Connectedness to My Energy Part 1 of 3

I’ll try to post Part 2 of this topic some time tomorrow.

I have often wondered why others seemed to clue into me as someone they could try to abuse or use. Part of the answer to that is what I would refer to as a person’s energy. Abusers and users read others like a book, their energy, their emotions, looking for victims.

We all read each other. Just some do it better than others and some are aware of it and their responses to the energy of others and some are oblivious, represed, and/or in denial. This means that many survivors of abuse are clueless about their own energy and accurately reading others.

Being abused causes survivors to have damaged energy. Being abused causes you to judge and devalue yourself. We misinterpret things. We misunderstand. We blame ourselves for everything. We are vulnerable and naive and don’t know how to change that. Our emotions and energy become hyper-active and negative.

Slowly, with healing, we start to be more protective of ourselves, establishing boundaries, rules, and limitations in our life and when interacting with others. But even after years of healing it is very hard to heal or change our energy.

For the purposes of this discussion I will share my definition of personal energy. By energy I do not mean the soul. I do not mean the aura. I do not mean the body. I do not mean the mind.

Energy is the sum total of a person encapsulated. Energy is all that has happened to a person, all the good and all the bad, all that you have done and all you have not done, but should have. All the good qualities you have nurtured and developed and all the challenging ones that fester inside you. All the sorrow and all the tears, all the fears and all the pain. All the joys and innocence you have been able to retain. All that you have healed from and all that you haven’t.

A person’s energy is the story of their life and their present. A survivor’s energy is living too much in the past and in the future, and not in the present. It’s about living the aftermath of child sexual abuse. It’s living in the grip of fear and turmoil, hating yourself and having trouble finding the love and care from others that you deserve. A person’s energy is their everything.

Connectedness to Artist

There are two quotes that stick in my mind about this topic.

One is of a teacher who said that when she is teaching art to a classroom full of five year olds and she asks them to raise their hands if they are an artist and all of the five year olds will raise their hands. But in a classroom full of ten years old and she asks the same question to only half of the students raising their hands.

Probably the opposite is true. Probably artistic ability has increased rather than decreased and yet they doubt themselves.

The second is a story from the movie Six Degrees of Separation. The person is telling a story about going to his child’s school and seeing so many beautiful paintings on the walls done by the children. He asked the teacher why they were all so good. She said the genius is not in the work, but in knowing when to stop and that is when I take the painting away and say they are done.

So, like most things, having a someone to take the roles of teacher, mentor, and supporter means so much to believing in yourself and doing. I never had that before; before finding my survivor friends. But more and more I am getting support and that has helped me to be bold and to believe in myself.

I am an artist.

Connectedness to Voice

It is often said that one of a survivor’s areas of healing is to find their “voice.” I think it is true. Finding yourself, expressing yourself, and finding and enforcing your own boundaries are all a part of finding your own voice.

But I am also using the word voice to have several meanings here. For me my voice is also how I talk and how I sing. All three kinds of voice each have a great deal of meaning to me.

I have often disliked my voice. It is too small girl of a voice. I have often heard Dr. Drew Pinsky on his old MTV talk show say that a woman with a small girl voice is a survivor of abuse. He has said that as a woman heals her voice changes to a deeper quality. I would like my voice to be stronger, to sound like an empowered woman. So I am working on healing.

I love to sing. I have written about that here and about how I wish that my singing voice was better. I do try to sing more often and try to abstain from judging and evaluating it and instead just have fun. As I heal I notice that it is becoming more enjoyable and that is great. So I am working on healing.

I would like to be more confident when expressing my opinions, beliefs, and in every area of my life. I am pretty confident when it comes to things of the mind, but I would like to be more so.

I notice more when someone is totally ignoring me, or disagreeing and trying to invalidate me, or doesn’t care about me or want to listen. I always thought that I was accurately seeing people for what they were doing, but was constantly being invalidated in my life, so I would be unsure much of the time as well.

I used to constantly feel the need to explain myself in detail, often to ridicule and judgment. I wanted others to be able to see me and in that seeing to be able to feel love and compassion towards me. I didn’t get that a lot in my life. But I still seemed to always be doing that, explaining. I’ve always done a lot of self-analyzing and so it was easy for me to try to explain to others what I was thinking, experiencing, and feeling. I realize now that I was not to blame for those who could not feel and express love and compassion towards me. It was all about them. I cannot imagine doing this to someone else. But it was often my experience.

Now I realize that I have friends who validate me and care about me and I don’t have to explain myself or anything I have done to anyone seeking love, comfort, acceptance and care. I already have that love, comfort, acceptance, and care. So for me, right now, voice is also about when to speak and when not to bother, who to make a commitment to as a friend and who not to, and that the love that I give to another is precious and it is wise to give it to those who see that. All about healing my voice. My voice is precious to me. So I am working on my connectedness to voice, in all it’s meanings to me.

