Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Collective Unconscious

This is how Nancy J. Napier, one of my favorite guides through the maze of child abuse spirituality, describes the Collective Unconscious, in her brilliant book: Getting Through the Day
"The existence of a collective unconscious was proposed by Carl Jung, the famed psychologist who originally was a student of Freud. According to Jung, within the collective unconscious are all the thoughts, feelings and accumulated experiences of humanity throughout time.
All of those who have healed, who have led full and vital lives, have contributed their consciousness to this collective. While we are compelled to be aware of our shared pain as human beings, we can also tap into our collective potential to heal and be whole. Every person who has come before you, and who has healed and moved beyond the confines of a hurtful childhood, has blazed a trail you can follow unconsciously. All the learnings and accomplishments of those who have healed already are available within your own unconscious and can guide you on your way. Also, it's important to realize that each time you make a choice to go deeper into your own healing you contribute something to the collective, as well. All who come after you draw unconsciously on your achievements.
An example of how the collective unconscious may be currently affecting those of us who were hurt as children is the recent emergence of people who are willing to publicize their victimization on television and in other media. At the same time, therapists have made available information that previously would have been found only in professional publications or at professional conferences. All of the public revelations and books demonstrate an important message: no matter what happened to you, or what strategies you used to get through those experiences, you are not alone.
It's as though a tide of awareness were sweeping through our collective unconscious. The increasing understanding of dissociative processes in childhood, supported by public revelations from people who have recovered memories in adulthood, has been tremendously freeing for people who suffered child abuse. It is helpful to be reminded of the fact there are people who have healed successfully. They demonstrate an important truth about what happens when there is abuse: the way you are today is the result of a reasonable response to an extraordinary and unreasonable situation, and there is a way to move out of an accommodation to trauma into new, more effective strategies.
Successfully facing a hurtful past isn't the only challenge where help from our shared, collective unconscious is useful. Those who have accomplished the journey of healing have faced the often frightening and uncomfortable experience of change.
They have answered for themselves the difficult question we all must confront when we choose to heal: What will I lose if I get better? What are the risks of becoming aware of my full self? What will change? Am I entitled to a different life? Will I know myself?
The thing to keep in mind as you ask yourself the many questions that must arise as you journey into healing is that you can draw on the wisdom others have found in their struggles with these important issues. Because of this collective wisdom, there is hope. Once any one person accomplishes something, it becomes possible for the rest of us."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Overachievment and Self Worth

I am an overachiever. When I don't achieve, I feel I don't exist. The grown up in me, who takes care of everything and makes everything go smoothly, I call the "Executive Me".
The Executive Me works overtime until being burned out and has no choice but let other parts of me manifest themselves -usually at the worst moment possible-.
The Executive Me has been created when my mother stopped caring for me, at the age of 2 or earlier. She was not equipped with a maternal instinct and my constant needs were bothering her. The Executive Me takes care of my survival tools and is very old and tired by now. The child in me usually shows up when I feel trapped or defenseless. I have a terrible conduct towards authority figures, especially if I sense they are less intelligent than myself.
I overachieve to validate myself. The Executive Me has done impressive things through the years: straight A student, learned 4 different languages fluently, lived in different countries on 2 continents, moved to the US and became a citizen, created a safe place for the child in me to manifest itself -a beautiful purple condo-, put myself through college while working and no debt! The Executive Me is impressive. While the Executive Me gets some rest, the rest of me moves so slowly, that I feel I don't exist or I'm dead. If I can't validate my existence through the things I do or create, I feel I don't deserve to be alive. My parents never cared about my achievements. They sabotaged me if they could. They taught me everyday of my life that I don't matter, that nothing of what I do will ever matter. I rebelled. I wanted to matter. I wanted to distance myself from them and show them that they don't matter. I had to learn to believe in myself. The bomb proof belief in myself stands in the Executive Me.
I wish I learned how to feel validated even outside of the Executive Me. It doesn't mean that the Executive Me should disappear. Only she should work less, allow the child in me to grow and catch up with the rest of me. I need to be able to trust my every part, if I want to evolve as a human being. If I trust myself enough to evolve, I would be able to help other do the same thing. I would be able to let others validate me, for a change. The Executive Me could provide the fuel for me to change the world.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

