Facing your pain.

The feelings go way back. There is a large hole in my stomach, in my chest, and in my right shoulder. The hole in my stomach feels very hollow, and it can be painful. The more I pay attention to it, the more pain I feel. In my chest and shoulder the hole feels more like a burning, and extreme heaviness. Typically, these internal feelings manifest themselves either with a stomach ache, bloating, stiffness, anxiety, depression, or loss of sleep.

Most of the time I try to avoid these feelings. I find certain ways to cope that help enable me to further avoid and suppress whatever is the causing. Sometimes I will sleep for hours, and then continue to lay down for the rest of the day. Sleeping only to escape the reality of the pain I am going through. The ironic part about that is sleeping only brings me nightmares. Food is another form of coping that I use. Any uncomfortable feeling, I have can be soothed with some form of pastry or comfort meal. At points I have turned to cigarettes, alcohol, sex, daydreaming for hours, zoning out and gluing myself to electronics. Whatever I can do to avoid the feelings going on inside of me.

Over the course of time the feelings in my core were only getting more intense. Any type of external soothing was not enough. No amount of food, cigarettes, alcohol, or sleep would subdue the feelings. My insides began to screaming. The little things I was doing for bouts of happiness like a night out with my girlfriends was not enough to cover the intensity.

The internal cry for help began at age twenty-one and peaked its intensity within the current year. I had gone through major low points at age twenty-one and decided to gather myself at twenty-three to start picking up the pieces. I made the conscience decision to put myself in therapy because I knew there was something wrong. From age twenty-three to my current year of twenty-seven I have made giant leaps of progression towards healing. I changed my life for the better because I loved myself enough to get the help that I needed.  Huge accomplishments brought themselves forward for me, things that I never thought possible. I gained loving relationships, a career that fulfills me, materialistic needs that in previous years I was not able to attain. Everything was piecing together, and it felt wonderful. The black rotting tree that had soiled itself to hell in my early years metamorphosed into a Cherry blossom.

Within the past month I looked at the cherry blossom tree that I have created. I examined the flowers, the bark, the branches. The tree is beautiful. I decided to look at the tree a little deeper. I wanted to see what was on the inside of the tree that I created, so I took a large branch, and gracefully expulsed it. To my surprise I saw something very dark, and thought to myself “Wait a minute, what is this?” What I saw was the deepest layer of the tree had a very dark color. I spent some time exploring it, and didn’t understand.  Hadn’t I already metamorphosed my dark tree into a beautiful cherry blossom? If that were true, what is this deep dark color at the core? I am confused, what is this?

Though it may be true that I spent four years dedicated to therapy, and completely revamped my life it is also true that I still have sky rocketed anxiety and depression. Didn’t I already go through this, didn’t I already heal myself, didn’t I sit through hours of pain to get the healing I needed? Why is it that at times I still can’t sleep at night? I looked at my life and saw that yes, I did create everything I had been looking for… with one exception. I have a home, a car, a good job, great friends, and family but the one thing I want that I do not have is a partner.

With every goal that I had attained in the past four years, had come with digging deep within myself. I looked at every goal that I wanted to reach, and examined why I had not yet attained them. I saw that there were areas in my life that I needed to heal before reached them. I applied that same mentality that I had towards reaching my other goals, towards the goal that I currently have of having a partner to share my life with.

Firstly, before even beginning the process of examination I was met with a lot of rage. Even saying to myself that I felt rage, made me feel rage. I even felt rage at the word rage because it wasn’t sufficient enough to possibly justify the amount of it that I felt. That is a lot of rage. So why did even thinking about beginning a process of self-examination bring up such intense emotion?  Obviously here there is a lot of work to be done. With the awareness of how much rage I felt at even thinking about examining why I do not have a partner in my life, it was obvious why I do not have one. Clearly there is a deep wound.

My attitude towards initial self-examination was very much blah blah blah, I already know this. Why do I have to sit in this pain once again when I already know everything that is wrong with me. I “know” what is causing the pain. It is my alcoholic dad, it is my abrasive mentally ill mother, it is my self-centered bully sister, ext. ext. I was so arrogantly intelligently aware of why there was an issue, so why do I need to do this? I have self-examined for years, and gone to therapy. I knew all of the reasons why I am the way I am so what is the point. This was just my deflection. I was using all my so called awareness as a way to avoid.  Truth is I was so afraid to sit in the pain about why I don’t have a partner, that I was trying to do anything I could to not emotionally go there. This method helped me cope for a bit, but really it doesn’t work. I could stomp, kick, scream, avoid, and be as big of a brat as I would like but none of that would bring me to my goal.

