Processing Time

I am feeling a bit wrung out, drained, and numb after the writing that’s been happening over the past week or so. I hadn’t planned on writing through the details of my personal history in the way I did or covering so much trauma and drama in such a concentrated way. If it was intense and overwhelming for me to write it out, I can imagine that reading all of it could be even more so. Thank you for sticking with me through this.

Once upon a time many of these stories, in various forms, were part of my everyday conversation with others. I would spew out this kind of traumatic information like I was discussing the weather; matter of fact, detached, and just as an FYI. I have always been the Queen of TMI.

Even when I tried to stop myself, my mouth would compulsively keep spewing out the information in a non-stop cascade of uncomfortable facts that would look like gossip had it not come directly from me. I alienated and pushed away a lot of people by doing that.

I get it, I really do. There are just some things you don’t want or need to know about a casual acquaintance or the stranger you sit next to on the bus. She must be crazy to be telling me these most intimate details and horrific events in her life. How quickly can I get out of here?

Sometimes sharing these stories was me displaying my badge signifying my strength and accomplishment at overcoming personal tragedy. At other times it was a weird way of establishing my credentials as someone who has been there, done that, and knows your pain. A lot of the time I was trying to explain and justify negative or harmful attitudes, words, and actions. I think the truth has been that I defined and limited myself by these stories.

• Incest survivor
• Child of a single, teen mom
• Orphan
• Child of broken homes
• Child of a parent committed suicide
• Runaway
• Teen mom

These identities informed my internalized foundational beliefs about myself.

• abandoned
• worthless
• “white” trash
• crazy
• slut
• never going to amount to anything

I am starting to realize that by the time I met and ran away with Marco’s dad, I had already decided I didn’t have a future and wasn’t someone worth fighting for. Everything since then was me trying to convince everyone else of something I didn’t truly believe – I am worthy.

Writing out these stories of my life, opening myself up to recalling the facts and cracking open the door to emotional memory is helping me to see the flawed beliefs and the lies I learned to tell myself about who I was and who the other people were in my life.

Now, I need to spend some time processing and coming to terms with these things and figure out the correct lenses and filters to use in order to see the truer picture.

There is a deeply wounded, scared and angry little girl inside who has been driving the bus for a long time. Her sadness and hurt, her fears for her safety and well-being, and her sense of having been treated unjustly have informed and shaped the woman I am today.

Somehow, I have to figure out how to move out of the way, so she can receive the love, care, and nurture that has been denied her and that she has given up believing is possible for her.

I can’t change or fix the past. I am not a physician to be able to heal myself. This is something that can only be accomplished through the healing and restorative power of divine love. Now I am coming to believe that healing is possible for me on a deeper level than ever before.

Step 1: I can’t
Step 2: God can
Step 3: I think I’ll let Him

I’ve touched only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to having done the Step 4 searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. There is a lot more ground to cover. Sifting and sorting through what has been written these past few days will help me to understand and identify more of the things about me that drive the depression, the relational conflicts and codependency.

Writing this all out here is also my Step 5: Admitting to God, to myself and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. Thank you for choosing to be part of my healing and recovery process.

Gratitude Day 13
I am grateful to Bill W. and Dr. Bob the founders and first members of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement for being the conduit by which the 12 Steps has been disseminated to the world. The Steps are not just tools for helping alcoholics stay sober and addicts to stay clean, they are a guided path for healing and recovering from patterns of thinking and acting out in ways that are harmful to self and others.

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11 comments

  1. What I really respect and admire about your approach to this is how seriously you’re taking the 12 steps. So many people–I’m thinking of someone I know here–use the steps as a way to stop taking responsibility for themselves, their actions, and their addictions. That’s the coward’s way out, and it will only lead to failure. You are taking the hard, brave path that will lead to success. You’ve already come a very long way in just the few months since I’ve been reading your blog, Kina. You might still have a long road to travel, but you should take comfort in both how far down the path you are, and that you are not alone.

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    1. Mary,
      Thank you so much for that. Honestly, I have circled around the steps for a couple of decades, sort of doing what you describe happening with your acquaintance. There’s a concept in recovery circles that talks about how we will continue in our addictions and compulsive behaviors until we are hurting too much that the options are death or doing the work. Sadly, too many choose death.

