When I was younger, a very little girl, being horrendously abused (on my blog: https://bipolar1blog.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/one-particularly-bad-episode-of-my-mother-beating-the-hell-out-of-me/) by my mother of all people, my life depended upon other people, even the person who was abusing me, my own mother. And that was my mindset, the mindset of desperation, need, hollowness, emptiness, fear, anger and pain, and that is the mindset that I have always lived with, all my life, until now. I didn't know for most of my life that there was any other way. I didn't know there was anything "wrong" with the way I was thinking and living. This pain and fear and anger, and emptiness mindset arose from being pummeled into a bloody mess by my mother whenever she felt like it! I was four years old, how does a four year old feel when she is being treated like this? Well I don't remember those specific feelings at all, but I can surmise what I felt like because of my over reactions to emotional situations, my always feeling like a catastrophe was at hand. Obviously, when your mother is beating the hell out of you, and you never know when it will happen next, your fight or flight response gets overly active, being activated at the drop of a hat. Your little body that is being attacked always feels danger is nearby. When anything bad happens, your feelings go back to desperation, pain, hopelessness, and all this is done involuntarily. So, my mother abused me from age 4 to 14, but even after the abuse stopped, my mind still reacted like I was under attack, and my mind reacted like this for a very long time. I was not happy, I catastrophized, my heart was always breaking into a million pieces. I was not in control of my feelings, the events, i.e. abuse and abandonment, that had happened decades ago were in control of my emotions. I didn't know I had a problem, of over reacting, of extreme anger, of catastrophizing. A very good friend, all the way back from high school, always stuck by me and helped me realize that my emotional state was pretty bad, to say the least... and she did it in a very compassionate and loving way. So I was lucky to have her in my life! The first thing I let go of was anger. That was my shield, it made me feel powerful when I was being attacked, it kept me whole and my anger made me feel safe and protected, even when I was 4 years old and getting walloped. But as an adult, this anger would surface with such intensity and rage, that it could be frightening. Most of the time, the rage, though not directly expressed to my mother, was against her. I loved her and forgave her, and we had a lovely relationship for a long time before she passed away, but, understandably, I was very angry at her for a long time. Once the anger was gone, that was when the Pandora's box of fear, terror, pain, and vulnerability was opened. I wanted my anger back so badly at that time. I didn't want to feel all these emotions that left me feeling weak and unprotected. But as you know once Pandora's box is open, it cannot be unopened! So there I was, feeling like a puddle of tears on a muddy floor. I was married, having a child, working, coping with a bipolar disorder diagnosis, coping with the very severe mental illness of my baby brother (whom we later lost at the age of 26) and all these emotions, and sometimes anger the protector would make an appearance. I was seeing psychiatrists, on medication, not taking enough because of side effects and because I thought I was special and didn't need the full dose, smh! The psychiatrists never explained to me that I was dealing with TWO things, 1) bipolar disorder, 2) abuse and abandonment issues from my childhood. I thought it was all the same thing, but it wasn't. They really are two separate issues. Bipolar is treated with medications, and abuse and abandonment issues can be treated with "inner child" work, and reparenting. And recently I have been doing some work with reparenting and loving my inner child, it's funny to say but healing your inner child and being loving to him/her really is a very healing modality! I believe that healing has taken place for me because I feel stronger, I feel like my life really does belong to me, that I'm not dependent on anyone for my survival. I know that that's been the case for a long time, but I just didn't know it because the feelings inside me had made me feel the opposite, that I had to have someone in my life to protect me, to save me, to stop people from abusing me, that I couldn't be independent and that I couldn't fully inhabit my life and just be happy doing what it was I was doing and that my life was important. This can lead to being addicted to a person, because you erroneously think that having them in your life is the only thing that can save you. But that's not true. This can also lead to being addicted to substances, to dull your pain and diminish your anxiety. So, you see, doing the inner child work is really important, and made a huge difference in my life. If you can self soothe, if you can reparent, then you don't need to be dependent or addicted to anyone or anything! I know I can live a life for myself, that what I'm doing is really important, that I matter, that I don't need to have anybody else's approval or protection. I can live my life because I'm alive, because what I do is valuable, because what I do matters. Because I matter! So the desperation is gone, the fear is gone, the restlessness is gone, wanting somebody else to make me happy is gone and self-sufficiency, self-reliance and living my life and knowing that it's valuable because I exist and what I do is valuable for its own sake and not always waiting for somebody else or their approval, this is a huge load off my shoulders and it's a huge step towards being self-sufficient, self-reliant, and healthy. At last! I'm undoing what the abuse that was inflicted upon me in my childhood did to me, undoing the damage that it had caused. So now I feel like I'm in an independent person who is able to live independently of anyone, of course I want my family and my friends to be in close touch with me and be healthy and happy. That is very important to me.
If you or someone you know has gone through similar things, I hope reading this is helpful and gives you hope that things can get better! They really can! I am really living proof!
This book was helpful to me, even though it talks a lot about being abandoned by your significant other, there is a lot of information about abandonment and working with your inner child to heal! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HW88LU/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the NationalDomestic Violence Hotline.