I have been working through some contracts with my family of origin lately. I have some very scared inner parts who believe that breaking these contracts will lead to an extremely painful life or even death. And they are pushing back with sabotage, insomnia, physical illness and an onslaught of nasty inner dialogue. I am doing my best to stay patient even though I don’t have time for illness and paralysis. Honestly, what choice do I have? I want to be free of these contracts. I have to be free of them to live my best life. So I will go through the process of breaking them no matter what. Over these years of recovery, I have learned it is the only way.
Before I reach a new phase of this work, I usually believe I have already processed it. And it’s true. But now I am going deeper. After I go deeper, I can usually see how I wasn’t done before, but only in hindsight. It is frustrating to work with the unconscious in that way. We often don’t know where we are going or how many more times we have to go there. But I do know we are never going backwards. If I can keep the faith, the process takes me where I want to go. Of course, the idea of having faith in anything after my childhood is a bit ridiculous. But once again, what choice do I have? I want to be free of these contracts.
As I break these contracts, this recovery work has opened my eyes about my abusers and others in the world. They don’t relate to me in the way I thought they did. My abusers confused me about how life works. They made connections that were never there. They implied an interest in me that was much different than it was. And my realizations have left me feeling relieved, but they have also left me feeling quite lonely. To be fair, I will take this lonely feeling over any of these contractual obligations I was forcing myself to uphold for my abusers. But it does take some getting used to. Let me share what I have discovered.
People aren’t that interested in what I’m doing. I don’t need anyone’s approval for any decisions I am making in my life right now. If nobody approves, that’s okay. I can still do it. If I fail, I fail. If I succeed, good for me. If I really succeed, I might get a few social media likes. People might even shake my hand or give me a pat on the back. A few might raise their eyebrows because they never thought that would work. But let’s face it, they have their own stuff to deal with in their own chaotic (and somewhat scary) lives. So they get back to it. The good news: they aren’t scheming about how to destroy my success like my family was. The bad news: they aren’t giving me a ton of head space either. This isn’t meant to be a horrible thing. It is just the truth. It doesn’t apply to spouses or business partners in the same way. And it doesn’t mean others don’t consider or think of me. But they aren’t out to get me and they aren’t picking apart the details of every action I take. They don’t have time for that.
People aren’t reading my mind. Nobody knows what I am doing unless I tell them what I am doing. I know you are thinking this is not a genius statement right there. But when we grow up with abuse, we become paranoid. Our abusers are overly interested in us because controlling us is top priority. And they can do a good job convincing us they are capable of reading our minds. But if I contemplate a hundred really bad ideas in my head, nobody else knows. Even if I write out plans for twenty of them, nobody else knows unless I share them. I am the creator of my own life and nobody is involved unless I make them involved. I have the power over what I think and create. But there’s bad news. If I need help, I have to ask for it out loud.
People aren’t coming to save me from my life. This one is hard for my inner children to hear. If nobody is interested enough to try to sabotage my life, that means they aren’t interested enough to save it either. They have their own lives to save. They aren’t going to pull me out of the messes I create. I am not suggesting that people won’t help me when I am stuck. But I cannot expect others to care about my life in the same way they care about theirs. They cannot put all their energy into my problems and they shouldn’t have to. If I want a really good life, it is my job to create it. If I don’t create it, I won’t get it. If I am waiting for anyone to give it to me, it will be an endless wait. And while it is not good to have people overly invested in you, it can sometimes be hard to accept that our savior isn’t coming.
So freedom comes at a cost. We lose the belief in a superficial connection that wasn’t really there. But the belief in that connection has kept us from our biggest, most authentic life. That means we have to get lonely for a while. How long? I don’t know. It has to be long enough for us to connect deeply to ourselves. Once we do that, we will find the connections that make our lives bigger and better, not more constricted. And we will sense the deep energetic connection across all humanity. Only then can we find the freedom AND connection we were meant to have.
Caveat: This blog post is about people in general. This is not describing past or current abusive relationships which are the source of these beliefs. If you are being controlled by your family or spouse, they may be far too invested in you. They may be trying to control all your actions, prove to you they can read your mind or convince you they are your savior. These are people to move away from as soon as possible.