Not so Pleasant Memories

If there is one thing I have learnt about a bit recently its “core beliefs” I understand what causes them, I don’t understand why these things have such a massive impact on us or how to stop them from doing so.
I was talking to my friend last night and we were just nattering as usual and a couple of things came up in conversation that brought memories to the forefront of my mind that were really not nice at all. No I wasn’t physcally hurt or abused by anyone I am thankful to say but there are things that I have memories seem to never stop hurting, they have caused me to be a doubtful and untrusting person, a person who will wipe you out of my life if you hurt me once for fear that it will become a habit because thats a pattern.
I get so tired of questioning peoples motives? why did they do that? why did they say that? did they mean this or that and are they just saying that because? its exhausting.
I want to move away from all of that, Im trying so hard to do other things to find have a purpose but sometimes these thoughts just come crashing in and I go right back to (this is all to good to be true, its all gonna go wrong)
I dont know if any of this is actually making sense im rambling a bit here. its been a strange couple of days in my head. Thanks for listening.

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Hey Lisa,

It does make sense what you’re writing. I am also familiar with these thought spirals, incessantly interpreting something into other people’s words and behaviors. After all, this really doesn’t lead anywhere as these are all hypotheses – and our brain loves to pick the one that is most detrimental to us or puts us in the worst light.

In my understanding, core beliefs are formed during childhood. A child will always believe what parents say. Children make everything about themselves. If the parents are attuned to the child’s needs, that’s great, but if they aren’t, negative core beliefs will form. Since the child’s survival depends on the caregivers, it is a good strategy to think that because the child will do everything to maintain the attachment and thus secure its survival. That’s why core beliefs are so powerful. They were established in order to survive. Of course, it is tough to give them up. Also, brain development is strongly affected by the environment, and if there’s something off – parents that are constantly stressed out or depressed or whatever it may be – this will have an impact on the child’s neurological development.

I am very sorry that you made the experience very early on that the world isn’t a safe place, and mostly, that people aren’t safe and can’t be trusted. Just imagine a child making this experience. This is horrific because as children, we can’t escape the situation. We can only freeze, disconnect, trying to escape mentally, cutting off emotions that have become unbearable.

What do you do when these thoughts come up? Do have a strategy in place, like reassuring your inner child that it is safe, that you will take care and make sure that it won’t be hurt? This requires to be addressed not only from a cognitive level, such as with thought stopping and replacing the thoughts rationally, but also from an emotional level, that is what reassuring the inner child refers to. That’s often referred to as reparenting and requires to connect to the inner child, making it feel seen and heard, feeling its emotions. You could also explore what bodily sensations coincide with the emotions, and ask yourself how far this lack of safety, the accompanying emotions, and the thought spirals go back.

I hope this is of any help. You’re loved! :hrtlegolove:

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Hey lisa,

In short - these things have such a massive impact on us because the way our brain develops is it takes our past experiences and creates “shortcuts” on how to react to certain situations as survival mechanism in order to use the last amount of energy possible. This manifests in our habits, which are our subconscious ways of responding to a situation or event in our life. But this isn’t the important thing… What’s important is that you’ve identified what’s bothering you, that you also have patters in your own life you’re trying to understand. Knowing that information alone is enough to be able to move on from things like this and life a more fulfilled life. I was just talking with a mentor the other day who told me that I can put energy toward things that serve me no purpose (worrying too much about what someone said) and make myself miserable. Or I can ask myself how I want to feel and tell myself to move on and forget about it - takes practice…but it makes life so much easier to deal with.

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Dearest Lisa, thank you for sharing this, my heart relates so much to your feelings. Often we hold onto the past as a form of self preservation, we use our experiences to guide us, and sometimes those experiences have had a negative hold on us. Our mind gets heightened and responds to the perceived threat. “Oh no, this has happened before, when will it happen again”.
While it does take some time to learn how to refocus our thinking, we can try to think about a different perspective of those. It’s hard, but when I find myself thinking of past experiences, I refocus to who I am now. The people in my life now. Maybe even focusing on one friend and how good they’ve been to me. How they’ve helped me grow, how they’ve never hurt me. I do hope you have people in your life you can shift focus to. It also helps avoid the “what did I do to deserve this” mindset. What a hellish rabbit hole that can be! Arghh

The other thing about people saying or doing things and not knowing what they mean by it, sometimes I use a joke to gain some insight- “I can’t tell if that was a joke haha”, or I’ll just straight up say something like “oh no, did I do something to upset you (did I provoke that)?” often they’ll explain what they meant and it’s solved in a second. Otherwise I’ll loop over and over it.
I know now that the people I love will address something to me or I can to them, otherwise it’s their problem to deal with. Sounds harsh, but it helps sometimes.

