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Archive for the ‘Self Love’ Category

There was a time in my life where I could not feel any hope. I had completely forgotten what hope felt like.  Today I am recognising that hope has returned to me.

I am learning to love in a different way, to love a person for who they are, not what they do.  I am feeling a more deeper, grounded, accepting love. It has been a very slow process however the results are worth the wait.

For too long I put my life on hold waiting for others to save me, change their ways and make me happy.  In my eyes, “they” were the problem.  Now I acknowledge that I am the only one who has the power to change myself.  I have had to step forward regardless of what others do or do not do or my life will keep passing me by.

I am told to get myself out of denial but for today I cannot for I know my patner tries, he works his Program and is at a different place in his recovery than I am.  I continue to carry the full load alone in the hope that one day he will be considerate of me, acknowledge all the things I do and be willing to share the load equally with me as is done in a healthy partnership.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings
the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That
could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet,
never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

– Emily Dickinson.

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I know very little about Amy Winehouse but when I read of her death and reports that she had been a drinker, drug taker and self harmer, I wondered what was causing her so much pain.  So I took the time to take a look at what had been reported on her family of origin over the years.

Amy Winehouse with Daddy's Girl Horseshoe & Naked Lady Tatoo

When Amy was 2 years old,  her father Mitch Winehouse reportedly began having a ‘not so secret’ affair for eight years before leaving the family home to be with his secretary/mistress when Amy was 10.  The Winehouse kids used to call their father’s mistress “Daddy’s work wife”.  I can only imagine the emotional pressure Mitch was under trying to maintain a business and keep two women happy at the same time.

She reportedly took the news of the family separation ‘all in her stride’ and it ‘didn’t seem to affect her’ according to her father yet she suddenly became more independent.

I can only imagine the thoughts in her head would have gone something like this:

  • “Can’t trust anyone anymore, need to look after myself now”;
  • “I’m not good enough”;
  • “I am alone”;
  • “Nobody loves me”;
  • “I’ll be good and he will come back”; and
  • “I need to be strong, mum needs my help”.

Fear of abandonment runs very deep and when you have a father that is not emotionally available to you, you do what it takes to get people to notice and love you.

As an adult, it seems Amy went on to seek out emotionally unavailable men, trying to make right the wrongs of her past yet ended up repeating her childhood like so many of us do.

However I do applaud Mitch Winehouse for publicly admitting his wrongs.  He would not be the first parent to walk around with their head in the sand not realising exactly how their actions affect the lives of their children.

If we had more people in the public eye opening up about their parental errors, the world just might start listening.

Mitch Winehouse, the power is in your hands. Let’s not let Amy’s death be in vain.

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There’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza dear Liza, there’s a hole in my bucket dear Liza, a hole”.

My grandmother used to sing that children’s song when I was young but little did I know I would have a hole in my bucket (my soul) when I grew up because my caregivers were so focussed on each other and my father’s alcoholism they were emotionally unavailable to me.

As a result I developed coping mechanisms, ways to help me feel loved, wanted and accepted for who I am.  I tried to fill the gaping  hole in my soul  the only way I knew how as a child, by self medicating through fantasy and role-playing.

In essence, I stuck a band aid over my hole when I needed love and comforting.

Band aid’s eventually wear thin and get replaced with new ones, sometimes bigger and stronger.

I still carry my band aid close to my chest but it has served little purpose except to temporarily patch up my underlying problem – pain, loneliness and an inner longing to be loved, accepted and wanted by my family. 

I can scream, rant and rave that life’s not fair but it won’t change the fact that I cannot go back to my childhood to ask my caregivers to meet my un-met needs.

It is now up to me to fill the hole in my soul by reaching out to a power greater than myself to provide me with the love and acceptance denied of me in childhood.

I can do this by reading 12 Step and self-help literature, attending 12 Step meetings, talking to other members and/or attending counselling.

As I watch a few grains of yellow sand fall into my bucket I am reminded of what a slow process this journey is and every now and again the band aid comes away and I am reminded of the deep despair I carry within.

