I got a comment the other day from Cassie and it has been haunting me ever since so today I am going to answer one of the questions in her comment.
Cassie wrote an in depth and pain filled comment about being stuck in depression and feeling guilty about not being fulfilled as a Mom. (to see the entire post and comment please click here) and her comment ended with this question:
“How do I get past the day-in- and day-out pain that haunts me with memories that wind inside my head like a foggy, black memory monster?” Cassie
It was in looking at the events through different eyes and putting it through a different grid of understanding that I was set free from the daily pain and increasingly difficult memories. I learned to take apart a memory. The next step after that was to keep going forward righting false beliefs about who I am “supposed to be” in favor of becoming who I really am.
Honestly looking at a memory;
Taking apart a memory has a lot of aspects to it. The biggest part of the problem with the memories I had was the way that I understood them. That was a problem because I understood them “wrong”. I understood them the way that the abusers wanted me to understand. I was trained to take the blame, taught that I was a bad girl, that I was unworthy of better and that I was a problem. I was also taught to doubt myself and told that I remembered it “wrong” and sometimes even told that it didn’t happen or couldn’t have happened. Sometimes I never told because I learned that I didn’t matter.
These teachings that become part of our beliefs are not always taught to us in words, sometimes they are taught by actions, or results. Sometimes they are taught to us by the way that we get looked at, a disapproving frown, or being ignored and pushed aside. Sometimes our feelings and our fears are completely disregarded, and we are given answers that make NO sense but we try to make sense of them. Answers such as “well you know how she is” a father might say when we tell him mommy hits her. OR “well just try to be a good girl” and we take that to mean that IF we can be a “good girl” then we won’t get hit. Adults will tell children who are being emotionally abused “you have to respect your elders” or “I am sure it didn’t happen that way”. Looking at the truth of these things meant realizing that they were wrong to have given me these answers, NOT that I was wrong to have had those problems.
I didn’t realize that abusive events can piggy back on each other when it comes to how the belief system is formed. Not being believed or protected when someone beat you up at school can have an impact on the next trauma that you experience. It was very important for me to look at the things that happened AFTER the trauma. For instance, after my mother’s boyfriend came into my room at night when I was a young teenager, my mother acted like she didn’t trust ME anymore. I didn’t question whether or not I deserved her lack of trust. This was a result that went on for years but I had not thought about it when I processed the event itself. In my next post I am highlighting this whole event, how I processed it and the beliefs that developed because of it.
I had all kinds of mixed up beliefs that I didn’t know I had because my experiences and the results of those experiences had become my truth, so I didn’t know any different. I had to be willing to learn a new truth. I had to realize that the way that I was raised was not right, and that some of the things that happened to me had actually resulted in serious depressions, post traumatic stress and dissociative identity disorder either because they were never dealt with or because I was falsely convinced that these things were normal, that I deserved them or brought them on myself, that I liked them or that I was lying about them. And this is not a complete list; there are many more ways that we can be falsely taught and convinced that mistreatment was not “wrong” or was no big deal. Each one of these things however, contributed to the way that I formed my world view and each had to be looked at through a new lens. I had to take apart one memory and look at all the aspects of it. I had to try to remain neutral as I looked at it; trying to put aside all the baggage that came with it or as a result of it until I had the details on the table. I had to believe myself. I had to be willing to take a look at the possibility that people who “loved me” didn’t do right by me. I didn’t have to accept it right away, but I had to be willing to just look at it.
I know this sounds overwhelming but remember that I only took apart one memory at a time. I didn’t have to look at every single incident in my life; I only had to look at about 3 big events where I was mistreated, devalued, unprotected or traumatized, in order to begin to see the pattern that formed my belief system. Once I began to see that pattern, I saw where all the breakdowns for me began; I was able to identify the roots of my serious depressions, post traumatic stress disorder and dissociative identity disorder and I was off and running towards healing and wholeness.
Freedom is on the other side of broken,
Stay tuned for part two ~ I take a look at one abusive event and take apart the memory step by step and talk about the pieces that I understood at that time. In part three I will look at the pieces that I didn’t look at.