Thursday, September 8, 2016

Shame and Self Worth

While meeting with my therapist today she asked me to journal about some of the things we talked about in our session. I had just typed this in my personal journal, but felt prompted to share publicly.

I told her about the huge shame I had while attending The Togetherness Project conference two weekends ago. We were in Midway, UT, which is a much higher altitude than where I live, and I struggled physically. I was short of breath and sweaty with the slightest bit of activity. It caused me to feel so much shame. I felt like I was a burden on my friends. I didn't want them to have to wait for me or be embarrassed by me. I am sure that none of them felt that way, but I felt that way. They have never behaved in a manner that led me to think anything but that I am loved, it is all my own shame talking.

I feel like a failure when I think about how much I struggle physically. I fight my own food addiction every minute of every day. I am not active because it's embarrassing and painful how out of shape I am. This in turn makes it harder to become more active. It's a cycle that I struggle to break.

My shame about this is debilitating sometimes. I will retreat from others at times, or I will overcompensate at others. With those closest to me, my family, I will react in anger. Really these are all reactions to my own shame. This shame feels so suffocating it's as if I am covered in tar, only it's elastic tar. It clings to me and if I am only able to pull part of it away, if I am not able to completely break free, it rebounds back and envelopes me again. Shame is a physical as well as emotional barrier for me.

As we talked, I also told her about my recovery triad. I feel like my recovery is a triad, and a piece of it is missing so I am stuck in the other parts as well. To me recovery is a triangle or triad of the emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of life. I feel like I have worked hard on the emotional and spiritual aspects but that I have neglected the physical aspects. Because of this neglect I have been losing ground in the other areas of recovery. It's the missing piece to truly being able to recover. For me it's also the most challenging.

My therapist had me notice how I was feeling and acting when I was talking about my shame, and how I was feeling and acting when talking about my triad. It was visibly different. When talking about my shame I spoke in a monotone and was more slumped down, it felt dark, oppressing, and hopeless. When I talked about my triad my voice was more animated, I used gestures to explain what I was talking about, I felt lighter and more hopeful. When I talk about my triad the physical component seems doable, rather than hopeless.

As we were talking about my relationships and my sense of emotional and physical abandonment, I was talking about my nephew. I have a great amount of love and protectiveness regarding him because of some challenges he has. When I was speaking about him she pointed out how empathic and compassionate I was regarding him. She also noted that I am that way with most people. I am. I have a heart that was made to love and accept others. It is one of my gifts. Why then, can I not turn that empathy and compassion towards myself? Why can I not be my own best cheerleader. The answer is both complex and simple. I do not feel worthy. That's what it all boils down to, I lack a sense of self worth.

I have learned over these last couple of years to find things about myself that I love. I am getting much better and recognizing my strengths. I also have had great moments of seeing myself as God sees me, as a woman of unchanging worth. My worth does not change in his eyes no matter what, and sometimes I believe this. Underneath it all though, I really struggle to see my worth and remember that it cannot be diminished. I am of value just because I am. That has yet to penetrate my inner core. Because of this lack of self worth, I am out of touch with my own body. I use it as a shell and often even as a hiding place, because I don't connect to it. It's as if it is a separate piece of me. This compartmentalization is because of the shame I feel about it.

I have made some commitments to aid in my physical recovery to myself, my therapist, and a couple of my friends. These commitments are small, and to most would seem simple and silly. To me they are BIG, they are scary, and they are powerful. I have made them knowing that I probably won't be 100% great at them all of the time. That's okay. There's where compassion comes in. I don't get to excuse myself from my commitments, but I get to have compassion with myself if I am putting in the effort and doing the best I can.

My physical recovery is going to be an uphill battle. It's going to require diligence and perseverance. It isn't however, hopeless. It is possible. I can do it if I surrender my shame and fear to my Heavenly Father. If I remember to see my worth through His eyes. I could write a novel about self worth, but until I truly take it in and make it part of me, it's only words. I am working to believe what I know is true, I have undiminished worth just because I am me.

More hopeful,


Sunday, September 4, 2016

I Was Wrong, Honesty Isn't Enough

I really, truly, HATE to be wrong, but I am admitting right here in black and white that I was wrong. I have frequently told B. that I need honesty ALL.THE.TIME. I am NOT wrong about that I DO NEED honestly all the time. I had told him that we could work through this as long as he was honest. I'm just not sure that is true anymore. I don't know if I continue to "work through" this trial, if the honesty doesn't also come with humility and accountability. I also know that I have absolutely NO CONTROL over whether I receive any of those things. 

