Original Articles and Resources
I remember the feeling as early as kindergarten. It was an obsession and compulsion. I was obsessively focused on my “love” object. And compulsively moving towards this love object. Even then it was the engine that drove me. Always looking for the target, always looking for the love and attention. I had one boy I focused on for most of my grade school years; like a radar. So much of my energy and thoughts were directed at this boy: where he was at all times, who he was friends with, what his extracurricular activities were, was he paying attention to me? How he treated me on any given day was everything.
I was a bully. It was a source of deep shame for me. It existed inside in a place I kept apart from the rest of my life. It was a part I couldn’t make sense of. It was monstrous. I remember doing it. I remember liking it. It took me decades to acknowledge these things to myself.
It started with Step Work. That’s where a lot of my healing began. In a 12-Step program for friends and family members of alcoholics. There was finally a place for me to put everything. Everything that I had been ashamed of and had no way to explain. Before I found help I had just been running from myself; trying to escape my insides.
Ruby taught me about trust. And I didn’t like it. I took it very personal and got my feelings hurt. ‘Why do I have to work for it?? People meet me and trust me right away! Why not now??’
Ruby is a dog. She is part lab, part Great Pyrenees, and at least part coyote. You can see the coyote in how she slinks around.
I was told that she liked me right away by her owner, that I got special treatment very quickly. But I guess this wasn’t enough for me. Why am I hurt by her not trusting me immediately? Why did I need it right away? I am used to gaining trust in people quickly. Come to think of it, I’ve done this with other animals too. And if they don’t like me right away I’ll avoid them. Something about it hurts.
I’ve been not journaling for most of my life. But with firm conviction at age 27.
My first sponsor, Lori, was this vision. She was a strawberry blonde Stevie Nicks type in a 12-Step meeting. A former model and actress. She was a devotee of the Goddess. A documentary filmmaker. She owned a home in The Highlands neighborhood of Denver with a fairy garden out back. She helped bring the magic back into my life. She was very dedicated to her spiritual life and would wake up every morning and journal, meditate, and do yoga. I wanted to want to do that really badly. I wanted to be like her in many ways. She gave me permission to start being who I really was, which is what I admire in her. She was really good at being herself.
The shame from trauma hides itself in many sophisticated ways. The shame hides itself because it flourishes in secret. We all develop defensive strategies to cope with this unresolved shame. The one I will talk about today is: protecting our parents.
First I will say this isn’t really about our parents. This is just one of the many strategies we use to unconsciously block ourselves from healing. But in this strategy we say things like: "My parents didn’t do anything wrong. This was my choice. They’re good people, I love them. This isn’t their fault." True on the surface I’m sure. But for many people this is hiding something.
A therapist in Northern California offering free resources that help you heal your inner child and restore intuition.