When others would say things like “I just knew it in my heart” or “I felt it in my gut” … I’d pretend to know what they meant.
Truth was, except for matters in my job or things related to my kids, I didn’t seem to have this sort of ‘inner knowing’ when it came to my own needs.
The only voice I ever heard was critical; like Miranda Priestly living in my head from Devil wears Prada denouncing my every move until I finally just stopped moving.
My paralysis soon turned to depression in retirement when I no longer had my kids or work providing fulfillment. I knew it was time to put an end to being my own worst enemy.
My self-therapy began with reading Brene Brown’s shame research — although, I’ll confess that despite her popularity.
I didn’t ‘get’ why I’d have any shame from my childhood; was she referring to when I was 12 and shoplifted a t-shirt from k-mart?
An opportunity to start to heal
But, Brene sparked a healing process I didn’t even know I needed.
Apparently, my inner critic had its roots in, what therapists refer to as, adverse childhood events.
I interpreted these incidents that happened to me as if they had happened because of me; setting me up for a lifetime of believing that I didn’t deserve success and happiness.
This also explained my peculiar self-sabotage, fear of success, procrastination…
It was all so eye-opening but it was also disturbing because after always wondering if there was something wrong with me, now I knew there was!
I turned to the latest in brain science, hopeful that ‘Neuroplasticity’ could reverse the effects of my past and unlearn what I’ve come to understand is my defective conditioning.
The deprogramming starts
My de-programming and re-programming followed the research and guidance of, Siegel, Van-der-kolk, and included such things as:
- Met my little girl self and began a softer more compassionate dialogue with her…
- Filled journals and faced the painful memories I had buried.
- Practiced guided meditation and mindfulness so I could learn to self regulate.
- Took a course in Narrative Therapy to re-cast me as a hero in the story of my past.
- I re-applied CBT, to de-activate my dysfunctional beliefs.
All this took about a year, and I’m still working on my ‘uncover’, and while it might sound daunting, it’s actually been wonderful; the more I learn the better I feel because I’m owning how I feel.
The most effective part of my awakening has been in realizing that the negative voice in my head had an actual purpose; it was the inner part of myself that knew there were wounds of humiliation, rejection, and hurt to heal.
All this time, I had been trying to drown my inner bitch out, dismiss her, and get rid of her, but like most bullies, she just needed to be understood.
Now, when I call on my inner wisdom, all I hear is the warmth of ‘knowing’ because, after showing her compassion, I’ve found a friend in me.
My views aren’t my own, they’ve been my conditioning that I’ve been slowly unlearning. Click here to learn more about my work