teresa

Holding On To Our Identity

The heading of this piece means so very much to me because we all need our own identity without it who are we? I guess it’s an imprint within me from my past where my identity was completely lost, to a point where I was just coursing through life a very lost soul. During that time it was a feeling that I excepted because if I had to question who I was I would be made to look at who I had become, and I really believed that I was invisible to the rest of the world so why would I point me out? As a child I had felt so completely worthless a nothing that nobody cared for because they just couldn’t see me. I remember all the times that I had been standing in front of an adult trying desperately for them to see me, for them to tell me that I mattered but my silence meant it would have been almost impossible. I just couldn’t tell them why I felt that way it was just far too dangerous and even then would they still not see me? Ultimately I was too afraid to try because I would not have been able to deal with the further emptiness.

So I went through my childhood a very rebellious soul at times acting out causing a scene creating disruption in the class room, because that meant they would have to see me which caused me no end of trouble and so many visits to the head of school to explain my bad behaviour. Even there waiting to receive my punishment it was better than just fading away into the nothingness, I was receiving recognition I had my identity although it was in a manner that was less than ideal to say the least. Standing alone there as a child I so wanted someone anyone just to say my name even in anger because even that was better than being nobody.

So what does it mean this having our own identity? In truth it means everything we all need to know who we are to be able to find a place that is right for us. This is true of everything that affects our lives from where we choose to work our relationships or where it suits us to live, to the friends that enter our hearts because they mean something to us they just fit in with our identity. If we don’t have our own identity how do we know those most fundamental parts of our being or create structure in our lives, and equally chose those that we can relate to or wish to share portions of our life with. Everything becomes difficult as we spend our time second guessing as to whom we are and if we are complete. We can’t do any of those things without our identity it’s just not possible when we are fundamentally missing.

During our life time as we try to heal we will come up against this identity crisis so often and as a result of that feeling we are on constant alert, we create battlements all around us digging out the moats just waiting for that invasion to arrive. Constantly checking if our identity in which we are trying so hard to build is in danger of once more being overthrown. Depending on the situation our reaction can go from being a mild stir within us to a full blown earthquake, so our reaction is governed in just how much we feel we need to react to this war declared upon us. During my life I have been in this situation so many times that it’s just too hard to remember how many, but I know that as time passes I am learning to deal with this military stance a little better.

Of course that doesn’t mean it’s left me completely and it rears its head on occasion when that feeling of losing my identity creeps up on me completely unnoticed, until I’m in too deep to find the control needed to recognise my old pattern. It’s so very hard to explain just how frightening this feeling can be its like your world is in danger of being pulled out from under you, that you are being chased by an army of emotions that are running riot in your head.

You hear these words over and over in your head without any construction whatsoever – who are you? Where do you fit? Your thoughts and feelings don’t matter! Just accept that your choices aren’t good ones and others need to make them for you. Right pay attention! You need to take control over this situation because you are about to be lost all over again! That person without needs to make your decisions for you because you’re just not capable! You will once again have no control or identity because being controlled is just one step behind you so you better head for the battlefield and in a hurry! And they are but a few.

Once this descending army has been halted you stand there in the aftermath that has been created on the battlefield realising just what that section of time has cost you? Whilst feeling that it was your only course of action we then have to find a way back from the insane journey of conflict that we have just taken; the problem is whilst within that situation all you were able to do was defend yourself with everything you had with your own army at your disposal, because going back there again would finish you completely and the battle would be forever lost.

Maybe in time these skirmishes can be undone but equally it could be a war wound that will forever leave a scar. We can only deal with the situation at that time because it’s completely without rehearsal just how do you rehearse the feeling of losing your identity? Finding yourself was such a long journey and quite a fight to have been in, and the truth behind this overwhelming emotion is that we have become so overly protective of the identity we had craved for. I’m sure my words will resonate with many of you out there that have found yourselves in this situation, and I’m sure we will do so again because this finding yourself and believing in yourself whilst trying to establish your identity is something that we rightly hold dear.

In time maybe I or we will find ourselves in a different place with a learning that no one can take from us what we consciously refuse to give, I hope that in time I will arrive in such a place but I have to admit that journey to completion as yet eludes me. We need to understand that someone else can’t make us feel that our identity is in jeopardy and that we can hold on to it whatever comes along but that’s a learning I’m afraid that is solely down to us. No one can invade a defended position once we reach it and really believe that we do by finding the peace within to put the big guns down.

Its then that we realise that we are no longer children truly believing that we now can use our new found identity to its true worth, but also except that if those choices involve another person all of these choices cannot and shouldn’t be all of our own even when it’s a difficult balance. Even after recognising this we will still unfortunately make mistakes because that a human trait and part of life. But just recognise that others can’t see or understand the panic within us and they are left believing that our reaction was completely over the top. They just can’t see this vacuum of torrid emotions racing through our minds during that time how could they? Unfortunately I don’t have all of the answers but in the here and now I am grateful to at least be able to recognise the question. If you find the strength to leave the confinements of that deep dugout you will see in truth that your identity is now yours you just had to connect with it.

It’s then that we see that a ceasefire has at last been reached………..

Tough Love

Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run, to use tough love you need to feel actual love for the person behind this action! If it sounds much like I have taken that sentence from the dictionary you would be right, because that’s exactly what I did trying to gain some insight as to what that really means. Much like I was looking for a way to understand the reason this has to happen, and the words on every page made complete sense sitting there in front of me in black and white. Advice is given freely where I could dot the i’s and cross the t’s Ok this should be a breeze if only I follow their direction what was I worried about? Here I sit with all that knowledge aware that this action is taken daily and needed by so many people on this journey of tough love. But in truth I am butting my head against a brick wall almost daily as I try to find my way through this emotional minefield.