My favorite OCD trait is the "Rejection" game.
As I said repeatedly, my mother never loved me. She rejected me any chance she got. She was always busy with her vain ambitions. She pushed me aside any chance she got. She rejected any need of love and nurturing I ever had, calling it "bad behavior" and teaching me that "needy" people are not worth loving. This was a core belief that my mother instilled in me ever since I was a baby. "Never show feelings", "People with feelings are weak", "Feelings are disgusting" are some of her favorite sayings, that I adopted as my own.
She abandoned me with strangers. She allowed her pedophile, ex con, felon brother to babysit for me. She allowed my father to rape me at night, with the attitude: "better you than me". Than she would say nervously: "Every mother in the world loves her child", the conclusion to be drawn being: "Therefore, I, being your mother, love you". But her behavior towards me said otherwise. She was never there when I needed her. She always kept herself busy with some scheme that involved money, with the goal of filling whatever void there was in her soul.
She also complained a lot that I don't love her and I don't tell her my intimate secrets and that I don't trust her and that I'd rather trust strangers than her. -Strangers have always been kinder to me than her.- I never lied to her. She lied to me. I craved her attention, but she thought my behavior was bad and my ideas stupid. She criticized everything that I did as inappropriate or ridiculous. Than she would complain that I wouldn't share my intimate thoughts with her. See how this can be confusing for a child? She read my diary in hopes to discover dirty secrets. She was afraid that I was gonna tell the world the truth about our dysfunctional "family".
I try to make female friends and I overdo it. I buy expensive gifts, I try to impress them in a desperate attempt to show them how wonderful I am. I want them to be my mommy. Only most people find this behavior creepy. They soon are reluctant to be my friend, because they think I may have an ulterior motive to treat them so. So they REJECT me. They reinforce the idea that I am not worth loving. They do what my mother did, reinforcing the belief that I'm not worth being loved by any female. Actually, I know I do this to myself. I reinforce the rejection belief to show myself that mommy was right: feelings are bad. I know I don't need a mommy. I am a grown woman who can take care of herself, yet I try to make any girl that shows me signs of friendship, into a mommy, hoping to get unconditional love, support, appreciation. I keep doing this to myself, even though I know it's a destructive pattern.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To be married or not to be married

A girl like me has to choose wisely who she associates herself with. Relationships are not my best bet when it comes to survival. I don't have blue prints for affection and natural boundaries of any sort of social interaction. All I can do is work on myself and hope I make the best of what life throws at me. And this last part includes a lot of loneliness.
Then, a man walks into my life and makes me question all my previously instated coping skills. He is kind, supportive and loving. I know that because even when I fart, he chuckles and thinks it's cute.
He comes from a very loving family. He was sheltered all of his life and life with me looks much like a roller coaster from his perspective. He wants a family and marriage. As if this was not odd enough, I put him through every possible test for the past 3 and a half years of us being together. I even considered him to be clingy or have a dependence problem at a certain point. I also thought he may have started dating me to rebel against his proper family, to get attention: kind of "Look at me, I'm dating the broken girl, she has a past and the sex is great."
I don't care about his reasons for dating me. I know what I'm dating him for: intimacy. Learning to be intimate without sex and learning about society through him and with him. It's been a great ride. Even if it ends, I think I got my money's worth. Thing is: he may want to marry me. First reaction I had: the profound impulse to run away and hide and avoid the "forever" word. I met his parents and I know I'm not a favorite when it comes to family. I'm the bad girl, with emotional issues. I make it difficult for people to naturally like me outside sex.
If I will ever marry him, I will take it one day at a time. No forever. If he'll respect me on regular basis, I'll move on to confronting bigger obstacles. Until then, I won't sabotage myself and our relationship. I won't end it based on future intensely felt tensed life choices.
I owe it to myself, to let this relationship flow naturally, to the end or continuation of it. When I imagine the future I don't see all of it, I only see me. I don't see eventual skills I may achieve by then. I don't see escape doors and interesting growing opportunities that may arise with time and patience. I owe to myself to be patient with myself. I don't want to be like my mother and reject myself, not have time for my own problems, minimize my emotional world. I will take it one day at a time and honor each feeling as it comes. Even if it takes a lifetime. Time is all I have. I will spend the rest of my time nurturing myself. I won't nurture another person, unless it feels natural to do so. It's all about me till all is felt, all is lived, all is accomplished.
To marry or not to marry: I will, only if it feels right. I won't stop myself from living.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Girl with a Dragon Tattoo

I could relate to this film on more than one level: first, the film buff in me responded to the impeccable indie quality flick; second, the incest survivor in me responded to the magnificent survival story line.
The film is the first part of a trilogy -Millennium Trilogy-, based on crime novels by Swedish writer/activist/journalist Stieg Larsson. The trilogy was published posthumously and was part of an unfinished ten book series. Stieg Larsson died of a heart attack at 50 and some speculate that his death may have been induced by people who were after him, as a consequence of his journalistic activity. What a glorious way to go! He exposed extremist groups and criminal activities through his writing. After his death, the Millennium trilogy became second best seller in the whole wide world.
Back to the film: beautifully written, darkly shot, spectacularly acted. Noomi Rapace plays a punk orphan involved in a series of murder mysteries that may be connected to State secrets and political scandals in Sweden. A journalist played by Michael Nyqvist helps her clear her name, while exposing a group of right wing rapists, sadists and abusers, with respectable social status.
The film is a treat. Hollywood is remaking it, which I'm sure means blockbuster star names and a few extra explosions. I liked the truthfulness of the characters, no super hero powers, just regular humans dealing with bigger than life events. If you can make it through some triggering, if you can make it through some explicit abuse scenes, the pay off is immense.
The next two films of the trilogy are The Girl who Played with Fire and its imdb profile is to be found here.. The third installment of the trilogy is The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and its imdb profile is to be found here.
The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo's imdb profile is here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Brutal Convo with mom