      Part of the problem is that the denial and self-deception involved in these things is so much stronger than any external influences and even those whom we love, respect, and who love us have little to no impact. We experience more pain from the guilt and shame, which in turn just drives the avoidance, denial, and need to escape and numb out. It’s very insidious and destructive and absolutely incomprehensible to those who don’t experience it.

      Another thing talked about in The Big Book, kind of the 12 Step Bible, is that there are those whose self-deception and inability to be completely honest is so inherent and ingrained into their personality and character that they may never recover. My understanding of this is that it isn’t necessarily a choice and a decision that they are making consciously and willfully, however much it may seem that it is. In those instances, we are not to judge or condemn, but to have compassion and empathy that their suffering and the suffering they bring to those around them is so great.

      The fact that I have been able to reach this point in my growth and recovery is not just a testament to my own will and determination to grow and change, but a combination of the fact that death was never an option because of my children and how my mother’s death affected me and the fact that I know without a shadow of a doubt that there is a power greater than myself at work in my life and has been all along. Without the strength and power of these two things, which amount to the power of love at work inside of me, I would not be here and able to do the things I am currently doing.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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  2. I don’t always comment on your posts, because a lot of the time I have nothing to say. You leave me speechless with your ability to face, admit, and write about these events. You’re a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for.

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    1. Pam,
      I appreciate you letting me know that. I have seen times when you read and liked things. Other times I figure either you’re busy with or life or “liking” something that has been so full of angst and difficulty is hard to do. At least I have difficulty doing that when I’ve read something like that.

      Sometimes I wonder if the things I write about are too personal and uncomfortable for people to want to read and I start to question myself for doing this. Then I remember that I started this for my healing and growth. Thanks to all the support and encourage I’ve received from all of you who read, I have been able to continue when I would and have given up at other times. I also realize because of some of the feedback that others are benefitting from writing.

      I never write out what I post, I just start writing and often don’t have a clear idea about what I’m going to write ahead of time.

      Thanks for reading.

      Blessings,
      Kina

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      1. Don’t ever question what you’re writing about. I always read and have never felt uncomfortable. I’ve been through a lot, too. I’m just not ready to post about a lot of them, especially since my mom reads my blog and would be offended.

        Mostly, I feel like I don’t have the knowledge of psychology that you do. I guess I feel like I have nothing to add to the conversation other than ‘I’m sorry this happened,’ and that feels inadequate.

        Keep doing what you’re doing: working on you. You’re doing an amazing job! While you might not see it all the time, the improvement is happening!

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        1. Pam,
          Thanks for that. I can understand how it is difficult and uncomfortable to write openly and honestly about these things when those who have been intimately involved in your life read what you are writing about and you feel the need to monitor and edit according to their sensibilities and reactions.

          As far as my knowledge of psychology my education has primarily been from life experience and the times I engaged in the different kinds of therapy and counseling for myself and my kids. I took one term of Intro to Psychology and one term of Intro to Sociology at one of the local community colleges. I completed two terms of Human Development: Early Childhood and Adolescence and Young Adulthood when I attempted to finish my BA in Human Development. Any other knowledge comes from various self-help books, groups and programs, as well as the parenting classes I have gone through.

          So, all the things I am writing about don’t come from a credentialed, academic degree or background, it’s primarily experiential.

          Any thought, question, or emotional response is valid and would add to the conversation. Although, I know how lame it feels to say, “I’m sorry for your pain.” A church I attended once showed a clip from the film adaptation of the book, Mystic River starring Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins. Sean Penn’s character had experienced a truly devastating and horrific loss and was out on the porch contemplating what he was going through and his friend, played by Tim Robbins, was out on the porch with him, not saying a word, just being there with him as he went through what he was going through. Of course there was more going on than Sean Penn’s character knew and perhaps his friend’s motivation wasn’t as altruistic. The point was, he had someone willing to just “be” there with him and listen and allow him to go through what he needed to go through without intervention or interference. That is what you contribute. Whenever I see that you have read and clicked “like,” I get a sense that you were just sitting there, with me and letting me go through what I need to and just listen.

          Thank you. I appreciate your presence.

          Be well,
          Kina

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