Archive for the ‘old messages’ Category

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The Power of Forgiveness

August 15, 2020

Forgiveness is a powerful thing, especially for survivors. It sets us free. When we are not able to forgive, we lock ourselves into a prison of our own making. The other person may not even be aware of our resentment and bitterness. They go free while we are obsessed with visions of revenge, whether we can carry them out or not.

Forgiveness is also very misunderstood. People will say, “forgive and forget” while not even recognizing that forgiving and forgetting are two separate things. That is why the word “and” is in that phrase. Forgiving is not forgetting. It is not pretending nothing happened. It is not trusting the one who hurt us. It does not even require having any kind of current relationship/connection with the person. If someone slipped you a date drug and raped you, does forgiving them really mean you should go out with them again? Of course not! Yet, that is the logical endpoint of “forgive and forget”! People do not realize what they are saying makes no sense!

Over the years, I have seen survivors locked in the prison of unforgiveness because they have been told they must trust the person completely and treat them as if they have done nothing to harm them. Naturally, this creates conflict within the person. How they can they forgive with that criteria? So, when they would ask me how I could forgive, I would explain how I see forgiveness in two levels.

One level is my releasing them from my desire for revenge. I remove myself from the self-imposed roles of judge, jury and executioner. (That does not mean I don’t participate in legal proceedings against them if it is appropriate.) I release them from taking up space in my head and heart. But I do not trust them and may not even have relationship with them. This person may or may not have even acknowledged their actions against me. They may or may not have asked for forgiveness.

The other level of forgiveness involves giving them a chance to prove themselves trustworthy again. This means the person seems to be genuinely sorrowful for what they have done and asked for forgiveness. I do not trust them immediately, of course, but give them a chance to earn it. In other words, I might allow someone who stole from me into my house, but I sure won’t leave my purse in the same room with them. It can take a long time to rebuild trust, if ever.

Those are two pretty rough divisions, but they really helped them to find the freedom of forgiving. Years later, I found Dr. Stephen Marmer on a Prager U video talking about forgiveness. He does a much better job and divides it into three categories. I highly recommend it. It is only about five minutes long. The video is on both YouTube and their site. You can download the transcript from their site. I am giving you the links to both.

This is the Prager U site where you can get the transcript to download. https://www.prageru.com/video/forgiveness/

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My Place In This World & Coping with Social Situations!

April 6, 2010

I was reminded recently of a Michael W. Smith song called “My Place in This World”. That song has always touched my heart…for I have always struggled to feel as if I really fit in anywhere.

As a daughter of the Most High G-d, I am secure as to my place in my heavenly Abba/Father’s kingdom…of my place in the spiritual realm. Yet…even with that security, there are times when I feel so disconnected from everyone and everything that I even experience some doubts about that. Thankfully, I do regain my perspective and the doubts do pass.

When it comes to this world, though, to the people around me…I rarely feel as if I belong. I almost always feel out of place…as if I am on the outside looking in.

In The Cost of Reality, I share how I used to feel almost all the time. For a huge part of my life I rarely, ever felt comfortable or a real part of a group.  I hated going any place where there were a lot of people I did not know. I was almost panic-stricken the first day of school every year. I was that way with any new place or any new event.

Now I only feel the intensity of it if I get a particular program triggered. However, that does not mean that I feel comfortable around people and social events. I do…but I don’t. I have had to learn how to work my way around these kinds of things. Otherwise, I would be totally isolated.

One thing I do is try to get to events early. When I get there I try to connect with someone who is a part of the event and even offer to help in some way if I am up to it. If nothing else, I learn my way around and help to welcome others that come. By being one of the first ones there, I sort of make myself a part of what is going on. That does not solve it all, but it does make it a whole lot easier.

If I show up after a whole bunch of people are there…I feel lost. Unless I come with another person, or plan to meet another person there, I will typically feel very uncomfortable.  I will be uncertain where to sit…wondering if I am intruding upon some group of friends. I am very aware of cliques.  It seems like, in so many places, you have families and friends who have known one another for a long time. Where do I fit into that?

So…another thing I do is look for someone else who seems to be alone. The other person is usually grateful that I did and we end up having a rather enjoyable time together. I may never see that person again…but for those few hours we enjoyed one another’s company.  I have had many good laughs at tables where none of us women knew anyone else at the table.