Just finished a Skype conversation with my mother. She's the enabler in a 40 year codependent relationship with my alcoholic, pedophile father.
I told her in detail how her brother raped me for the first time when I was 5. He also tried to kill me by burying me in a ditch and putting stones on top of it, so that I couldn't come out of there. I also told her how about how my father raped me repeatedly since the age of 3.
Her response was that of a child. She denied my words, then she yelled and cried and asked me to stop telling her those things. She asked me to have pity. She said she couldn't handle any more of that. Like it was my fault. Like what I was telling her was the source of her pain, instead of the life she CHOSE to live with my father. She was begging me to stop as if I was truly hurting her. My words were hurting her. In the past, I would have believed that my words have some mysterious power that can hurt people and consequently, I must have had some mysterious power to hurt people. I gave up on that kind of thinking. No more magical powers. She chose me to be skape goat of her pain. She made me to be the bad guy, cause she can't face the effects of her life choices. She dumped her pain on me. How unfair is that? I carried her pain for all of these years. I missed out on life because of her.
She cried and told me to stop talking to her. She continued by telling me she wants to take her own life. She wants to kill herself rather than listen to my stories. My father walked in. I could hear him in the background talking shit about me: "She'll kill you one day." he was saying. He continued by insulting me. I didn't lose my nerve and called him a "pedophile" and a "drunk". She said that she doesn't want to talk about it, which is why she keeps herself busy. She also tried the routine of: "Why me, God? What have I done that is so terrible, to be punished this way?" She tried every strategy in the book: guilt me, ask the protection of the abuser until she eventually hung up on me. Before hanging up she made a deal: "Please don't tell me anything else for about a month." She wants time to process the new information I'd given her. I told her I haven't got time and that I think about the abuse every day. It impedes me from living my life. If she wants to be my friend, she'll have to listen to my stories. There's no way around it. Or she could choose to not talk at all and break all contact, which is also surprisingly fine with me.
She's never been a mother to me. I always have been a mother to her. I am also an only child. Even now, she tried to make me the bad guy, she tried to pin the guilt on me. She wants me to bail her out. She wants complete authority over me, so she can use me again against her master (my father). Now I know she never loved me. She never had it in her to love anyone. She never respected me. She never knew me and she was never interested to know me.
I asked: "What about my pain? When will it be my time to complain? When will I have the right to stand up and say something for myself? You never gave me a chance. It was always about you and your pain, moma. It was never about me. I was the sacrificial lamb. I know what you'll say: it's the Christian thing to do. You used Christ to put me down, to enslave me and abuse me. I'm sick of being Christ. I want truth. I want awareness. I want freedom from you. Let me go. I won't save you. I want to save myself."
I'm very emotional right now. She REJECTED me again. Every time I needed her, her response was a rejection. She never had time for my problems. My problems were always smaller than her own problems ( she was an older sister to me, not a mother). We first had to take care of her problems and never attend to mine. I was unimportant to her. That's why I can't have a friendship with a girl: cause the other person's problems are always more important than mine. I don't count. I make myself not to count. With Molly: she calls me any time she has a problem and I listen and hope that one day she'll recognize me as her best friend, but all I am is a door mat.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

letter to my unborn child

You have every right to be angry at me. Anger is a good, cleansing feeling. I'm too weak to face it. Strong feelings are like tsunami waves to me. I'll deal with them when I'm strong enough.
You wanted to be born. You wanted the end of eternity. You wanted life. I denied you that. I felt the weight of the guilt and tried to replace it with rational thoughts. I couldn't have you, knowing that my father could have abused you the same way he abused me. I couldn't have you, knowing that my mother would have tried to control you and maybe control me through you. I couldn't bare the abuse anymore. I couldn't give my family yet another upper hand. I wanted to be far away from them, on a different continent and free. Didn't really know what to do with the freedom once obtained. I sacrificed you for my freedom. I sacrificed unconditional love, bonding and support.
I was alone, no one to look out for me. I've been alone and lonely for too long. Maybe if I had had you, I would have abandoned you just like my mother abandoned me. Maybe I would have been a bad parent to you, just like I learned from my parents. I know that from where you are, you can't see these details. From where you're standing, nothing can excuse the denial of life. Life should be sacred and welcome. From your point of view, everything was worth sacrificing just so you'd have life. Be patient. Be wise. There is grandness in waiting.
I imagined the place you are coming from. It is timeless and without fear. Time is an awful thing. It moves against you. Change is frightening. But you can't tell, until you're actually alive. Before birth, your biggest ambition is to see the light of day.
Here, where I am, there is nothing but fear. I know all the reasons for I didn't have you. Now I want to forgive myself. I want silence and forgiveness. Will you forgive me, baby?