I hope your mind has found a little peace in the meantime, dear Lisa. You are incredibly loved for who you are. X

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Hi my friend :hrtlegolove: :rose:

It really sucks that those memories and thoughts came up. I’m sorry.

Like crea said above, a lot of us are familiar with the thought spirals that we suffer when our minds are interpreting something someone said or did as threatening or they straight up hurt us. We want to cut them off (AKA Splitting) so they don’t hurt us ever (again). I’ve done this to many people and even whole communities. Unfortunately, not all of them were bad.

I think past trauma and times in our lives where our needs were not met and we felt unsafe play a huge role in this. Our core content tells us to question motives, not trust and look for signs that whoever the person is will hurt us somehow. Or even worse, leave us. It’s as crea describes as survival or maladaptive coping.

I think black and white thinking is playing a role too. Friends hurt each other once in awhile, we can’t be perfect. In therapy, they tried to teach me that someone can do something bad and still be a good person. It’s a hard concept for me to grasp. Is that something you struggle with too? Seeing the grey in a situation?

I wish there was something better I could say to help you, but this is something I am still trying to figure out for myself. I know that therapy has helped me some. I know you don’t want to do therapy, but I think it would help to have someone helping you work thru things and who can teach you healthier ways of coping.

I love you.

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Dearest Lisa,

These are not ramblings but thoughts that have been part of your mind, especially lately, and deserve to be expressed. What you described makes completely sense.

You are not crazy. You are not broken. Even more, you are not doomed to live over and over with the same beliefs about the world around you. Your past can give room to new experiences that will renew your perception of others.The first proof of that is your post right here. Have you always been aware of these beliefs and how it affects your life the way you do right now? Just being able to name them for what they are and creating this observing distance is serving you already, even though it may not have immediate effects. This is about things that have been part of you for a long time. It naturally takes time to unlearn - safely - our core beliefs if they are not serving us anymore.

We all have core beliefs - thankfully so! They’re not to fear and most of them serve us correctly in order to navigate in this world. Sometimes though, they stem from very hurtful experiences that shape the way we perceive the world around us. And since we are creatures of meaning that do remember past experiences, we ask ourselves “why”, even unconsciously, over and over. We seek to understand our experiences and others too, because it’s what help us make decisions too. Between the world and us, there’s this invisible layer of personal interpretation that orients the way we behave, think, feel, speak, etc.

If you were hurt before, could it be by a family member, a lover, a teacher, an employer – overall, someone you trusted – and if you were left without any response to the “why” it happened, then it makes sense to project that question on any person you would start to trust. It makes sense to still doubt others motives and fear that the situation would repeat itself over and over. Humans are not predictable and your mind seeks stability because it’s reassuring, it feels safe. After all, what is your guarantee that you’re not going to be hurt again? Is there an objective aspect of someone’s personality that could help us say with 100% certainty: “this person is trustworthy!”? Unfortunately, when it comes to human beings and a large amount of life experiences, there isn’t any real answer to “why”, and/or we can’t really have access to it. Most of the time the answer is that it just happened and we may never wrap our mind around some reasons behind.

I’ve been hurt multiple times by people I either trusted or didn’t even know in the past, emotionally, physically. For most of my life, and still now to some extent, I have been living with the belief that the world is unsafe because of its lack of predictability. Nothing can guarantee me that I won’t ever be hurt the way I’ve been before. So I’ve been putting walls all around. My mind was focused on things I could control in my own little world because the lack of control over the world around me was frightening, paralyzing even. The problem is that I’ve been so obsessed with this why. I always thought that if I understood why things happened the way they did, then I could identify some pattern and be able to protect myself while living some kind of normal life. I wouldn’t have to retreat from the rest of the world and put up such large boundaries. I wouldn’t have to feel alone anymore, and I could be safe.

