What was said; What I heard

I read something that had a pretty big impact on me at a pretty important time which has led to the inspiration for this post. I have not spoken to my mother in a week. This would not generally be note worthy but this time it is. The last time we spoke ended badly and the space I thought I needed to take care for myself expanded from a half hour to multiple days to now a week.

During this week my Dad showed up in his normal role in our family: peace maker/mother fixer. My Dad picks up the messes of others so everything can stay neat and tidy and we can all pretend there is no mess. Dad also takes care of Mom, Mom comes first. Always.

The space has been painful. I feel like a terrible daughter, I feel like I am the problem, I feel like I am breaking my mother’s heart, I feel guilt, I feel shame, I feel like I will be a terrible mother. I feel self-doubt. I worry that my actions are manipulative, I am constantly second guessing myself. I feel unstable, out of control.

As the space has gotten bigger so has my truth; I feel rejected. I feel used. I feel blamed like a scapegoat. I feel resentment. I feel more stable. I am starting to gain clarity. I am starting to truly understand how much bigger than me this is. I am learning how to care for myself since the focus is not constantly on caring for her. My heart is aching. I feel let down.

Yesterday or the day before, I honestly cannot remember now, I was reading a blog that I have been following for a long time. It is a blog similar to my own; personal, searching, honest. I appreciate the honest part most. I admire and appreciate people who are willing to say out loud that life is hard, families are hard, relationships are hard. I see enough posed photos with perfect smiles, sometimes I need the honesty of how devastating losing a pet can be. This blogger shows up in her truth.

So I was reading this post that true to form was painfully honest and I definitely identified with parts of it. My truth is different from hers but I saw myself, my childhood self, in some of her writing.

I wasn’t sure I had the courage to be so honest but right now seems like the time. The only way for things to be different is to do things differently. That means honesty and stepping out from the shadow of denial. Last week my mother and I broke another vase, metaphorically speaking, and despite all his efforts my father was not able to sweep these pieces under the rug like so many broken pieces before it. So now I am going to stand here in the mess I helped make and accept Alma’s invitation to be seen in my truth.

What was said and What I heard:

Calm down: You are acting crazy. You are crazy.
This isn’t going to work: You can’t do this. You made a mistake. You did this wrong.
Your mother is really upset: Your mother is really upset and it is your fault. You need to apologize to your mother. Please fix this for me. I am scared.
Your brother _____________: I love him more. Your accomplishments, life, words, ideas, problems, are less important than his.
Mother-daughter relationships are hard: This is what it is, get used to it. Stop trying to change things. Stop upsetting the apple cart.
What is most important is that we love each other: Do you still love us? Are we good parents? Please don’t leave us. Family comes before everything, including your emotional well-being.
*Silence*: Fuck you. You are the worst. I will not bend. You will give me what I want. Who do you think you are? You owe me this. You are not stronger than me. Don’t make me angry. How dare you. I do not love you.

What I needed to hear:

This started long before you.
This is not your fault.
I own my part.
Take all the time you need, I will be here.
I am ready to really work on this.
The truth, the real honest truth.

 

There are a lot of ANDs that exist in this space of pain but this time I am going to keep my ANDs to myself. I know what they are and that is what matters. I do not feel compelled to make this mess pretty to make myself or anyone else more comfortable. Not this time.

mom

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Counting Down to Soul Camp

shadow work1

I am about one week out from Soul Camp and I cannot wait. I am not going to lie to you, I am more excited about Soul Camp than I am about finishing internship or graduating. This is what I have been looking forward to most about the end of the semester. I swear it is coming at the perfect time too. I am finally done with college and here Soul Camp is to catch me. Gratitude for that for sure.

So I have mentioned that this time around soul camp is about shadow work. I have been doing shadow work since November so I arrogantly thought Oh this is going to be easy..

Then I got dropped kicked in the face by my truth. While the work I have been doing is important and for some might feel deep, for me it is completely surface level. It is part of my work but it is not my TRUE shadow work. My true shadow work is deeper and darker and I don’t even feel like saying more about it because my truth is I would rather just leave my blinders up and not do the work at all.

