What If …

What If …

When it comes to trauma recovery, I often hear concerns from my clients about how change will manifest for them.  Change is scary for survivors.  During the traumatic years, change was never good for us.  Needless to say, the idea of purposefully instilling inner change goes against all the defense mechanisms we have spent years building.  But even for those who have come to embrace change through recovery, there are concerns. “What if I change so much I don’t recognize myself?” “What if I don’t change enough and I still recognize myself?” “What if I change so much, my current friends and family walk away from me?” “What if I get so comfortable being alone, I don’t care if they walk away?” From personal experience, I can confirm all of these happen.  I can also confirm they are not as bad as we think.  Let me explain. When I started this journey, I wanted to change myself.  I hated who I was.  I hated everything about me.  Of course, I didn’t know that on a conscious level.  But unconsciously, I wanted to be a different person.  To be fair, this might have been part of the motivation for my inner parts to consider this journey.  If I could be someone else, it might be a great thing.  Since I started my recovery, I have been through massive change.  I have had hundreds of changes in perspective and moments of clarity.  I have changed substantially.  Most of that change showed up in two ways. The way I react to difficult people and situations. The way I feel compassion for another’s...
The Definition of Me

The Definition of Me

There are thousands of reasons our inner parts avoid this recovery work.  It’s scary because the emotions feel impossible to survive.  It’s scary because they are ashamed of their past and don’t want to be rejected yet again.  It’s scary because they don’t want to get in more trouble from their abusers (or others who seem like their abusers).  But there is the reason of all reasons.  It may be the most existential of all the reasons. “If I recover from my past, if I let go of all the ties to my abusers, all the contracts I thought they made with me, what is left?  Who am I?” If I am not defined by my past, how do I define myself?  And where did the need to define myself come from in the first place?  I wasn’t born with that need.  When I was born, I just was.  I just existed.  I didn’t need labels or contracts with others.  I didn’t need a tribe or a clan.  In a way, I did.  I was completely reliant on others to survive.  But I never needed the label that came with it. But in our society, we become so lost, we need labels.  We need them to define who we are.  And even more importantly, we need them to define who we aren’t.  We separate ourselves from others with our labels of them and us, us and them.  We make ourselves feel better with our labels.  We can put ourselves in nice, neat categories that make life more bearable. In my adult life, I have many labels, some have stuck...
What Matters Most

What Matters Most

The Darkness I traveled this past Sunday and Monday.  As a single mother without extended family, traveling isn’t easy.  I have to ask friends for help, or pay for overnight babysitters.  Neither option is simple for me.  But as an extrovert who loves interpersonal exchange and public speaking, traveling to conferences and giving presentations does give me that motivational shot in the arm for the days I don’t leave my house.  This trip was preceded by several days of intense anxiety.  I knew it wasn’t related to the trip.  I was getting a memory back.  I was getting some sense of it in my dreams and my mind activity.  But I could not seem to overcome the anxiety and release the memory. When I got to the destination airport on Sunday night and went looking for ground transportation, I was sidetracked by someone who had a particular interest in guiding me to a particular cab.  My gut was saying to walk away from this guy, but I was tired, and he was already taking my suitcase and piling it into this cab.  I was planning to find an Uber car, but this guy didn’t even give me a chance to ask.  He was wearing an official airport shirt, but I guarantee he was making a commission from the cab company.  Once I was in the cab, I knew I would spend more than I wanted.  And being on a tight budget, I was not happy with the outcome.  In the scheme of things, it was probably an additional $20, but the trigger overwhelmed my system.  I had been ambushed....
Getting Out of My Way

Getting Out of My Way

Lately, I have been inundated with confusion.  This is normally a sign that I am considering change.  But I am not considering change in my conscious mind.  I don’t understand it in my conscious mind.  I am not in charge of it.  It is something happening on an unconscious level.  But in my conscious life, it wrecks havoc.  I am completely unable to make a decision.  I have no sense of my next direction.  The only safe choice I can make is to wait.  And I don’t wait well. From what I have been able to figure out, there seems to be some debate about the concept of punishment versus ownership.  This isn’t new.  Since I discovered my Karma Kid inner part, this has been a common theme.  But it seems there is a significant amount of inner debate at the moment. What is the difference between taking ownership for past adult mistakes and assuming every bad occurrence is punishment for my past? Is it possible to see bad things as “just a thing to be dealt with” instead of “the universe hating my guts”? Can I let go of the self-blame for my childhood experiences, have compassion for my mistakes as an adult and still take ownership for those adult mistakes? Can bad things happen without a temper tantrum?  Can I allow them to happen without assuming the day, week, year is ruined?  Can I allow them to happen without pointing to my clear failings as a human being? These questions are up for debate at the moment.  And it is anything but quiet.  As I am sure...