Pretty gruesome, isn't it? I don't know what color pain is but I know how it feels. It is heavy. It hurts. Sometimes I think I just can't take it anymore. It feels crushing. Like its going to squeeze all the life and hope out of me. I try different things like trying to hide it away in the basement of my heart or eating too much food or sweets. Eating too much really does make a person feel better in some ways...for a little bit... but it never stays away.
It always comes back. And it will keep coming back until...
It is given a voice
It is heard by a compassionate person
It is acknowledged
It is accepted
It is grieved
It is felt to its depth
It is released physically in some way such as crying,etc.
This is not an easy thing to do, especially to face the pain. Most people don't seem to have the courage to face the deep, dark places of their beings and all the pain that is stuck there. Most people don't have the courage to look inside and do the work it takes to become a healthier human being. It's so sad. So sad. These people could have a much better quality of life if they would only have the courage to take the time to face the deep, dark things hidden inside. Because of it, those of us who do the work are left with only a few of our tribe that we can really connect with because of the depth we went to heal. The depth we dig to heal is the level at which we are able to connect with others and have compassion for others. So many people don't know what real, lifegiving connection is.
Last night my therapy session was a bit different than usual. Normally, we tend to reach for the younger parts that need nourishment and care or to be heard and comforted. This time it was present me that needed to be heard and comforted.
If you've read my last blog post or two you may remember that I am currently living with a person who had portrayed themselves as an active abuse survivor advocate and a safe person. This person had been my most avid supporter until their jealousy was triggered by another person and they lashed out at me. Since then several other bits and pieces have surfaced that make me realize that this individual is NOT who they portrayed themselves to be.
The bits and pieces that I've put words to are as follows:
A seemingly weird obsession with my physical body(perhaps a way of wording but still inappropriate
Seems to find their worth in helping others and volunteering
Feels rejected and resents when someone sets boundaries
Feels responsible to "fix" the pain when someone is hurting or grieving
Can't seem to take responsibility for themselves when having to face that they messed up
Appears to be unable to understand their needs and express them
Seems unable to comprehend what's going on "inside" and justifies it
Doesn't seem to be open to taking steps to heal
I never dreamed it would come to this. They were always so kind and supportive, but my therapist friend said that it is similar with someone marrying and the other individual flips on them. It's enough to make one go crazy. I thought I was going to go crazy. But the more I process the situation the more I am able to understand the signs and pick up on things that I hadn't noticed at first. Now as I look back at the things that happened before I even moved here and even in the first month that I was here, I'm beginning to notice patterns and signs that I wasn't aware of then but now am.
In the beginning of last week I was just feeling very emotional, knowing I was grieving the fact that my "friend" had flipped on me and so I kept myself mostly busy so I don't cry too much but still trying to let myself grieve this huge loss. Then I was telling my counselor how easily I get overwhelmed and some of the things I was trying to work towards and she encouraged me to try to take smaller steps so I don't get so overwhelmed.
Diet and food preparation has always been a rather overwhelming aspect of my life and that was one thing I was trying to figure out how to make easier. My therapist friend had suggested that maybe changing my diet and restricting my carbs might help with the constant tiredness and exhaustion and I was feeling overwhelmed. Plus, it was reminding me of another friend who betrayed me from my last church because that was how she and her husband ate. I'm guessing the memories contributed a bit to the overwhelm. I just wanted to find a healthy balance and so the one step I could take to help the overwhelm in general in this area is to compile a stack of recipes that are made from scratch and would mostly take things I can grow or find organically. I'm so excited with the recipes I found that I can't wait to try them, but now I just need a kitchen of my own that I can freely use since I seem to keep ending up in situations where I don't feel safe enough to but that's for another day and not the gist of this blog post. Just trying to lay the foundation here...
I spent the last several days copying recipes and feverishly working towards the future in a few other areas as well. I was starting to feel disconnected from myself and I didn't like it but I didn't know what to do to remedy it. Everything kinda came to a head on Sunday night with a very weird nightmare, perhaps triggered by Sunday's events of my housemate leaving early in the morning and by seeing the wrapper for a pair of ear muffs designed for a shooting range lying on the bench.
I could hardly believe they were leaving so early in the morning but figured they had plans and wouldn't be back till late in the day. Just realizing that I would have the whole house to myself all day lifted such a huge weight off my shoulders and I finally realized the heaviness of the weight I had been carrying with not feeling safe in my current living situation. I enjoyed a few hours of cooking in the kitchen and trying a new bread recipe that I had found. But I also noticed the empty wrapper on the bench for a pair of earmuffs that were made for use on a shooting range. It was very hard to keep my imagination from going crazy!( they were actually used this morning for ear protection while they used the wood chipper. )
Back to my dream... there was a number of weird things in it but the main thing was a dialogue with my housemate and what I did afterwards....