In reality, I’ve always been creating the answers to my “why”'s. None of them have been objective truths that I could apply in other circumstances, with other people. My own answers have been a way for me to survive through the pain for a long time. But there comes a time when we need to free ourselves from these. To acknowledge these beliefs for what they are: a coping mechanism, a search for meaning, a way to survive when nothing makes sense, when the pain is beyond understanding.

For example, when we lose someone we love, we may experience guilt, or anger, and develop beliefs from these emotions, from the pain. We may start to believe that their death is our fault while really in most situations it is of course not. But it helps us make sense at the moment of a situation that doesn’t have any. Death itself is the complete absence of meaning. It’s this arbitrary experience that we are all meant to face one way or another, and it’s just utterly unfair. This absence of meaning can feel so unbearable at times. It’s like facing a wall each time we ask ourselves “why”. We’re in front of it, ready to break it down brick by brick but we need an answer to do it. In the meantime we’re just walking in circles, sad, angry, so deeply hurt. So we try to understand. We ruminate. We create our own system of beliefs. We develop our own answers to the frightening “why” question. We create our very own walls because at least these ones we understand and have control over. That doesn’t make the other one disappear though… so how are we supposed to overcome it?

This is all to say… it’s okay to learn, at your own pace, to have a gentle outlook on these beliefs for the way they have served you over time. You needed protection and safety. You needed to walk through a world that is pretty wild and scary after being deeply hurt. Your mind was your ally. The only issue is that over time we tend to keep these beliefs with us and project them on situations that are completely different, which prevents us to have the life we desire – to trust again. Our world becomes more and more little. You deserve space, my friend. You deserve to have room to breathe, be yourself, feel confidence.

This isn’t really about understanding others in the present moment, or even the ones who have hurt you before. This is a lot more about acceptance of facts. Facts are not that you were responsible for being hurt. It’s not that other people are going to hurt you the same way as if there would be some kind of invisible pattern behind. Facts are that you were hurt and that the pain you’ve been feeling is still felt at times in the present.

This is about learning to grieve the fact that reality is more complex than our ability to put an answer behind our constant “why” questions sometimes. People do beautiful things, but they can also do some very awful ones. Some people may not even be able to tell you why they did something if you asked them the question.

I’m so sorry my friend. I know how deep these questions are rooted and how heartbreaking it is to even read this. How frustrating it is to have someone telling you that “why” may not be the right question to ask ourselves. To face the reality that not every experience is going to mean something. Because meanwhile the pain is so freaking real and present. It IS there. I’ve been obsessed with seeking understanding of past traumas because I thought it would bring relief, while really I always knew how reality is. I was just so afraid of facing it, because it would add another layer of pain. If there isn’t any way to predict if others are going to hurt me, how am I freaking supposed to live? How others do? What is the secret behind that I’m missing? As long as we hold to understanding the meaning of things, we keep ourselves stuck in a place of hurt. Why questions are important, but they may not hold the importance we think it has when it comes to healing from pain. Acceptance of things we can’t control is necessary, and sometimes core beliefs keep us away from that possibility, over and over.

This is about learning to be at peace with this complexity, learning to let go of the things you may not understand. This is about replacing, at your own pace, the meaning that you’ve created in the past. It’s also about accepting things you can’t change anymore and won’t change in the future either. And accepting facts (what happened) does not mean agreeing with what has been done! On the contrary, disagreeing reveals parts of who you are, core beliefs that have always been present too, but that you may identify more as core “values”.

From “I can’t trust anyone”, there are different beliefs to create, and I would safely assume that right here in this community for example you do have relationship experiences that would oppose to the ones when you’ve been hurt. From one human being to another, I can’t promise you that you’re not going to be hurt again. What I can promise you though, is that not everyone is going to hurt you. Not everyone is going to display behaviors and beliefs that you deeply disagree with. Not everyone is going to behave in a certain way while having another agenda in mind.

