Dance with me

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Throw off your shackles of suffering

Your overcoat of doom and shame

Set free the bats

That circle through the cave in your mind

Shitting droppings on your imaginings

Laying to waste

Hope

Trust

Peace

Openness

Freedom

Spontenaeity

Joy

You never really belonged in this dark place

And only you have the ability to free yourself

No one else can do it

You were born to dance

You were born to breathe

Can’t you see

You were born to run

Free of this prison

Come dance with me

In an open field

Open your heart

Free your soul

Say yes

To life

To love

Open your heart

Spin round your own centre

And embrace the dance

Strong feelings

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Just some thoughts after reading about someone’s deep emotional pain as a response to overwhelming abuse.

Strong feelings don’t mean you are crazy.

Strong feelings don’t mean you are out of control.

Strong feelings result from intense experiences which overwhelmed you and which your soul intuitively rebelled against.

Strong feelings don’t make you ‘bad’.

Strong feelings are an indication that you may be getting very close to painful or intense realities or abuse that you endured.

Expect that when you have strong feelings that there are those out there who may not understand, who may try to invalidate you or shut you down, you don’t have to like it, and its likely it will anger you as well.

From my own experience strong feelings come out of a passionate response.  Often those who have them are judged or misunderstood.  A chiropractor who I sometimes see to help with my own intense body symptoms told me recently how what I choose to call ‘terminal coolness’ is a sad sort of social standard these days.  To be judged as ‘cool’ your responses need to be tempered and laid back but what is more likely is that you are just emotionally shut down.

Unfortunately shame is still very pervasive in our society.  Its used to keep people in line, to judge them and label them and put them in boxes.  It helps to bolster the egos of those who lay claim to the moral high ground and may rain down platitudes on your head that make no sense.

I personally now believe in trusting my strong feelings. There was a time when I really needed to act them out and they were super intense due to a lifetime of being mocked, judged, invalidated and stuffed down deep inside.  Over time my strong feelings have become less intense but I still say a silent ‘yes’ and feel an inner leap of joy when I see or hear someone express strong feelings that come deep out of their emotional core, for that person is then well on their way to healing, they have begun to be able to acknowledge painful emotional truths and their freedom and right to self expression has no longer been stolen.  The right to protest is so often taken from us in abuse. And to heal it needs to be validated and valued.

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Birds of wanting, wandering and wondering

Birds

Some days when everything inside you

Wants to clamp down

That is most often

When you need to throw your arms wide open

To embrace the day

And see what birds want to fly

Free from the place of entrapment

In your chest

Where they beat their wings

Against the prison

Of your PTSD cage

There may be birds of wanting

Of wandering and of wondering

That need to circle free

Far from the prison of a place

That stops them breathing fresh air

Or gaining sight of an ocean or a plane

That could inspire them

In their winged breathing

Beating those wings

Little bits of wanting you denied

Long ago come to life

You find the courage

To open the door of the cage

And let those birds

Fly free

Self judgement

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I just listened to a radio programme about a woman who was raped as a teen by someone she trusted when she was drunk.  Many years down the track the perpetrator has owned up to his actions and together they have written a book.  What struck me was that the theme of self judgement and forgiveness was central to the interview.  The woman spoke of how she blamed herself as a victim of abuse, how a large part of her healing involved forgiveness for herself.  I thought of my own struggles with self judgement when I have got into difficult situations particularly with men, especially in my earlier years.  I also thought of how sad and challenging it is that survivors have to struggle so with self judgement in situations in which they were powerless.  The woman eventually forgave herself and the abuser.

It would be so good if we could learn to show ourselves self compassion, if we could admit our powerlessness in situations in which we truly were powerless, as opposed to situations in which we can use that as an excuse.   Feeling helpless and powerless does tend to develop in people who were not empowered when they were young, who had justified flight and fight responses disabled by parental shame, abuse or criticism.

Feeling trapped, or powerless has been a big part of the legacy of my own trauma which involved being trapped in a car following my MVA and in a hospital bed for many months afterward.   I recognise a deep part of me that can feel powerless in situations where I really have the power to leave, but leaving my requires of me courage or the ability to speak for myself and my own needs and face my fears.  I fear disappointing others at times when really I should not disappoint myself.  I fear moving forward at times when the way ahead seems unclear.

In the end the woman in the interview found love, forgiveness and compassion for herself.  What a different approach we would take to life and others if we could forgive while at the same time recognising abuse as abuse, something we didn’t deserve or play any part in causing.  Something painful and deeply tragic that was a very difficult learning experience.

 

 

 

Fear strikes

fear

Fear strikes its terror into your heart

Curled cobra at your feet

The only protector you know

Shame drenched cells

Where love should have lived

You cannot find true rest

If you cannot trust your feelings

And your body

Serpent be wise

Show me there is nothing to fear in fear

If others try to disarm me

Let me understand

They have their defences

Don’t let fear have the final word

Love is stronger

It truly is

Help me know

That true strength and freedom comes

From trusting myself

From trusting my feelings

And knowing

That I have the power

To survive the wisdom and truth

They restore to me

Letting go into knowing who you are is okay

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How hard do you find it to let go of the things that hurt you?  Do you keep trying to make it work even when there is pain?  Do you keep on thinking maybe if I just did this things would be different?  Maybe if I only try harder?

While we have to develop resilience in order to recover, its so important that we have a strong sense of who we are and that we have value as who we are.  Those of us raised in neglectful or abusive homes don’t get to develop this.  We may also, if we had difficulty in bonding or attaching, not ever have developed a sense of basic trust, in ourselves, in others and in life. We may associate attachments that were hurtful or painful with love, for example if parents hurt us emotionally and were insensitive and then claimed to be doing it “for your own good”.