Connectedness to Dance

I dance. I have loved dance for a very long time. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t. Partly it is about the movement, but it is not all about moving. Partly it is about the music and singing and lyrics, but it is not all about the music. Mostly it is about the way that the song enters me to bring about movement that is an outer expression of joy.

With my health limitations it is hard to dance. It is painful, so I don’t do it much. I am trying to do it more. I would like to do it every day without fail. Most of my dancing consists of ten second standing renditions and sitting dancing. I am working hard on getting healthier, losing more weight, eating right, and exercising as much as possible. I want to dance.

Many years ago I questioned whether dancing was a touchstone to me, something essential to myself and my joy. Thinking about this recently I changed my mind. Yes, dancing is essential to myself and my joy. And it is so much more. Dancing is in my cells, it is in my dna.  I am happy for it to dwell there. I am deeply connected to dance. Dancing is me.

Connectedness to My Shadow Self

The shadow self is a psychological concept of what happens to a child due to social pressure and social control by parents and others to deny and repress their “socially” unacceptable emotions and thoughts, like anger, guilt, shame. Our concept of self gets built up bit by bit through this process.

Our concept of self that we cannot accept becomes the shadow self. These disowned parts of ourselves, though now a part of our unconscious, are still powerful and energetic in our lives. They effect our life choices, our interactions and communications with others, our body language, and our body’s energy that we communicate to others.

Abuse teaches us to blame ourselves; to repudiate our smallness and vulnerabilities, our needs and our need for love and protection. Abuse teaches us to think little of ourselves, causes us to believe in the lies abusers tell us about ourselves, and puts the guilt and shame of the abuser and their own unresolved and denied shadow selves onto their victims.

I believe that survivors retain such a harsh opinion of self because they are not so divided from their shadow self. Though not accepting of it either. It is a lot to accept and is very much overwhelming, like a tsunami.

We can end up judging others harshly for the same traits or characterists we have been made to disown and repress about ourselves.

I remember when a therapist first taught me about this. It was difficult at first to learn to notice those parts of myself that I was forced to disown and deny just in order to survive. With the abuse it was a huge amount of self that had to live under the surface, invisible, unaccepted, and unloved.

It was a lot like the process I went through to learn my multiple system, to accept and love them, though a lot easier, probably because I had already done so much harder work when working on accepting and healing our system.

Learning how to slowly pay attention to what I had been forced to deny and repress and to instead accept repressed thoughts and emotions was a healing, powerful, and tranformative process. Just acceptance was a hugely healing act. 

Today I am reminding myself that all of my feelings and thoughts are acceptable and that I am truly connected to all of them. I am reminding myself that I accept and am connected to my conscious and unconscious mind.

Unfortunately Being a Survivor Sucks

Not a surprise that being a survivor sucks, but it has been particularly difficult the last two months. July turned out to be a very triggering month, for no reason that I could identify. September even more so. It sucked.

It was summer and I couldn’t get out and ride my bike every day or even every other day. The nice days are numbered and diminishing, but I couldn’t always go out and take full advantage of that. I have long considered my health issues being caused by enduring child abuse. Days interfered with by health issues suck. I do the best that I can, but it sucks.

I was very disappointed that I could not read some of the survivor blogs and posts that I wanted to. Some subjects I would just see and know I couldn’t cope well with reading them and have to leave. I wasn’t coping well even seeing the subjects, usually about abuse or conflict of some kind. It sucked.

On the plus side I recognized my limitations and honored them and didn’t force myself to do more than I could. I also was able to retain my current level of self-esteem through that, which was great. Another huge leap in healing.

On the plus side I have been doing my connectedness work and the series of posts. I am feeling incredible progress in areas of healing around connectedness. I am excited and believe that I have every reason to be very optimistic about progress and my healing path. Working on connectedness has proven to be the key for me to attachment, bonding, and grounding.

I’ll be finishing up the series of posts on connectedness in the next two weeks. It has been taking me much longer to finish up than I thought possible. I was surprised to find that I had a lot of things that I did have a strong connectedness or could develop a stronger connection to something that had a great deal of meaning, love, and connection.

The posts will be finished soon, but I can tell that there will be lots of room for work in connectedness in my future. And I am excited and happy about that.

Connectedness to My Ancestral Line

I have a deep sense that I am very connected to my ancestral line. Not to my parents, but through them to those who came before them. And to those who have been born after me as well. I suppose one of the reasons that this feels so deep is because I needed that connectedness to them to serve in place of my parents.

At one time I thought that perhaps the sense of connectness I felt was not as strong as I thought it was. I thought that perhaps it was something I imagined in order to get me through some hard times. I  had doubted my strong connectedness to my hometown as well.

Now I realize that both connections are very real and not at all imagined. They both bring me so much meaning and connectedness to my life. My parents were never an anchor for me to this world. I am thankful for my connectedness to my ancestors and to my homeland. They are very sustaining and healing.