If the first wave of Corona Virus in early 2020 was for me quite an amazing time terms of relationships, the second wave that hit in October of 2020 made me painfully aware of bunch of things I was suppressing and repressing.
Repression is often confused with suppression, another type of defense mechanism. Where repression involves unconsciously blocking unwanted thoughts or impulses, suppression is entirely voluntary. Specifically, suppression is deliberately trying to forget or not think about painful or unwanted thoughts.-verywellmind.com
In the first wave I felt like I am for the first time at equal playing field with most of other people. We were all in unknown, our predictions could be wrong, we were all aware, at least for a month, of what is important – people we love being safe, helping each other the way we can and also toilet paper, staying calm, personal s p a c e. To be honest, I felt like I had an advantage. As a stay at home dog mom, introvert and someone versed in meditation and self-help I knew already how to do all of the #stayathome things. It was like the world was adjusting to me instead of me adjusting to the world for a change (funny, I got three meanings of the word “change” in my mind now and they all fit the sentence).
You can read my first post about it here.
It was something new for all of us. I saw so many things I love about people close to me. Including myself.
In the second wave I saw all the things I hate about people close to me. Including myself.
Numbing ourselves, avoiding responsibility for our lives, destroying our bodies daily.
I had to change things in my life. I finally said goodbye to my 15 years long addiction to cigarettes.
You can read about all the things I was changing in my world at the time here. By the way, I am a non-smoker for almost 8 months already!!
With me giving up my favourite way to self-medicate, a new relationship with my body, my emotions and my own sense of self has been birthed.
In about seven or eight months since then and during this time I was able to accept so many things about myself that I wanted to run away from before.
It is not easy, but it is actually easier than escaping emotions with self-medication and then hating yourself for it.
It is pretty magical how the Universe has supported me during this time with bringing the right information to me at the right time.
Okay, I could call it the Universe/God/Magic/Whatever or just the nature of the human mind that is looking for explanations of everything that it observes, but whatever I call it, I am super grateful it exists.
I am deep into personal development/psychology/spirituality/all-about-how-humans-work since my teenage years and I would call myself a very self aware person. Yet there were still things about me that I did not feel I could accept.
Things that made me feel ashamed of myself, guilty, dirty, like I am evil incarnated. Things that made me feel like I need to hide myself and those things, because that would be too much for people, even those that seem to love me no matter what I share with them.
I often wanted to change those things about me with the “fix it and better fix it fast” mentality. Where I would dissect down all the elements of a certain problematic thing about me and expected to heal the thing on Sunday afternoon so that I could be perfectly put together productive member of society on Monday.
I hated my inner mess and I wanted it out my fucking way so that I could contribute whatever I am here to contribute to the world.
Last year I started regularly re-parenting myself. This is one of the things I wanted to inspire everyone to do even before I was walking my talk. I did exercises with clients where they would write down all the things they wanted to hear from their parents and say them to themselves. I did those exercises occasionally on myself. But in the last third of 2020 I committed to becoming a parent I always wanted to myself.
I wrote down and recorded myself affirmations and I was listening to them while having naps. The affirmations were spoken in second person. Example: “I am proud of you. You are beautiful. You deserve to live your life in the way you want to live your life.”
Sometimes while listening I suddenly started breathing very fast, my heart pounding and then I would relax.
When I was still smoking, I would tell myself that I love myself anyway, that I am still worthy of love, even though I am an addict.
And when I quit self-medicating, my favourite words to myself became:
I am here with you.
I am going to stay with you no matter what. You can feel ________ (anger, rage, sadness, grief, guilt, shame, blame, hate, fear…) and I still love you. I am going to stay with you. I am not going to leave you.
I did not always manage to stay present with those big feelings, sometimes I would dissociate in my mind and just started doing other things. Like reading comments on youtube.
In December I saw that the book of Bethany Webster who writes about the mother wound will come out. Discovering the Inner Mother is the name of the book. (Links to the book and my selfie at the end of this post).
I pre-ordered it, of course, and started listening to her masterclass. Well, I wanted to listen to it, but I had so much resistance.
I did not want to go there, again. I was sick at looking at my relationship with my mother. I felt like I tried and did everything in this area. Family constellations, writing emotional “letters”, forgiveness work, EFT tapping… All of it has helped me and I loved the fact that I saw improvements in my relationship with my mother. At times there were miracles, where I could speak with her about things I never could before. And sometimes we had normal phone conversations, where we would talk about ordinary things and joke and I would feel happy and warm inside.
I did not want to mess that up. The work of Bethany Webster was stirring up emotions in me. I did not want to break again. I just wanted to get high, smoke some weed, I craved cigarettes big time. Did not want to look at where I was still hurting. When the book came out in January, I read a few pages, but I could not continue. I focused instead on face yoga and exercises for my kidneys at the time. And doing my practice of trying to embrace my emotions.