What are other core beliefs that you could identify from your past experiences, ones that are not “people are not trustworthy/unpredictable”? There’s this little thought exercise that Nate has shared on stream, to identify the different between Facts and the Meanings we apply to them. I personally try to walk through this thought process when I identify a time when my core beliefs are more present and preventing me from living the way I want to. Each time you identify a core wound being revived in the present, you can try the following:

  • Facts: identify the facts. No judgment or personal appreciation here. “This happened…”
  • Meaning: the meaning you’re creating from that experience. The core belief you just identified and that is not serving you. (“What am I learning from this experience? What do I believe this is teaching me?”)
  • Question: the question behind that meaning. (“What is the question that brought me to this conclusion?” – Generally an unsaid/unconscious question)

Then try again with the same facts, but try to reformulate the question with a different meaning. You’ll see how much the meaning is what we do about it, what we create, and not objective statements that could be applied as a pattern. It’s all circumstantial. Here’s an example of mine:

Facts = trauma
Question = why did bad things happen to me?
Meaning = life is unfair; this SHOULDN’T happen; bad things SHOULDN’T happen
Facts = I got assaulted
Question = Did I allow this trauma to take me out?
Meaning = I am stronger than the bad that happens to me, and I am capable of overcoming.

It could be many other things if I repeat this little exercise. Overall, what it teaches me is that I get to CHOOSE the meaning I want to associate to an experience. And I can choose to either agree with one that is going to serve me and help me outgrow from the pain, or not.

It takes time and practice to learn to develop meanings that strengthen us. It takes time to accept facts, life events just as they are, without obsessing anymore over the lessons it could teach us. Again, it’s part of being human. But you’ve already outgrow a lot of it just by putting yourself in this position of observing these thoughts as they are too. You’re not just living them, you’re QUESTIONING them. You’re detaching yourself slowly from a survival reflex that maybe served you for a long time, but maybe is starting to be contradicted in the present. Automatisms are present and they will keep arising over and over just like with this interaction you’ve had – you won’t change beliefs that have been there just in an instant. It takes repetition with new experiences. Try to identify when these thoughts and pain arise, be aware of it, welcome them as they are – thoughts, not truth, not facts. Little by little, you may learn to be at peace with it, with yourself and with your past experiences too. :hrtlegolove:

PS - Sorry for this very long post. I’m the one rambling. :wink:

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Thank you all for your Kind and thoughtful replies, its a strange feeling to be a post in a swat meeting :thinking: but it was very good of you to take the time to respond.

@crea, the only way I have managed is by living a life away from people for the most part irl anyway, Its certainly not the love of my interior decor that keeps me in my flat day after day. when I feel like I have the last 24 hours I feel upset and beyond frustrated and my go to response it to try to cut myself off from anyone for a little while just until i can get myself together, which is hard when you have friends that care but I don’t know any other way. Thank you so much for your kindness, :green_heart:

@I-Am-Reclaimer Thank you friend, I like that “shortcuts” yes your right It does take practice and I guess I need a lot more practice and I have time on my hands so no excuse. Thank you for your kind words. :green_heart:

@Bimini Its a double edged sword when people relate, its good because you then know you are not completely out of your mind and also not alone but its also incredibly sad because you don’t wish this crap on anyone else. I do need to learn how to refocus other than just having this intense feeling of wanting to get into darkness and hide (my goto) I say to people often that its ok to feel sorry for yourself as long as it doesnt overwhelm you and in those moments it overwhelms me. I like how you talk of gaining insight and I too am pretty straight forward for the most part but sometimes a few things will happen at once and my “no bull” to the point attitude turns tail and runs for the hills and I go back from whence I came which is my little dark room of safety. Im feeling a bit better today thanks for your incredibly kind words. :green_heart:

@Mystrose My dear friend, We have some convos dont we? lol
Firstly, there is nothing better than kind caring words from a true and genuine friend so you cant… did you just tell me to go to therapy?? (inside joke) I totally agree with everything you have said, we do think alike on most things as we have discussed and its been very interesting to learn that these behaviours not only have stemmed from somwhere but have titles, I thought it was me being wierd all these years (for real) I have learned a lot from my friend Rosie she is one cool chick and im so grateful to have her in my life. I will work on the rest. Thank you my friend. xx :green_heart:

@Micro Oh micro, wowsers what a reply, its a lot to take in all at once but I do know that as soon as I started reading I knew I had to take my time and really really learn from it so I have copied it and have it on my laptop so I can read it and really absorb the words that you took so much time and love to write. I am going to thank you in advace and get back to you after I have really taken it all in.
Thank you my dear friend. :green_heart:

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Hello friend,

I am sorry that all of this has been going on. Many others have said the things I wanted to, so I will just say ditto to all of the above comments. Please know that you are more than your thoughts and how you see yourself. You are an amazing and caring person. You know where to find me if you need to chat. I see you. You are valid. I am thankful to know you and that you are a part of this world.