I’ll just stay up here and work on my relationship with entitlement ignoring what lies beneath..

I am not at all happy about this revelation I have had but I know that is where my real work is right now and I am going to try my best to show in my truth at Soul Camp. I did that last time and although it was AWFUL in the moment I think it brought a lot of the other women their work and gave them an invitation to be messy and awful as well.

I already know two things I can, and really need to do, in order to commit to doing this work while at soul camp. The very thought of it brings up deep feelings of grief for me.. I’ll keep processing it and see where I land.

I am really am so grateful for the timing of soul camp this time around, it is so right. I will be done with something huge and going into a major life transition so the extra support will be awesome. Plus I will be coming back to absolutely no commitments. I do not start my new job right away so I will have ample downtime to process whatever comes up while at soul camp. THAT is the real gift.

 

I Need Some Time to Take Care of Myself

I said this to my mother today after she said something to me that was an instant trigger. My mother knows how to push my buttons. Of course she does, she created them!

The moment I felt myself losing control I showed up for myself: I need to get off the phone. I am upset and I need some time to take care of myself. I love you, I am not mad at you but I am upset and I need to not be on the phone right now. We can talk later.

It was important to me that I spoke my truth and got off the phone as soon as possible. I did not want to be pulled back in, my mother often tries to pull me back in.

Mom: Well I don’t know how to respond to that.

Me: Yes, I understand this might be confusing for you and I am sorry about that but right now this is what I need. I have to get off the phone, we can talk later.

……Silence……

Me: Mom. I really need to do this for myself right now but it is important to me that I am not hanging up on you so can you please let me know that you are okay so I can go?

I look down at my phone. She had already hung up on me.

Jokes on you kiddo.

I stood there in my fury and rejection and cried. Here I was needing to take care of myself but still putting her first. I was afraid of how my just hanging up the phone would make her feel while the whole time she had already it done it me. I was trying to mother my mother who was not mothering me. The only person I needed to be mothering was myself. And that is just what I did.

A half hour later my dad was calling. This is typical. This is one of our patterns. Mom and I fight, Mom tells Dad, Dad smooths it over. Nothing is resolved, just ignored. Dad is the reset button.

No thank you.

I turned off my phone and spent the rest of the hour taking care of me and mothering my inner child that felt completely rejected and destroyed by her mother.

I do not know how I have the clarity of mind to even write this right now. My mother is tornado, her path of destruction is wide and I am often left in utter shock and confusion in the emotional wake of it all.

I still do feel a bit shell shocked but I this time I showed up for me and that made a difference.

inner child

Sovereignty

Tomorrow is my interview. This interview feels like the thing I have been holding out for. I cannot explain why that feels true, it is just a feeling.. A knowing.

I have been riding a major wave of anxiety leading up to this interview and today was the crescendo. I thought my anxiety was rooted in a fear of failure, ie: screwing up in the interview or not being what they want. Now I am realizing it has less to do with that, although yes that is a piece of it, and more to do with the bigger picture.

The bigger picture being my expectations for this position and how high I have allowed my hopes to get. The bigger picture being not my fear of failure in the interview but my fear that this job will be everything I want at this moment in my life and somehow I will ruin this for myself. The bigger picture being my fear of success.

I have mentioned before I have a fear of my own greatness. It is scary to say out loud the things that you want. It is scary to allow yourself to be seen and be heard and try to fly when you still unsure if your wings will hold you.

Here is my truth:

I not only want to get this job, I want this job to be everything I am hoping it will be. I want to set my expectations high and have them met. I want this to be the learning experience I need. I want to feel fulfilled by the work and know that I am growing. I want to be successful.

I emailed one of my soul friends today who has had some recent experiences with taking big chances professionally and asked her to lend me some courage. Oh man did she deliver! I guess it is because she has some to spare, this girl has been my inspiration in terms of bravery in recent years.

Then because I felt the desperate need to be in control of something in my life I cleaned my entire house. The bathrooms, the laundry, the kitchen, the floors, dusting, outdoor work, redecorating.. I did it all today. I was a total Susie-homemaker. It did help to give that nervous energy a place to go as well as regain a sense of control over my life for a moment.