As abused children it’s been a little like that for most of our lives or what we were told was love it was just so confusing, simply because we held on tight to any love shown in our direction even at the hands of our abuser. We never really had any understanding of what love was but we knew that however we felt this so called love in any direction, we had to hold on to it with a death grip because that person was showing us affection. However bizarre that sounds to us now as adults whilst no one else seemed to care about us at all how could they care? They never at any time came to our aid. Believe me love doesn’t come any tougher than being drawn towards someone for affection and not understanding desperately looking for some kind of affection, whilst all along feeling so alone that you could be on a dessert island looking for something at that time we didn’t even know we were missing.

The problem with this tough love is that unlike a flat piece of paper where those words could have been written across our consciousness, we are going to be effected emotional because of this action taken even when we try pushing our feelings and emotions into our subconscious. We are armed with the knowledge this tough love that’s needed would be aiming at those that are engraved in our hearts but that’s what this tough love is right? What is forgotten or explained is that you yourself will be affected greatly by this choice you may be forced to make.

I guess we only ever take this action as a last ditch chance to show the person involved that something has to change, because we can no longer accept the treatment coming our way it’s almost like it has become their pastime. We’ve tried everything else to no avail they just don’t seem to see the pain they are causing us; in truth do they even see what they are doing? A hard emotion felt so deeply so we question ourselves with do they even care? And in that instant there we are back sitting within our childhood. I felt my heart strings being pulled by that statement because no one is immune to this situation during our lifetime. So it seems that this tough love will always go both ways because within it we have nowhere to hide from the love felt towards that other person it’s no easy task!

We lose so much during this time whilst hoping greatly that in time they will have an infusion of understanding seeing what needs to be addressed, can they find their way back to the straight and narrow? Because all we can do is to sit aimlessly by. On every occasion when this direction of choice is needed it’s always felt by so many other people in all innocence, but still they are embroiled and a shadow is implemented on their own memory and their emotions felt within are it seems unavoidable. But how can that be right? Quite simply because our love radiates in so many directions causing upset by default it seems without intention to the innocent, wow those words are really hard to read never mind being within this situation where innocence is so easily taken away by the thoughtless actions of others.

Tough love is something at times all we have left open to us but it’s such a hard choice to make, armed with the knowledge of all the above felt deeply within but also knowing it’s no longer avoidable. I guess all we can take from its arrival is that you love that someone deeply enough to feel the pain of your own actions also, because in truth tough love would never be implemented unless we love that someone immensely. It’s not difficult to see why it’s simply because they matter if they didn’t why in all probability we would want to take that journey? Walking away without a second thought would be easier but that love you feel for another has your feet nailed to the floor, because loving and likening someone in the here and now when that choice is decided upon is such a different emotion. But there is no doubt that you need to walk in with your eyes wide open and excepting a hurricane of emotion that will floor you completely. Once initiated somehow those nails that were holding you firmly in place within their lives are extracted with such finesse and precision that you miss it completely. An action in which you will find yourself no longer in possession of that nail gun hell you can’t even find the box of nails! Your choice has initiated a reaction and you better hold on to your hat it’s going to be a white knuckle ride and one in which you no longer have any control.

In so many ways tough love by definition is showing us the depth of our own love for another in essence we are making a choice to put our own feelings aside, in the hope that this choice will help that another see just how their choices are affecting you and also those around them. Sometimes when a different guise of love arrives it can be from an unexpected direction, but that doesn’t mean anything other than we forgot to look in the right direction needed at that time. It seems at times for all concerned all we can do is to walk away in the other direction and it hurts like hell because this tough love is always felt both ways.

A change in their direction is needed and they are the only ones with access to that map……………

Control

Well, it’s been a while since my last piece I guess that’s because I found myself once more within just such a situation, it’s also the driving force for this piece and as it unfolds that will become obvious. The last few weeks this emotion for me has been really tested to almost breaking point, it was a real surprise for me as I thought that I had seen the last of that emotion and its effect on me to this degree, but it seems that there is always someone ready to shake your timbers from the rooftop for their own game or gain. As abused children, we are somehow compelled to keep an eye on our rear and our backs to the wall, looking back for us is a knee-jerk reaction because we know all too well the magnitude of the things that may creep up on you. It’s so hard not to look back there was a point in my life that it seemed my head was continuity on full rotate in an aim to catch whomever at the act. We spent many years trying to control this emotion and some of us never regain that control again even with the most trusted of friends. We feel controlled or manipulated even when there is no cause to do so it’s just so easy to let that emotion back into our lives, and for the most without any real cause or intent from others. But there is that pull on our invisible strings of power of which we are never going to let happen again right? Hey, it took us years to find any sort of control of ourselves or over ourselves so whoever is trying to pull our strings can go to hell!! Sound familiar? It sure does for me.

The problem is that over time we can go from feeling controlled to wanting to be in control of everything and everyone one around us, sadly this reaction sits inside of us watching our six for that inevitable battle just around the next corner. We really need to look at how we make that change of being controlled and knowing clearly that becoming the controller is just as destructive. As I write these words I feel every one of them like an old battle scar that for so long I kept picking at never allowing it to heal, I guess it’s a sharp reminder now that lingers deep within me that took a lot of inner work for me to see the difference of all that I have stated above. Because make no mistake there is a very big difference between taking back the control of ourselves and becoming the controller because that is also fundamentally wrong. Those words may leave a bad taste in many a mouth but this is a question we must ask ourselves if at times we are guilty of. But it’s just so damn hard to find that equilibrium between the two without questioning ourselves with are we being controlled or are we being controlling? So we just better head for that wall positioning ourselves well and protect our rear firmly against it.