My current mood has also shed some light on where I am personally...not in a good place. I have slid backwards and returned back to being angry all the time. I don't like angry me. In fact, I pretty much LOATHE angry me. She is not someone I want to be around, let alone someone I want to be. Regardless of not liking angry me, I have invited her back in. It wasn't a direct invitation as much as it was an invitation by omission. Omission of active recovery work. Omission of church attendance (I have a valid excuse, but I could've found a way to attend most of the time). Omission of reaching out. Omission of heartfelt prayer. Omission of self-care. I allowed angry me into the pity party and I am the only one that can un-invite her. 

I guess I need to back up a bit and tell you why I had all these forehead smacking moments tonight. Well, they haven't just been tonight, they have been in the back of my head niggling, tapping, pounding, and finally breaking their way through. The trigger itself is probably a microscopic gnat that I allowed to become a macroscopic bird of prey, but tonight it FEELS like a bird of prey. It is preying on my peace and that's unacceptable to me.

Our daughter is home from college this weekend (she is studying culinary arts), and decided to make us dinner. It was a delicious dinner and after a couple of crazy busy weeks and a jam packed weekend so far, she was exhausted. It all just hit her at once. She asked me to clean up dinner and put the leftovers away. I begrudgingly agreed (I hate cleaning up anything, it's one of my major shame points). While cleaning up I asked B. to help me. He asked what needed to be done, when I told him, he told me that he thought we could do it tomorrow. I told him that the food needed to be put away and some dishes needed to be rinsed tonight not tomorrow. He was laying on the couch watching a show on Netflix with headphones on. He looked at me and said, "I don't want to do it." I looked back and said, "None of us WANT to do it." That was the end of the discussion as far as he was concerned and he went back to watching his show.  He knew I was upset, the whole block could probably feel the anger and resentment radiating from me.

Shortly after that we all went to get ready for bed. He climbed in the bed and closed his eyes to go to sleep. Not one word to me about not helping me. In fact he acted (as he often does) as if I wasn't angry and resentful and said some sort of off the cuff goodnight. I told him that I needed to come out and journal because I was too angry to talk to him about how I was feeling. He said "Sorry", in a tone of voice that clearly implied that he was only sorry that I was angry, not that he was sorry for his actions or behaviors. When I asked him why he thought being honest about his feelings was enough, he replied something to the effect that I had told him I need him to be honest and that he could've made up some lame excuse but he didn't he was honest. I told him I do need him to be honest, but that it isn't enough to just be honest. His response was something along the lines of him being "in trouble" either way. He's right, I am upset, but I can guarantee that I would've seen through any excuse and been more upset if he had tried to lie to me. 

This is where I have to admit, my thoughts need  revision. I need more than honesty. I cannot accept anything less than honesty, our relationship is doomed otherwise. I do however, need that honesty to be accompanied by humility and accountability. I need to see that he is willing to and wants to change. He doesn't. He has told me point blank that he has no desire to work on his recovery right now. That is evident every single day.

I have to decide how I am going to react to that. I have to decide that angry and resentful T. can't be around here, she isn't invited to the party. I have to decide to do the things that help me heal. I have to hold my boundaries. I have to disconnect in a healthy way. I have to own that I need help to improve. 

I have been feeling a lot of things lately. Grief and anger being two of the most prominent. The grief is something that I have carried for years. The anger is something that I have carried for years but that I have worked hard to let go of in the past. I have been able to get healthier and work through some of that anger. I have been able to dig beneath that layer and see what is really driving it. Lately I haven't even had the desire to dig down. I hurt too much to want to take off that protective layer of anger and resentment. I have to let that mask go, I have to feel again. I can't numb with food and anger, it's my emotional kryptonite if I do. I am accountable for that. I have to change it. 

Here's me taking a step back. Admitting I was wrong. Shame busting and truth telling. Owning my story for myself and my healing. I am not sure I'm up to facing this, but I have to be. I have to face this and work on what I need to move forward. I am in charge of me.

Humbly eating my slice of pie,