“you can talk about anything”

“You can talk about anything”. Those 5 words are the words that my therapist reminds me of almost on a daily basis – through connection and support.

I have come to love those 5 words! I have come to accept those 5 words, I sometimes look forward to those 5 words, and better yet, I have learned to trust those 5 words.

When I hear those 5 words it gives me an opening to freedom I never had.

I was silenced as a child, I never thought I could open up about what was going on inside, or to talk about what was going on with me.

I spent my whole life with the message inside “don’t tell” or “you can’t talk about any of this” – Of course those words “you can talk about anything” were foreign to me.

My therapist would say it over and over, but those words hit a wall and bounced back to him. The wall was so strong that it was hard to believe those words without a fight to get there.

Earlier years in therapy those words “you can talk about anything” were just words with no meaning. I would speak the words of what was inside, but it was an action, not something I felt I could have or own as something that was mine.

One day, about a month ago before leaving session I finally got it, and accepted it! I turned around before leaving and said “I can talk to you about anything right?” I don’t think I ever saw a smile on his face as I did that day. It clicked, I got it, and better yet, wanted it.

Yes 5 years of therapy and you would think I got the message. I would talk, but not without a fight! I would talk about my past, but not without going through this chain of events called “anxiety”, or like we called it “the weight of silence”.

I would talk in therapy, but never thought I deserved to talk. I always felt as if I was doing something “bad” or “wrong” and it was gut wrenching to move through it.

Today, I finally get it! I know I can talk about anything! I know when I walk through those doors, and sit in my space, those 5 words apply – “You can talk about anything”.

I get chills now when I say it. It’s an open invitation to let out whatever it is I am holding. I don’t have to hold onto anything anymore.

I won’t lie, even knowing those 5 words still comes with it consequences and risks, and it’s painful at times, but I know it’s mine and I know I am fully supported in those words.

I know when I sit next to my therapist and open up, no matter how hard, painful, easy, joyful, heart wrenching or funny with laughter – a hand is there, compassion is there, an ear is there, wisdom is there, and hearing the words “ITS OK”.. and “You can talk about anything” is there.

I think back to my childhood and realize how isolated I really was. I held EVERYTHING inside! Everything is a lot for anyone to hold. Hearing those 5 words are the medicine to my soul!

Hearing those 5 words is like a “cup of self-love”. I am giving myself the self-love every time I honor those 5 words.

I have used those 5 words not only in therapy, but also to the people I am surrounded with. I know I can go to my priest or deacon and talk about anything. I know that I have friends who I hold close that I can just text or pick up the phone and say what I need to say. I am more open with my children and even GOD!

Other words that are followed by those words are “we will work it out” and “we will do what we do best, talk about it“.

Even writing those words it’s comforting! I have never had these options in my life before – it feels good and painful at the same time, but it’s always followed by some kind of relief; to not hold all that is inside.

When I need to reach out for connection, I hear and say to myself “you can talk about anything”… and it helps me to reach out when I need to. Sometimes I have to say the words a couple of times to remind myself of what is there for me – connection is there, I am worth it.

Today I needed to hear those words, and I did. I feel connected and I know that no matter how hard of a time I am going through, I have those 5 words. Those words are the key to my self-worth, self-love, and give me a gentle place to land; right into connection.

This is a part of my healing … towards myself, god, and everyone around me in the way that God intended me to be – free from the walls that used to bind me.

 

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the walls that once provided . . .

When I am dealing with too much than I can handle, I turn to old habits like building walls; emotional walls, like electric fences and barbwire’s!

Those walls served a great purpose in the past. It kept people out, and kept me from leaning in. It kept people at bay from me, and kept my emotions caved in.

It provided me a soft cusion, and kept me safe. It pushed even the good people away; while I survived it alone, day after day! The walls were the only thing I had my whole life.

Years of therapy has helped me take down all those walls! Many many walls have been taken down, and sometimes it can be scary.

I have now learned to think before building walls. My therapist always tells me “lean in” “reach out”, “connect” “you have support”. I have learned to turn to those things before building walls, but not without work and a lot of trust.

