This is a subject very close to home for me. The more I talk about it, the more I am coming to understand how many other people suffer with them. Perhaps without even knowing or being able to pin point them.
I don’t mean a curse or hex put upon you or your family (that would be a familial curse); I mean the bad habits, poor coping mechanisms and cycles of abuse we inhereted from our parents, that they inhereted from theirs and so on and so on.
Often it comes from trauma, passed down through role modelling and parenting. It can be many things. What is seen as something small to you could be hugely impactful to others.
This is a delicate subject for many including my own family. For the sake of my family’s privacy I will not go into detail about our personal struggles. I’ll keep it vague. However, whether you know me or not and want to talk privately; my life is an open book, the way we relate to each other through shared experience is valuable when you’re suffering. So don’t be afraid to reach out.
We live in an age of increasing awareness (woke much?). Unlike previous generations we talk so much more openly. Therapy, counselling and mental health are no longer taboo subjects, though we still have a long way to go. Many of us know that sharing our mental health stories enables others to do so. Be brave my darlings. No one has to struggle alone.
I believe the more we share, the more we break down the barriers that hold us separate or in shame. My tribe of friends are all from different backgrounds, ages etc what holds us together is our openness about hard subjects like our mental health, without judgement. I can not express in words how much we love each other, how much they have supported me. If my parents or grandparents had known such unwavering support back in the day, perhaps I would not have had to work so hard to be healthy.
This hasn’t been an easy journey for me to come through. In fact I only really feel I turned a corner 3 years ago. Like many people there were shadows of trauma hanging over me from my childhood. I carried them into my adulthood with anger, walls, self destruction, blame mentality- mostly on myself. Though I tried to be a good person. I still ended being victim to toxic relationships. I simply didn’t have the tools to protect myself from it. Essentially I didn’t value my own self worth above others. Well I do now.
Eventually enough was enough. For what I hope is the last time, my life blew apart due to my own choices. Except this time I had put myself through therapy. I unpacked and addressed those issues. Acknowledging where I had learnt these toxic patterns. These poor coping mechanism were my defense. I hid behind them so I wouldn’t have to confront the horrors packed away in mind. I had given up in trying for better at some point and nobody needs to settle for that.
This is my biggest piece of advice: Like most things in life, the first part is to locate, identify and face whatever it is. This takes a lot of work.
Once identified, you have to decide that this shit stops with you. For example if a parent was emotionally distant, because their parent was emotionally distant you may struggle to name emotions and become reactive or shut down when pushed for more information (just choosing common examples here)
I know many people who struggle to name their emotions. Often because nobody showed them how. In fact, we now model naming feelings to children as part of good practice. Not just angry or happy but the more complex feelings like embarrassment, guilt and jealousy (jealousy and guilt being two emotions you really have to own, as only you can change it) take time to learn this skill. Get help to understand if you can…
Then, MAKE CHANGE even when it’s hard. Even if it doesn’t seem to get better immediately. Too often we make excuses for ourselves and others. Hurting others because we were hurt. Saying that ‘it’s just the way we are’ (don’t even get me started on gender excuses).
Too often we go around projecting our own shit onto others because of our unhealed trauma.
This shit has to stop with us, with you, with me, before we pass it on. There is no such thing as fault; only responsability. The sooner we own up to this, the better our lives will all be.
For me, this started with forgiveness, acknowledging that the pain inflicted on me wasn’t because the person was evil, it was their generational curse (among other factors), they were incapable of doing better. This was a blow recently when explaining it very matter of factly to a 9 year old. It hit me pretty hard actually. I will never have an apology or closure from this person. Only I can give it to myself. This is also not the first time I have implemented this technique:
I sat and wrote in my journal about all of it (tears were shed) the emotions, the consequences of me holding onto this pain for so long, how it affected my choices in life, my reactions to others. I then wrote a letter to this person as if I were going to send it, which I probably never will. It doesn’t matter either way. (You can burn it if you like or release it into water) I forgive them and myself…this shit stops here with me. I may faulter, life is a spiral after all, but I am determined.
If a person treats you unkindly, it is likely they are just projecting. Reacting to a situation that triggers their own shit. Be better. Walk away if you must. No one has to be an emotional punchbag. But be better than your predecessors. Be better than your tormentors. Be better than your past self.
I’ve said it in other posts: one day we will be the ancestors, its up to us to make sure we do a good job.
Peace out witches.
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Love Kate Xxx