Awareness is the first step. You can be as almighty aware as you would like, but without actually sitting in your feelings and examining them there will be no healing. The pain you feel will remain, and the unhealthy coping mechanism that you have developed will not disappear. The goals that you hope to reach will not miraculously show up. What does bring healing is concentration into actually divulging into your feelings. To listen to them, to nurture them. Your feelings would like to tell you their story. They want to speak to you, so that you can grow. Naturally at first you may say to yourself “Oh great so this intense horrible feeling that I try desperately to get away from, wants me to actually sit in it.” But the answer is yes. Pull up a chair and get comfortable.

After my temper tantrum and raging, I began to start. It alarmed me at how intense my feelings displayed themselves. It even more so scared me, for I knew that what was to come of this was not going to be easy. Knowing that nothing worthwhile comes easy it was time to divulge.

I looked and thought about the history and patterns of my previous relationships. What did I crave from my relationships? What were the outcomes? Were there any common themes between the men? What was I attracted to? Why did it not work out? With each of the men from my past I found that there was a common trait amongst them. All of the men that I dated were emotionally cold, and closed off. I would find myself in circumstances where I would be attracted to a tall, broad shouldered man who would seem to be funny and charming. Later I would come to find out he was emotionally closed off to the world.  I would fall for them only to find myself scratching and crawling for their affection. There were three men in particular. The first man had an illness where he was afraid if he let someone close to him, he would only lose them. The second man I dated did not believe in love, and the third man came out and told me he was a swinger. That he did not believe in love with just one person. All of these men for one reason or another were closed off to the idea of being in a loving relationship. After being hurt by putting myself out there without any reciprocation I closed myself off. It hurt too much to continue finding myself having feelings for someone who did not feel the same way in return.  It forced me to take a solid step back in my life, and focus on myself. I realized that there had to be some type of energy that I was emitting to draw in these situations being that it kept reoccurring.

For a couple of years, I did nothing except focus on myself. Here and there I would go on dates, but nothing substantial. I wanted to get myself to a place in life where I felt more comfortable and ready to date. I made personal development a priority above dating. My hopes were that once I got the career I had hoped for, the car, and the home that my self-esteem would raise to naturally attract the partner of my dreams. Well once I attained all of those things, that partner never arrived. Any date that I was asked on, or glance that I would receive would only be met by rejection on my part. For whatever reason I would say no, or quickly turn my gaze in order to not engage in eye contact. Turned out that focusing on myself and reaching my goals felt a lot safer and more comfortable than dating. It felt good to be living a life where I was not getting hurt. At times a bit lonely, but it was better than that gut wrenched feeling of not being enough in someone else’s eyes.

One night I decided that I was getting a bit too lonely, but still not lonely enough to start dating. I decided to reach out to one the men I had previously dated not really sure what my intention was. All I knew was that I was lonely, and craving affection. Ever since I was a little girl I have always had a huge desire to feel safe, and secure. This particular man had always made me feel that way. For the sake of his privacy we well call this man “boy.” That was the nickname I always called him to myself while we were dating.

I had met boy when I was 23, a bit after I started therapy. I was at a very vulnerable point in my life, and I had just gone through a lot of hurts. I met him at the point where I realized I needed to focus on myself but allowed my attraction for him to overpower that. He was the third closed off man I had met. Coming from an abusive back round I lacked a feeling of safety and security.  Safety and security are black holes inside my body that crave to be filled. Boy was tall and broad with the stature of a gladiator. Needless to say I felt safe around him. Not only was he strong and tall, but he seemed very kind. There was an air of emotional unavailability, but I ignored that. I went head first, and threw myself at him. The way I threw myself at him confused him being that I didn’t know him at all. Boy still continued to engage in dating me, but held me at arm’s length. I believe my overbearing eagerness in getting to know him caused hesitation. We dated for quite some time but continued the cycle of me throwing myself at him constantly, with him keeping me at arm’s length. He liked me, but clearly not as much as I liked him. The air of emotional unavailability that I sensed with him existed because he engaged himself in the lifestyle of being a swinger. A lifestyle I don’t really care to understand, but to each their own. He didn’t believe in solely caring about one person, that love is not limited to one person. That only made me want to claw for his affection even more. The thought of why can’t you just love and care for me solely came up often, and I was trying to fight for it. Fighting for it did the exact opposite. It drew us to breaking it off. My constant nagging for his affection drove him to a point of ending everything.