-StarFox :yellow_heart:

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@StarFox
Thank you sweet friend, Its hard right now to talk about anything without falling into a complete emotional mess lol but Im sure all will be fine, ill be back to my usual sarcastic, rude self before long haha
That does not stop me appreciating you, your friendship, your kind words and who you are. I too am grateful to know you. Thank you :green_heart:

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May I ask you some questions about how you’ve been experiencing this? You wrote already that it’s too much right now, so it’s absolutely no problem in case you don’t feel like replying!

The questions would be:

  • When you can’t let anyone in, that entails loneliness. Do you feel lonely and if so, how do you cope with this? Do you feel like you’re missing out in life because of that?
  • What are you scared of? That people will hurt you, that they talk bad about you behind your back, or what is behind the mistrust?
  • Do you feel like no one really gets you?
  • Do you think it would be possible to get help and do something about it or do you think this can’t be changed? (Especially considering you’d have to trust a therapist and open up to them.)

I am just curious about how you’re dealing with this as I am familiar with this and don’t know how to cope or how to overcome this.

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Hey Crea, of course you can ask questions, I will do my best to answer.

Yes it does entail loneliness and I would be lying if I said I never felt lonely, of course I we as humans were not built to be permentanty solitary creatures but I don’t feelings of loneliness very much, I have gotten used to my own company over the years and keeping it real the fear of a bad outcome far outweighs any possible amount of time alone so I guess its a case of picking the devil you know. Have I missed out on life? yes probably, but I have also had a few years now where I have not wanted to die and now im helping people and not wanting to die so there is a meaning to all of this.

Being abandoned again by the people I love and trust and ending up down in that dark hole that I was stuck in where there was not control and no will to live.

Yes sometimes I do because usually I dont explain myself well, it normally comes out in garbled lot of nonsense due to frustration or fear. but this is good.

Thats a difficult one, I dont do well with therapist, its not them its me to be honest, I dont like being emotional so I do put a bit of a sarcastic wall up and have been accused of being rude and agressive in therapy which is as far from the real truth as there is, its literally a safety thing to cover myself (sometimes you kinda hope someone will see though that) must be the years of practice. lol so I dont get very far, I dont know why that is a problem,
How do I deal with this?? I am embarrased to say I do everthing I can to avoid it until I can’t, when I have these thoughts screaming at me every once in a while and it all takes over is when I cannot avoid it anylonger and then have to give in for a little while, it does stop in the end.
I am sorry if you are familiar with this in a way that you can relate, I don’t want this or anything like it for anyone.I am also sorry if I have not given you any great ideas to help. It has been interesting answering your questions though,.
Thank you @crea Much Love. x

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Hey Lisa,

Thank you so much for replying to my questions! I really appreciate it. It is very insightful to hear the perspective of someone in a similar situation.

That something I can’t cope with well. I’m struggling a lot with the loneliness, but maybe part of it is also that I’m judging myself on top of it all for being ‘such a weirdo’ or a loner basically. After all, it’s not quite the norm. Unfortunately, I do care what people think, and when you go to places or events where it is very uncommon to attend on your own, people will be looking at you.

Maybe the problem rather is either the lack of empathy on the other end, or just a general limitation of others’ ability to imagine what certain things entail. [I once mentioned to someone that driving stresses me out. That person didn’t understand that at all. So if even this is hard to understand… ]

You don’t have to reply to this, but I was wondering whether you made these experiences early in your life or later during adulthood. I think there will always be hurt and disappointment, but our ability to cope with these things improves over time, and we are able to heal and to move on. As adults, we’re not as powerless as during childhood and we can manage difficult situations better (than we think). — But this is obviously theory for me as I prefer to hide as well.