When I finished I grabbed some of my self-care tools: my Mother’s Wisdom deck, my Self-Care deck, my sage.. I lit my sage and pulled a card from each.

From the self-care deck I pulled Peace: “Embrace your confusion. Let their be peace in not knowing all of the answers”.

I felt like that was aimed at my controlling piece who is clearly struggling right now when so much is out of my hands.

Will this position live up to my expectations? Will I still be interested even if it does not? Will they want me? Can I do this? Am I ready?

There are no answers for these questions right now so I have to step back from my need to control and let myself experience peace. I recently did a few different guided meditations around water.. the ocean and a river.. both had the same message of surrender. Don’t fight the crashing waves. Don’t try to fight against the current. Instead, allow the water to carry you and trust that you will not be pulled under, trust that you will float and the water will take you where you are meant to go.

Message recieved.

From the Mother’s Wisdom deck I pulled Queen Victoria: Sovereignty. Whose shadow is dependency.

I have to just say, as an aside, I love that this desk not only outlines the meaning of the card you pulled but also the shadow piece that goes along with it. Sometimes what we are experiencing is the shadow and it helps to have that piece included. The description of this card said it all:

To feel whole, one must have dominion over oneself. Drawing sovereignty indicates a hunger to determine the course of your own life. In taking up the mantle of sovereignty – making decision for yourself- you risk exposing yourself to the criticism of others. Do not be deterred. What makes you unique is inviolable. Sovereignty begets acceptance. When we embrace ourselves as we are, we accede to our rightful majesty.

A big piece of my fear pf failure and fear of success has to do with the fact that in this position I am responsible for myself. I would be my own boss, the agency would be contracting me for my services. Do I really believe I can do this?

Sovereignty begets acceptance. When we embrace ourselves as we are, we accede to our rightful majesty.

The only person I have to convince that I am ready for this is me. I have always been my biggest critic and even though I have moved towards a place of nurturing and self-love that does not mean that all of my shadows have been silenced. I still have a long road ahead of me on my personal path of love and healing.

But yes, I do believe I can do this. Not only that, I believe I deserve this!

That’s right I said it.

I believe that I deserve everything that I wish for in this life and so far I have gotten it. I will see my dreams come true in this area as well because I have the power to do that for myself.

After I drew my cards I sat with the feelings that came up and saged myself to release anything that needed to be released.

I am feeling much more grounded and ready for this interview tomorrow.

I release all the messages of doubt and criticism in this moment. They are not my truth and they do not serve me. I give these messages back to those whom they came from. They do not belong to me and I will no longer allow them to call my body home.

I believe that tomorrow will work out exactly as it is meant to. I will stop swimming against the current and allow myself to be carried. I trust that I will arrive where I am meant to be.

When I was looking for an image to go with this post this is the second image that came up and as 2 is my number I clicked on it to see if it fit..

powerful

I am powerful. This was the exact message I needed today and I got it. I got it from my soul friend, I got it from the cards I pulled, I got it in so many ways. Most importantly I am able to say this to myself and know it is true.

 

Soul Camp Meet and Greet

shadow work

Friday night one of my soul friends stayed over. She painted her nails while I laid across the guest room bed and we talked. We talked for hours. We talked about relationships and shadows and projection and writing. I had missed her so much, it was so good to be in the same room with her.

Saturday morning she left early, before I was even up, to get to a wedding out of town. I woke up, had my tea, and headed off to my therapist’s office where she was holding a meet and greet for everyone attending soul camp at the end of the month.

We did some light shadow work to prepare us for what we would be doing the weekend of soul camp. The two shadows that came up for me were self-sabotage and victim mentality.

shadows

I literally laughed out loud (so did my therapist) when these cards came up because this is exactly where I have been stuck.

I know this is where my work is right now, that does not mean I know what to do with it. It will come to me when it is meant to that, I trust that.

So I will be sitting with this leading up to soul camp and more than likely while I am at soul camp.

As for the rest of the meet and greet, it went well. There are a few new faces and a few familiar. I will be sharing a room with my roomie from last time so I am excited about that.

