From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that?
Below is a partial post from the thread, “When winning more important to bio-mom than getting along.” I’ve included it here as I got several comments about this and thought maybe more of you would see it here.
The thread subject shifted a bit to the discussion of how it can be painful on the path of self-awareness and secondly, how much the narcissists in our lives (particularly our parents and skid’s bio-mom) impact us in ways we never realized.
If you’re on the path of personal growth or are just waking up to how much you’ve been hurt by another, maybe this will support you. I hope so. Cathryn
My reply to sister SMOMS,
While there's a freedom and almost a sense of joy that comes when we figure something out about ourselves, our patterns, our behaviors and why we feel as we do; there's often hidden pockets of anger, pain and the grief that come up as well so...please, please find comfort and love and compassion wherever you can in this process.
It's an exciting time AND it's a time to treat yourselves the way you'd treat a loved one after complex heart surgery...tenderly, patiently, lovingly. I know your situations are different yet realized I was going to tell you both the same thing so pardon the combined note.
For all of us...As we put down the banners, pom poms, strategic blueprints and action plans all designed to bring about our happy blended family, we begin to feel the underlying flow of the feelings that got pushed back in the process of our efforting. This is a natural human reaction to stress, kind of like emotional shock protection. It allows us to continue "the fight." As we begin to slow down or "Push in the clutch" on our efforts, we become more and more conscious of what we're feeling, what we're needing and usually all the places our boundaries have been violated, only we were too busy trying so hard for the sake of the "Cause" that we brushed these feelings away like annoying flies at a fireworks show.
The phase in the emotional process of "waking up" to what's really been going on is like what happens when our arm or leg wakes up after it falls asleep. It falls asleep when we're doing something else (people rarely say “OK now I'm going to put my arm to sleep for a bit") but after awhile, when we decide to move...we have a numb, non-responsive limb (get's our attention big time). Because we've learned about this physical phenomenon and most of us have experienced it, we know what's coming next....yep, the "pins and needles" part.
Ouch!!!. We brace, we breathe, we endure, we stroke our arm or leg to get things moving faster-all the while knowing that this is a temporary phase of the waking up process. Nobody I know goes, “I don't want those pins and needles, it's too painful-I've got to put my limb back to sleep fast!!" We endure it, KNOWING, without a doubt, that it's going to pass and then our arm or leg is going to be fully alive and healthy and functioning as it should.
Well, you know where I am going with this, right? Whenever we make the conscious choice to look at what's happening in our emotional lives, to look at what isn't working for us, what's causing us pain or discomfort, we're going to discover patterns and beliefs that were, when we first employed them (early childhood) very effective at keeping us feeling we could survive whatever was happening. Problem is that rarely do we realize we've employed these tactics or realize they’re now attempting to numb some feelings. They are such a part of us we don't realize we even have a choice about how we behave, think, react to some things. It becomes unconscious until we uncover it again.
So, as we uncover true needs, true feelings and feel the stowed away, numb pain, grief, rage, hurt, sadness, humiliation, shame, guilt, etc. we're going to enter the "emotional pins and needles" phase of healing. As we do this consciously, knowing there are going to be some pins and needles, when it happens, we can mobilize all our lovingkindness and tend to ourselves in whatever ways we need, knowing it's going to pass and we're going to emerge healthier, more alive and wiser than ever. This realization, that the painful feelings will be followed by healing, relief and more room for joy, love and wisdom, makes it easier to endure. Yet, it will still require courage! What you two, and many of us are doing takes great courage and our efforts will be rewarded...KNOW THAT.
On the otherhand, the emotional pins and needles are the reason so many people don't do the emotional work to heal after a traumatic experiences, that include most of our childhoods. They believe or have been convinced that numb is better than authentic emotions. They fear that the pain, grief, rage, hurt, etc will destroy them so when they get a glimpse of revived previously numb feelings but don't know (and trust) the healing process, they refuse to continue, get defensive, lash out and sadly (understandably) shut down again in an attempt to feel numb. It's hard to watch in a loved one. It's a common survival strategy for many people.
However, here at SMOMS it's my hope that we can help each other get through the process and come out on the other side. As we become aware of where we've been numb or blinded, and where we've been hurt, abused, neglected, etc, we can help each other remember to be tender and gentle, to keep breathing and have faith that the pain will pass and that we'll feel healthier, stronger, more alive and more able to see the world and those we love more clearly...it's one of the ways wisdom is gained in life.
Part of this process requires confidence. Confidence that we can handle whatever happens to us, trusting in ourselves and our process. Confidence is believing in yourself as a woman in a tough role, believing you can find a way to take care of yourself. It's believing that whatever happens, you’re wise enough, strong enough, creative enough, brave enough, kind enough and loving enough to deal with whatever happens and that you can create a solution for whatever is needed at any given time.
I don't know how everyone feels but I do know pain, rage, deep depression, humiliation, abuse and neglect and the struggle to keep the faith when you feel you’re about to go under (whatever that means for you). I'm just wanting to encourage everyone to stay on their path of growth and emotional discovery because while the transformation process includes a wide range of feelings it WILL bring you the peace, joy, aliveness, power, well-being, safety and inner knowing that so many of us strive for.
This is long, I know. I just felt inspired to share what I was feeling. Use it as you will. Cathryn