Working with the Conflict

From my journal, continued:

Thursday, March 12
There’s a temptation to believe that I don’t enjoy my life, either because I’m not really making a contribution or because I’m refusing to enjoy my life as it is.  That makes me a worthless, ungrateful, selfish person who doesn’t deserve good things.  But that’s what I learned from mother about who I was.  I think of the time I went out of my way to pick up some medication for her on the way home from Aunt Betty’s, and instead of thanking me she said “They weren’t going to deliver it, were they,” in a snide tone of voice.  No wonder I find it hard to believe that I can do anything good.  I guess it’s the collision between these two opposed versions of me that is making me feel so confused.  I don’t know which to believe.  Actually it’s more that the idea that I’m worthless is encoded in my cells, the possibility that I do make a contribution I get with my intellect, but to be able to take it in emotionally requires dismantling the mother voice in me that says “Don’t think you’re so great.”

The other difficulty is the struggle with PTSD.  There’s nothing visible, like a brace on my leg, and there’s so little understanding in the culture of what trauma really means.  I remember the time at the Circlework training, I was struggling with terror through the roof, and I must have said something about fear and this woman told me “fear is a choice.”  That made it all worse.  If fear is a choice, then I should be able to choose not to be afraid, and I can’t.  It was only much later, after considerable thought, I saw that fear is not a choice unless you are scaring yourself with a story you believe.  Otherwise, fear is triggered by something external, and then your only choice is how to deal with it.

I noticed driving to town, that I don’t feel like I have to prove I deserve to live right now, and I don’t care if I’m a “good person” or not.  So I still have those two healings.  Checking for God — he/she/it/they seemed distant, indifferent.  Tiny One is curled tightly in a ball — I get a message that it’s too many bad things: a friend having a hard time, the constant war, the unnecessary poverty, etc.

Friday, March 13
I felt better yesterday than I did the day before, but I still didn’t feel energetic enough to drive to Montpelier.  So I talked to Karen on the phone.  She was a big help.  I read her all that I had written yesterday morning.  I see that I was so confused because the new story — that I’m just what God/Universe wanted — has grown to be as strong as the old story — I don’t deserve to live.  Karen helped me see that perhaps I don’t have to choose between them.  I told her about seeing that the inner ones who hold me down are trying to protect me from Mom.  I’ve always felt frustrated that the good times are so short — I told Karen about the day the Christmas Tree fell down — and then I lose them again.  Karen helped me get that it’s just how the process works.  Slowly the good days come more often and last longer.  I’m thinking now that the good days show that I have the capacity for happiness.  She pointed out that when I complain about how long I’ve been working to heal, I’m judging myself for taking so long.  “It takes as long as it takes.”  It’s also true, I see now, that it’s taken so long because of the size of what I was up against.  I also thought about that long piece I wrote about denial, and realizing that it wasn’t denial at all, it was lack of information.  Even my resistance to the diagnosis of PTSD was because 1) the Doctor prescribed medication that traumatized me 2) I thought it was me trying to make myself important which was mother’s idea 3) I thought “trauma” meant violence, and though my parents were mean and confusing alcoholics, they were never violent.  It wasn’t until I got to the place in Waking the Tiger where Peter Levine says: “an infant can be traumatized by being left alone in a cold room,” that I finally realized what I was up against.

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