I’m going to help you change your life one thought at a time. My name is Michelle Raza and I created Finding Yourself SATX life coaching in 2017 to help people like you achieve success, by first writing out your personal vision statements, then translating these into actionable goals, and most importantly, meeting often enough with your coach to be held accountable and achieve success. Please check out my website - it's at www.findingyourselfsatxlifecoaching.com.
Today we're going to talk about Dr. Lindsay C. Gibson's “Self-Care for Adult Children of
Emotionally Immature Parents”, specifically, Chapter 9, titled “Healing From Emotional
This is a pretty heavy chapter. The basis of what Dr. Gibson covers states that you CAN recover from an emotional injury, but also that you’ll forever be affected by what you have experienced.
There's a book called “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van der Kolk. In it, he states that the more you push your feelings and your emotions away, the more you manifest physical symptoms that are brought on by these emotions. When something happens and then you choose to “shake it off” or pretend like nothing happened and keep going, eventually you'll hit your wall. Some people are very successful at pushing things away and acting like nothing happened. They can essentially shut off pieces of themselves.
The problem is that your body and your mind do not work in such a way that you just shut out the bad and then you can accept the good. When you start shutting out your emotions, you push away the good feelings too. You basically become numb to life and somewhat robotic.
And a lot of people are even unaware that they’ve done this.
I myself was guilty of it for years and years and years. My mom suffered from Alzheimer's for 13 years before she finally died at age 63. As her primary caregiver for quite a long time, I had to watch someone that I loved slowly deteriorate in front of me, then die. Because of this, I had to shut out my emotions in order to survive this living grief.
I would just push the horrible feelings away because her situation wasn't getting any better and wouldn’t get any better until she passed. Most days I was fine. I kept myself extremely busy. Actually, the first therapist that I ever talked to called me out on that. She said “Are you really that busy? Or do you make sure that you’re busy like that so that you don't have to think about everything that’s going on?”
OK, so I fired her. I didn't want to hear that, so I fired her, but she was right. I was busy busy busy busy just running around to make sure that I never had a free moment to think about the fact that my mom was dying and withering away in front of me. But the feelings would catch up to me sometimes. It would happen when I was driving and I would have to pull the car over and just curl up into a ball and cry and let it wash over me.
And It would happen when I was alone - only when I was alone.
The point is, your feelings will come up one way or another. Maybe you'll get panic attacks or maybe you'll spout off on someone…or get yourself fired….something.
So it's better to deal with your feelings as they come and address them on your own terms instead of having them do a sneak attack on you.
It might be a good plan to make time either once a week or periodically to journal about how you feel so that you can bring those emotions up.
There’s actually this great rage meditation on YouTube that is excellent: https://youtu.be/HSXcZmUN0OQ?si=eCtGoNpeoRPLrArY
I was talking to my therapist one time - talking about my father, and I noticed that I had no feelings. Like - not good, not bad, zero feelings. I was numb. So then I went and I I looked up this rage meditation and I was able to access some negative feelings that I was repressing and I was able to cry and it was very therapeutic.
But when I feel myself going numb it's a sign to me that something is wrong because when you cut off your feelings like I mentioned you cut off the good and the bad so if you want to shake it off and move on you can try, but eventually they’ll catch up to you.
So maybe it's a better strategy to, on your own terms, face the feelings and work through them. The other thing here is to accept that you probably won't be the same afterwards.
This happens, I feel like, not just on an individual level but also in society too. Fundamentalism is at its core, trying to go back to something that doesn’t exist anymore.
You can't ever bring back something that has already passed. Being nostalgic about things such as your childhood, for example, saying “Let's pull out Twister! Let's put the Slip N’ Slide out and everything will be as it used to be!”
While you're still going to enjoy the activities, you're going to enjoy them from your perspective as it is today with all of the life experiences that you’ve had. It's never going to be exactly as it was when you were a child.
So it comes down to an understanding that you WILL heal, but you will also carry this thing that happened to you. Maybe it'll help you be more compassionate and understanding of other people who have experienced the same things or maybe more understanding that sometimes injuries are not something that we can see.
The first time that I faced domestic violence, I had to go to work the next day and nobody could see that anything was wrong, but I could. I was forever changed and forever different and I had to look in the mirror and feel a sense of like, wow, the world goes on. This happened to me and my life is in shambles now but nobody knows and I still have to show up and perform and deliver and nobody's gonna cut me any slack because nobody can even see that I'm hurt or injured.
Not that I wish this life experience on anyone, but if I had never experienced that abuse then I would have never even understood certain things about life. So either you grow from the bad things that happen to you or you kind of get stuck there.
I could have taken on a victim mentality - I could have stopped showing up at work; but then there would have been more negative consequences and repercussions.
I was forever changed, never the same, but I healed.
Gibson says that the whorls of the bark grow around the injury site the tree experienced. The tree is forever changed but it keeps growing. And that’s what we need to do too.
Thanks for hanging out with me today! Please do consider the guided life balance questionnaires starting at only $0.99 on my website. You can download the entire digital life coaching journey for only $8.99. Check it out - www.findingyourselfsatxlifecoaching.com