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When I was young I was pretty good at drawing birds and dogs.  My dad used to compliment me all the time.  Today I can’t draw for peanuts!  I try and try to get my talent back but it’s gone.  What the hell is wrong with me?

I Wanna Go Home!

I have no patience yet expect to produce masterpieces.  All I seem to come up with is child like pictures with no definition.  I have so many colours in my head but am unable to express them in an artistic ADULT way.

It’s so frustrating!  I so badly want to be good at something.  I have been desperately trying to find something I’m talented at.  I’m dabbling in all kinds of arts and crafts but where is my brilliance?

Perhaps I am seeking the approval of someone and pushing a lost cause or maybe I desperately want admiration from the outside world?  Am I setting myself up for failure by setting my sights too high (self sabotage)? These are things I need to consider in-depth.

I’m really down on myself today.  I’m having a pity party and I want to go home.  It’s safer at home, there are no meaningful responsibilities there.  Mum and dad will make all the decisions for me, cook and clean and earn the money.  I long for the time when all I have to worry about is taking out the garbage.

I wanna go home, please let me go home!

 

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There is nobody here to share my sorrow

There is nobody here to cut the ball and chain of my responsibilities, my chores

To allow me to run and play like a carefree child, to think of happy things and make daisy chains in the sun

When will someone hear my cry?

You walk away and leave me alone to deal with my internal sadness, you desert me

Who is here to soothe my pain, to love me and tell me it will be all right?

Only God, but Dad said God does not exist

So I am alone

I get tired of fighting for acceptance, to be heard, to be understood and to be unconditionally loved

But most of all I get tired of fighting to be considered, to be thought of and cared for

You cannot look at me, you stare away or down at the ground

You no longer care what happens, you are not interested in my words unless they are happy ones

I am an adult yes, but I am still a lonely child

It’s deja vu, its history repeating itself.

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As an adult child of an alcoholic I often feel so alone in this world.  Nobody understands me, nobody gets me, nobody will feel the pain and sadness I feel inside.

Imagine a car stalled in the middle of a major highway and all the other cars whizzing by, not noticing it’s there.  It wants some help, so badly wants to get out of the way of the onslaught of others but it cannot do it alone and it’s driver is not strong enough to push it to safety.  Somehow that car needs to get a message to it’s driver to have courage, to take another step forward, to do things differently and to hold out her hand.

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A fellow Program member shared something with me that has been very valuable when I find myself unable to control dysfunctional coping mechanisms.

They said “A normal person wouldn’t put their finger in an electric pencil sharper because they know they will get hurt but people like us do it time and time again”. 

I think of this analogy a lot especially when self harm plays on my mind or when entertaining  the idea that the object/s of my desire will save me, make me their princess, look after me and meet my emotional needs by filling the hole in my soul.  It has stopped me many a time from running to someone who will only cause me heartache and pain, someone I think I can “fix” or physically and emotionally love enough that they will change.  I am guilty of being a heavy fixer of others for a long time.  Fixing takes the focus off “me” and puts it on the other person.  I don’t need to look at my issues and others see me as “a good person” when I am helping them.  Fixing esteems me but I must learn to esteem myself through practising self love.  Sticking my finger in an electric pencil sharpener is not self love and is a disastrous merry-go-round that I must remind myself of on a regular basis. 

My childhood experiences denied me the parental love, acceptance and validation I needed in order to blossom into a healthy adult and as a consequence I’m needing to fill the holes my parents left me with by seeking out relationships with people who are not emotionally available to me but who relate to me on an unconscious level due to their own dysfunctional upbringing.

The electric pencil sharpener analogy also gives me something to compare to and aspire towards.  I want to be like others, I want to be “normal”.   

Someone once told me that the only “normal” I’ll ever find is in my laundry on my washing machine but there are certain behaviors I need to fine tune or rid myself of so I can live a happy functional life – that’s the “normal” I’m aspiring to be.

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