A few weeks ago I entered a familiar cycle where my voice was silenced. There was an overwhelming sense of urgency to speak, cry, or yell out- but I could not do it. Something was triggered in me that took me to a familiar dark place of aching isolation.
In the past I would allow myself to spiral deep into this emotional abyss. Someone would come along and save me. By save, I mean distract. The distraction would raise my spirits temporarily, and I lived to see another day.
In the healing process, I realized my approach is dated and counterproductive; the equivalent to covering up shit but allowing it to fester and stink up my house, then waiting for someone else to do the cleaning. To rid myself of the stench I have to clean shit up. Where does one begin to clean a mess that seems to have no end?
Let’s examine triggers. I have experienced abuse and abandonment throughout my early years. I was conditioned to believe that people who love only stay around for a short time while people who abuse never go away. These foundations have caused me to block (or suppress) much of what I know as a child so when events arise that trigger fear of abuse or abandonment, I completely shut down. Out of habit, I isolate myself, wonder what I am doing wrong, and what I can do to make the feeling go away. In other words, I abuse and abandon myself. As I have aged, I see how this cycle debilitates me, doing more harm than good. The guilt that comes from this realization has become unbearable.
Depending on your beliefs, this may sound like the behavior of Ego, or The Enemy- because both pull people into isolation; a place where the concept of love and nurturing from the and outside world cannot exists. What is the outcome of feeling like no one outside the Self loves you? It is painfully difficult to love yourself- or so I believed for the last 30+ years.
It is important to acknowledge that most of who we are as adults is the fruit of all life experiences since the conscience beginning of our time. It is also detrimental to acknowledge growth in all areas of life. Most adults are not trying to wear the clothes they wore as children. This level of self-recognition is no easy feat. For a moment I felt like I had to dig deep into my memory bank and figure out the events that “made me” the adult who shuts down to cope. Then I remember that every question we ask doesn’t need an immediate answer, but we can choose how we respond to these challenges. Ego/The Enemy doesn’t care for this approach because, if the issue is resolved, their role in your life becomes less conspicuous.
So, I was spiraling fast, trying to dig so deep within myself to find this trigger. I dug myself into exhaustion. In that exhaustion, I accepted the cycle has to end. I got out my journal and did a shit ton of writing. I wrote to myself, I wrote to God, my parents, anyone who came to mind during this time to tell them I cannot and will not live in pain and isolation anymore. It was an entry that took hours to write. I didn’t blame anyone but I did acknowledge how certain memories haunted and hurt me in the present. The days following this purge, I felt lighter. I realized that I did not abuse or abandon myself. I feel like it was the first time I loved myself unconditionally. I allowed myself to be in the dark place. I acknowledged I put myself there and I decided I wanted to get out for good. I gave myself a voice; even if it was an inaudible voice, or a voice that only I understood. I did the opposite of abuse and abandon myself. There is a reason, a season, and lesson for everything in life. No distraction could penetrate me.
From all this, I began to break the mold.