One of the great challenges for those who have survived abusive or neglectful parents is that there is often a part of us that is still waiting for them to love us, even if there is very little chance of that happening. Locked in an archaic mindset, we continue to go back for more, looking for love in all the wrong places, still elevating them on a primal pedestal that does not even begin to reflect their human limitations and failings. Somehow we imagine that they will come around one day, realize their mistakes, see our worth, soften those armored edges. And some do, often when they are very old, made vulnerable by sickness and time. But many don’t, and we need to stop putting our emotional lives on hold waiting for something that may never happen. The bridge from stagnation to empowerment lies in our willingness to see them for who they really are, to take them off their primal pedestal and recognize their human limitations. This is not easy- the hungry child-self clings to illusions- but it is oh so necessary. Until we accept the limitations of those who cannot love us, we cannot embrace the willingness of those who can.
I love how I can relate to Jeff Brown’s writings. He writes simply but it resonates well with me. I didn’t buy his book titled ‘Soulshaping’ in which he writes about his childhood in detail (according to bestie) but I think we grew up facing rather similar hardships. One of the things I find comforting is knowing that there are people who have faced same difficulties and thus I am not alone. What I have also realised from reading such self-help cum inspirational books is that, the least we talk about difficult emotions, the more it consumes us and this is why it increases anxiety and depression. For myself at least, seeing a therapist and talking through my feelings with someone even though it has made me vulnerable in front of a complete stranger, has allowed me to work through some issues that have left me feeling ‘stuck’. I have been reading articles and forums about dealing with my Nmother and that have made me less anxious.
So, kudos to such authors who have bravely shared their life stories with the rest of us who are unable to even articulate the horrors of our childhood to anyone! Bravery is contagious and it has given me the courage to at least to take the next step towards recovery!