There is one new person who based on my limited experience with her at the meeting I can tell is bringing me some of my work. She reminds me of parts of myself I do have great a relationship with. She shows up the same way I do when I am nervous and while I can have compassion for that, it also makes me uncomfortable because of how I feel about this part of myself.

I think it is good she will be at soul camp because she we hold me accountable for working on the relationships with parts of myself that I prefer not to have positive relationships with.

I am also excited about some of what is being planned. All the work will be meaningful in it’s own way but it was shared that we will be doing a drum circle and I can’t wait. I loved the last drum circle we did, it was so healing after the negative energy that surfaced after the election.

Today I finished my last big paper for my policy class and by the end of the week I will be finished with all my assignments. Next week is my last week at internship. I met my hours the week before last but I decided to stay on until the end of the month so my clients experience a smooth transition going from me to the other counselors.

I do have a few interviews set up in the upcoming weeks but my main concern is just getting through these last few assignments and wrapping up at internship.

I am so grateful to be here, at the end after all this time. In a few weeks I will have my Master’s degree – I never ever thought I would be able to say that.

I am glad that I am ending my time in college with a retreat weekend. I think it will be a great way to release energy I have been carrying all this time. I think it will give me a place to process the shame I have carried all this time that made me feel like these were goals I could never meet.

Gosh this all feels so good.

NF Types Managing Conflict: Part III

While on this trip one of the topics that came up was MBTI. My one friend, the one who had never been in crisis, just recently took the test for the first time and discovered she was an ENFJ. We all talked about our different types together. I am INFP, another is INFJ, this friend is ENFJ, and the last friend said she has never taken the test but I am pegging her as an INTJ.

My ENFJ talked about our similarities at length regarding our two types since we are both NFs. One similarity is that we both abhor conflict and avoid it all costs. We are both peace keepers. One of the things she was processing with me over breakfast when it was just the two of us one morning was how she has trouble boundary sometimes because she is very self-sacrificing and does not want to hurt others. I get that. I have struggled with that as well and I have other ENFJ friends who I know have sacrificed their own emotional well being at times for others. Some of my best friends over the years have been ENFJs, including a few of my current soul friends. I think NFs are naturally drawn to each other because we process the world similarly.

These talks we had helped both of us support each other over the trip as we did have to start setting some pretty rigid boundaries with our friends on the trip.

The first boundary came when they were buying alcohol. My ENFJ friend and I knew we would not be drinking. We had to be up early, look professional, we would be in front of our professors and colleagues from the program not to mention elected officials, and then we would be in the car for four hours. It was going to be a long day. My ENFJ was not willing to risk the hang over. For me this was a no brainer because I stopped drinking all together last year.

We made it clear to our friends that they could do what they want but the plans were what they were for the next day and we would not be changing plans if someone was not feeling good.

We then decided to move my ENFJ friend into my room for the night so she would be able to rest and not get caught up in any possible alcohol induced shenanigans. We did not mean to assume the worst about our friends but they way they were talking at the store was not encouraging.

That night after I had called hubs and checked in for a while I invited my ENFJ friend into my room. We took turns in the shower, talked for a while, watched the amazing light show put on by a lightning storm out our window, and then read our books in bed together until bed time. We were asleep by 9:30.

It was a nice evening. I felt as comfortable with her as I do with any of my people that I am close with (family, soul friends, my husband). I know it is because of our similar personalities. Even our E and I are similar. While yes, she is an extrovert, she is an extrovert that needs quiet alone time because she gives so much of herself when she is out in the world. And while yes, I am an introvert, I am a social introvert because I spend so much time lost in deep thought that it is necessary for me to come to the surface and be social in my own way in order to maintain balance.

The one area we realized we differ is when it comes to our J and P parts. She talked at length about her need for control. Not in an overbearing, manipulative way. It is more of just needing to have a plan and be prepared for possible outcomes. She is very on top of things (hence her arriving 15 minutes early to my home on the day of departure). Where she struggles is when things do not go as planned or she does not have options in situations meaning that control is lost.

I related to her when she was talking to me about this. I think everyone has this piece. My control piece may function differently than hers and may not be as prominent but it is there.

