draw a picture of you?" I ask. She smiles and says, "Yes."
I get a pen and some paper and begin to draw . . .
"I'm not very good at drawing people," I say. "May I add color?"
I add color and sigh. "I'm afraid it's not that good. I couldn't get the colors right."
She looks at the picture and cocks her head. "It looks okay to me."
I smile at her. "You're a sweetheart," I say. We stand there for a moment, just smiling. Then I bite my lip and ask, "Would you mind if I gave you a hug?"
She blinks and thinks about the request. "I guess so."
Tears come to my eyes as I kneel to hug her. Trembling, I embrace her. Cautiously, she returns it. The tears are flowing down my cheeks now and I squeeze her tighter. "I'm sorry," I tell her. "I'm sorry for everything."
She doesn't answer, she just sobs. I rub her back. Finally, we search for something to wipe our running noses with. I pull out a hankerchief and clean our faces. We giggle at each other. I give her another hug with a quick kiss on her cheek. "I'll be back tomorrow," I say.
She grins at me and I shrink her into my hand again. She blows me a kiss. I return it and put her back into my heart.
I am still reading Bradshaw's book, but much slower now. I feel the need to spend more time with my younger self. She was neglected a lot and needs the attention.
Anyway, I read this quote by Sheldon Kopp, that struck a chord with me:
"These transformations cannot be gained without cost. They required my learning to live the rest of my days in the ambiguity of knowing that of all that I am, I am also the the opposite. I cannot rid myself of my demons, without risking that my angels well flee along with them."
June 27, 1998
There is a slight chill in the air as I enter our mountain valley. I pull my sweater closer around me. The air smells fresh, though. I hesitate slightly before being my younger self out. I am worried that she may be too cold in her dress. I put my hand to my heart and draw her out. She grins at me as she snuggles in a thick mutlicolored sweater.
"You came prepared!" I exclaim. She grins wider and turns around.
"Do you like it?" she asks.
"Did you ever have one like this?"
"I don't think so," I tell her. "I don't usually wear earth tones, but those shades of brown and burgandy does go well our skin tone."
She twirls around and hugs the sweater to her again. She seems much more lively today. Again, I ask my question, "So, what do you want to do today?"
She jumps and turn. "I want to have a campfire! We can roast marshmallows and tells stories."
"Okay!" I tell her. I was beginning to think she would never suggest an activity for herself. We gather rocks and make our firepit. Then I send her to gather twigs and leaves, while I gather logs for our fire. We are short of breath, by the time we had a repectable stack of wood and tinder to light. I pull out some matches and start some of the tinder ablaze. The sun begin to set as logs begin to catch fire.
My younger self brings out two long twigs and marshmallows. Together, we crouch near the fire and set our marshmallows aflame. Grinning, we blow out the flames in unison.
"Do people still look at you like you're silly, when you do that?" she asks me, as I pop my marshmallow into my mouth.
I laugh. "Sometimes, but I usually warn them that I'm unusal and tell them to get over it."
She pops her marshmallow into her mouth and licks her fingers. "What about a story?"
"Do you have one you want to tell?"
She thinks for a moment. "I guess I could tell one." I nod and wait. She stares at the flames and begins.
"Once there was a beautiful little princess who was locked up in a tower. She was very lonely, because no one ever came to visit her. She would sit at her window everyday and quietly cry. At the bottom of her tower was a small rose bush. The princess's tears would fall on to the rose bush, and it made the rose very sad. Everyday the rose bush would do it's best to grow taller, so that someday it would be able to reach the high window and give the princess a special flower just for her."
"Years went by, and the rose bush grew bigger with every tear drop that fell onto it. Finally, it reached the window. While the rose bush worked on making a flower, the princess would caress the leaves near her window. At night, the princess would sing to the rose bush. Then one morning the rose bush opened its flower for her. It was the most beautiful rose that anyone had ever seen and the princess loved it dearly."
"Then the rose began to lose it petals. The princess very carefully collected each fallen petal and put them in a small jeweled box. She even stayed up for several nights, so she wouldn't miss a single petal. With all the petals gone, the rose bush wondered what to do next. It thought about just giving the princess more flowers, but it wanted to do more."
"One night, the rose bush spoke to the princess in a dream and told her to it to climb down from the tower. That morning, the princess dressed and put the box of petals next to her heart. Carefully, she climbed out of the tower and down the rose bush. The rose bush made it's thorns soft, so the princess wouldn't get hurt. When the princess got to the ground, she kissed the rose bush and was never stuck in a tower again."
She looks up at me. "Now, it's your turn."
I think for a moment and decide to continue her story.
"Well, once the princess escape from tower, she decided to find somewhere else to live. She found a river and walked along it for several days before she came across a knight with his horse. 'Where are you going, Sir Knight?' she asked. 'I going to find a tower with a princess trapped in it,' he answered. 'Why?' she asked. 'I've been told that she is beautiful and I wish to take her to my kingdom.' 'Oh,' she said. 'Well, when you find the tower, say hello to the rose bush for me.'"
