Spectator Sport

Spectator Sport

An Expression of Joy I told a joke to my kids the other day. They were sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, and I was making their school lunches. They take vitamins that are shaped like animals and they love to guess which animal the other child has. There are only four choices and it is spooky how often they are correct. My son has developed some decision-making logic that is incredibly accurate. But this morning, my daughter guessed wrong. And when my son said he had a lion, she looked at me to verify it. And I said, “He’s not lyin’. He has a lion. Get it. Lyin’. Lion.” They looked at me in shock. After the shock wore off, they started to genuinely laugh (and they are old enough to fake it). But it was the shock that lingered with me. I knew where it came from. I don’t make a lot of jokes. I don’t “goof off” much. I don’t play much. I will dance with them sometimes. I will sing with them. I do love music. But I am not one to let loose and be silly. I think their shock came from the feeling that it was out of place. The kind of shock that left them wondering, “What did you do with our mother?” Beneath the Surface To be fair to myself, I come by it honestly. When I was growing up, there were many emotions that were discouraged. It was not safe to cry because it was too vulnerable. It was not safe to be angry because it would provoke the...
Change is Here

Change is Here

Generational Skills When I was in my 20’s, people were always telling me I should be a lawyer. They told me I argued well. They told me I used logic well. In reality, I never listened to the other side. I was too busy formulating my response. And when things got heated or it appeared I might lose, I had no problem using manipulation and gaslighting to confuse everyone involved. If I wasn’t going to win the debate, nobody else was going to win. I was a master of all interpersonal tactics that we consider “not cool” by society’s standards. But I was so good at hiding them that very few caught on. If they did catch on, they were left by the wayside wondering what hit them. I am not saying these things to be cruel to myself. I am saying these things to be honest about myself. I came by these abilities honestly. My mother was a master manipulator. My father was always in control. And in my childhood home, if you lost an argument, there was usually much more at stake than a ding to your pride. All abusive tactics were on the table in an argument, at least for the adults. So I learned to use any tactic available to appear infallible. Manipulation, passive aggression, gaslighting, explosive rage (if safe) and even running away until everyone else had left the house. There was very little peace. I was always walking on egg shells. So yes, it was inevitable that I would become good at the tactics. I was even rewarded for my honed “skills”. Once...
Time to Say Goodbye

Time to Say Goodbye

The Internal Family System Since I discovered my inner child early in my recovery process, I have worked hard to establish a relationship with my inner parts. I have allowed them to be mean to me as they have worked through their anger and grief. I have allowed them to be heard. They have told me their stories, many times for the first time. I have always expressed how we were in this process together. I would never leave them. I would never abandon them. I would not don another mask to quiet them again. I have written and spoke for many years about the need to treat our inner parts in age-appropriate ways, so they would have the opportunity to finally grow up and become a part of the whole. This could mean integration or it could just mean cooperation. It depends on your take. But one thing is for sure. They are no longer an outsider. I have often cautioned against labeling inner parts as inner critics because it leaves the impression that we can “throw them out”. I have always seen that view point as dangerous. But I have always been open to new concepts and ideas around recovery. Honestly, my openness has been one of the greatest success factors in my recovery. So when I came to the realization this morning that there might be something else going on, I was confused and concerned. Let me explain. The Other Part Lately, I have been working with a new part who seemed to be 20-something. This didn’t surprise me. I know from my friends with DID...
Going Places

Going Places

I have discussions often about what makes someone take the plunge in to recovery. I have heard many opinions from those on the journey. And I have come up with a few theories. 1) Those who are carrying the most pain are more likely to start the journey because the pain cannot be tolerated on a daily basis. 2) Those who have more sensitive minds and bodies are more likely to take the plunge because they are more impacted by the pain of the trauma. 3) Those who are more likely to consider that which is unseen (in any form at all) are more likely to consider recovery. That being said, the decision to move in the direction of recovery does seem to happen on a level that is not of the mind. It is a decision that involves anything but the mind. It seems as though a switch is flipped and the train leaves the station. And once that proverbial train has left the station, there is very little our ego selves can do to stop it. With much effort, we can slow it down, but the journey has begun and it cannot be stopped. This is what I have thought for a while now. But I was thinking today about the motivation for taking this journey. And I have realized that mine has changed … sort of. When I started recovery, my motivation was similar to many in the survivor community. I wanted to be a better parent to my children, a parent that would not perpetuate the abuse from my past. I spent many years focusing...