Thursday, July 8, 2010

Longing to Be Free

Some thoughts I have been having lately...
ONE
"Long after the offenses are over and in the past, we who have been violated in childhood by sexual abuse carry with us an internal monologue that goes on discouraging us and tearing us down as we attempt to reconstruct and heal in our recovery." - Maureen Brady, Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse.
Oh, yes. Those inner tapes we play in our heads over and over. Those inner tapes that were recorded in our childhood  - those hurtful things that were said and done making us feel like we were not good, we were not valued, we were not loved.
Now I am trying to make new tapes. In these tapes I am telling myself that I am a person of value. I am a person worthy of love and respect.
I am tired of being torn down by those inner tapes. I want to make new ones.

TWO
My spiritual director, a very wise man, taught me that I need to stop saying "I should." Like...
I should have done a better job with that.
I should not have said that.
I should have said yes when she asked me to do that.
I would often use that phrase when I was tearing myself down in some way. He showed me how that phrase was hurting my self image. Now whenever I hear myself say I should - an alarm goes off in my head and I stop and check out what I was saying and what I really meant. 
For example - maybe I would have LIKED to have done a better job writing that speech. That doesn't mean I did a bad job and it doesn't mean that I am a bad person because it was not as good as I wanted it to be. To say I should have done a better job is beating up on myself and giving myself the wrong message.
Learning this has helped me tremendously and so I pass it on to you.

THREE
"When I was abused, I took on my abuser's shame. I became accustomed to feeling badly about myself whenever something did not go smoothly or successfully." - Maureen Brady, Daybreak: Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse. 
Shame. It did a number on me. It contributes to that internal monologue that is harmful. It contributes to my perfectionism.But the shame is not my shame. It does not belong to me.

FOUR
“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.”  - St. Francis de Sales
I found this recently. What a message. I have struggled with perfectionism most of my life, but I don't think St. Francis is talking about that. 
Trying to be perfect for others - trying to be perfect so I will be loved by others - there is nothing free about that.
But to be me. And to accept myself as I am... that sounds like the kind of freedom I have been seeking.

19 comments:

Grace said...

Thank you...I stumbled across this post tonight and it is exactly what I needed to "hear".
Thank you...
Grace

Colleen said...

Grace, glad you found what you needed to hear. Hugs.

Lily said...

I can definitely relate to the first 3 things listed. Still working on the 4th!

Marj aka Thriver said...

Isn't that a great meditations book? Sometimes I open it right to the exact page that I need to read. I can so relate to what you said about taking on the abuser's shame. I think so many of us did just that.

This is such a wonderful "Freedom" post, Colleen. I hope you're going to submit it for the July carnival, if you haven't already. Good stuff!

Colleen said...

Lily, me, too. Hugs.

Marj, thank you. I didnt think about that but yes, i will submit it. Thanks

Just Be Real said...

My t. calls me on the "shoulds" "coulds" and "woulds." I have improved on this though and now say that I "want" or "desire" Makes a difference. But yeah, Colleen we do take on that awful shame. I used to think what I felt was embarrassment not shame. But, yes, it is shame. I went and checked that link to Maureen. Sounds very good. Thank you for sharing dear one. Blessings and (((Colleen))))

Colleen said...

JBR, you are welcome. I seem to know that it is not my shame but it is there anyway. Blessings to you too!

Patricia Singleton said...

I also have Maureen Brady's book and quote from it quite often on my own blog. That book has helped me so much in changing my thinking about myself.

Changing those inner tapes is so important. When we can do that is when we finally stop believing the lies of our abusers. Our inner tapes are usually their voices reinforcing all of the lies that they told us when they were abusing us.

Letting go of shame is probably one of the hardest ones to do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

I learned in several 12-Step programs to let go of the "shoulda, woulda, couldas" in my mind. They just help us to continue to abuse ourselves long after our abusers are gone from our lives.

(((Hugs Colleen))) Sending love and blessings your way.

sarah said...

good post...I too can relate.

Colleen said...

Patricia, thanks for your comments. Maureen's book helps me a lot too. I keep going back to it. And I so agree with your comment on shame. Hugs to you!

Sarah, thank you! Glad you liked it. Hugs.

Paula said...

Yeah, the should and if¨s! Can make life pretty hard, misleading me even more. Getting better on it though. This shame thing is for me the most difficult one to overcome. And this tape in my mind, wow, I thought everyone has something like that in their minds. By now I use Jacobsen technique and slowly but surely my mind slows down and for me it is easier now to curb the thinking pattern. Love and hugs form my pilgrimage, still walking...

Colleen said...

Paula, good luck on your walking trip!! Hugs!

mmaaggnnaa said...

Awesome! Well said!

The shame part, the inner dialogue, the tearing down . . . I know about all of the that . . .


And, I'm learning about the new way of speaking to myself.

Thanks for sharing!

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

Colleen said...

Marcie, thank YOU! I appreciate your comment. Learning to speak to ourselves this way isn't easy. Hugs.

Ivannia said...

This is very deep...I don't know you but i am following you because i see strength...

Colleen said...

Ivannia, thank you so much. People say I am strong. I do not always feel that way though. Thanks for following me. I will come by and visit you too!

VICKI IN AZ said...

This is powerful and tender at the same time. Thank you for sharing your growth with us.

My therapist always told me that should was a bad word too.

Colleen said...

Vicki, I had never heard that before about 'should.' It is a good thing to know.

Marj aka Thriver said...

This is just a perfect post for the July BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE. Thanks so much, Colleen, for allowing us to use it. You rock!