That expression is actually the title of an excellent book by Alice Miller which speaks of how conditioning can damage and warp us, in our perceptions and self concept. We then associate love with abuse and with trying harder to turn ourselves out of shape.  The analogy that Alice Miller uses is of a plant bending itself out of shape to find the light, even if that light is pain it may have been associated with the necessary attention that was our only means of survival and so this is the pattern for our relationships.

One of the many characteristics of so called ‘borderline’ conditions is an unstable sense of self or identity.  When you consider that narcissists and borderlines often attract each other it makes sense.  Ross Rosenberg deals with this attraction in his book The Human Magnet Syndrome : Why We Love People Who Hurt Us.  An unstable sense of self and lack of basic empathy and trust leaves us without a solid foundation of self and a sense of powerlessness.  We may then look to those who seem to have a solid, fixed sense of self and power in order to learn something or survive.  But often these people will be set on rejecting their own vulnerable self and so are attracted to us for that reason. We may find ourselves re-enacting or re-creating painful patterns from our own childhood.  Or we may attract a narcissist even if we are basically sound and be completely gobsmacked by their behaviour.  We have not been subject to those who never got their own needs met in childhood and now want to use us to meet them.  We have some waking up to do because this kind of behaviour is just not on our radar.

Ideally if we had a sense of trust in ourselves we would leave as the signs of hurt and damage got bad, instead of hoping things would change.  When we do not do this we are abandoning ourselves for the relationship and no relationship is worth abandoning ourselves for.

The concept of letting go is very much on my mind today.  We can hold onto things for too long that are painful for us, I know I have.  We may keep wishing and hoping things may change but then the time comes when we know we have to save our own lives as no one else is going to do it.  But for this to happen we need to have a sense of basic trust in ourselves, we cannot allow ourselves to be ravaged by an inner or outer critic who blames us for accepting abuse which is often what happens with the narcissist.  We may have injuries ourselves but this does not mean that we don’t deserve healthy love and support.  When the cost of staying and being hurt gets too high to pay, our soul gives us the needed push and we must let go.

We have healing to do after we leave.  We may feel angry or sad for some time after.  All of these wounds can only be healed by self love.  By looking as honestly as we can at our past and making a commitment to create a happier, healthier present moment where we feel safety and love living inside our own skin.

The following may help some readers.

https://letmereach.com/2017/02/27/let-go-past-move-forward-life/

 

Grow and focus on the good

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So many of us with complex trauma have known such sadness and pain, we have known what it may be to be abandoned, shamed, left alone, invalidated, abused or betrayed and at times these bad experiences tend to capture the entirety of our minds, hearts and souls, at least until we work through them.

Then the time comes when we need to focus on the good, when we realise that even though we have known nasty, hurtful people that there are in fact a lot of beautiful people out there who we can connect to, those who won’t shame us, those that will listen, those that will treat us with the respect, empathy and courtesy that we deserve.  And most of all when we learn to meet ourselves in a deeply wounded place and give those qualities and  love to our inner self who has suffered so, we are more likely to meet that same kind of acceptance and love in the outside world.  We will no longer be attracted to hurt and pain.  We just wont want to live in that wounded and wounding place any more.

One terrible impact of being wounded, betrayed or hurt is that we retreat entirely into our shells.  And this is a necessary stage of the process for us who are coming out of unconscious pain and suffering. But if we have to go there entirely alone it can be a deeply dark wilderness place where we are finally left alone after a huge battle with shards of spears and other detris from being wounded kicking around inside of us almost driving us mad with the pain.  Without a place to feel this pain deeply in a way that we can release it without being endlessly re-wounded by it over and over again we can get stuck and without people to help us sooth and ease the pain we also get stuck.  We may get stuck in negative thoughts and then project this unconscious fear and pain onto those outside who may actually be nothing like our original abusers.  If our pain totally swallows us it can and does drown out the good and the healing that wants to come our way.

Its a fine line between containing our pain and transforming it and letting it replay over and over again. There comes the time when we need to surrender on some level in order to release what needs to be let go and to find a deeper acceptance.   Words cannot fathom or express in this kind of post the depth and enormity of this process.  At some point even though we don’t like what has happened to us, which has been so unfair we DO have to accept it happened and face it instead of endlessly fighting.  We need to meet ourselves in that wounded place and our loving attention or the loving attention of others will be the balm that heals and sooths us in that place.  We can then fully recognise the enormity of what we have suffered and survived and we may be overcome with awe for the part of us that made it through even though at times we have felt like everything inside us was shattered or broken in time we see the scattered pieces can be reassembled into a gorgeous mosaic.

In telling our story, in expressing our pain we make meaning of our suffering.  In being heard fully and affirmed we transform our relationship to what wounded us.  We embrace the enormity of the journey and lay down new seeds inside us which in time do have the capacity to birth beautiful flowers.  Flowers that grew from the compost of our past pain and suffering and the wisdom they birthed within us, seeds watered by the healing of our own tears and trauma that perhaps had some deeper purpose beyond what we could ever see or know.

 

No longer in prison

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No longer in prison

My soul is free

When you broke it

And seemed to break me

I went to hell

And suffered there for so long

I did not think I would ever get free

But today I am

Today I saw clearly

What you did

And why you did it

And I also saw its up to me

I am not a victim now

I am an adult

Free to be me

Free to love

Free to live

Free to trust

No longer trapped in so much fear

The worst came to pass

And I survived

To thrive another day

Burnt myself clear and clean

In the ashes of lost love

Now I know love deep inside

What love is

What love isn’t

I am no longer in prison

Free to live

Free to laugh

Free to love