Shame Recovery 1

It's THAT time again
It’s THAT time again

It’s time to write.

After a period of growing and learning and restructuring my life, I have come to another fork in the road. This one says Write and Express this way or Wander around a little more this way. I think I shall write.

This often means reading for me. There are so many thoughts in my head, and attachments to old ways, and desires to go to new places. So I get a sense of direction from finding things I’m interested in reading and then expressing my ideas about THAT, and THIS.

Today, over a cup of Hari Har Chai with soy milk and Rice Bran Syrup, I’m reading the back end of John Bradshaw’s “Healing The Shame That Binds Us”. Ill-advisedly, I’m also finding myself engaged in daily exercise and prayer and meditation. My therapist has repeatedly pointed out that I’m merely on another cycle of old behaviour when I decide to try to get fit, eat well, pray and meditate and write and read. It seems that I have such low self-worth that only self-improvement will help me feel ‘good’. Whatever!

When I’m better I’ll stop…okay?

The Bradshaw book is one that I’ve been reading for about four years. In the first section he describes me to a tee…and everyone else who has twentieth-century white parents. My father isn’t completely white as it turns out, but the avoidance of being black is a twentieth-century white thing anyway. My other devices of AA meetings and Dharma classes, as well as a fitness program, have all conspired to bring me to this writing spree. I care not how long it lasts. I do hope that some good will come of it for me and all sentient beings.

Shame Recovery.
I have noticed that reading this book (Kindle Edition), I have tended to stop and put some action into place around about this stage of the book – The Recovery Stage. Last time I was here was about two years ago, and I ran out and organised some friends to participate in a Recovery Group. I would lead us (blindly) through the stages outlined in the book for uncovering and exposing our individual shame-based pasts’. After a couple of meetings, we stopped seeing each other – slack leadership, I say.

Around about the same time that I was leading these unsuspecting cohorts into recovery I fell in love with a friend of mine, Hedy. We live together now and I am sure that the blissful interlude between my last Shame Recovery mission till now was both necessary and life-affirming. As we share similar backgrounds and outcomes, the benefit I derive from my self-recovering work will be shared. (Whether Hedy likes it or not!)

This statement stood out today – enough that I copied and pasted to my Facebook status, “Virginia Satir speaks of the five freedoms that accrue when one is loved unconditionally. These freedoms involve our basic powers. These are the power to perceive, the power to love (choose and want), the power to emote, the power to think and express, and the power to envision or imagine.” Most of my shame is that I believe my parents (the shamers) loved me as best they could and yet I feel deeply affected by their lack of skillfulness. Intellectually, this ‘skillfulness’ that I speak of could not possibly have existed in them for they were not parented effectively either. Did I not leave a lot to be desired as a parent as well? How can I accuse my loving parents of such atrocities that are both understandable and commonplace? If they are guilty, what of the other two unscathed siblings?

So, the process of ‘Externalising the Lost Inner Child’ as described by Dr. Bradshaw has, for me, been a very difficult and painful one. I have a great deal of respect and love for both my parents and yet, obviously, the cause of my alcoholism and depression is their parenting skills.

As for Ms. Satir’s freedoms, I have been dwarfed by the inability to express the last three. Memory is so faulty I have found. In my subjective opinion, I was not allowed to express my emotions and thoughts nor was I allowed to dream to be me.

As it turned out, I fumbled a way that I thought was my way. It appears in hindsight that I was neither forging my own way nor being very clever in my life choices. Rather, I was dictated to by my reactions to emotional blackmail and torture that I had no idea was going on! My REACTIONS! I was a victim of my mind rather than an expresser of it. If you like, I was a very naughty and disobedient child of my own monster. I wrecked everything I tried to make.

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