[I happened to be "downstairs" when my housemate came home and they came over to me and said resentfully, "I am angry with you."
I replied, "I know you are."
They said, "I need you to hold me so I can get over the anger."
I replied, "No, I'm not comfortable doing that."
"But that's how we always did at home," they snapped as they turned away.
I then ran away outside trying to find a safe place to message my therapist friend to tell her what had happened...]
I barely slept the rest of the night. I tried a few exercises just to try to relax but nothing helped. Morning came around and the whole day I didn't feel like myself at all. I felt so disconnected from myself plus the dream just made things feel even more weird. And reminded me of some memories...well actually, I thought of the memories in the dream and that was partly why I said no to my housemate...recounted as follows:
I moved out of my parents' house when I was maybe 21. I knew the atmosphere was not healthy for me and I would probably eventually commit suicide for real if I stayed. The only way I could think of to get out and stay out was to go teach in a new community several hours away. I didn't think my parents would just let me move out if they knew the real reason. Somewhere along the line I had connected with 2 Canadian girls who were also my age and single. The community I moved to was near the border and closer to them and they wanted to come visit me. They did come to visit several months into my move and stayed with me for a weekend. I did not expect to happen what did...
Apparently they had gotten some help through some older single girls in their community ( I don't have a name for the practice) but it consisted of the "helper" holding the hurting adult like a baby and caring for the younger, wounded part that had not gotten the nurture and care they needed. That weekend they took time to hold me which felt so awkward, to be held by another adult, yet to be cared for felt so good. It was rather confusing too because it was new and I didn't know what to expect.
That same year I had a first grade student who was being abused by some older boys in the community and I wanted to show him that I cared about what he was going through. I kept him in one recess and talked with him and held him on my lap as he cried and I, in the best way I could, tried to talk compassionately and encouragingly to him, following the example of my 2 friends because I didn't know how else to show him that I cared.
I did not teach the next year because I knew I couldn't handle it emotionally and moved to another state as well as away from my parents and to this day it has bothered me that I held my hurting first grader. I just hoped with all my heart that it didn't harm him in any way because I later found out that the two older single girls, who had cared for my 2 friends, had confessed before the church that they had done it for lustful reasons. My one friend also regretted having held me and cut contact with me which added to the confusion. My other friend didn't say anything about it negatively.
If there was any good that came out of it for me, it was this: it brought all my blocked and denied emotions to the forefront and it was a very rough time because I had no tools with which to navigate my emotions. It felt like something had been started and left unfinished before I had acquired the tools I needed.
So yesterday when this was all brought to the surface again when my housemate asked to be held in my dream along with the element of confusion. I tried not to think about my little first grader who by now is a teenager and wishing I could know if I had done any damage by my actions. Due to the other individuals confessing before the church for doing it with the wrong motivation, it had often bothered me about whether I should also apologize to my former student. I knew that I had held him because I wanted to comfort him and not for any wrong reason and so it had just been a very painful subject to me that I had tried to keep stuffed away because I didn't know how to figure out what or if I should actually do something about it.
Because of the memories that I remembered I said no to my housemate. Plus they were trying to bypass taking responsibility for their actions and it felt also like they were trying to take advantage of me. It just felt wrong.
In my therapy session last evening we started with that aspect and the memories. I think it helped me process the events even more and to release some of the confusion I felt about those events, especially with my first grader. It was comforting to realize that I didn't hold my first grader with any wrong motive. My therapist friend thought that it might have been a comforting experience for him and recounted an incident that happened to her as a very young girl herself who was growing up in a dysfunctional home and how much it left a huge impression on her that somebody actually took the time to care for her. I hope that that's how it can be for my first grader as well...
We then talked about a lot of business end stuff but then it circled back to me. I was starting to feel overwhelmed and the tears started flowing and I couldn't stop them as I started connecting with myself again. The comforting words of my therapist friend helped my tears flow more freely and before long I was being racked by deep sobs that had no sound except for me trying to get some air in between the sobs. It was me in the present moment grieving the betrayal of someone who I thought was my friend who has now showed me otherwise, the one who's house I happen to be living in. In the midst of it, the only thing I could think of was how it felt that the pain was coming from the center of my being, so deep it had no sound, only expressed by the tears that flowed.
