GRACE, YOU NEED TO DEAL WITH YOUR FEELINGS BEFORE THEY DEAL WITH YOU….and deal with me, they have. Now what? Since my feelings began to manage me and I was no longer able to manage them…I was told to put them in the ‘time-out’ bucket. Label them – and throw them in the bucket. Well, let me just store them in the old cedar chest where they were covered with a quilt and preserved for 30 years before someone actually led me to believe that it was ‘okay’ to talk and I was not bad…and that I had a right to be heard and understood and ‘accepted’. (*To be fair, let me add the statement that my self-destructive behavior was excessive and troubling…and there were times when I could have died due to my ‘behavior’. And yes, I get that it’s okay to have feelings and emotions – however best not to always act on them.)
This is a direct quote from my therapist after I sent her an email telling her that I was angry because I hated DBT class and resented going: Of course you are going to feel irritable after DBT class as this class runs counter to what your emotional mind wants which is to be heard, understood and comforted, vs being told to modulate, distract, "pretend" to feel good, etc. So, a trusted MHP admits that DBT is about ‘pretending to feel good’? Someone should have just said that! That would have saved me months of self-destruction, invalidation and re-traumatization…not to mention two grand!
When Lynn posted this: The MHP Manifesto ~ I felt it ~ her words echoed through my ribcage and chilled my heart and I again thought: what are we waiting for?
But the problem is that there is so much hurt...so much pain, that we can't do it alone. We have stored it for so long because we were afraid and ashamed that to finally find someone we can trust and then to feel as though that trust was breached…it’s like validation that we never should have spoken in the first place. Somewhere in our maladaptive brains it only confirms that our abusers were right. We don’t matter. Everyone else is more important than we are. We are nothing. We have no rights and we will always be nothing. However unintentional that perceived breach of trust was...it was enough to send us right back there again. Even if it was a promise, or commitment, that was not sustainable - but was offered with only the best of intentions...even if your life 'changed' and you had over-extended yourself...that just validates that we are not important. I realize that is not the way a 'normal' person, a person who actually received love and care that every child deserved, reacts. But we never had that...our trust was broken time and time again. Day over day, week over week, year over year.
Lynn went on to write this: shame-manifesto . Shut up and behave! Shut up and drug up! Don't cry out loud! EVER!
Yes, it is a lot of shame to carry...too much. And the abuse from my childhood has ripped apart my insides to a depth I can barely see and feel. There are parts of my being that were destroyed to the point that I know they can never be recovered. Every night when I lay my head down I wish for even two hours of peaceful sleep....telling myself, "Sweet dreams, no nightmares." Each evening when the darkness comes I hope like hell I can get through it without feeling him all over again, without hurting myself, without a pain so intense I cannot stay in this body anymore. Each morning I wake up with no new injuries or long lasting residual after-affects from nightmares I am thankful for surviving another night. But the shame, and the fear, and the pain...and the sadness of not having anyone to help guide me though it...all of that remains. But I have put it back into the cedar chest and covered it with the quilt. It is my childhood dowry...a dowry no one wants.
And I remain silent. Because I am afraid now. I am ashamed of my behavior. I am ashamed of my weakness and fear. I am ashamed. I am ashamed.
But I hope that someday I will not be ashamed. I hope that someday someone will listen to me, to 'us'.