Lies Lead to Shame 12-02-2018
Nothing’s shattered -
Soaring past the dross –
of sadness, pain,
unrequited gain –
Lies lead to shame.
“Don’t tell anyone….” The death knell of my innocence; the morning I gave up my trust for all time began with these words from my mother as she told me that my Grandpa had committed suicide. I was 9 and I had gone to bed knowing Grandpa was dead. What I did not know was how he died and that it was a shameful act that would cloud my life for weeks, months and years to follow. I didn’t even know what the word ‘suicide’ meant.
My Mom told me that the teachers had been warned to keep the ‘secret’ too. So, every morning for weeks, I sat in my desk in terror as the kids whispered their ‘news’ in the teacher’s ear. I waited and waited to see who would bring the news to school.
I can still remember that I knew it was Larry P. because he kept looking at me as he whispered in her ear. Although she stopped him from sharing in the class room ‘show and tell’ time, my secret was out. Larry promptly ran out at recess and told the other kids. And then the bullying really began.
It was clear to me that I was being punished because my Grandpa committed suicide and I didn’t even know what ‘suicide’ meant. To the 9 year old me, the punishing shaming and bullying had to mean that my Grandpa’s suicide was my fault - there must have been something terribly wrong with me. The pain and loneliness of his death and abandonment of me compounded my guilt and shame.
I believed that ‘if I had been really, really good Grandpa would have stayed with me because I needed him so much’. You see Grandpa was my saviour, my soul mate, my Most Important Person in the world. He made me feel special and unique. He showed me the world. He took time for me. He was the only person alive that I could really, really be me with. And although I told him that I loved him many, many times, he still left me. Abandoned and alone, an endless loop of worry, shame, blame and guilt has trampled my heart forever. And all because of the family ‘secret’ - Grandpa committed suicide.
Dr David R. Hawkins, in his Clear Map to Spiritual Enlightenment or Map of Consciousness (Book: Power vs Force) offers the path to enlightenment through tracking your emotional growth.
Shame and Guilt – Score 20 and 30 (1000 being the highest)
Starting at the bottom of the Map are the energy fields called Shame at 20 and Guilt at 30. The emotion that accompanies these levels is self-hatred, and the process going on in consciousness is one of self-destruction. The view of the world associated with this energy field is that of sin and suffering.
Once I learned that I actually had choices, crawling out of my pit of self-hatred and stopping my path to self-destruction became my relentless quest; emotional growth became my life goal. I didn’t want to stay frozen and reacting from the 9 year old’s pain and shame.
I was in my early 20’s, struggling to hang onto a relationship when I first began to beg God for peace and wisdom. I did not know that asking for peace would mean that I would know the pain of chaos first, or that I would have such struggles and suffering to find wisdom. Marcel Proust wrote “we don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us”.
Although I’ll never know why, I have come to accept that Grandpa’s suicide was instrumental in teaching me about trust and forgiveness. After all, how would I learn to trust if I didn’t experience lies, betrayal and the bullying that I did? And how would I learn to forgive if there aren’t really painful words, deeds and experiences that I needed to forgive?
I Started Little 02-05-2018
I started Little
and learned to work.
My real value died.
“You’ve got to learn to take time for you, Marian….” This is advice I have heard all my life when I have become ill, or have had another ‘crash’. Just tonight, while listening to a webinar by Dr. Robert Holden, Director of Success Intelligence and author of countless books, I was shocked to recognize the personal truths in his descriptors of a major block to success - Dysfunctional Independence. Dysfunctional Independence includes the following behaviours:
1. Refuse to ask for help;
2. Are unable to receive;
3. Have no basic trust – ‘it’s me against the Universe’;
4. Are prone to exhaustion;
5. Are playing small – never do anything bigger than their ego, while true power is surrendering to something bigger than the ego.
How did I get this way? While looking for a picture to illustrate this blog post, I was actually quite surprised to see how little I was when I was getting the wood for the house. And how little I was when I was shaking out the rug, and helping my Mom hang out the clothes. Sure, I was ‘cute’ enough to take pictures of me working at that age, but surprisingly, I do not have any pictures of me from approximately 5 to my late teen years when my main memories are only of work and worry.
I can absolutely tell you that I am childless today because I just could not face raising more children. You see, my Mom was ill. What a hell it must have been for her to be anxious and deeply depressed in an era when mental health issues were shameful. And what were even worse were the behind-closed-door secrets that had to be kept to maintain our ‘statuses’ in the town where we lived.
While my Dad was out working - he was a true workaholic – maintaining a high profile as a business owner, politician and volunteer, my Mom was struggling to get out of bed every morning. As the eldest, and being highly intuitive and sensitive I knew something was wrong and I wanted to make things better for her. The attached note was written when I was in about Grade 3 or 4 because the picture on the other side was drawn by my youngest sister (age 3 or 4) and I was nearly 6 years older than her.