I’ll send you a dm with a poem that came to mind when I read this phrase. Maybe you can relate to it.

Thank you again for replying! :hrtlegolove:

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Hi Micro,
Im going through your awesome reply, I wanted to give it time so im sorry for the delay. ill try to keep it brief.

For most of my adult life yes, hence the inablitly to keep a relationship however good you are to a person, if you live in constant misery because there is no trust and they are also miserable because they know there is none then it makes for a miserable time. I have known about it, I just thought it was a flaw or a defect that I was inbuilt and ill be totally honest with you, one of the people responsible for huting me has always used the reason its not thier fault it was their childhood so that sort of thing always left a bad taste in my mouth. So many conflicts go on in the head about what is ok and what isnt, that being said when Nate briefly mentioned core beliefs I was absolutley fascinated.

Most of my hurt has been from family, yes men after that but i chose bad men because i was just looking for something i could call “normal” you know, Lisa and her partner? there was never anything normal about it other than more hurt and my tag line was always “if neither of your parents never chose you over other people what chance do you have with anyone else in this world” and I would be lying if I said I still didnt feel that so you just keep trying to do all you can to be the best you can be for the people you care for so that you are enough.
(hence the panic if I do something even slightly wrong)

I can see what you are saying about all the time spent trying to find the “Why’s” and when I see that you have done it, it breaks my heart, because the as you say whilst we spend years looking for reasons why, no living is taking place and to see that for you to me is so wrong. Yes there does come a time to free yourself and in a way that time is now and I guess I thought that after being here a year and having done things I never thought I would be able to do, it would be easier, but it appears I am going to still have to work on it.
There are a few people here that I do trust I really do trust, but with that comes the fear of all that goes with that. that too is a work in progress. I dont like having to be reasurred at my age but sometimes my mind and heart aches for that. (bit daft i know) people think im so tough lol gosh i should really stop talking. The nate stuff i will be looking into more for sure. I havent said this much about myself in a very very long time,if ever. love you micro. xxx

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Hey @crea
Most of these experiences started at a very young age right up until I was about 25 and on the right medication that I was strong enough to be able to speak up and say how I felt and that I was not going to be treated this way anymore. It was family and of course you have that battle of do you speak up and risk losing them all together or do you allow the constant disrespect, disregard and mistreatment to continue just so you still have some form of love? I did feel powerless for a long time into adult hood because I was in a bad place mentally, on medicatons that didnt suit me and half of my family thought I was having a very long “bad day”

Getting used to being in your own company is something I actually get asked about a lot by people. I can spend weeks at a time on my own and see no one except the delivery guy or the postman.and it really is ok with me. I dont know if thats a good thing or not? I think to start with you have to have the option of choice, if someone said to me today, you are not allowed to leave your house now for two weeks, I would probably go stir crazy and get annoyed, but I like to be at home with my birds, I like the quiet, Lots of people are frustrated and stressed, they are worried about money, bills, work, health, family and its like a big old cloud over everyone, I want to be inside without clouds and the longer you stay home the longer it becomes the normal thing to do. I am not encouraging you to stay at home all the time, please get out there and have a life, you deserve to make an amazing life for yourself and if you live alone that peaceful place you go back to at the end of living that life will look all the more sweeter. When you do go out btw I think these days its perfectly ok to turn up at an event without someone on your arm, I think those days of expectations have past. People will be very happy to see you!
Oh and I do not know who didnt understand about the driving??? I think driving is one of the most stressful things you can do unless everyone else decides to stay at home. Lack of empathy is real for sure. goodness me.
Thank you so much for that poem, it was beautiful and yes I can totally relate to it.
Lisa xx

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I just thought it was a flaw or a defect that I was inbuilt

You’ve been aware of it for a long time, but a wrong conclusion was also stemming from it – that it would be a trait inherent to who you are, that it would be ultimately your fault and something that couldn’t be changed. It’s hard to see how much some of the beliefs about ourselves that we’ve internalized over time can create this misery that you describe. It puts us in a pit that we think we are doomed to be stuck in, while really it’s a matter of perspective.