After the break up I sealed the envelop of dating. It was not going to happen. After that hurt, it was really time to only focus on me. Yet here I found myself 2 years later after breaking up, reaching out to him. I pulled my life together in the way I had hoped, but still didn’t attract that partner. So why not reach out to him? I am lonely, I have nothing to lose, and what could it hurt? He and I did end up meeting up. We opened up a sexual relationship that seemed to fulfill the element of companionship I was missing. I would go back to my life, only to reach out to him again when I felt the need. It was perfect I had everything in my life and a person to give me affection when I needed it. But was it really perfect? If it was why was the cherry blossom still dark on the inside?

Every guy I have ever been attracted to boy included started because I was attracted to the strength I saw in them. I was attracted to them because they had the capability to fill the lack of safety and security I constantly felt. I had never been interested in a man because our personality’s clicked or there was some sort of connection. It was always an attraction to how safe and secure you made me feel. When I would call boy to get the so called “affection” that I needed, it was really me reaching out because something was eating at me. I didn’t feel safe and I needed a man to sleep next to me and hold me. The press of his body on top of mine gave me a warmth that I was safe and okay for that time being. When I went home the next morning I would only be met with that same black hole, that feeling of a lack of safety and security.

Divulging in my feelings and looking at my past relationships I drew up a conclusion. Boy and the other two men were emotionally closed off, yet all made me feel physically safe. Why is it that I seem to attract men that are closed off, and physically securing? I dug deep and thought to myself, what is it about an emotionally closed off men that is appealing to me? A man that you can get partially close to but never fully. Though on some level I did get hurt by these men, I didn’t really. I was subconsciously choosing men that I knew I couldn’t get close with. If you can’t get close to someone, you really can’t get hurt. I chose men that on some level I knew would never work out. I was also choosing men who physically kept me safe. But the real question was why was I doing this? Where and why did this begin in the first place?

I have always read and experienced that in silence we get out answers, so this is what I decided to do. Within the past month I decided to sit in meditation. The question that I wanted answered was “Why do I engage myself in emotionally closed off relationships, and why is there huge hole seeking safety and security within me? So I sat there in silence, and my father came to me. My body and mind led me to see that there is an original wound that started from my father. Some may call this “daddy issues.” As you come to know me through my blogs I will share with you further intricate details of past pains I learned to overcome, and the struggles I have faced. For the sake of this blog I will briefly summarize that the relationship I had with my father was difficult. He was an alcoholic, who was physically abusive. For the most part I was fully aware of the ways he affected me, and had dealt with it. So if I had dealt with the hardships of our relationship already why was he coming to me through mediation? There must be something here I have not yet examined.

When you cannot come up with an answer yourself know that the universe, the angels, and God are always working in your favor. If there is something you are struggling with and need guidance they are always there to turn to. I decided to turn to them for help. I asked the universe, the angels, and God to show me what it is I cannot see. Why is it that my father is coming through to me in meditation, yet I am not able to see why? Haven’t I resolved the emotional issues that I had with him? Once I asked this question I let go. I trusted that the answer would come to me. Within one week I attracted two things into my life. I attracted a book, and a Reiki healing session with a continuing education instructor for my massage therapy license. I did not find this a coincidence. The book that I attracted was called The Completion Process by Teal Swan. Teal teaches in her book that reopening old wounds allows you to be free to create new experiences in your adult life. She explains that from birth to age eight all the things you go through create a blue print for the way the rest of your life will be lived out. With hesitance an enthusiasm grew inside of me upon the thought of venturing into The Completion Process. On one side of the coin I am able to free myself of the dating hardships I have faced, which was exciting. On the other side of the coin I have to face deep wounds.  I thanked the universe, angels, and God for the book, and the reiki session. I put my faith out there, and was given two tools to help me get closer to the goal of finding a partner.

There is a dark thought inside me that has existed for a year, and had started with a routine therapy session. I found myself talking about my father like I would frequently. I had mentioned to my doctor that I had found that he had a Facebook. My father’s Facebook was covered with pictures of women, and he had friended hundreds of them as well. I explained to my therapist that the only respect that I had remaining for him existed because of the faith that remained to my mother. As far as I knew my father was always faithful to her. With finding his Facebook, the last amount of respect I had for him was flushed down the toilet. I began to verbally berate him to my doctor releasing hurt emotions. During my rant my doctor brought to my attention that I called him a pedophile, more than five times. With concern in my doctors face she brought this to my attention. In my emotional banter I didn’t realize that I called him a pedophile. She continued to asked me if my dad ever touched me. I responded with “Wow Dr. Claire, I am really not sure. I don’t know where that came from.”