I also try to smile a lot at people…just to see how they respond. They ones who light up at my smile, I keep an eye on. If it seems like they are open, I will walk up and talk to them…and find out if they are alone or not. That helps, too.

Sometimes, I just have to focus on what is going on and go through it. If programming is triggered, that is when it is the worst. I just have to accept that I am not in a frame of mind where I can truly trust anyone. I just need to smile, be pleasant and get through it.

Sometimes I experience an impending sense of doom that I cannot connect to any person or place or event. It is just a feeling I walk around with. That, too, makes it difficult in social situations. I keep wondering if I have somehow blown it…somehow said or done something wrong. I have learned that I just have to ride it out if I cannot find a legitimate reason for it.

So, I have all sorts of struggles with social settings…unless I am in the midst of giving it. Yet…I can speak and sing without too much difficulty. Or at least I once could. It has been a long time since I have done it. In fact, since I started realizing the truth about my history and my makeup I have not really pursued it. There is a difference between being up in front of a group and being down within the group. I had a therapist who was the same way. She could teach a class…no problem. But as a student…she was actually rather shy. It is a matter of being in my element.

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Leaving and Trusting

October 12, 2008

I went away for a few days to a place where I felt safer. With my husband working the weekend, including one very late night, I really did not want to be alone that late. It worked out well, safety wise.

I stayed with new friends and, as always, my old tapes are playing. I rarely get the feeling after interacting that I have not blown it somehow. I guess it is all the old messages of never feeling worthy of friends…of never being able to trust that others really want to be my friend.

Yet, these are people who listen…really listen. I am so afraid of pushing them away. All the old messages are running. I really HATE feeling this way. I hate being afraid to get close.

I also went with the idea of helping them finish a major project they are working on. It is huge and they are really in need of real help. I hope that we really did help them. I think we did.

I always struggle with these kinds of things, but this time of year it is always worse. I feel so off kilter mentally and emotionally…even more so than usual. I really need to trust in God and to trust others.

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Another Old Message and Therapy

August 21, 2008

Well, I am mixing two subjects here, although, perhaps they are actually related?

Last night, I thought of another old message:

I am not worth spending money on.
Others, and their needs, are more important than me and mine.
I cannot justify spending money on my needs/wants, especially if we have debts.
I should not expect others to go out of their way to help me.
I am not deserving of any more help than any one else. If anything, I am less deserving…or even not deserving at all.
I should not expect that anyone will inconvenience him/herself for me.

Well…that was obviously more than one. More came to mind as I was writing.

Again, thankfully, I am pretty much past these now. However, I definitely do struggle with some of these. Of course, struggling does not mean giving in. It just means that I have to push through to get to the point of doing what I need to do, in spite of what may be going through my head.
I know that, when my therapy appointments are not covered by insurance, I do tend to struggle with the idea of spending that much money on me. That is one reason why the two subjects can be connected.

My therapist has to keep having phone sessions in order to keep my appointments coming. I see him every week. Since I also do double sessions a lot, my allotment of “approved” appointments runs out a lot faster. That means he has to call more often. I feel badly about that. I know he would probably say that I should not feel badly. It just is what it is. However, I DO feel badly. It is hard not to. He is already being nice about working with me in relation to my copay…why should he have to do anything more?

It is just like his reading up on anything related to me. On the one hand, I want him to read SOMEthing. On the other hand, I feel I should not expect him to read ANYthing! We both knew, going into it, that he did not have experience in my areas. Yet, I don’t really have any other options. There is no one in this area who really does. In addition to that, he is a follower of Yeshua/Jesus…a real one…and that is important to me. I need someone who can relate to, and understand, that part of my life.

I also need someone who really cares. Hmmm…that is also where it gets a bit tricky. To me, if someone really cares, they will do at least something to try to understand more about his client. Yet, the fact that he is willing to see someone like me shows he cares. He could have said “no”. Someone else did. So, how does one “measure” caring? The lines seem to blur for me. His seeing me shows me he cares. His willingness to work out my copays with me shows me he cares.