But there is a different kind of control that we never really see coming from those that have walked beside us many times without incident, simply because they are someone that we trusted with our demons never knowing that they would use them against us. They have knowledge of our ups and downs watching us at our darkest point and the effect our past has inflicted upon us. They are family or someone that you never thought would use that knowledge for their own gain but in reality, they may not be all that they seem, and they know just where to push that dagger in your most painful of parts. Your vulnerabilities have always been on show to them and they know just how to tear you apart from the inside-out.

For myself, I recently found out just how painful having that knowledge can be, overly more I had to face the fact that this was something that I had allowed to continue for much too long. Overly more, through my uncontrollable fear of losing those that I love so deeply they knew just what to take from me, and they were happy to do just that if I did not capitulate. I however needed to push that emergency stop button because I recognised that to let it continue I would cease to be, as time passes (although painfully) I now feel that they can only ever take from me that which was never really mine to include my happiest memories, and I’m trusting that in time they will find a way back to me. I’m not talking here about a casual acquaintance a friend or even a partner but someone with a bond to me in a way I never thought or wanted to think them capable of, but maybe I just wanted to see it that way because the other option was unthinkably painful to me. To demand from another whilst armed with the tools to hurt deeply is something that takes me right back to that being controlled, faced with a choice that once again I would never be in the winners’ seat. Whichever decision I had to make it was not going to be an easy one and I would stand to lose whichever way I was to choose.

I knew that I would hit the ground hard I was never under any illusion that it was ever going to be a soft landing for sure on either decision, but it was one that I had to make it had gone on for so long that oddly I had not really noticed or maybe in truth I didn’t want to acknowledge it. But within that truth when I honestly pull back the veils of delusion I had been looking at it square in the face for so many years. I had to make a stance because I was left with no other choice I had to quite simply jump or continue to be pushed with full knowledge that there may not be a way back for me. I won’t bore you here with the details because it’s my own pain to work through myself and out of it to the other side, it may be that in time and trust in my decision something will alter with the passage of time but over that, I have no control. My aim here is to share my experience and I’m sure it is recognisable to many “so you don’t need to start pulling on your heart strings “ it just helps us all to understand that someone else out there has been going through or maybe even still be going through a controlling situation themselves. So it’s really a reminder that as with many things in life you have many a kindred soul freely giving you both empathy and understanding through their own story to tell.

Control enters our lives in so many situations and they can be quite diverse in structure, invading our lives at times that we are not aware of until the control erupts out of all control. There is the control that we were under as children through our abuse, controlling everything from and around a scared and unworldly child. It’s not only the abuse that we are receiving but also the control over not being able to tell your secret, control over every part of our lives always with the knowledge impregnated deep within that we have no control over the situation. There is control of our decisions as we are always second-guessed making us alter the things we would like to do for ourselves as we are told “it’s better if you do it this way” That the friends you choose to include in your life are not good for you or spending time with them upsets that person we love through their controlling instinct.

There is a deep-seated control that for me was so very difficult to deal with but it seems after many years I find myself there, the control of blackmail or the remove of those you love deeply if I did not comply. There is the control of your time your money your every choice as to what and whom you want to include in your life because you always thought that you needed to be available to those people at the drop of a hat. We are controlled this way as a residue of the control in our childhood where we were not allowed to make choices of our own at all. It’s like we are somehow expecting it never really paying it any attention or feeling that it’s wrong for us to be used this way, which in itself is imposed upon us through an open door that we have never really closed behind us. Words like domination, command, and regulation all spring to mind when we look at this situation clearly, but there comes a time when that is the only option “to close that door I mean” it becomes the only thing left open to us even with the threat of what our actions may ignite, just because we ourselves want a life that we envisage. At some point in our lives, we need to make a stand or we will always be that puppet on a string controlling everything we do, from the way we wish to live our lives to even controlling of the words that may come out of our mouths. I, of course, can’t speak for you but I’m finally done with this game of control and with the rest of my life however long that may be I will do be and see whomever I wish, the realisation was so difficult to deal with but I am now in a much stronger stance and situation simply by recognising me in my own right for the first time in so many years of being controlled. Through this situation, I found that even though I thought I had firmly closed that door many years back there was still the turning of the key in the lock that needed to happen.

So you see control wears many hats and does not mind digging about in the dirt seemly not minding the smell of the garbage, one can only hope that after a time others will recognise that dump site for themselves and recognise just how wrong they acted. There is nothing that we can do to influence the situation either way so we are faced with the choice of allowing them to control us once again by capitulating, or recognising that even for them this stance that you are taking is right one although it’s lost to them today. Life will always continue to throw up these types of situations where we may once more begin to feel controlled, but equally, we must see that not see that not everyone wants to control us and know the difference and recognise it. It’s a little like a juggling act which takes practise and perfects with time and it’s inevitable that you are going to drop a few balls, but unlike the juggler, we have to watch them roll away down the hill because they were always on the downward slope. They will never roll up the hill towards us until there is recognition, that holding control or demands over others is wrong however these situations manifest. But that’s their own growth and learning and we can’t do that for them and to be honest we shouldn’t.

