Expendable

Expendable

Over the past few years, I have come to understand I have lived an expendable life.  Before you lecture me, I want to be clear that I don’t believe my life has been for nothing.  I mean I have lived a life that was expendable to others.  The people in my childhood saw me as a commodity.  I was something to be used up and thrown away.  This was a literal interpretation of my experiences.  I was sold to others for the purpose of making money.  I was completely expendable, even to the very people who were supposed to love me unconditionally. This explains why I have spent my adult life trying to prove to others I was worth something.  I have always wanted people to believe I mattered.  And I have done almost anything to convince them of it. In relationships, I have worked hard to matter to the other person.  I have done whatever it took to keep them around.  I have worked hard to provide everything they could possibly need.  And it always ended the same way.  I got angry and exhausted, while the other person grew tired of using me up.  In the end, I became expendable once again. In my parenting, I have hovered over my children.  I had to make it clear that they needed me to protect them and care for them in every way.  I wanted them to know how much I cared for them and I wasn’t sure how else to show it.  Deep emotional connection wasn’t available to me, so I would take care of all their needs.  Unfortunately,...
Commit to You

Commit to You

During the past few weeks, I have experienced several instances of “social commitments gone wrong”.  Plans I made with others fell through (or almost did) and it wasn’t because of me.  And based on my reaction, I can sense that at least one inner part isn’t handling it well.  I have been unusually upset.  I can hear the angry rants bubbling up to the surface.  And of course to some extent, it’s valid.  People should honor their commitments.  But I also know this comes from my past experiences. I was not a priority in my family. I felt that in every way.  Nobody cared how I felt or what my experiences were.  If something more important came up (and almost everything was more important), it took the top spot.  It rarely mattered what I had going on.  I learned to fend for myself.  I learned that if something mattered to me, I better ensure it would happen on my own.  To this day, that belief affects my isolator part and it manifests as rigid independence. My childhood was chaos. Things were always changing.  My very dissociative parents would make plans and forget they made them.  Their addictive behaviors would send them in unhealthy directions at the drop of a hat.  And this kind of change was not the “flow with the universe” kind of change.  It was dangerous change that generally has some kind of new trauma associated with it. I didn’t feel worthy of friends. This message was reinforced everyday by abusers inside and outside my family.  I was sure that friends were only around for a short...
You Might Not See It But It’s There

You Might Not See It But It’s There

I have many clients who struggle with the possibility they can be loving, compassionate, grounded, patient and any other characteristic they need for recovery work.  They tell me they can’t possibly be this way because they have never been shown how to be that way.  Their parents didn’t behave that way, and they certainly haven’t felt any inkling of those characteristics since entering adulthood.  And I really get it.  When I started this journey, I felt the same way. How in the world was I going to parent my inner and outer children when nobody ever parented me?  How was I going to love myself (or anyone else) when nobody ever loved me?  How was I going to be compassionate with my inner parts when nobody ever gave me the benefit of the doubt?  How was I going to have patience after a lifetime of fear, of watching everything I ever loved be ripped from my grasp?  That wasn’t possible.  I was basically screwed.  Recovery would never work for me. But for some reason, I didn’t give up.  Those beliefs were strong, but I sensed there was something else.  It was a tiny something else, but it was still there.  For some reason, I had a semblance of understanding that I could learn these things.  I had an even smaller semblance of understanding that I already knew these things.  So I stuck with the idea that something better was possible. And as we do when we live in our heads, I spent an exorbitant amount of time researching things.  I thought I could teach myself how to be what...
Doing Nothing at All

Doing Nothing at All

I’m a control freak.  I am not talking about the kind of control freak that people secretly love because she will get everything done so they don’t have to.  I am talking about the kind of control freak people run from because they know there will be casualties.  I came by it honestly though.  My childhood was scary.  It was terrifying.  And I was absolutely convinced there was a way to control the fear-inducing abuse.  Since I was sure it was my fault, I had to be sure I could make it better.  I just had to try harder, control more things, get it done better, faster, more accurately.  If I did that, it would be okay. So as an adult, I became a hard-core control freak.  I controlled everything I could possibly control.  And I controlled everything I couldn’t control … or so I thought.  I was exhausted.  But honestly, I was doing a pretty good job of convincing myself I could pull it off.  People had learned to stay the hell out of my way.  And I had things in order. So don’t ask me why I decided to bring children in to my life.  I guess I thought they would just fall in line with my perfectly controlled life.  All the parents are laughing now.  I can actually hear you.  And lucky me.  I was not just blessed with two beautiful children.  I was blessed with one child with no interest in following a schedule.  And even more infuriating, I was blessed with another child who was prepared for battle.  It didn’t matter the subject.  It...
Own What Is Yours

Own What Is Yours

I have been triggered today.  While I don’t normally write blog posts from this place (unless they are written by parts), I feel I have an obligation to sound a wake up call when it comes to generational trauma.  I feel a strong desire to write this despite knowing it is likely to offend some people. Leading up to Mother’s Day, I focused many of my Facebook posts on how to cope with having an unloving mother.  It can be a hard day for those of us who struggle in our relationship with our mothers or those of us who no longer have a relationship with our mothers.  Without fail, I would wake up each morning to at least one comment or message from a mother who had been cut off by her daughter.  The messages went something like this: “I am in so much pain because I am no longer able to see my grandchildren. I don’t know why my daughter has chosen to cause me so much agony.” To be fair, I don’t expect every Facebook commenter to know my story.  They think of their experience as traumatic, and it certainly is.  But if they read my story, they would know that they are barking up the wrong tree.  I left my mother many years ago because I knew the safety of my children was at stake.  She did not prioritize the safety of children over the needs of her husbands when I was a child, and I knew that had not changed.  And I received that email from my mother too, written much the same way as...
Mother’s Day … Again

Mother’s Day … Again

It’s almost Mother’s Day again.  It comes every year without fail.  I try not to play the “society says we celebrate this today” game, but it is hard when I grew up in an environment where conforming was a life or death situation.  And even if I attempted to ignore it, I probably couldn’t.  My kids are now old enough to remember these days on the calendar.  That is great for a single mother on Mother’s Day.  But that can be bad when I might otherwise want to pretend it is just another day. I can get through Mother’s Day because I am a mother.  I can do my best to focus my attention on what a great mother I am (most days).  I can celebrate myself and all I do.  And the kids are great for my ego too.  No matter how many times I screw up, they still think I am pretty awesome (except when I make them eat vegetables and clean their room).  I usually get some homemade cards or trinkets and that is just perfect for me. But there is something in the background on this day.  There is a dull hum saying “something isn’t quite right”.  And that makes sense.  I don’t spend Mother’s Day with my mother or my grandmother or any other woman in my family for that matter.  I don’t go to the traditional overcrowded and overpriced brunch with 200 of my closest family members to celebrate all the mothers that are keeping the family name alive.  It is just me and the kids, and a good friend I am blessed...