When things become too much inside like it has in the past couple of weeks; like things being thrown at me left and right – those are the times that old habits kick in, and I kick into survival mode, and I start slowly building!

I start building walls to not only protect myself from having emotions around it, but I also do it so that I don’t put burden onto others with all that I am holding inside that feels too much.

When it becomes too much inside for me at once, I start to think it’s too much for others; therefor I build walls.

When you have carried things your whole life on your own; you feel you have to do it alone. To hand it over to anyone else – it’s just too much for them, and then my self worth is on the line – and the rolling ball effect begins!

5 years of therapy, this technique of building walls is not working as well as it once did. Today was one of those moments that it just didn’t work, and for the first time, I noticed it, and started to “un-build” the walls as fast as I started to build them.

I went into session today with the walls already starting to be built just little. I have been holding a lot about my mom and other things that have been thrown at me that were least expected.

At first I felt myself becoming quiet, which is the start of the wall building. Then I started to get uncomfortable and that is the 2nd stage of wall building (giving myself a reason to build). Then I start to get defensive, which is the pushing away part of the wall building –  and slowly I actually felt myself doing it, and realized what it was I was doing!

I then got up, told Andy I needed a few moments alone, and went into the bathroom. I knew deep inside, I needed that space for a moment, and that it meant something.

I went into the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face, looked in the mirror and said “stop!” “no walls” “no silence” “lean in“. – “I am supported, I am cared for, and I dont need to do this alone! stop building the walls”.

I went back into the room, sat next to my therapist, and started talking, and talking and talking and talking and letting go for over 90 minutes straight! I broke down and let all my feelings, worries, concerns, burdens, grief, fears, and even some joys be let out into the room!

My therapist looked at me and said “do you know what you just did? You just stopped those walls from building, took control over it, and you right now, look as connected as I have seen you in weeks!

I realized today that those walls that once provided me relief, no longer provide me relief, but provide me more pain. If I had not broken down and talked about what I was carrying inside; my blog would be a whole different story today.

My blog would be about “holding” and “swallowing” what I have had inside since the weekend. I would have built walls and carried the grief about my mom alone. I would have tried to be strong and say “I can do this” when in real I CANNOT DO THIS ALONE! and I don’t have to!

Those old walls, made me do it alone, and slowly I am learning that I don’t have to do it alone! Each time I go through this little by little, I am learning that this is a journey filled with support, care and love – no walls are needed!

I don’t have to live behind the walls anymore, not even to protect others. Leaning in and reaching out for support when I need it is healing. I have said this before, but I am realizing that being weak, is almost powerful sometimes.

Much like Sunday, I am breathing today. I lifted the weight, I talked about it, I broke down, I had support, I had comfort, I had supporting words, and the best thing? I was told “you will get through this, and not alone”, and we figured it out!

I have a plan – we have a plan. I have ways to work around what is going on now. Things are slowly falling into place. I didn’t have to run home and retreat to figuring it out by myself, and there is no way that could have happened with walls.

I am grateful that today I saw what was happening. Just a year ago, I would have built those walls sky high to avoid the truth called emotions, and to protect others.

I am healing even when it hurts like hell, and that is good, because I know I will get through this – I don’t need any walls for me to see that.

I know that tonight, tomorrow, the next day and the days after that – no matter what – I have support to help me through this hump I am going through right now, and that is more powerful than ANY wall I can build.

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the courage to ask

I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about this or not. However, I have always said, “this blog is about healing, and it’s about truth; It’s about my journey going forward”.

Every entry I post is one step closer to my true self. Everyday I try and remind myself that every truth spoken, is another foothold to the next. So with that being said –

I faced a difficult question that has been pressing me for a very very long time. A question that I have been utterly afraid to ask and talk about; and know the answer to.

Saturday night my sister and I had a long talk on the phone (like I mentioned in my last blog entry yesterday). She called me at 12:30am, and just wanted to talk. I don’t know if that was Gods work, or if it was meant to be or not, but for some reason it landed in place as being the right moment.

My walls are down, I am not protecting anymore, I have shed the shame, and I am more and more open for truth. I know and feel that things are so different for me in my healing.