He has stuck with me at times when I know he was scratching his head and wondering if I would ever be able to move forward. He has helped me a lot, actually, even if not always in the ways that I wanted. He really does try and he does not pretend to know things. He is honest about his “ignorance” of some things. I appreciate that. At least, I have some idea of what I am working with. I can’t say that about my previous therapist. But then, he was a horse of a different color and a subject for a different post.

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More Old Messages

August 18, 2008

More old messages that are coming to mind.

You will never belong.
No one will understand you.
People will think you are crazy.
You must hide what you are really like.
You must hide what you really think.
You must hide what you really feel.
You must hide what you really experience.
People are only nice out of a sense of duty or “Christian” obligation.
People are only nice because they feel sorry for you.
People see you as a “project”.
You can never trust your senses.
You deserve everything that happens to you.
Negative things are your lot in life…your destiny.
You must fulfill your destiny.
You must become what we want you to become.
If you are not OK, I am not OK.
You must be perfect so that others will think I am a great mother.
You must be perfect so that others will think our family is OK.
Our family IS OK.
Our family is normal.
Other families have problems.
You must always know what to do and how to behave.
You must always behave perfectly.
You must excell at whatever you do.
You must fulfill our plans for you.
You owe us.
You are obligated to us.
Your life if not your own.

So many messages so subtly woven throughout my psyche…and some not so subtly woven. Some I have moved beyond. Some I still struggle with in current day life.

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Old Messages

August 17, 2008

I am realizing that there old abuse messages that can be triggered in current life. When they are triggered, it can be very difficult to see clearly what is really going on in the present. The past and the present can become all mixed together.

I figured it might be helpful to identify some of those messages from my own life. Messages I somehow got growing up…and some even into adulthood…written as if they are being spoken to me:

Good girls do what they are told.
…because I’m right.
…because I know.
Never challenge authority.
Never question authority.
Always obey authority.
You are not authority.
You are stupid.
You are smart…you should know.
You don’t know…we do.
If you…(fill in the blank) you will be love.
If you…(fill in the blank) you will be accepted.
You must do things the right way only. (Perfectionism)
If I am unhappy, it is your fault.
If I go crazy, it will be your fault.
If your sister turns out poorly, it will be your fault because you are a bad example.
Doing a poor job is deserving of criticism.
Doing a good job is simply expected and not deserving of praise or gratitude.
Do it again…and again…the whole thing…until you do it right.
Do NOT defend yourself.
Do not try to explain.
Do not tell me I am wrong.
I know you better than you know yourself.
I know what you think and feel…do not try to correct me.
You cannot hide from me.
I will always know the truth.
You cannot keep anything from me.
You must answer every question…completely…and precisely. (wow…I wonder if this has anything to do with my tendency to freak out over filling out forms?)
You must never hide anything from us.
Obedience must be immediate…and without question.
Never share anything negative about the family with anyone for any reason.
Image is everything.
What other people think of you is all important.
You must hide your true feelings.
No one will accept the real you.
Being accepted is everything.
It does not matter if nine out of ten like you if the tenth one does not. You must win the tenth one over.
You must do whatever is expected of you, regardless of how it effects you…or makes you feel.
If you are not right all the time, there is something wrong with you.
If you disagree with someone, one of you is wrong. It is your responsibility to change their thinking…or change yours.
If you are wrong, it is shameful.
If you are wrong…people will think you are stupid.
If you don’t know something…people will think you are stupid.
You must be all things to all people.
You must never do anything wrong.
You must be a sexual person.
Being a sexual person makes you a … (fill in the blank).
You must tell us everything we want to know.
It is OK for me to be angry with you and take that anger out on you. It is not OK for you to be angry with us.
It is OK for me to “discipline” you until my anger is spent, but it is not OK for you to cry out, or yell, or duck, or hide, or resist in any way.
You are to know what I mean, regardless of what I say.
You are to anticipate what I need…and meet that need.

There are other messages, too. But this is all I am going to list at the moment. There is already plenty here. Wow! As I look over this list, I am amazed at how many of these messages I had forgotten because I simply do not live by them anymore. Way cool! It feels good to be free from them.

Some of them, however, I find can still get triggered, even if only subtly, still today. I need to watch out for that. It really feels good, though, to see how much I have actually grown. I will keep on working on that.

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