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Challenge: Digging Deep


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I grew up in chaos, fear, pain and constant confusion. I honest to God do not know how I managed to marry a healthy spouse because I was so screwed up.

I used to think this was normal.

I was shocked when I realized it wasn’t.

My big brother and I grew up in an environment that was not conducive to us. We were not a priority and there was never not a war going on in our home.

I have a lot of memory loss from when I was a child, but I do remember feeling terrified all the time. I remember feeling helpless to protect myself from the onslaught of torment that was a staple in my life.

No matter what I did there was disapproval and consequences.

I wanted to be a good girl and I tried to be a good girl, but I could never escape the bullets; not even once I was married.

My father was an expert at withholding love from me. He knew exactly when and how to do it, so it would really impact me. I think he enjoyed it.

Over time as I drowned in rejection, I started building a maze that was impossible to get through and then I stuffed myself in the farthest corner of it. As I got older this made it impossible to create healthy relationships. Any of my friends from my teen years on into my early twenties, will ALL tell you that I was crazy. Psycho in fact.

I grew up in chaos and every day I faced some sort of deliberate rejection from my father.

On one particular day he was completely out of control.

I remember thinking “he’s going to put me through a wall.”

He just wouldn’t leave me alone and I was scared to breath.

He hovered over me criticizing everything I did.

And then like a volcanic eruption he told me that he wished I were never born.

In the same breath he blamed me for my mother’s open-heart surgery that year and then stood in silence waiting for me to respond. I dare not.

Everywhere I went I brought chaos and rejection with me. And I made sure there was plenty to go around.

But once I met my husband those fires I liked to set where quickly cut off.

My husband could always sense my “psychotic state” preparing to make an entrance, but he gave it no room to breathe. He left my maze in ruins and no matter what I did he responded with love. It wasn’t until I could see how bad I was hurting him that I knew I was making a grave mistake in choosing anger every time. Unless you’re narcissistic it’s hard to keep hurting someone who keeps giving you love.

Eventually I melted and started the excruciating work of unlearning my toxic behavior. And I would do it all over again if I had too.

But two Tuesdays ago, I struggled.

Two Tuesdays ago, I wanted to take a flame thrower and torch all the progress (which has been monumental) I’ve made.

Two weeks ago I toyed with the thought of ushering self-destruction back into my life. The “I don’t care, I’ll burn everything to the ground” type of destruction.

One ugly secret from my past was enough to make me buy a ticket back to “WTF town.” But what was worse is who shared the secret.

Hearing this particular person say Just a few words flooded me with feelings of helplessness and worthlessness and my brain immediately descended into chaos.

So I made a choice. I spent the next day chewing on this secret and by that afternoon I had decided I was going to give self-destruction another chance to come back and make my life a living hell. I was scared and being scared made me angry.

Looking back I can see how erratic I was that day. But in the moment, I wasn’t aware of it. Or was I? (Evil laugh)

Two Tuesdays ago I drove at SUPER-SPEED to pick up my kids from school. Nascar should be calling any day now.

Instead of getting a grip on my emotions I allowed my old destructive mindset to have a board meeting in my brain. They voted and decided to take full advantage of this opportunity and sent “rage” to represent them.

I then slung my car into the car rider line so fast my daughter yelled “mom slow down!!!!”

Giving my kids teacher a quick glare (because he was staring at me like WTF are you on??!!!) I sped through the parking lot. I practically floored it all of five feet to the door. I drove around twenty miles an hour into a small parking lot with the span of maybe a hundred feet!!!!

As I slammed on brakes another teacher was approaching me with her hands out. I rolled down the window and yelled what’s the problem!! (I knew what the problem was.)

She politely replied, “you’re coming in a little fast there” to which I replied in a condescending, I’m in the mood to start some unnecessary BS tone… “oooohhh I wasn’t going that fast.”

Here I go! I’m reliving old trauma and letting it define my present life again. I have fallen back into my old mindset. FEAR.

I’m fearful because, “I grew up in chaos.” I cannot trust authority because people in authority have abused me. So I rebel against anything that looks like authority. Being abused again is not an option!!!! I will do whatever it takes to protect myself, even if it means becoming destructive.

I chaotically sped through a school parking lot that tiny kindergartners walk through. On the heels of that chaos, I disrespected a teacher who is only trying to protect young students. “My kid!!”

I blatantly disagreed with her on the need to keep kids from getting smashed by cars. I make it clear that I’m careless and unpredictable in a place where that kind of behavior can have devastating repercussions.

What I’m trying to say here is very simple:

You need to let go of the past. If you’re an adult and you are still talking about your horrible childhood and blaming your parents for your lack of success; then let’s be honest, either you want to be free and you need to fight harder or you don’t want to be free.

Here’s a secret; no one is coming to apologize to you. They probably don’t even know what they did. I know this because I once waited for an ‘apology’ that I never got for 20 years. And every year that it did not come, I got angrier and angrier. I spent 20 years of my life focusing on, crying over, obsessed with, refusing to let go of my past abuse. I tormented myself with bad memories that played on repeat in my head.

I’m not going to sugar coat this. Rewiring your brain will almost kill you and the constant upkeep can be harsh. But what you gain from changing the way you think FAR out ways what you get if you don’t.

You can sit on your God given talents and hurt other people because you are hurt. You can hide yourself away in a corner and pout because you feel inadequate.

You could also continue to make extremely poor choices like me, and almost commit “vehicular homicide” altering the entire course of your life and ruining everyone else’s life connected to you and the victim. Or you can decide to change.

FYI: I did apologize to the teacher both verbally and monetarily. In front of my children. Lesson learned.

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