Because a lesson learnt and imparted by others can’t and will never be a lesson learnt………

Connecting

There are so many ways for us to achieve a connection quite simply by just going through our daily routing when awakening each morning to enter the world. For most of us we feel refreshed once again as we rub the sleep from our eyes pulling ourselves away from that warm snug place. We make ourselves presentable and once we have eaten our breakfast we take that first footstep out of the door wondering what the day will bring. That connection is part of our world it happens naturally or we would never leave our four walls behind us, and in most situations we look forward to those connections that we make daily be it our work colleagues family or friends. These connections are received differently depending on who we are confectioning with, not discounting the causal fleeting connections that happen all the time whilst buying a newspaper that sandwich or the Costa coffee welcomingly received. There are so many other ways in which we connect but I’m going to stop here as I don’t wish to bore you to death with a list that sees no end to move on to why I’m here today.

Connecting whilst still within in the throes of our past abuse.

Connecting seems such an easy thing for us to do it should be enjoyable bringing with it a smile or a grimace if it’s a bollocking from the boss but nevertheless this is still a mutual connection just not a very welcome one. We connect by allowing someone else into our world and our personal space which for some like me for so many years found that so very hard to do, sadly some are still trapped within that space not feeling that they trust the world enough to assist them in their endeavours. Making a new connection is unknown territory for everyone but for abuse survivors it’s a complete walk of faith and more than a little unsettling. There is that question the one within us always there waiting in the wings should we can we trust a world that for so long was so very untrustworthy? Sadly we mostly convince ourselves that it’s a risk to far but not until we have tentatively walked a few yards down the line.

This may all seem a little deep and it is if we are talking about an everyday connection but what about a connection of the heart? I myself avoided this connection for so very long having such a deep seated connection makes us feel vulnerable, and that feeling makes us bolt out of the starting gate at a hundred miles an hour without the need for a starting pistol. We ponder what this connection wants from us because they always want something don’t they? We are overloaded with that doubt in our minds from a source that should never have had that type of connection with us EVER. But nevertheless this connection brought with it our first encounter with the word love, as we were told daily that we were loved and this connection was perfectly normal. Ok I will skip a few lines here as I feel the need to scream at the heavens in a less than a lady like manner.

How do we connect and allow someone to enter a place that we have guarded for so long and do we ever truly do so? In my own history if I were to pick at the bones of it I don’t think that I have ever truly done so completely. I have always kept that little bit back for me expecting to have to hang on to it when this connection once more goes tits up. It’s a little like I am expecting it to fail and by doing so I’m not surprised when it does! Having just relayed those thoughts to you I am reminded that I really need to address this long standing issue vigorously, because in truth it has cost me far too much to date. To really connect with our hearts we have to trust in that someone and that is something that makes our hearts pitter patter in such an unnerving way. A connection of the heart is something that we should enter in to openly but that takes hard work and a positive mindset, or on the other hand I guess we can always oddly convince ourselves that it’s easier not to have that connection. The inevitable outcome is that the other person with which the connection could be formed will never even leave the starting gate in the race of emotions that could be loving shared, making the Grand National for them look like the local donkey derby with no chance in hell up catching up to us. We are off down that race track facing each jump alone no matter how big the hurdle carrying that jockey of abuse that no horse has ever been asked to carry. Falling many times because the jump was just too high, stumbling down on the other side before heading for the next and it never enters our head that we could just walk around it. It seems that our past has made us feel that every hurdle has to be encountered jumped or pulled apart in to so many fragments that we will never find the whole again. Dissection beyond distraction is the only way forward not only in our own lives but the life’s of those that are trying to get to close to make that connection. Everything becomes a drama whilst we look for the things that could go wrong; we forget to see that our future could be so very different if we were to just walk out of the pathology laboratory.

Some things just are they don’t have a reason or a hidden agenda they are just opportunities in our life that we either stop to recognise as a connection of the heart that could be so very rewarding or ignore. If we would only put the scalpel down and not feel the need to continue to dig around surgically, expecting answers from ourselves to questions that as yet have not even arisen but we put everything under that microscope.

For me a connection that I have lost very recently was one that I shared with my dog and best friend Sparkle. She died so very unexpectedly that it has left a hole in my heart that I am still struggling to fill; she was my constant companion walking along side of me wanting nothing more from me than to be loved. I am sharing this with you because we also connect with animals as well as people, it’s said that here in the UK we are a nation of animal lovers which in truth at times I question. You see a connection with an animal does not need to be that complicated it’s a mutual exchange within a bubble of complete understanding, love without demands explanations and with complete commitment on this one way street that feels so very easy to walk down. She will always be in my heart and I know that losing her made me face some very difficult choices about where my life was leading me and the direction my life will take from here on in. I am so very aware that during that time I was more than a little difficult to deal with because she was the rudder that always kept me in the shipping lane. Time heals but at times like these we sometimes question where we are in life or should I say that I did? Yes without doubt.

We need to connect to life with full commitment to a connection without feeling that by doing so a vacuum will suck us up into something that we can’t control, because anything less we will see ourselves failing simply because the need for baby steps has long past gone. We are no longer that innocent child within a world of misconnection completely confused with the world around us, and not truly making any connection other than the one which had been imposed on us as children. I guess if we were to look at this from another angle at that time in our life connection brought us pain suffering and bewilderment without a safe pair of hands to hold us. So now we no longer look for that hand because we have learnt that its safer not to do so convinced that the only hand we need to hold on to is a part of us. In laymen’s terms if a connection is not made we can’t or won’t fail by detachment and default but if we continue to follow this road it takes away from us far more than it gives. We can take a few tumbles if the road becomes rocky because it’s far better than disconnection and self imposed imprisonment of our hearts.