Me knowing that and feeling like I am at a new level – I felt I was ready to ask my sister the question I have been wondering about for a long long time.

The question I asked her was – “Danielle, Were you ever sexually abused or physically abused like I was?, did they hurt you too?”

I sat there with my heart in my throat, my face was flushed, and my heart was pounding through my chest! She said “NO, I was never abused like you were, I was never sexually abused either”.

I had this big sigh of relief and a big breath and tears came to my eyes, but at the same time this anger came over me inside. I wasn’t angry with her, I was just angry and confused, and anger is not something I honor at all, so its confusing for me when I feel anger! So I will swallow it, no matter how I feel.

I have always said that my sister was never abused, and I always had this notion in the back of my mind that somewhere, somehow she was beaten like me; it couldn’t have just been me?! I think I tried to convince myself of that, but there was a part of me that had a feeling that she wasn’t. I just needed to hear the truth after all these years.

We talked more, and she started to open up about the things she saw happen to me. She witnessed a lot of the abuse done to me. The belts across the legs, the head being smashed into the counter 3 times, the nights where my father would drag me out of bed by my feet and getting the belt over and over and over. Danielle had seen a lot of things happen to me in that house, and I can’t imagine what that was like for her to hold.

I feel as if my sister and I broke the silence we had with each other about what happened in this family. I think the both of us were afraid to talk to each other about what we knew and what we were afraid to know. She was afraid to talk about what she saw, and I was afraid to ask her the question; I was afraid of the answer.

On my way to church Sunday morning, I was trying to keep in mind the text that my therapist sent me Sunday morning – “rest in the weakness”, “gathering strength to move forward”.

No matter how supported and connected I felt – out of nowhere I started SOBBING on my way to church. It hit me out of no where and the words that came out in the car  – “Why? Why was I the only one?” I dont understand why I was the only one!

I was crying so hard I couldn’t even see the road in front of me. My heart was broken, I was so sad that a little girl was beaten and sexually abused, but my sister was cared for.

You can imagine what was going through my head. I felt my heart was broken. I have never felt sadness like that before. It was a TRUE TRUE sadness of reality. 4 people in the house abused me, but my sister was unscathed?!!

During Mass I felt so horrible that I almost walked out. I couldn’t sit there and honor this – but I did, I sat with it and honred it and finished the mass, because if I had left, that would be like “them winning” all over again.

Everything that my sister and I talked about Saturday night was all hitting me at once. It was almost as if the Novocain wore off, and I was feeling everything! “The big question was finally asked”. “The truth is finally known”.

After church, I emailed my therapist and checked in like we do. I explained to him how I asked my sister that very hard question, and I was open about my feelings, told him how much it hurt!

I was told that this took a TON of courage to ask her. The fact that I asked her showed that I was ready to hear the answer. The fact that I asked the question showed that I am stronger, and that I was finally ready to hear the truth. I was ready to honor the feelings about that unknown truth. The best part? I stayed connected through this.

I sit here this morning and I realize it did take a lot of courage. It hurts like hell. But I know that it’s healing, and I know it’s growth, and I know that by asking her, I was opening up another wound to heal.

I don’t understand the question – why me?. I don’t understand why my sister was unscathed, and I was tormented and abused. I don’t understand why I have 42 scars on my body, and she has none. I don’t have the answers, but the only answer that I do have is – IT WAS NOT MY FAULT! The power that I do have is knowing that it was 4 people against one, and it was never my fault.

I love my sister so much, I love her so so much! I am so glad that she never had to endure what I did. I am so glad that she doesn’t suffer today in healing like I have to. I am so happy inside that her answer was “no”.

I cried a lot yesterday. I had tears through the day. I have tears right now writing this – and I will probably have tears about it until the sting goes away, but I am glad after all these years that I was finally ready to hear the truth.

I am ready to face the feelings I have inside about this; so this too can be another wound healed.

I may have been the only one in the house who was abused then, but today, I am the only one in the house who is healing and who is healthy!

(THE PHOTO ABOVE ON THE LEFT IS A PHOTO OF ME AND MY SISTER DANIELLE)

I was 9 and she was 4

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