After I left the session, I put mild thought onto her question. I put mild thought onto calling him a pedophile more than five times. Where did that come from, and why did I say that? With all the other forms of abuse that I endured from him, I wouldn’t put it past him. My mind did not want to go there, and I let the thought go. I let the thought go until my Reiki session. I asked the universe, the angels, and God where my dating issues come from, and during the session came my answer. I was able to go to a place in my mind where I unlocked a blocked memory. That blocked memory was one of my father touching me. Touching me in a way that no father should touch his daughter. There was my ah hah moment. The safety and trust that I once had around men was squashed at a very young age. Squashed to the point that at age twenty-seven I cannot hold a relationship, yet alone go on a date, and barely maintain eye contact.  Not only did I have points of remembering the memory during my session, the practitioner knew what happened to me as well without any any exchange of words between us. The instructor asked if personal information he came across while doing the energy work was okay for him to discuss with me. He warned me that it may be uncomfortable, and stir up intense feelings. I obliged, and was given the confirmation that the memory that emerged to me was truth. He was able to share with me that some of my internal/external battles that I struggle with for example dating) are due to an incident with a close male family member whom molested me. He continued on saying that it happened between the ages of one and four. It was clear to me why I had such a hard time during mediation channeling why my father came up, and why I was it was hard have a clear precise memory of this. I was very young.

The dark color in the cherry blossom tree was revealed to me. With digging deep and having faith I found the answer I had been seeking. I found a key component in why I have not been able to find a partner. When someone violates you and your trust, you shut down.  You shut down as a way to protect yourself. I learned in my toddler years that being emotionally open and vulnerable subjects you to potential danger. That being close to a man was not safe.

The next few days after really processing the session I went through intense rage. The intensity of rage matched the same amount of rage I felt at examining why I am single. It was as though my body was aware how angry I was that this happened to me, even before I became fully aware of the molestation. I went to a very deep dark place within myself for a bit. I let myself sink into the emotions of it all. I thought to myself none of this was fair. Not only did my dad hit me when he was drunk, meet none of my needs emotionally, make fun of me for being overweight growing up, abuse my siblings, had a complete lack of respect for woman, had a controlling, domineering, and manipulating personality, you also wanted to throw in the mix molesting. How could you? Was it your goal to throw in every possible obstacle to make sure I did not succeed at life?  Why did you do this? Out of five siblings, one of us is married. Four out of five children ranging from 26 to 37 remain single. Is this what you wanted? To make sure you did everything you possibly could to hurt with debilitating pain nearly crippling me? Do you realize Dad that at one point in my life I had to watch one of my siblings hold a knife to their wrist in that the hopes to end it all? That the only reason the action wasn’t followed through with was because I made it there in time.

I could have gone on for hours in my rage, but I stopped myself. I needed to make sure I was able to mentally check myself out of this state and remain intact. Well there it was the major pain and road block stopping me from attracting a partner. The anger and hurt I felt towards my father stopped me from getting close, and trusting any man. The question really was, what am I going to do with this? How do I take this pain inside of me, and make peace with it? How do I take this knowledge and flip it? How do I begin to heal? Here is where having faith in the universe, angels, and God comes in. When I received my session, I simultaneously received The Completion Process. A step by step process that teaches you how to sit in your wounds, and heal from them. Once again coincidence? I think not.

Granted I am upset upon my discovery, and am deeply hurt but I did get the answers I needed to begin healing. Truth is in life we all have trials. Things that can either make us or break us, and this is what living your positive life is all about. Taking any situation that you have been through and seeing it with the perspective of the glass half full. Sometimes that does require us to submerge in dark places for a bit, only to land us where we want to be. I have seen my life go from extreme hell to utter bliss, and I plan to continue the pattern. Awareness of what happened with my father brought on feelings of rage, shame, humiliation, and hurt but has also brought me some feelings of peace. The large hole in my stomach, in my chest, and in my right shoulder do not feel as heavy. The hollow pain, burning, and heaviness now have a home. They understand why they exist, because I allowed their story to be told. I will continue to allow my body to let it’s story be told for as long as the process needs.My job right now is to nurture my wound and watch the healing unfold. To trust the universe watch the magic begin, and know that in time all my goals will come to fruition.