The soul was never meant to travel alone so take that chance……………..

LOSS

Loss – it’s a very short word but it invokes in us such a magnitude of emotion.

We have all without doubt during our lifetime suffered a loss they are always painful and for many of us we feel that within that segment of time we will never recover. We experience it like our insides are being torn from us without pity tossed high into the storm that those emotions are creating. The sun can be shinning down on us the birds can be singing but as we look up at the sky whilst shading our eyes from the sun no answers or explanations are given. The excruciating knot within your stomach seems to be holding you to ransom and with every moment that passes becoming just that little bit tighter. Loss is so difficult for those left holding that emotion in their hands with nowhere to put it down or feel its release. There are so many ways that we experience a loss and I could only but try to examine a few here because I’m sure there are many that I haven’t experienced.

There comes a time in our lives where if the rule of thumb were to enact that we will feel the loss of our parents which is something however hard we try we can’t accept that they are really gone. If we were to turn this analogy on its head then we walk down a very dark and painful road because the loss of a child whilst we are still living has the ability to destroy us completely. If we were to take it down just a notch or two from the more extreme emotions invoked above we all feel loss in so many others ways. The loss of a wife or husband a breakdown of a relationship with the one person that we thought would be our forever life companion. There is the loss that beloved pet that also brings about a time of grief simply because they were a part of our family for some this is even more difficult if they find themselves alone when their only companion has been taken. The loss of that dream job that not in a million years had we seen that trunk coming as we sit there dazed in utter disbelief. A person we truly thought was our friend seemingly cutting us out of their lives without explanation as we sit there scratching our heads trying to unravel the mess and make sense of the situation.

Put it in a nutshell any loss we feel creates pain during that time that is so difficult to understand or deal with. Loss is always relative to us as individuals at that moment in time and felt differently by each of us there is no outright winning post around a loss. Each one sitting on high clutching a gold medal we will always feel the pain of its enactment.

But there is a loss that I would like to talk about here today felt so deeply in its magnitude that it is immense, it’s the loss of a segment of time that no matter how hard we try we can never ever recover. Those years that are lost to us forever within and surrounding abuse simply taken from us and even if our abuser were to try they could never give them back. For many this loss is something that they will never really come to terms with because we choose to ignore that passage of time it’s painful to even try to recover that which is lost to us. But in all truth if we ever in time arrive at that point in our lives where we feel we can try we see that in fact it’s a hurdle that we have already climbed over, We had just lacked the courage before today or stood close enough to see the other side. The truth is it’s just not possible to reclaim those years we mourn; it would be like finding a unicorn in our back garden or a pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow. We would be chasing a dream that could never be realised; our abuse is part of what makes us who we are today. Once we can get our heads around that fact we can then start to live the life that we have left and move forward, not forever trying to reach back to a place of pain that we can choose to close the door on if we could only find the handle.

For all of us we have or had a mountain to climb and yes it’s so much harder to climb up then keeping looking at the downward slope below us, it’s the easier root by comparison and yes it takes less effort but for sure much less growth. If we continue on in the belief that we can’t accept our loss and that we are never able to make a stance then we will never know where that route may have taken us. When Dorothy started her journey along the yellow brick road she had no way of knowing its destination but she just kept walking, and as we are aware taking that first step on that winding yellow road allowed her to find all she needed to ultimately find her way home.

I would like to share with you a conversation I once had with a guest on a radio show that still stays with me daily; I may have even touched upon it many moons ago because it reached down in to my very core. It stays with me because of its complete sadness and the loss of so many years that could have been lived; this particular lady could not find a way to move forward no matter whatever she tried to do so, at the risk of repeating myself I could not think of a better illustration to be drawn upon. She had been abused as a child by her stepfather; for many years and her mother was also a victim of his abuse physically, she was in a helpless situation not able to defend herself or her mother. At the age of fourteen she ran away from home to live on the streets where she had to survive alone ducking and diving just getting by day by day as it arrived. She found herself within the world of drugs drinking and pulled into the world of prostitution and that’s how she lived her life for so many years. But she could never really forget or move past her abuse and the loss of her childhood years, it was eating her up day by day no matter how she tried she was not able to mourn the loss of those years. She felt their loss always within her grip held tightly within her so close to her that she was control when in truth however sad the situation she was in it was in fact the complete opposite.

At the age of twenty she could not longer live with the pain that she was carrying with her and so she made a life choice, she went and found herself a gun and returned home in an attempt to reclaim her life and the years she had lost. I don’t feel the need to elaborate on the outcome on her arrival but was that the right choice for her? Well she asked me that very question during a live radio show from where she was incarcerated and it caused me to take a step back in time to a place where I had often thought that would be my only way out of my own abuse. After a moment’s thought although for me it seemed like I had being sitting there with one finger in my ear without a reply seemingly coming to my aid, sputtering about trying to form the words to answer her heartfelt question. I then realised that it was not a question that I could be rushed into replying to this was her life now, and for the next fifteen years I needed to give it some serious thought. It then came to me in a flood of emotion that he had taken all those years from her during her childhood and here he was taking fifteen more albeit by her actions. She would never have recaptured or relived those years and the sadness of it was that there were more lost years in front of her. While my own thoughts were could I take another’s life whilst within rational thought? The answer was that she clearly wasn’t and I recognised that it could have so easily have been me. We must all have a breaking point that once reached we can’t find our way back from and I will openly admit to you here that I cried a few tears at the end of that particular show.