"The knight looked at her for a moment. 'Who are you?' he asked. 'Just someone who likes roses,' she said, before continuing to walk along the river. The knight shook his head and went on his journey. When he found the tower, he called out for the princess, but no one answered. Looking at the rose bush, he remembered what the young lady at the river told him."
"'Hello Rose Bush,' he called. 'Where is the princess of this tower?' To the knight's amazement, the rose bush spoke, 'She climbed down me several days ago and I am worried for her safety.' The knight stood there in silence, as he contemplated the rose bush's words. Finally, he spoke, 'Tell me how I can find the princess and I will make sure she is safe.' As the rose bush described the princess, the knight realized that she was the very same young lady, who asked him to say hello to the rose bush. He had been so busy looking for the tower, that he had not realized how beautiful she was."
"So the knight got back on his horse and rode back to the river. For days, he followed her trail. As he came closer to a certain town on the river, his heart became heavier, for he knew of the ruffians that lived there and feared for the princess's safety. He pushed his horse harded and made it to the town by sunset. There, he questioned everyone he could about seeing a young lady. After another sunset came without any answers, the knight went to the river's side, and knelt in despair."
"'Tell me, O River, where is my princess?' he pleaded. The river swirled before the knight, and a rose petal appeared before him. He gently took the petal from the water and looked up stream. On the other side of the river, he saw something glow. Going across the town's bridge, the knight went upstream to where he saw the glow. He found a grove with a circle of rose bushes in the center. 'Tell me, rose bushes,' he whispered, "is my princess sleeping there?'"
"The bushes rustle and then answered, 'A princess is here, but why do you think she's your princess?' 'Because, one day a little princess showed me kindness when no one else would, then someone took her away and put her in a tower. I swore that one day I would rescue her.' The bushes rustled again, 'And what will you do, now that she has already escape from the tower?' The knight's head dropped. 'I don't know. I wanted to repay her for her kindess and then win her heart for myself. But if she doesn't need to be rescued, how will I ever win her heart?'"
"The rose bushes parted before him and the princess woke up. 'Why are you here?' she asked. The knight said nothing for awhile, then he looked into her eyes. 'You were kind to me once, many years ago. I wanted to be your hero and take you to a beautiful kingdom, where we could live together in happiness.' Tears came from the princess's eyes. 'I thought no one remembered me, and it didn't matter whether I was alive or dead.'"
"The knight grimaced in pain. 'It mattered to me,' he said, 'and I am ashamed that I didn't recognize you when we met at the river.' The princess gave the knight a stern look. 'I may not be what you imagine me to be,' she told him. The knight smiled, 'Few people are, but maybe you are. How can we know unless we spend sometime together.'"
"The princess thought it over and agreed with his logic. So, together they went to the knight's kingdom, became friends, and lived happily ever after."
We yawn and I put out the fire. Then we hug and I put her back into my heart. Tomorrow is almost here.
June 28, 1998
I did another exercise in Bradshaw's book. It's called "Making Peace With All Your Villagers". It was my most favorite exercise the first time I went through, because it gave me the most immediate insight.
The main idea is to stop making yourself into a "super-human" or a "sub-human". Shame-based people often try to be more than human, and see themselves as less than human. They never allow themselves to just be human.
First, you make a list of the people you dislike and rank them in order of the intensity of your feelings, the most reprehensible person being number 1. Then, use a few lines to describe the aspects of their character and moral flaws that repulse you.
Read over each name on your list and reflect on the aspect of each that you despise the most. Reduce your description to that one trait. Each of these personality traits represent a disowned part of yourself - an energy pattern you have worked very hard to repress in yourself.
For every repressed energy pattern is another energy pattern working very hard to keep the unwanted part trapped. The next thing you do is to identify that blocking trait - the one your shame-based self overcompensates with.
Now, the interesting part. Ask each disowned energy how it could help you, if used in an appropriate way, of course. We're just trying to become normal humans, after all, not going over to the Dark side of the Force. Here's my list, without the longer character descriptions.
|Person #||Worse Trait||Repressed Energy||Blocking Energy||How R.E. can help me|
|1||Lies about others to get sympathy.||Dishonesty||Extreme Honesty||Protects me from revealing too much.|
|2||Arrogant Creep||Arrogance||Humility||Protects me from being devalued as a person.|
|3||Malicious Control Freak||Manipulating||Encouraging Others||Helps me to accomplish my own goals.|
|4||Uses people for own purposes.||Selfishness||Self-sacrificing||Allows me to depend on others.|
|5||Mean-spirited Hypocrite||Meaness||Niceness||Protects my feelings|
|6||Tries to control people by whining.||Complaining||Uncomplaining||Protects my rights.|
|7||Refuses to accept responsiblity for own actions.||Irresponsibility||Over-responsibility||Reduces my guilt for failures.|
|8||Narrow minded and inflexible.||Narrow minded||Accepting||Validates my value system.|
Okay . . . I'll continue the rest of the exercise tomorrow and go on to pay
my younger self another visit.
