Unbelievable the horrible shit we teach children.
Then we get to unravel it all 20-30 years later as adults. For me, after raising children, repeating my parents parenting mistakes, and becoming estranged from my daughters for over a year and a half now.
Tonight I learned about Internal Family Systems. Tip of the iceberg though. Really good stuff.
Listened to a guy recall his mother telling him he was such a good boy for not crying and screaming (having perfectly normal toddler emotions and tantrums). He remembers that from age three. He had “perfect trauma free” upbringing by two well educated parents (professors). He called it the “Leave it to Beaver” family. “Nothing wrong at home.”
I thought as I heard him tell the story that I was going to hear how positive this was for him. It seemed like a stark contrast to how I was raised. I would be so lucky to have his positive parents.
After all, I grew up hearing, “Shut up or I will give you something to cry about.” And, a real bingo, “Big boys don’t cry.” Not just from my parents, but from extended family and neighbors.
Real bingo? Yeah. This guy and I were both delivered a traumatic message. The SAME EXACT ONE.
“Don’t share your feelings. And definitely don’t show negative emotions. Because it’s bad.”
And because it was declared bad by people who are our trusted protectors, it was internalized as shame whenever I had a normal toddler tantrum. Shame driven tantrums were a part of my teenage development and on through a majority of my adulthood. And they were usually shame triggered. And generated more shame themselves. And lots of family and friend damage. Which generates more shame. A big fucking shame ferris wheel on fire.
Until I got raw, and vulnerable, and open, about it. Brene Brown says that “Vulnerability is the antidote to shame.” I can’t find anything more true for me. And you can’t get real vulnerable until you accept and love yourself as-is–all of your parts are inherently GOOD, even the ones that are failing you at the moment. And then start doing the actual work to heal and reprogram this old thinking.
Unconditional self love is so important. More important than anything. It isn’t easy, especially with shameful programming learned in childhood. But it’s 100% possible.
Is the shame monster on your back? Shoot me a message. Let’s talk. There is hope.
I love you. As-is. All of you.