Yes any loss is immensely painful and for us none more so than the loss of the years at the hand of our abuser and the gigantic hole it has left within us. But the story I have shared with you above shows just how far we can be driven if we can’t find a way to come to terms with our loss of these childhood years. If we keep reaching back believing it’s possible to retrieve those years lost we will also lose those years out in front of us without the need of ever having seen the inside of a prison cell. Life by its very nature will continue to cause us pain through experiencing a loss but I personally see no need to drag it along by the hand indefinitely.

We will all mourn many a loss as we walk along the life path that is ours whilst sobering never needing the finality of death………

The Relationship Between Incest Survivors

incest-2The first thing that comes to mind is that it is a wounded attachment at first meeting, but it’s also a merging of empathy because you know for sure that the other person has walked in your shoes. You don’t need to explain how it feels to be abused; you’re never going to feel judged because words are not needed only the knowledge shared between two broken souls. But within that mix there is also a mirror image reflecting back to us the things that you have tried so hard to either forget ignore or hide from. This way of living has been perfected over many years you truly have it down to a true art form, and you may even of sorts have become a connoisseur at your selected choice. I’m aware that the word connoisseur is mainly associated with food but believe me abuse leaves behind a very bad taste in your mouth. So is this an unconscious way or choice of being attracted to or attached to someone that reminds us of our wound or trauma? At its very core maybe we even seek out this type of relationship as a way to reinforce the wounded aspect of ourselves.

As a depending chid we yearn for affection attention neutering love and trust in a way that any other child would.

As we grow we begin to believe that the only way it seems we can receive these surely needed emotions is through our abuser. So it’s hardly surprising that we take this distortive mixed up thought process or belief with us in to adulthood, even though our sexual abuse is no long a part of our lives the child remembers. As you continue to read thought this piece and I try to impart some insight to its regard, let’s think upon this scenario as it truly is by being timed two. It’s a scary thought for sure but having myself been thought the impact of the above, I also know that it does not have to be a situation in which we either self destruct, or impose the same reaction in another person. It can be a situation if used positively for the greater good in our own lives as well as in the life of that someone special. But it’s also a situation that brings forth a challenge without doubt and that challenge at times can feel unparalleled.

So how do we judge love? What does that word even mean to us? How do we separate the good from the bad the past from the present? How do we open up to someone without feeling that we are once more going to feel a loss of control and power? It’s a real twister that could emanate a tsunami. I guess it’s true to say that I still struggle a little with these emotions myself as I try to perfect the effect still felt at times on my inner child. I recently realised that this may be a life time of work and not an easy job. But over every hurdle that we are made to jump that’s one less out there in front of us. But this is only true if we learn from the mistakes we are making, and that we ascertain the part we play in this encounter, because this traffic is on both sides of the road bound for heaven or hell. For some this is a difficult task because any feeling of loss of control or power is a reminder of the past where we had no power or control at all. But that is such a dangerous place to frequent and sadly it lays foul to a very lonely existence.

If I were to try and explain the journey I took and continue to make to you here, then I truly feel that you are not yet in a place to make that journey. You will arrive there in time and at your own speed but there are so many other lessons to learn along the way that you are able to make a change. One of the biggest leanings for me is that I had to stop feeling that I was always right, and that I did not want to entertain another’s point of view that was different to my own why? Because for so very many years I was made to feel like I was always wrong. Everything was orchestrated for me I was told what to do how to do it and how to feel my thoughts were never my own. I would have made many mistakes on my life’s journey I am sure, wrongly arriving at a regretted impasse but I will never know because that courtesy was never given to me. In essence I’m saying that I was never allowed to make a mistake or one that I recognised, if someone else is controlling your life how can you ever think of your actions and mistakes as being your own? Whilst all along thinking that I was the mistake how mixed up is that? Sympathy has no place here only a feeling of growth I’m just stating a fact and the way I was made to feel. There is a very odd thought going through my head at this moment did that enforced situation make the decisions I had to make thought life as an adult far more difficult? I’m sure for many it does because how do you learn without feeling the mistake was your own? It’s an odd kind of control but we have to remember our abusers had full control. So at the time of our release from our enforced situation do we really have the grounding we need to go forth in life? I’m just looking at the other side of the coin here or as they say outside the box.

Ok I’m back to me arriving at that time and accepting that I was not the oracle and that I can be wrong as often as I’m right but that’s ok. It may not make a lot of sense but it’s all a part of regaining control over our lives by owning who we really are. In truth at that time where did that get me? What did I achieve? And overly more why at the time did it matter to me so much? Looking back I was up there on my soap box a very lonely person, and I’m sure from my own experience that’s a journey that nobody hopes to make.

So is it time to stop thinking? Well what I really mean is stop over thinking? I know but I’m not trying to confuse you. When we become all consumed within the struggle we were made to contend with at such an early age, how do we even know the right type of relationship we are looking for? I’m just going to put this out there in the universe that we don’t need to over think; we just need to live our lives as the rest of our life. Every relationship has to be worked on; some of the most rewarding work that I have been involved in, has been around and still is within relationships where both partners have been abused children. When they eventually get it right having fallen many times along the way it’s a joy to be seen.

So here we are at the bottom of this piece with the heading sitting up there in front of me (The Relationship between Incest Survivors)

Can it work? You are a person and not your abuse so firstly we need to stop looking at the label, and look for a kindred soul an abused soul or not. Once we realise this then we will see no reason for this relationship not to work and it can be the most rewarding. A common goal is already there we need to heal and so much is already shared within, but the kicker is that shared understanding of each other also includes our past abuse. But if we are ever going to make that stand if we are going to fight for the right to be happy I think two pairs of hands are always better than one.