In March I was ready to pick up the book again. And I could not put it down. I wanted to underline the every word in that book. I felt so seen and understood as never before in my life. It was like I am reading a manifest, poetry, everything a therapist would want me to know and letter from a best friend and a comrade at the same time.
I cried from relief, I cried from anger, I cried out of grief for all that I’ve lost. I cried for all my relationships that were all impacted by the impact of my relationship with my mother. The impact of the things she was unknowingly doing while trying to do her best juggling her job, serving her parents, working on a farm, raising my brother and me, and navigating relationship with my father. The impact of seeing her completely exhausted every evening after slaving herself away for everyone and the impact of seeing her always afraid of what will others think about her, about our family. All the shame, guilt, anger and self-hatred she carried, while still always being kind to everyone and ready to please. All the ways I’ve modeled her behaviour without even knowing. All the ways she unconsciusly expected me to keep line with that behaviour and all the ways I was guilt ridden every time I wanted to do things my way, be my own person, doing things I want to do, not the things people tell me to do.
God, I think I could write another blog post or series of blog posts about this book and what it gave me.
I felt so deeply seen and witnessed by this book. It was finally okay to admit to myself all the ways I was hurt, all the ways I was at loss, because we are expected to idealise our mothers and we feel guilty and crazy when what we feel is different from what society tells us we should feel.
(All the fucking ways we bring this to other relationships and don’t trust ourselves when something feels off!! All the ways we allow others to mistreat us and tell ourselves we should feel grateful for “the opportunity”. All the ways our swallowed anger turns in autoimmune diseases or we throw it on people that had nothing to do with it in the first place. All the social justice causes that might be way more effective, if they were not mostly fueled by hate for the people in position of power that subconsciously remind us of our parents. All the good ideas turned sour because people working together for a cause treat each other as members in their own dysfunctional family system. All the stuff we are projecting on each other.
Huh, it is a lot. And I am still working through it. Work in progress, as I said in my previous post.)
What is different now in my life as a result of doing this work?
🠒 I know for those huge emotions that are often called (inner) demons in popular culture and through out the history, that they are often unmet needs of my inner child. And I know I can take care of these needs.
🠒 I am more comfortable with my anger and speaking my truth. I set boundaries in relationships. I ask for clarifications. I can stand my ground better.
🠒 I am more patient with myself. I don’t expect anymore that I will be able to turn myself into a perfect person on a Sunday afternoon. I am more realistic, I know that some things might take months, years or even a lifetime of practice.
🠒 I don’t beat myself up that much. I am more comfortable with messy parts of me. I am more comfortable with myself being a conflicted, self-contradictory, paradoxical, complex yet so simple person with whole spectrum of emotions.
🠒 I allow myself to feel afraid. It’s okay. I soothe myself.
🠒 I am more honest in my relationships.
🠒 I am also more okay with the fact that some people just don’t like me and don’t get me and I don’t feel that guilty anymore about me not liking everybody. It’s like I am more aware of the space that is available for all of us. There is enough space on this planet for me, people I like and people I don’t enjoy seeing. They can go fuck/love themselves. It’s not my job to be available for everyone. Funny, part of me feels like this might sound arrogant, yet I feel humility at this.
🠒 When I look in the mirror, I love the reflection. I am happy that I get to spend the rest of my life with such an amazing, beautiful, courageous being. I feel proud of myself.
🠒 I am more willing to put myself out there and I can recover faster from being misunderstood, because I know my inner mother understands me and I don’t have to explain myself to everyone, even though this is kind of what I am doing with writing long posts about my inner world :D.
🠒 I love my black and white.
🠒 I still have ideas about all the things I want to contribute to the world and at the same time my life feels worth living to me even if my contribution is simply just taking in the beauty of the trees and writing blog posts in which I am repetitively reinventing myself over the years.
🠒 I understand why self-love is sooooo important on a whole new level. It’s like I am exploring new depths of me that I can love. I used to be that type of person who had compassion for serial killers and their victims, but hated herself for not following all the way through her goals and for being a painfully slow writer. I am able now to feel frustration and love myself. I am able to feel guilt and love myself. I am able to feel ashamed and like I am going to cry and like I want to hide and still love myself. I am able to punch out my anger while imagining breaking the faces of assholes who hurt me and I still love myself. I am able to hate and love at the same time. It’s like I am having in my palette all shades of colours and I don’t need to pretend anymore that some colours are good and acceptable and others bad and unacceptable.
I think I could write another post about the positive effects, whoah, and there are so many other things I want to talk to you about… And I also plan to share with you some other books that were extremely therapeutic for me this year.
Links to the Discovering the Inner Mother book by Bethany Webster:
I bought e-book (Kindle) version on Amazon.
I received hardcover book as a birthday gift from a friend who bought it on Book Depository.
(Links are affiliated which means I receive a small commission or another form of compensation if you buy through them. Of course I only recommend to my audience stuff I would recommend to my best friends.)