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#2 of 52
quote for the week...
"a childs life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark". (chinese proverb)
OUR CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES ARE THE BUILDING BLOCKS ON WHICH WE BUILD OUR ADULT SELVES. CONSIDER SOME OF YOUR EXPERIENCES IN YOUR CHILDHOOD. WHAT CAN YOU IDENTIFY AS SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES THAT CONTRIBUTED TO THE PERSON YOU ARE NOW? THINK OF BOTH PLEASANT AND UNPLEASANT EXPERIENCES. EXPAND YOUR THOUGHTS INTO JOURNAL FORM TO BETTER LAY THEM OUT.
so the first experience, of course that comes to mind for me, is abandonment...by both of my parents, in different ways. my dad...just left us. my mom went thru a horrible depression in which she was NOT THERE for us at all, and then after that...she was just never there emotionally in any way. for a good part of the four years after my dad left...i feel like my mom was gone too. first in the depression, and then in the job she took, which was a nite shift, so she slept while we were in school, and when we got home, she took us to roxies house (in the projects) to be babysat every nite. my dad left when i was 6. for the years of 7, 8, and 9....she worked those hours where we never saw her. when i turned 10, she'd met jim...who moved into a house with, and the abuse suffered at jims hands for a year, made her pretty much non exisitant as well.
ABANDONMENT. as an adult, i can look back and understand every single thing my mom when thru, and why she was the way she was. but as the child growing up in that....all i felt was alone, and scared all the time. being in the projects...was a scary, violent experience that neither my brother or i, will ever forget. the things we saw. heard. not things kids should have to deal with. and then, a year with an abusive man?
fear and abandonment are the experiences i MOST remember, and know that they definitely contributed to the person i am today. serious trust issues, never believing i'm good enough to stick around for, because if your own father (and mother) aren't there for you...who the hell would be?
and for the life of me...i've been trying and trying to come up with some experience that was positive in my childhood and positively contributed to who i am today....but I CAN'T THINK OF ANYTHING. my childhood had a timeline of constant negative situations. no healthy male role models. an aunt and uncle that were both hard core drug addict/alcoholics and how those issues affected us as well. just a string of unhealthy experiences from my earliest memories. at 6 my dad left. the next four years, no mom or dad. then 5th grade year....we lived with that abusive asshole, jim. in 6th grade, we felt we were getting a fresh start as a family, when we left jim, and moved into the little house on chestnut street, during the summer before school started. but just before school did start, my dad killed himself. all of middle school and high school, was spent as a rebellious, unhappy teenager, angry at the world, and hating herself for not being important enough for anyone to STAY WITH. my grandmother who was living with us died in those years...taht was hard. a dog that tony and i dearly loved...who'd been thru all the moves and shitty experieces with us...died in those years...that was hard. we moved constantly, never got to keep friends or stay in the same schools. NOTHING was secure. EVER. and then in high school ruben, and getting pregnant, him leaving me, and my aborting ruby. i was definitely never the same after those events. loss, loss, loss....too much of it, my whole life. of course, i didn't have a clue during those years, how all of that loss, one thing on top of another....was affecting me. even now...as i 'm writing this...i'm seeing it more clearly. my chldhood was filled with insecurity, loss, and abandonment.
as i write all this, i see the "building blocks" of the person i am, very clearly. how does one UNdo all that kind of fear and unhappiness, when it's been so instilled in you that you don't trust happiness when it does present itself? which means that you never fully except it, because you KNOW it will be taken away somehow, eventually....so don't get too comfy with it. always be prepared to lose something that matters to you. it's become how i live. and now i think at my age, i can look back and see how i've tried, and tried, and struggled to break this kind of cycle, even when i didn't know that's what i was trying to do. but always....it ends up the same. my building blocks are pretty solid, so i'm really, really curious to see how these exercises make changing that possible.
WE LEARN TO NAVIGATE OUR WORLD THROUGH OUR EXPERIENCES. WE EXPECT THE WORLD AND PEOPLE IN IT TO RESPOND TO US SIMILARLY TO WHAT WE KNOW FROM PAST EXPERIENCES. CONSIDER THE EXPERIENCES IN THE PREVIOUS PROMPT. CAN YOU IDENTIFY SOME WAYS THAT YOU CARRY THOSE EXPERIENCES WITH YOU TO THIS DAY? FOR EXPAMPLE; YOU MAY ANTICIPATE THAT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE REJECTION AND DISAPPOINTMENT, SO YOU JUST WON'T REACH OUT FOR HELP.
well, i have to laugh here a little bit...irony i suppose? it feels like this book is talking DIRECTLY to me now.
not only can i identify some ways that i carry my childhood experiences with me today....i can literally say that i live the same way i lived as that child, constantly still feeling all the same fears, insecurities, and losses that i lock away because they can't be "shown". i have been so preconditioned to those things that those things about me are as natural as breathing is. pretty pathetic. i am barely now learning how to feel my way thru pain, rather than to stuff it down inside me until i can't breathe. but even the bits of allowing myself to feel thru things, is not what it should be. still...there is always something stuffed down, because it's the norm for me. i think people look at me and see a solid, strong person, when in reality, i always feel like a fragile, completely exposed nerve. but...that's stuffed down, see? and it's mostly because that's what i was taught all my life to do with pain. i see, right now....how hard that is to UNteach. i feel like it mite be IMPOSSIBLE to UNlearn. all my years of therapy have made me clearly see WHY i am the way i am, but UNlearning it....is still not coming into play, because its like fighting nature.
i really hope these exercises can instill something in me that makes this UNlearning possible. i'd really like to see who i could be, if i could put down the blocks i've been built with.
OUR EXPECTATIONS SHAPE OUR DIALOGUE WITH THE WORLD. CONSIDER YOUR OBSERVATIONS ABOUT YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES, AND HOW YOU'VE CARRIED THEM WITH YOU INTO THE PRESENT. ARE THERE WAYS YOU THINK OR ACT THAT MITE REINFORCE THOSE PATTERNS?
well, yes, of course. when you are taught certain ways your whole life...it becomes what "is". so, yes, think and act in ways that reinforce the same patterns i've always known. even tho i hate them. they are what i know, and at the time of thinking or acting on anything, the time to consider a "change" in patterns does not happen, because you are in whatever moment you are in. there is no red light in my head that suddenly says, while in the MIDST of a situation..."wait... HOLD ON CAMILLA.....lets change this pattern, before you think it thru the same way or act on it the same way as you always have. lets UNbuild one of those blocks you are made of". this doesn't happen when in the midst of situations....it's always an after thought or hindsight moment. how do we learn to get those red light moments BEFORE the situation occurs where the same behavior is repeated? how do i suddenly try to CHANGE my expectations of my world, when it's always shown me that i'm better off not even HAVING expections, and therefore less let down? funny thing here in this moment of writing, i know for a fact that dr. martin would take that last sentence i wrote and say that "not having expectations is the same exact thing as not trusting anyone or anything".
and then i think...isn't that a better way to be? but i see my own vicisous cycle here...i am a product of the things instilled in me in childhood, and as an adult, i've discovered that a great deal of my unhappiness is directly related to those things, so i feel the desire to change them. until it comes to making changes, which would require some sort of trust or expectation of things differently, which scares the shit out of me, so i go right back to "isn't it just safer to NOT have EXPECTATIONS AND TRUST"? round and round i go....
round and round i go....for so long now. how do i break out of this cycle?
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