Have you ever played chess? In this relationship you already know the opponents end game play……………

Find Yourself

lostI guess the title of this piece is a little confusing how can you find something that to your mind isn’t lost? There you are standing in familiar surroundings and your reflection if sought after would be very easy to achieve. But what does that tell us? Only that you are in the moment and visible to others. It’s a reality that we think about pragmatically it a complete certainty both feet are firmly placed below us. But what I want to talk about here today has no resemblance to the above. Your reflection can be staring back at you wide eyed and smiling but in truth for so many of us we have never felt so lost. To truly become visible to all that surrounds us we have to recognise that we are more than the body we walk around in.

It’s not about the person staring back at you each morning whilst you brush your hair; it’s about the child within that has never been found because in truth she scares us just a little. That’s a sentiment that I freely share with you because my child within used to scare the hell out of me-so was I lost? You can bet your life on it. Until I really looked inside with a feeling of complete abandonment to match her own she was unreachable. It’s been said that to really know someone you have to walk a mile in their shoes, to really understand the emotions that dictate who they are at that given moment in time. Emotions are how we relate in any given manner time or place which will never be seen from the naked eye looking in.

For all intensive purposes our bodies serve as a shell containing so much more than our internal organs. It wraps around us as an outer barrier a safeguard there to protect everything within, although at times that barrier whilst open to the elements of life can get a little busted up or bruised. Our bodies react to the action that we require almost by remote control. We have been subjected to a learning process from the very first time we arrived into this world with most of us seemingly upset to being ejected from a place of warmth and contentment.

Ok, let’s move on to the things that seem to need our direction a process that requires us to make a judgment we are faced with this process each and every day without exception. It could be a work issue that requires considering because there is more than one option, it can be to embark on a journey that we are not familiar with. A measured judgment to ascertain what is needed to lead us through a process to its completion. This process of judgement can ultimately affect those around us but a judgement is required because without which there would be no movement.

So here we are standing tall and taking on the world with health good judgement and forward movement-but what if you’re not? Let’s think about something here for a moment what if ever decision you make seems to be the wrong one what if your thoughts don’t even feel like they are your own? What if your thoughts and emotions are just so muddled and confusing that you find yourself with no control? What if that seems to be a permanent situation that you have to struggle through every day? I guess what I am talking about is that control over your thoughts and emotions in large part were enforced upon you?

As children we are so very vulnerable to the outside elements feelings and emotions going on all around us. We have been taught through our growth that an adult should be adhered and to show respect. So when an adult tells you that touching you in those places is only natural and that what they are doing to you is ok. It’s the only way to show you their love for you because you are special and different than the rest. But that we can’t tell a soul because we would then be parted and no one would understand our love. This situation a conversation forced on us daily and that no one will ever love you as much as they did.

Wow writing that paragraph has really left a nasty taste in my mouth.

What I am trying to say here is that we grow with no control over our thoughts or emotions, and if we were to look back in time that was the very moment that we lost ourselves. Our thoughts and emotions have been in doctored upon us for some of us that abuse lasted for many years going unchecked. This process leaves an imprint so deeply imbedded within us that to think for ourselves seems unnatural and not necessary. For me that situation went on for a period of seven years where a singular thought or checking my emotions was not my job and that they weren’t supposed to be mine. Just how messed up does that sound? Here today I fully understand the reason that I allowed my abuse to continue but let’s not open that box today.

In truth as we grow it seems that we become less attractive to our abuser he is getting just a little bored so within the realms of a very sick mind he needs to move on to pastures new. But when this happens what do we do? We are left to fend alone in a world that is so unfamiliar to us because we were always guarded. We then find that we have to make decisions that were always made for us. The ground below us then becomes so very unsteady because the hand that used to direct us is gone, in a mixed up kind of way we feel deserted we wonder what we have done to deserve this abandonment. How confused as children must we be to think that the person that was abusing us was our hold on to the world around us?

Its right there in that moment in time that we lose you because we don’t really know who we are or even feel that we have a purpose in the world any longer. So we continue through life never really thinking that anything we did was not good enough and questioning ourselves daily. We try to stay out of our thoughts because there are just too many voices that you don’t want to listen to, they lead us towards confusion they then take us to a place that we can’t understand or unravel. Then we would be truly lost because we were only holding on by the slighter of grip just one slip and it would all be over.

But do we want to stay that way holding on to life within mixed emotions and missed direction? How can we live the rest of our lives to its full potential like that? Yes you are lost but nothing is written in blood that you have to continue to be so. It’s long past time to find that part of you that has been lost for so long through the actions of another. We will need to dig deep because it’s we alone that will need to get down and dig in the dirt. This has to happen if we are ever able to look at that child straight on and fully in the eye. Completely and fully aware of the daunting task that needs to be embarked upon, but it’s a very necessary one if we wish to grow as a person and heal the past. You may even find that once you have found that lost part of you recognition seems impossible who is this person? But if we treat it like we are making a new friend in time a merger will occur and you will find that for the first time in your life you feel whole.

You may even find that you really like this person that you are becoming in your own right………..

The Anger Within Us

AngerAnger is a natural responce to feeling attacked deceived or frustrated; everyone gets angry sometimes that’s life and it’s a part of being human. Furthermore it’s not always a bad thing it can be a useful emotion. It allows us – if we listen to it – to identify problems within our lives that are either hurting us or others because it is going unchecked. If this then becomes a learning curve by identifying and recognising that our anger is upsetting either ourselves or those around us in an exaggerated manner. It can then act as a mirror by bouncing back those reflections and we become aware of some bad habits that need our full attention. But we need to remember that mirror may as well be a brick wall if we don’t engage with the reflection. There are times when the anger emerging within us can act as a defence mechanism appearing suddenly out of the blue if we are feeling threatened. So as we see anger it very much a part of our lives even when it upsets the apple cart for that brief moment in time.