The note left by me (age 9 or 10) says:
Bye Mom, don’t worry about dinner. I’ll cook up something at noon. The girls are in bed. They ate some breakfast and I think will be alright. With love, Marian
P.S.1. Feel better soon please! M.R.
P.S.2. Stay in bed and the girls are OK so don’t worry. M.R.
And all of this had to be kept a secret. Not being ‘perfect’ was shameful; and images and ‘what people thought’ in that small Prairie town were far more important than the health and Souls of the people in my childhood home. My real value – Me – was lost.
By my teen years, I began to rebel against this way of being, even though I had no idea what was actually going on. I was a frustrated kid that worked hard for my Dad at the ‘store’; in the home for my Mom; and babysitting for neighbors - to buy my clothes and personal needs - because that was expected of me; all the while fighting for my freedom.
On one hand, I was treated as an adult, far older than my actual age, with extreme expectations that left me biting my nails and secretly terrified. And on the other hand, I was controlled, put down and told I was a failure. I learned such bravado and independence. All I had was my fragile ego – and they tried to beat that out of me too.
Imagine what it must have been like for them… Mom, trapped in a mental state she did not understand and there was little help for; Dad, only knowing that his duty was to provide for the family and be the disciplinarian, while having absolutely no clue how to relate to the home crisis. And all the while, our family was surrounded by extended family and community members that ‘could not know the truth’.
After years of trying to understand my own anxiety, depression and life traumas – like failed marriages; abusive relationships; financial collapse; lost homes; multiple illnesses, injuries and accidents – I understand now that life for me was such that I had to escape at 17. The only problem was that I left in deep guilt and shame because I was told that all the family problems were because of me…. And I believed it!
Of course I have Dysfunctional Independence. My life was a blueprint for the development of it. Thank God, it’s not too late for me to learn another way. I believe that I chose my parents and my ‘story’. I am a freedom-seeker. How else would I know what freedom really feels like if I hadn’t begun in a ‘jail’ of control, struggle and restrictions?
I also know that my life was a blueprint for my work. I have ‘walked a mile in some pretty harsh boots’ just to climb out of my beginnings. I believe this gives me empathy, compassion, humility and a very powerful ability to connect with my clients to support them in their search for well-being. God doesn’t make mistakes.
They Couldn’t Give – 01-28-2018
They couldn’t give
what they did not know –
Compassion, kindness –
Abandoned – Lost Roles.
“She’s too young to remember”. This was of course the thinking of the times when I was a baby. Shortly after the pictures (attached) were taken, my Mom and Dad gave me into the care of my Auntie and Uncle, for nearly a year. The reasons seemed to be logical and justified; my Auntie and Uncle and family were wonderful, kind and loving; but, the joyful, Being - Me got lost. Sure, I remembered how to laugh and play but the Inner Spark of trust, self-esteem and safety became subsumed by worry, doubt, and self-blame…. The serious, frightened, people-pleasing Marian was born.
Developmental and early childhood trauma research, as related in books like “The Body Keeps the Score” by Dr Bessel von Der Kolk suggests that the intuitive, feeling Being part of me interpreted this action as abandonment. The research results show that while young children are thinking, sensing Beings, they do not have the brain development to filter experiences logically. In other words, my Inner Child ‘decided’ that I was actually abandoned by my parents. And all the attributes of believing I am or will be abandoned have informed my behaviours, beliefs, choices and actions, from that moment on.
Lack of trust is typically inherent in one who feels abandoned … and the deep-seated belief that ‘there must be something wrong with me or they never would have left me’ seemed to stamp its judgement on all my interactions with people. I have lived my entire life ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’. This has meant that when interacting with others, being fully present and trusting the moment has been all but impossible because I have believed at a core level that “the people that I love and trust always abandon me”.
What does this look like in practical terms? I have left, or instigated being left, in every meaningful partnership and relationship all my life (personal and work). It has meant that it’s been nearly impossible to trust people. If I participate with others, I have kept a wall of safety, often sabotaging and blocking others from really getting to know me. I have yearned and craved intimacy, attention and nurturing yet have not felt worthy to receive it. After all, I believed that ‘if you really knew me (like my parents did) you would not like me’.
But, ‘we teach what we need to know the most’ hence I have spent my entire life seeking peace and wisdom, wanting to keep my emptiness - “In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts” – Dr. Gabor Mate at bay. I have become an expert at giving, people-pleasing and striving for worthiness in my actions. I have become an addict of men, food, work and a super-caregiver. My driving needs for success are Intimacy, Nurturing, Attention, Adventure and Achievement... all needs that I have believed and felt were not met or acknowledged from the very beginning.
