Today was an intense session. I’m going back tomorrow morning and I’ll write all about it then. But one thing A said to me in session today was that I never let the part of me that wants to be there speak. So I came home, and I wrote out all my limiting beliefs – and then I let that speak. I couldn’t answer all of them, but she did get louder.
The things I believe
The true story.
I am responsible for my brother’s life.
<Brother> is his own person, and the decisions he makes are out of my control. If he chooses to take his own life, that is a choice separate from me. A choice that never would have been my fault. Just like his choices shouldn’t cause an automatic response from me, my choices shouldn’t cause an automatic response from him. Sometimes they do because of what we’ve been told, and that’s okay, but ultimately there is no cause and effect between my choices, and his. His actions are not tied to my worth. I am not responsible for him.
I do not deserve to have needs.
It is healthy to have needs and normal to need others. It is okay to ask for what we need. Needs are not a result of “less than” or “lacking in”. Needs are normal. I am allowed to have them and I deserve to have them met.
I caused my own sexual assault because I lied about being sexually assaulted, and it was punishment. Therefore, I don’t deserve proper care.
My worth as a human is directly tied to my intellect and performance.
I am worthy because I exist. That’s it. I am worthy of love and kindness and care and compassion. I am lovable without straight A’s or a shiny resume.
I am not allowed to occupy space/I am a waste of space/ I am invisible.
I am entitled to the same amount of space as everybody else. I am allowed to set boundaries around my space. I am allowed to take up the space I need. I am allowed to say ‘no’.
I can fix my family because I’m the part that is broken. If I fix me, my family will become whole again.
I am not the reason that I was not properly cared for in the moments I really needed care. Circumstances out of my control created a situation difficult for everyone, but that does not and should not fall on me. It does not minimize my experience and does not change my worth. We are all human. A lot has happened. None of it happened because I failed or wasn’t enough for my family. It was not my job to fix them then, and it is not my job to fix them now (nor is it possible). All I can control is me, and I am deserving of a peaceful and loving life. I was a child, it was not my fault. My family will likely never be what I want but that isn’t because I am wrong or broken.
One day, they will apologize to me.
In reality I don’t know, and never will, it’s unlikely. And holding out for it makes me really sad, and keeps me stuck. They will likely never validate this for me and I need to let that hurt, because that is a really painful truth. But my worthiness, experience, and story are not reliant on their validation. My experience is valid because it is that, mine. And I’m allowed to own it, and it is allowed to have a voice.
I am inherently bad. There is something wrong with me, and I need to find out what it is before I lose everything I love.
I do not deserve my husband’s love.
Bullshit. I do, and I know it. He has forgiven me. The issue here is I don’t believe I should feel forgiven. When am I going to stop punishing myself? I deserve the care, love, and light he brings me. All of it. And I deserve it from me, too.
I am going to be a bad mother. I shouldn’t have kids.
I will make mistakes. I won’t be perfect. But I will own those mistakes. And I already love those children so much. And for the right reasons. I may never be ready but if I do have them, I will love them the best way I can with my eyes wide open. And I won’t fail them in the same ways. I am already mothering them by working on this.
Doing something ‘bad’ equals being ‘bad’
Making mistakes leads to growth. I am the sum of all my experiences and actions, the majority of which are kind and compassionate. I am not bad – I am sad, and angry, but those are for some damn good reasons. I am not bad. Making mistakes is human, and I learn from them. I grow. I am whole, and worthy, and enough, even when I make mistakes.
It’s wrong to want to be loved by my mother/to wish for a different mother/and I should be ashamed — and I’m wrong for thinking she isn’t enough.
I needed her in some really key moments and she wasn’t there – and regardless of the reason or her intention, I am allowed to mourn that and wish she was. It isn’t black and white. I’m allowed to yearn for what I did not have. I am not wrong.
If I was better/smarter/more well behaved/skinnier my father would love me, and I would finally be enough for him.
My mother’s inability to tend to me is a direct result of me failing her as a daughter.
My mom’s inability to tend to me is a result of her childhood and upbringing. And it’s really unfair how that has always been used against me, as an excuse or held over my head. The fact that bad things happened to her does not change my needs, and it shouldn’t. I am allowed to have feelings about this. Her failures in tending to me have nothing to do with me.
My mother ignores my needs because I’m wrong to have them.
My mother ignores my needs because she has never learned it’s okay to have them. And that is not on me.
I am horrible for lying
Horrible and hurting are different things. I was hurting.
I am a failure if I can’t heal my family.
It is not my job to heal them. It is not within my power to heal them. I love them, and it hurts to let go of this, but it was never something I could do, and believing it is only limiting me.
I do not deserve special treatment/help due to my trauma. I shouldn’t get ‘free passes’.
If none of these limiting beliefs are true… If moving forward requires letting them go… So much of my past could have gone differently and I should have been able to do this years ago. I’ve wasted time.
All we can ever do is work off the information we have. What was true at the time is not true now. But there is no way to go back. There is no way of knowing the what ifs. I did the best with what I had but the work now, that’s impressive. I am working now, and that is what matters. Don’t stop moving, don’t give up.
She would be so disappointed in me. I was her legacy.
I miss her. She adored me. I can’t know how she would feel now. I can remember her love.
What I didn’t realize I was working towards in therapy was this: that my family rides off into the sunset, I am heard, I am validated. There are apologies, and every once and a while I am put first. There isn’t silence. Or, alternatively, that I win. I get their love while he suffers. I prove my Dad wrong and my Mom finally hears me. There’s forgiveness and we can go back in time and fix this and we get a happily ever after. I don’t have to achieve for them to love me and I finally figure out how to fix them.
But that isn’t realistic, and that’s where I have been feeling stuck. I’m running into the same problem because I can’t let go of that future. That future is all about others, and it’s externalized. So I re-wrote it tonight after Strong asked me – what do you want the future to be?
I am at peace with the past. I’m thriving instead of surviving. I spend time mourning, and grieving because that needs to happen. I grow my circle of people who love me because I exist. There’s forgiveness when I’m done being angry, if it’s one sided that’s okay, but anger just hardens the heart. I love myself, and I am enough for me, and I stop living for others. I can sleep well without nightmares and ask for help when I need it. I draw boundaries and keep them – out of love for myself and respect for my relationships. I am okay with the calm. I have my husband, maybe my children, and I build relationships with my parents or family that work for me, with the expectation that those relationships are allowed to grow or change. I can feel again. I am enough for myself. And I live a life that is enough for me – and I’m not afraid anymore, and I’m not competing for a happy ending anymore. And I’m okay with the sad days. And I realize I’m not responsible for anyone but me, and I trust, and I love. Because all we really have is now, and it doesn’t have to be a competition. I deserve a peaceful life of my own design. I deserve to heal.