Anger can at times evoke a real feeling of fear within us even if we are the ones at that time with a ball of fire in our gut that we can’t seem to put out. Whoever is the instigator of this on-set of emotions it can’t fail to act as a Wirral wind dragging in those around us which serves to remind us of the plight of Dorothy in the wizard of ozz. Tempers become frayed and the scene that presents itself seems to have taken on a life all of its own. We then reach a standoff where neither either nor all wants to be the ones that seem as if they are backing down. It becomes a matter of principle where the rights or wrongs of the whole situation are lost to us. A line in the sand has been drawn in which no one by it being either dragged pushed or willingly will cross over. The truth is that if we were to step back and view this situation with our emotions intact we would be astounded by the complete loss of rationality. The issue that caused this eruption has been lost only to be replaced by the overwhelming feeling of being proven to be right beyond all doubt.

Ok, we have all at some point I’m guessing been in many situations that I have described above one in which once we step off the moral high ground and stick a few plasters over the wound we then move. But sadly for others it is never going to be that easy why? The wound is so very much deeper and the cuts inflicted feel like they are never going to heal. But the real truth surrounding this situation is that the wound is far from being new it seems as if it’s always been there and rightly so because it has. So as life imposes new situations upon us that reflect the above the knife is driven in so very much deeper. To state the obvious those wounds remain unseen but the pain that they create is unimaginable. If I were to take a look within me there are a few real battle scars that many a Viking would be proud of. This type of anger is so very difficult to explain and so very destructive that it can be likened to a kind of cancer eating away at our very being. Furthermore this type of anger is one in which we readily seem to top up much like our mobile/cell phone credit as each year passes us by unchecked. This repeat scenario continues to go right on past us time after time and will continue to do so until we deal with our deep seated anger by becoming conscience of it and able to engage with it.

We seem to be within a struggle to become dogmatist because within this emotion we are going to stay on the moral high ground come hell or high water. No one will even come close to pushing us off because that’s a fall we can’t comprehend why? Because we feel that our anger is justified but the question being begging here is – is it being placed within the right situ? We fight to stay up there on that high ground because gods forbid if we were to fall we will have to deal with the real cause of our deep seated anger. In truth it has nothing to do with the situation surrounding us at that time, but it has everything to do with the anger we feel within which if we were to recognise is directing purely at ourselves. So how do we remove that feeling of immense agitation and pain from our lives which is the real root cause of so much anger? Anger placed there so long ago by another which clearly doesn’t seem to alter even after so many years as to how we feel. Even though they may no longer be integral in our lives or a spectator to our actions they have with no doubt left us with this legacy. So when we look in the mirror of reflection we feel so very angry at ourselves although unjustly because it was something in which we had no control over. But there you sit although you are now an adult questioning yourself daily over who is hitting you over the head the hardest? When in truth you already know the answer and it’s a wonder that you can even wield a hammer of that magnitude! When you have been abused as a child you will always be the one wielding that stick with far more force than the outside world. I myself am so very aware that there was a time in my life where there was not enough angry to be mustered around the world to equal the anger that I was directing at myself.

So let’s pick at the bones of this very volatile situation together to see if there is any real insight to be found.

The truth is that we put everything and anything in place so readily to be angry about instead of recognising our own anger within because we feel that we just can’t go there. Even more so we just don’t feel that we need to do so anyway right? So we direct our anger at the world in totality. The awful things happening around the world that can only be seen as a travesty but we somehow we make it our own personal crusade. The guy that parks in the parking space that you were waiting for patiently! Hey could he not see that you were already there waiting. Something said directed at us that causes a reaction within that can only be seen as being totally over the top. You have been sitting in the doctor’s surgery for twenty minutes after your appointment time and you can feel your angry erupting from within than bang it’s out there without the need for an introduction. It would seem that deflection is our closest ally.

I am in no way shape or form trivialising the deep regret for mankind around these issues because in truth there are some pretty horrific things going on around the world, or the annoyances we feel by feeling that we are being overlooked or invisible. What I am talking about here is our own avoidance and displeasure at us which surrounds the anger that we feel so deeply in which we are struggling to own. Because anything real to get our teeth into shifts the goal post by miles and then we have justified angry totally unrelated to us. So we go on day after day not having to deal with or recognise the real issue that is eating us up with such vigour.

Until we reach a place where we can face our angry and try to understand it the world will always feel as if it’s beating down on our head even though it’s mostly at our own hands. For me the place to start was by embracing my anger fully and without question which then allowed me to make forward movement towards undoing that knot tied so deeply within. Admitting to and owning that angry is one hell of a big obstacle to climb over because make no mistake that anger is truly justified and when faced with our past its more than a little scary. But it’s you and you alone that will have to make the biggest decision of all – can you face it embrace it and most importantly once faced can you put it down? At this moment in time you may not feel ready to take that first step in that direction but trust me it’s achievable overly more you can walk the road at your own pace. That road doesn’t even need to be straight one there is nothing wrong with taking a detour. If I can say anything to you in the here and now it’s that what lies behind us we can’t change what lays before us to some extent we can’t predict but what lies within us we can learn to embrace.

Own the anger within because until you do so it will always own you…………..