For years I have known I need to ‘Break Down’. I have dabbled. I have taste tested. But never have I actually done it. (Whatever ‘it’ is).
Is this avoidance? Some might say it is. Some might say it was. I do a bit of both, but I also say it was this:
Those who grew up in a battlefield of hatred, abuse or loathing from sane or not-so-sane parents, will know the need to ‘keep it together’ well. And those who grew up taking care of their parents rather than them taking care of you, will also know this need. And for some, myself included, they will have had a dose of both those scenarios. Life becomes survival whichever scenario is yours, but when trauma comes from every angle, survival becomes your Middle Name. Emotionally and physically. I hate that word but sometimes it fits, and for this it really does.
I will speak from my background. Repeated emotional and physical trauma upon from an early early age: three. Repeated responsibility that went beyond my years, involving trauma and my young hands saving the day. Every time.
Stuffing of feelings and/or emotions happens not out of choice, but out of there simply not being space. Literal space in the moment a trauma occurs: no matter how many times in that week or month it has already, all those feelings would naturally surface if you had space for them to. However, desensitization to trauma, particularly repeated childhood trauma, closes in on any remaining space until you are so desensitized you are numb. The rest of the times the trauma hits, it simply bounces off that numbness into a space that is seemingly oblivion, but is just another Closet you’ve got out the back for spare feelings, saved up for later. There was also no space in your parents Emotional Closet to have a shelf, or a whole walk-in section, for YOU. Instead their closet is so full of their own chaos, clutter and claustrophobia that there is no space for your sorrow to swim and sing how it needs to. Instead you have just a box beneath their shoes that sometimes they pull out to see how you’re doing or whether you need a new item of clothing or two. Your feelings or pain? They don’t get a look in. Because, despite what it may look like, your parents do actually have an awareness and there is a shelf in that closet for guilt. Guilt of all they are doing to you. No matter how small or hidden away, it is always there. It has to be. I look back and I now see literal proof of this. The way my mother would act around me and my heart-breakingly terrifying task of holding her health together from the age of three. The words she would use and the anger she would abuse upon me because of it, I never realised then but I realise now: a bloody shit load of GUILT talking. The fact she completely blocked out the physical abuse and says it never happened (which it did, each week, each year), shows this Shelf of Guilt of hers got so piled high with the stuff, that it collapsed and fell to mix amongst the rest of the mess swimming on her Closet floor, getting forgotten beneath the host of other responsibilities she laid upon her children or things in life she never quite got done. As a result, her mind blanked out what she did and has done to me in that way. Either this or she is just even more bloody insane than is known.
Whatever your Space or your Emotional Closet growing up, or that of your parents, now is your time. Your time to create all the space in the world. You have your resources, you have your grounding, you have your ability to survive the most intensely terrifying, mind-numbingly fucked up roles that you have been witness or victim to. So you can survive this. All that shit you swum through holds you in
good GREAT stead, because you found your way through it and so you can find your way through this seemingly scary maze of healing. But check this – it is HEALING. This is you finally getting a chance to open up your closet, whether you have one or three backed up behind the block, and pour through the shelves. Open armed, spider free, they are beautiful and dreaming of being free. Free to feel and free to be.
And so are you: free to feel and free to be.
I hope you all have all the space in the world. If not quite, it is there waiting for you, just go seek it and it will come.
Love, and sunshine.