The Good, The Evil and The Perfect

Blarney Castle
My mother used to tell me that my memories were just dreams. That was one of her many methods she used to invalidate me. However, there is a fine line between dreams and reality. Our dreams have a way of telling us what is happening in our unconscious. The dream I had last night is case and point.

I was living in a castle with my parents. This castle was ancient. Only the stone walls barely stood. There was no roof and no doors. My parents were sorcerers. They mixed potions and used them to meet their needs. I spent much of my day attempting to replicate their potions. Even though I usually knew exactly what the potions contained, I never succeeded, because the potion ingredients would constantly change.

This dream represents many aspects of my childhood. An old and crumbling infrastructure with no privacy describes my home life quite well. The inconsistency of the requirements within my household was a constant source of frustration when I was a child. I wanted to be good. I wanted to be successful. But it just wasn’t possible. Continue reading

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The Pain of Shame

Solace

Recovery work is painful. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is no wonder that I spent two decades avoiding it. Deep down in my unconscious where the memories were stored, I had determined that the pain of the emotional memories was far worse than spending my life defending against them. And my overactive cortex was happy to oblige. I could come up with almost anything to justify my feelings or an image that may have flashed in my head. On the bad days, I could keep myself so insanely busy that there was no time to examine anything. My head would run in circles all day long, only stopping for sleep. It was exhausting. Some days, I felt like I had run a marathon from the anxiety and intensity of getting through the day. But it still seemed better than facing the pain.

After seven years of recovery, I can vouch that the emotional and physical pain of recovery is hard, but it is not as bad as the constant defending. Honestly, and a bit morbidly, it is unlikely that I would have survived much longer if I had continued down that old path of denial. I was getting physically sicker and sicker. There is no doubt in my mind that my life would have been cut short. Continue reading

Where Do Bullies Come From?

No Bullies

I don’t write about my experiences with bullying very often. Maybe I have internalized society’s beliefs that I should have stood up for myself in middle and high school, especially when my peers were doing the bullying. Maybe the shame is more significant because this time, the abusers were my age. Maybe the messages about “asking for it” are still driving my interpretation of the situation.  Sometimes it is even hard for me to believe that I could be subjected to so much cruelty by so many heartless people. I felt as though I was a magnet for abuse.

To be fair, I believe that everyone experiences some bullying. Everyone is called names. Everyone has at least one friend who talks behind their back, whether they know it or not. Most experience boundary invasions from pushing, shoving and other physical experiences that seem harmless to school children. I certainly experienced this.

Many bullies stop there. Why? The subject stands up for themselves. They say “no”. They get angry. They stop speaking to the “friend” who is not treating them well. They tell their parents or teachers who get involved. These are all perfectly acceptable answers to bullying. And most of the time, the bully moves on. It is too much trouble to target that kid. Continue reading

My Life is Not My Own

brain trapped in cage.

I was raised by narcissists. That probably doesn’t come as a surprise. As a child, my life never belonged to me. There was no autonomy. There were no choices at all. For illustrative purposes, I will cover some of the highlights of my relationship with my parents.

I lived with a mother and a father. With two parents, the abuse was easier. Even though I had a sister, they teamed up on me when I was alone. Their tactic was to keep the balance tipped in their favor.

They were prone to frequent emotional outbursts. Rage was common. Tears were only used for manipulative purposes.

They had no interest in my needs or wants. There was no ability to listen because they were talking constantly.

Their own self-interest was always the priority.

They would disrupt my sleep schedule to have their needs met.

They would disrupt my eating schedule to have their needs met.

They had no boundaries of any kind.

There was no accurate concept of right or wrong within the walls of our house.

In every sense, my life wasn’t my own. Continue reading