Of course the way you trust and/or doubt people at times is not a defect nor a flaw. It’s a logical reflection and result of painful life experiences that you’ve never asked for. There is a real potential for empowerment in the realization that you were once victim but also that you’re not anymore. It’s a double process of grieving for the hurt person you were, and empowering yourself through the person you are today. Which goes along with what you have shared about this person who hurt you before:

one of the people responsible for huting me has always used the reason its not thier fault it was their childhood so that sort of thing always left a bad taste in my mouth.

Of course it left a bad taste! They were victimizing themselves while it was about your pain and their responsibility. The roles couldn’t be reversed. Instead of taking responsibility for what they did, they re-victimized themselves and used their own traumas to justify their present behavior. It’s a fine line that many people mix up and use as an excuse. While really, wanting someone to be held accountable for what they did to us doesn’t mean we don’t understand their life context and trajectory. It’s just two different things.

Understanding factors that brought someone into a specific path in life does not mean that they are not responsible of their decisions in the present. We don’t choose what we are subjected to as we grow up – we generally don’t have the physical nor emotional ability to do something else than endure adversity. However, as adults we are responsible of our mental health. We are responsible of asking for help, even if it’s difficult to receive this help in many situations – and that’s where places like HS are important. But we still have some level of personal agency. We are still responsible of facing our pain and doing what is necessary to heal.

The logic behind this person who said that to you was that they wanted their pain to be heard, and they were not ready to work on themselves, to improve themselves and be held accountable for the pain they caused. None of that was your fault, and even less your responsibility. What they don’t realize is that understanding does not mean excusing or justifying. Otherwise, any person who’s been hurt or abused during their childhood would become an abuser, which is absolutely not true. There are people who choose to face their pain, to walk through this immense grief. In my family, for example, there’s been generations of abuse and trauma on my mom’s side of the family. I’ve decided that it’s going to stop with me. Period. No matter what it takes. At times I wanted people to hear my pain, to scream it and retreat in this version of myself that was hurt. For a while I wanted my traumas to be the reason of the lack of progress in terms of healing. I definitely victimized myself at times as I was becoming more aware of the amount of pain there is. I would justify not trying to ask for help or change my situation in the light of past traumas. But I also wanted to see beyond this and not let the past define me.

There are people who get stuck in this victimization position and keep the traumas going by hurting others. From victims they become tormentors. But we can also be stuck in a cycle of turning this pain and traumas against ourselves, over and over. We keep sabotaging ourselves because we’ve internalized things about ourselves that weren’t true. It’s why it’s so important to dive into the subtleties of understanding vs enabling unashamedly. Your pain and hurt are part of your story, but they will never define who you are or how your future could be. You get to choose that and renew yourself each and everyday, through every decision you make. And I can tell, you’re such a beautiful person, Lisa.

There is already so much potential unfolded just by being yourself and allowing yourself to share more. There may be some pieces of the puzzle that you still need to find, especially when it’s about trust and allowing yourself to take up space. But you will get there without a doubt. You have made a lot of progress just in one year. You are on a very real, tangible healing path. The progress may not happen as fast as you’d like, and sometimes we hope that one thing could fix everything quickly. It’s okay to grieve the fact that it didn’t. To acknowledge that we may have to face other crossroads during our healing journey. What this reveals is how much you are ready to keep moving forward, how willing you are to overcome what keeps overshadowing parts of your life. That makes a huge difference. It’s this vibrant energy that will keep driving you to heal, to not stay stuck in lies and shame. As said above, you’re beautiful, Lisa. I believe in you so very much.

Thank you for taking the time to open up here. We get to know you better, and it’s a privilege. :hrtlegolove:

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Thank you so much, Lisa, for sharing these insights about your life. I appreciate it a lot.

This really is heartbreaking to read and I am very sorry that you made these experiences within your own family. Maybe “some form of love” can also come into one’s life in different ways. Can it really get this much worse? At least, this is what I hope. First of all these beliefs – of being unworthy, that it’s impossible for anyone to appreciate my company, or that I’m undeserving of healthy connections (which are available only to certain people who aren’t as insane or defective) – have to be overcome, which probably involves substantial work, and even more so when you experienced that trust and connection will ultimately lead to unbearable pain. Maybe it helps that this isn’t all or nothing but there are many shades of grey when it comes to social interactions.

Thank you again so much for this very insightful conversation!

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