The next day our concerns were confirmed and I have to say I think the two of us did well in supporting one another while we both tried to maintain control over the situation, be flexible when needed, and deal with conflict through boundary setting.

 

NF Types Managing Conflict: Part I

I got back from my girls weekend yesterday afternoon and I have a few posts I would like to share. I am starting here because I have not uploaded any of my photos yet for the other posts I plan to write. There is a lot for me to process so this post will be broken into multiple parts.

The trip had it’s ups and downs. I guess that is just reality because all things do but I was not expecting there to be as many downs as there were. I mean we were on vacation, you don’t go into it expecting issues.

This first post will give context for the second by giving background information leading up to the trip.

It all began a week before the trip. I was getting ready for the Stevie Nicks concert, my Mom and Aunt were on their way to my house and then one of my friends who was going on the trip texted me and was in major crisis. We are friends but she is not one of my people who I share any parts of my own personal struggle with, I was surprised she was reaching out to me. My surprise quickly changed into concern based on what she was saying in the texts, they were dark. I kept encouraging her to reach out to her therapist or at least her Mom or boyfriend. Whoever her people are they needed to know what was happening. She finally agreed to reach out to her boyfriend and we left it at that. It did not sit right with me though so the next day I followed up.

When I spoke with her the next day she tried to minimize the whole thing. I wasn’t comfortable with that. She had a plan, that is all I will say. I was pretty assertive about her needing to speak with her therapist so finally she agreed. I did  not ask to be involved in this but if she was going to involve me I was going to cover my own butt and hold her accountable for taking care of herself.

As our trip grew closer my anxiety began to grow..

What if she has another emotional crisis while we are 4 hours away? What will I do? I don’t want to feel responsible for her. I don’t know what her triggers are. Is it fair to the other girls going that they are in the dark about all of this?

I called two of my own trusted people to process what happened and ask for advice. How do I get through this trip now that this has happened?

My people both advised me to call the two other girls coming on the trip and fill them in so that way we are all prepared if the one goes into crisis while we are away. I did not feel good about this. It felt like I would be breaking the first friend’s confidence if I told the other two. My people convinced me though that it was necessary because it was a safety issue and it was to not only keep our first friend safe but to give the others a chance to consider what they will want their boundaries to be on this trip knowing this information.

I called both of the girls a few days before we were scheduled to leave and I shared just enough information so they had a heads up without actually sharing anything that was said. The first friend was understanding and we agreed that this trip was supposed to be a relaxing trip and that we would both do our part to keep things light and positive while away. The other friend dropped a bomb on me when we spoke.

After I briefly filled her in she said that she was glad I called because she had something to tell me. Apparently she is in the process of being diagnosed with a severe mental health condition and would actually be starting a new anti-psychotic med while we were away on our trip. She assured me that she was stable and was not concerned that any of this would be an issue for the trip. Her assurances did little to ease my anxiety however.

I was not worried about the diagnosis. I believe all things are manageable with the right interventions. My concern was that she would be starting a very heavy medicine that she has never been on before while we are out of town. What if she has a negative reaction? The possible side effects are extensive.

This was just another layer of anxiety to add to the trip for me. I felt responsible for these girls in a way because I was driving. I would be their only mode of transport while out of town. If something were to happen I might have to be taking people to the hospital etc. etc.

This bomb was dropped one day before we were scheduled to leave. This friend explained that she planned to tell the other two so I felt no obligation to warn anyone like I did with the first friend’s issue. I was becoming less and less excited about the trip itself though. This was not shaping up to be the relaxing trip I had hoped for.

The morning of departure arrived and I woke up early still riddled with anxiety. After weighing all my options with hubs I decided to book a second room at our hotel so I could have my own space. One of my big concerns was that it is so a long drive and I was going to need to be relaxed and well rested for our return trip. Having my own room would help with that. It was not an easy decision to make though. We had chosen a nice hotel for this trip. While the rooms were affordable split between four people it was a small fortune when I was paying for it myself. I kept telling myself that I am worth it and that my sanity and self-care is worth it.

I was right. That room saved the entire trip. If I had it all to do over I would pay twice what I paid for the room because having my own room was priceless.