When I could finally speak again, I said that I think this betrayal is deeper and more painful than all the others I had dealt with in the past. With my former employer and his wife who had flipped on me there had been lots of confusion but I had no one to help me process or figure out what to do about it and it culminated with me being scolded for 3 hours in an office that was technically no longer theirs because they had sold the business. That is on the next level. The 2 ladies from church betrayed me when I thought they were my friends and when I couldn't attend church anymore they didn't want anything to do with me. I had expected more out of these ladies who were old enough to be my mom.
Now this betrayal by my housemate who portrayed themselves as someone who was safe and supportive to abuse survivors...not at all! There was a thing or two here and there that puzzled me but I took it as a part of their weakness and did my best to give grace. I didn't have confusion in this relationship like I did with my employer and his wife. And...I was just so happy to have someone to do things with and help around the house out of appreciation for them opening their doors for me.
What a shock to be lashed out at in jealousy and trying to set boundaries only to have this person twist my words, gaslighting me and making me out to be the bad person. To tell me that this is their house and that if I don't feel safe I can go live at the salvation army or rent a 5 bedroom house. I so totally was not expecting it to turn into such a huge mess or to be so gaslighted but I began to realize that this person was NOT who they had portrayed themselves to be. Such a loss. So much pain. Such a huge betrayal. My therapist friend said that betrayal should have a category of it's own because of the depth of pain and hurt that is caused by it.
I just cannot understand it. There is nothing in me that can even identify with the jealousy. Or to shun someone because they no longer attend your church. Or to tell someone that they aren't a Christian. There is nothing in me that thinks that that is ok. There is nothing in me that thinks it's ok to invite someone to hang out with friends and family and then turn around and tell them you don't want them to be around those people because you are afraid that they will take your friend or family away from you. There is nothing in me that can identify with any of those cruel things people have done to me. Or with any of the silence and shunning.
I will set boundaries. I will limit contact if someone is draining me or if there is something about them that doesn't sit right with me. I will communicate if I feel it will be heard. But if not, I will just make myself scarce to that individual. I won't shun people. I won't just go silent on people unless they disregard my attempts to communicate boundaries or have been abusive. It just blows my mind how cruel and heartless people are, especially those who call themselves Christians. There is nothing in me that can identify with any of that junk. And...it makes me wonder if they really have the Spirit in them because I certainly don't see any fruit by the way that I was treated by them...
Have you figured out what the painting is trying to depict by now? When I sobbing those deep, silent sobs of pain, it felt like it was coming from the core of my being. Releasing. Being heard. Acknowledged. Accepted. Given space for. And in the middle of it my therapist friend said to me, in my mind I saw a bird fly away into the sky. I don't know why. There's a lot of freedom for you coming soon(I don't remember the exact words of the last sentence). By the end of my session I knew what I was going to paint. I'm finding that real healing comes by acknowledging, accepting and feeling the pain, and grieving. Therefore, you see a broken heart releasing the pain allowing the individual to be free to fly again.
Pain hinders. Pain cripples. Pain not released festers. It can turn into bitterness and hatred if not dealt with. Or it will try to gain a voice by causing a chronic illness or some other health. There is a cost to pay for not dealing with the pain. It reminds me of 2 questions a former counselor gave me to help me determine the best choice of action in situations as can be applied to.
Will it bring short-term pleasure and long-term suffering?
Will it bring short-term suffering and long-term pleasure?
Today has been a good day. I feel connected to myself. I am trying to listen to what my body needs by taking breaks and eating healthy food. No, my living situation does not feel safe but I'm doing my best to prepare for the future because I want to thrive. To find ways of making an income with what limited energy I have. There are some people who strongly feel I should get a job but I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn't be able to handle it and would probably end up in a worse place. And I'm pursuing my healing as fast as I can, like seriously,🦋. I want to fly and thrive and let the goodness flow out of me that is hindered right now by numerous aspects of my situation...one day...and that day is coming...even happening now in little bits...I've been set free to fly...just a little bit more...because I keep choosing to feel so that I can heal so that goodness can flow abundantly...
For Jesus said: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
I want that abundant life, and I believe that I am walking into it as I feel him smiling at me in approval. I am proud of myself for having the courage to take the steps I am taking and I think he's proud of me too...
Can you identify with the painting? Have you ever felt betrayal? How did you deal with it and what steps did you take to heal? Feel free to share in the comments if you would like to. We may never know how how our words plant seeds of healing and goodness in the lives of others... thank you for reading!