Truly some people who really do give a shit have no idea or ability to show it in a Loving way.
At least that’s what I am hoping considering the actions of many people in the world today.
We have all heard the sarcastic comment that rolls off the tongues of those who want to make known to us all that they don’t care about us or anyone. They pretend they cannot be hurt because they are emotionally bullet-proof. I don’t know about you but I have made peace with the fact, that I am human and like to know I am cared for, liked, and loved. Thing is, with this awareness of the vulnerable human condition of my own heart comes more unpleasant truths.
After ten years of deep meditation and sobriety I realize it was my sick parents, NO, my very sick parents who set up camp at the core of my self-worth taking turns with exacerbating and brutal jabs at me as a person. From conception till now they made known to me my utter worthlessness. Everything about me was wrong in their eyes. Maybe it was themselves who they saw when they looked at their beautiful baby girl. Clearly my parents taught me to loath who I am. They shamed me to the point I hid every aspect of myself. I hid my pain, my joy, my fears, my love, my excitement because I learned from them that if it came from my heart it was bad and wrong.
Fuck you Dad, fuck you very much! Not only that they fed me to the wolves at a tender age to be sexually molested by a second cousin whom they knew was a sick bastard. They hurt me very deeply with their deep dark repetitive, shaming, subliminal messages in my formative years and through life. And the tricky part, I don’t think they ever realized what they were doing to me. And most importantly I had no idea I was either neglected or abused in any way. I didn’t know what emotional neglect and mental abuse looked like coming from a parent. How could I at that age? The beatings were spankings and the belittling was discipline all for my own good of course. When I became an addict I poured all the guilt on myself, I took all the blame for who I was, thank God my eyes finally were opened. Thank God.
So! In the spirit of “moving-on” I put my own heart’s’ voice first by saying “I am hurting” and put it ahead of the need to forgive others. Because the vital step of forgiveness is nearly worthless if we don’t take care of our own emotional pain first. I must refrain from calling my feelings character defects. They are part of who I am. And I became aware through meditation and staying sober that the “pack-mentality” (they did their best don’t blame mom and dad,bla, bla, bla, defend them to the point of blindness etc.) defense toward my family was killing me. And the self condemnation was also killing me. So I held on to my emotionally traumatic resentment for a good year while working on/processing the severe trauma by neglect that I suffered at the hands of those I clearly mistook for someone who gives a shit.
How do I know I need empathic therapy?
I will stop here to let you know how certain issues that do need addressing rear their ugly heads in recovery. Are you angry at others allot. Or just angry? Depressed? Anxiety? Are you suffering from sick relationships? Hate/Love type relationships or maybe you can’t handle relationships at all. If after a couple years of 12 step work we still suffer from chronic irritability it may be time to cry, scream, share, talk, out and journal your issues with someone WHO DOES GIVE A SHIT. Or someone who at least knows how to listen to your feelings and concerns and respond with the following qualities:: Please know empathic healing from deep traumatic wounds cannot happen by having an “our part” pointed out to us or by searching for character flaws. Healing won’t happen by assuming that re-visiting pains in the quest for healing is always morbid reflection and self pity. The 12 steps do work in some ways. And God does heal, sometimes. But in Alcoholics Anonymous people invalidate and minimize trauma feelings that are at the core of most addictions. Yet they write them off as if all our feelings of hurt are a character flaw that needs repressed.
That attitude is what got me sick to begin with for this a attest I was in recovery for years but now am finally recovered.
Mirroring- To convey understanding by reflecting back what has been expressed or indicated. (repeating back our words in a way we know we are being heard and understood. Example: “It sounds like your feeling frustrated because…”
Affirmation- Validating basic human rights and qualities. “It’s normal to feel…” “I can understand why you would feel…”, “You have the right to be angry”. “You know what’s right for you.”
Relating- Sharing our own similar experience. “That happened to me too, I felt so abandoned.”
Caring- Expressing our own feelings and perceptions to convey caring and support. Example: “I admire your strength and courage.” “I feel sad you went through that.”
Sometimes these four little steps are all the lie between anxiety and peace If we exert the courage to open up to someone who won’t shut us down. There is a reason some people are easy to talk to. And on the other hand all some people know how to do in a conversation is seek out a vulnerability and attack.
Not everyone needs spanked by their AA sponsor. Some people can pick up the Big Book with the help of some guiding prayers and do the most honest and thorough fourth step you have ever seen. Some people will take it too far because they have been condemning themselves for their entire lives. Granted few people don’t use the fail-safe of “accusing blame” when they are suffering deeply. Finding a balance as to when we have been wronged and deeply hurt and those slights that run off us like water on a duck. Once we build self worth by one esteem-able act at a time we won’t be so easily offended. But in my case here recently I was wronged repeatedly by a family who I must forgive. But forgiving is sometimes a process that should begin with self-respect and self Love. By validating our hurts we can then let them flow out with the tears.
Addicts can only endure so much guilt until we need to shove some off on somebody else. Make it their fault instead of our own. Problem is we usually end up condemning those we Love most.