I feel guided to write about the blessings and difficulties with family.
I have been out of touch with my parents, off and on, for over 20 years. There have been times of contact, almost always at my hand, in which I had high hopes that things would work out and that I could feel safe in their company. But any short-lived hopes were slowly (or quickly) dashed when some new unconsciousness caused me to need to back away in order to protect myself and my children.
It’s not that my standards are that high; in fact, my desire for safety fights with my loyalty and deep craving to be with my people, the ones that I came from. I have put myself in the line of fire many times over because I have listened to that little girl inside of me that wants her parents. At some point, and more than once, I have had to step in as a wise and discerning adult to take care of her and parent her myself.
My challenges with my family of origin started much earlier than when I went into recovery at age 23 for PTSD. As a little girl, I felt the shakiness of the ground I walked on due to the flimsiness of my parents’ own parenting. They, too, were looking for ground in their lives, not having had parents that could stand up and be emotionally responsible adults. As my parents had me so young, and as they elected not to do any therapeutic work about their parenting in subsequent years, I was my own parent (as well as theirs, at times). To my great shock, I realized just recently that I did not truly have a childhood.
I have found an unfortunate side effect of not having been parented is a feeling of being ungrounded in physical life. This has forced me to find ground in myself. One of the ways this has manifested for me is making myself heavier (both physically and emotionally, a way to anchor myself to the earth and to feel somewhat safer).
Another way this has shown up for me is to have experimented with many ways of thinking and trying on different beliefs, ideas, and experiences, like so many costumes. The basic core of who I am is the same…but I have had a willingness to be open to many new ideas without judgment. This has taught me so much.
Perhaps the most damaging side effect of being ungrounded due to not being parented adequately (that I experience) is a pervasive lack of trust. This mistrust can translate to many levels: daily situations (if I put this in the mail can I trust that it will get there?), nature (if I step outside the door, will there be a rattlesnake ready to bite me or a tree ready to fall on my head?), and Spirit (does Godde really have my back?) But the most crippling mistrust that I experience is in people. While I have come a long way to heal my mistrust of Spirit, Nature and All Creation, I find that there are very few people that I trust.
What I mean by trust is…can I be myself with you? Can I say what is true for me in your presence without judgment or negation? Can I live my life and hold my own beliefs as I see fit without condemnation or denigration? Can you find it in your heart to applaud my courage in finding my own path rather than being threatened by it? Can I be completely me with you, warts and all?
Healing the trust wound is a tough process; by necessity, healing it means sticking your neck out, over and over, in hopes that you won’t get squashed like a bug. The irony of healing mistrust by attempting to trust is not lost on me; the vulnerability that is needed is mind boggling. But there’s no other way to do it; the alternative is to stay in a shell like a turtle and miss out on so much.
There’s a big, wide world out there; the rewards for trusting in the right moments are profound and go a long way towards feeling like I belong on this earth.