I walk down the rocky trail into our mountain valley. I am feeling a bit tired today. I pick my way down the trail, instead of rushing down it. I sit down in the grassy area and close my eyes. Breathing slowly, I try to relieve the tension in my shoulders and back. Relaxed now, I bring out my younger self. She is still wearing the sweater. She sits down across from me.
"How are you doing, little one?" I ask.
"Fine," she says. "How are you?"
"I'm still a little under the weather," I tell her.
"I thought you were getting better."
"So did I, but don't worry, I should be okay in a few days."
"What's wrong?" she asks.
"I lost a baby, but I hadn't been pregnant for long, so the baby was still very, very small. I didn't even know I was pregnant until it happened."
"Are you sad about it?"
"A little," I told her, "but it was probably for the best. I need to improve my health, before I'll be up to taking care of another baby. But enough about that, what do you want to do tonight?"
She comes over and sits in my lap. I put my arms around her and kiss the top of her head. "Do you like being a mother?" she asks.
"Most of the time," I say. "It can be really tiring at times, but my children are very sweet."
"You love them a lot." It was a statement.
"I do." We are quiet for awhile.
"You like children?" she asks.
"Yes, I do," I say. "Most of them, least wise."
"I like children, too," she says. "As long as they are younger than me."
"You like older children, too," I tell her.
"Only the nice ones," she states. I chuckle.
"There weren't that many, was there?"
I smile. "It got better later on."
"It did? What happened?"
"We moved to a place where people were friendlier in general."
"Well, little one, I need to go now. I'll be back tomorrow, okay?"
She nods and shrinks herself. I lay my palm before her and let her walk onto it. I put my hand in front of my heart, and blowing me a kiss, she walks in herself.
June 29, 1998
I am on a log in the mountain valley. The sun is setting behind a mountain peak. I pull my younger self out of my heart and set her on the log next to me. "How are you doing today?" I ask.
"Okay," she says. "How about you?"
"All right. What do you want to do tonight?"
"It's your turn."
"It is? I didn't realize we were taking turns."
She nods and waits for me to suggest something. I stare at the sunset. "Let's make a fire first," I say. It isn't long before we have a nice fire before us.
"Do you like being with me?" I ask. She nods again, and I ask "Why?"
"I feel important when I'm with you," she says.
"You are very important," I tell her, "especially to me."
I look at my feet for a moment. Then I look back at her. "I know what I want to do tonight."
"What?" she asks.
"I'm going to dress you up like a princess, so you look as important as you are." I imagine a trunk of clothes before me. I open it up, pull out a dressing screen, and set it up. Then I look through the clothes for just the right dress. I find a lacy white dress with purple bodice and overskirt. There are ruffles around the neck and elbows. I give it to her and send her behind the dressing screen to change, while I pull out a pair of purple shoes and some hair combs, decorated with purple and white ribbons and flowers. I help her fasten the buttons and do her hair. "You look absolutely beautiful," I tell her. I pull out a large mirror and hold it up in front of her. She smiles and spin around.
"You like it?" I ask.
"Oh, yes!" she says.
I smile and hug her. "Time for me to go now," I say. She nods and twirls herself into a smaller form. I place her back into my heart.
June 30, 1998
I skip down the trail into the valley. I didn't really have the chance to work on another exercise - my mind really couldn't concentrate, but I did feel a little artistic. Twirling myself once in the meadow, I put one hand behind my back and pull my younger self out with the other. Her hair has been getting longer in the short time we have been together. She is still in her fancy dress.
"I have a surprise for you!" I tell her.
"What is it?" she asks.
I pull out a small pastel drawing I did. She blinks in surprise. "It looks better than the last drawing, doesn't it?"
She nods and I chuckle. "Pen and marker is just not my forte," I explain. "I am much better with pencil and pastels. Do you like it?"
"Yes," she says, "it's very pretty."
"It's yours," I tell her. She gingerly takes the picture from my hand.
"What type of paper is this?" she asks.
"It's sandpaper. I have a book on pastels which suggests using it. I'm still getting use to working with it."
"Can I try?" she asks.
"Sure." I get out some paper and pastels for her. She draws a white rabit with bright pink eyes and nose. She makes a face and hands the stuff back to me.
"It feels weird," she says.
I smile. "It's a very nice rabbit."
Her face brightens. "You want it?"
"I would be honored."
"Time to go now?"
"I'm afraid so, little one." She nods and becomes smaller. I kiss the top of her head and put her back into my heart.
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