And still each day, little by little, I know I am rising from the muck of beliefs and ‘story’ – my past. I have ‘walked a mile in so many boots’ that I do feel exceptionally qualified to work with others to heal their pain and dis-ease. My work as an Advanced CranioSacral therapist satisfies my driving needs almost 100%.
Herein however, lies my ‘blind-spot’, the reason I have been ill (to near death with CA) much of my life. I have been giving, people-pleasing and reaching out to meet my ‘Outside Me’ needs. I have been a gerbil-on-a-wheel racing from ‘fix to fix’ seeking that which can only be found and felt by the Inner Me.
While answers and people have been ‘there’ for me, countless times, it’s always been me, believing I can’t trust and am not worthy that have kept them out. Asking for help has been almost impossible.
The intention of this blog - my unearthing – out loud i.e. coming out of ‘my closet’; is to bring down my walls, increase my trust and vulnerability and enhance my ability to receive support and love. Only then will my emptiness be abated.
How am I doing this? By shining a light on what is hidden – ‘we cannot heal what we cannot see’.
This In-Side Me – 01-21-2018
I have this Inside Me –
Friendly, Loving, Guiding, Free.
How simple Life would be,
If Outside Me would stop to hear –
Surrender to my Silent Inner Voice, without fear.
“Oh Mommy, why do I have to hurt so bad?” –I sobbed to my Mom the day I came home after watching another little girl being bullied at school and feeling so helpless because I could do nothing. I’ll never forget what she replied to me,“Just know this, Honey… if you couldn’t hurt so badly, you would not be able to feel great happiness, either.”
And so it’s been…. I’ve been a Highly Sensitive, Empathic Introvert since long before there was acknowledgement and definitions for those of us who seem not to be able to filter out the emotions and the pain and suffering of others, and for those of us who feel like we just don’t ‘fit’ with others.
Along the way, I have tried rescuing others until I nearly died myself; I have tried hiding in isolation from the energies of people, EMF’s, and anything that might trigger reactions in me; I have tried controlling the pain I was in with alcohol, men, shopping, food, work, and much more… and NONE OF IT WORKED or sustained me.
What I did do was learn to hide, to avoid being vulnerable and feeling my own pain by focussing on others and their issues and problems. I tried to keep my feelings stuffed down and in control. I was a chameleon – trying to fit and be and do what others wanted. I worked hard to keep my control and not let others know ‘that there was anything wrong with me’. I had a brittle, know-it-all “perfect’ demeanour that didn’t invite others in at a caring, heart level.
I filled my life and loneliness with men that could not be any more ‘there’ for me than I could be for myself and others. I felt used and abused (and actually was) but felt helpless to change the pattern I was in. And always, shame and guilt dogged my heels. I kept measuring my failures through the eyes of those I was sure were judging me – this meant everyone – family, neighbours, clients, colleagues – everyone.
I kept trying to find answers – I thought if I was smart enough, skilled and talented enough, tried hard enough, my deep-seated grief and shame would go away….until I crashed and was so broken down I was near death with Cancer, an auto-immune disease. Did you know auto-immune disease actually means that my body is eating its own self up?
Then my deep-seated shame and guilt took over with thoughts like “if I’m so smart…if I’m supposed to be the therapist/nurse…why then, am I seriously sick?” “What a fraud I must be – me telling others what to do and not to do to be well, - now look at me” and many, many more.
Dr David Hawkins in his book Power vs Force identifies shame and guilt as the lowest points of existence on his Map of Consciousness.
Looking back on the 12 years of isolation and ‘failure’ I lived through under the guise of searching to get well, I am absolutely shocked at the pit of hell I descended into AND how devastating it is to me if I cycle back into that mired mess even for short bits. I always feel blind-sided when I still default to judgements like “I should know better”; “What’s the matter with me”; “I’m a fraud – no one will stay with me (as a client, friend, family member, lover, etc.) no-one; abandoned and alone; hopeless hell… I’ve done it to myself – I don’t deserve anything more than this”. Thank God, I have learned that at these times, accepting my humanness and having compassion for me is vital to my well-being. My fear of being ill again…I never, ever want to be that sick again…. drives me to use my health-giving tools.
I’ve had countless people ask when am I going to write my story? Because just maybe what I have learned will help another, I have wanted to more than anything but have always frozen up and procrastinated, until tonight – when I shut off the Outside Voice that natters at me and tells me all the reasons why I will fail and be rejected – and abandoned!
Tonight I am beginning… and little by little I will share what I have learned ‘the hard way’. I haven’t any idea how this blog process works, but I am willing to learn. I welcome your thoughts, questions and ideas. Please be kind, I don’t need any more put-downs – I think I’ve beaten myself up entirely well enough.