LEARNING HOW TO BUILD A LIFE
on the experience of those who know
PREVIOUS: RECOVERY – IS & is NOT (#1)
RECOVERY IS NOT...❖…saying we have forgiven our family, as if it were an intellectual decision, made once & for ever, which could wipe out all of the damage they inflicted, & all of our pain
IS…❧…knowing that forgiveness is a gift from H.P. – a ‘letting go’ – as a result of our willingness to do recovery work to clean out old emotional wounds. Forgiveness is the end product of that work, rather than a prerequisite for growth, as many tell us. Forgiveness isn’t genuine without healing our rage & pain.
PROOF : when we try to ‘will’ forgiveness & thinks it’s all behind us – eventually some life-event will stir up that unresolved pain & bite us in the butt. Besides, some abuses are un-forgivable! But we still have to let go – of being a victim of our own rage by feeling the sorrow that’s underneath
IS NOT…❖…expecting to get unconditional love and perfect sanity from any human. It’s unrealistic, but the Wounded Inner Child demands it anyway. Then, when we don’t get it, we accuse them of abandoning us!
IS…❧…understanding that in adult relationships – each person has their own needs. Since our parents couldn’t give us unconditional love, when it would have been appropriate, we can only look for it now from ourselves, our pets & our Higher Power. As we interact with healthier people we will receive more appropriate companionship – be mirrored, understood, respected, considered, loved…but never perfectly!
IS... ❧…knowing and accepting that we’ll always have some vestiges of the old pain, fear, rage, shame & abandonment hurt, BUT that those Es doesn’t have to control us
….being willing to separate internally, from the bad voice & externally, from harmful people. It’s absolutely necessary to get away from bad situations & negative thoughts. After all, if you kept scraping away at a sore on your skin, it wouldn’t heal, would it?
• at first this ‘letting go’ can bring up fear & depression, but with time, it will allow us to heal old wounds, so make us less fearful & angry
We can find & use new way to deal with those painful Es – by: letting them out in safe places & ways, learning to accept & comfort ourselves. Then we will experience pleasant, joyful emotions as well.
IS NOT… ❖…thinking that if only we were well enough we’d never get hurt, upset, over-react or feel crazy WHEN we’re with active, abusive, narcissistic, unavailable people
IS…❧…knowing that with healing we do become less devastated by hurtful behavior from others, because:
• cleaning out large chunks of our pain makes us less ‘touchy’
• we don’t take things so personally (that’s the kids’ narcissism). Most things others DO / SAY have nothing to do with us – it’s usually their unhealthy parent & kid who are expressing themselves
• our self-hate is diminished, so we’re not trying to figure out what we did wrong & try to change the impossible
• our shame quotient is lower – because we know who we are, & provide for our needs (see “What is Shame”)
➼ At the same time, the healthier we are, the less we want to put up with abusive &/or unavailable people, no matter who they are. Being with them is definitely like talking to the wall. Nobody home. Bo-o-oring!
It just becomes unacceptable, but now we know we didn’t cause it, we don’t deserve it AND don’t have to stick around for it. YEAH!
IS NOT...❖…not about never hurting anyone else, ever again – as if recovery implied attaining sainthood
IS…❧…knowing that taking care of ourselves (in non-narcissistic ways) instead of rescuing others, may make some people feel angry, scared, abandoned, resentful – & they may accuse us of being selfish, superior or cruel. ONLY those who are unwilling to take care of themselves will react this way. It’s essential to remember we are not responsible for the emotional well-being of other adults. If we know we’re ‘clean‘ we can be compassionate, but stand firm in our choices.
IS NOT…❖…about fulfilling the expectations of a ‘life’ we hoped for as a kid or keep every promise we may have made to ourselves as adults – to compensate for & cope with the traumas we had to live through
IS…❧…having healthy goals & dreams, but knowing that:
• life can be thought of as an obstacle course, which takes work, practice & perseverance, but is doable
• it is made up of a series of ups & down, changes & surprises, some of which are out of our control
• some of our attitudes, choices & goal will change in recovery.
Childhood decisions & beliefs were useful then, but now they need to be made in the service of our growth, knowing they’ll often go counter to what’s familiar. Now we choose thoughts & actions that will give us a fuller, happier life, not to satisfy our family.
• as we peel away the layers of the ‘false self’ we come to our true, core identity. The needs & desires of the Healthy Child & Wise Adult are what we can then be sure of.
➼ IN RECOVERY, we always want to keep the focus on expressing our highest self, for the greatest good.
NEXT: Request of my readers