Recently I found myself falling back into a childhood pattern of being the strong one who supports everybody else and doesn't let them or myself see that I am hurting too. I learned this as a child by being put into the role of family hero. I carried it into adulthood by listening to and trying to fix everyone else's problems.
One day in a recovery program, I learned that I didn't have to be anybody's hero and I didn't have to carry the role of the strong one for everybody else either. As you can see, I haven't been doing it perfectly, which is another one of my issues---expecting me to do everything perfectly or I am not good enough. These are all echoes from my childhood.
My brother who is younger than I am called two weeks ago to say that he had been having chest pains for several months. He had gone to the doctor recently and found out that something was wrong with his heart. On Tuesday, April 22, he went to a heart specialist for tests to find out what was wrong. Tuesday evening I called him. He was back home. He had expected to spend the night in the hospital recovering from whatever tests and procedures the doctor decided to do.
The tests showed that he has a 30-40% blockage that is inoperable because it could shift the blockage and cause worse damage. He is on medication to see if stimulating his heart will make any improvements. He was told he can go back to work on May 4.
As soon as I got off the phone with my brother, I started to cry. I was supposed to call my sister but instead called my best friend because I knew she would be ok with me crying. She allows me the space for the frightened child in me to come out and cry. I talked and cried for awhile. My friend listened and gave her support while I talked and cried out my fears. I didn't even know that I needed to cry until the tears started and my throat was clogging up with emotion. I thought I was handling this situation pretty good. I guess I still have room for improvements.
I told my friend that I had to call my sister and let her know what the doctors had told my brother. My friend told me that I could have shared my tears with my sister and let my sister see my vulnerability. That is difficult for me to do because of the hero role that I was given as a child. I realized that my friend was right. That is why I am writing this article. My sister reads my blog. Showing my vulnerability to others, especially my family, is still hard for me to do.
The hero in me still wants to be everything to everybody. She wants to be strong for everybody else and doesn't want to need anybody else. I can't do that. It isn't even realistic to try to do that but I still sometimes catch myself trying to do just that.
Showing your vulnerability is difficult for many child abuse survivors because when you were vulnerable as children, you were hurt. Some part of me still feels that she, no; some part of me still feels that I will get hurt if I am vulnerable. I have to claim that part of me if I am going to heal. I have to go face to face, toe to toe with that part of myself and say, "It is ok. I won't let you get hurt. It is worth the risk of being vulnerable. That is how you let go of the pain."
Last night, I was hurting from all of the stuff that I have stirred up by making the committment to work on my issues again. Memories of feeling hurt as a child came up. Anger came up. My husband offered to sit down and hold me. I said no. I didn't want to be held. I was at war with my own feelings and my own vulnerability. I was angry at my dad for all of the people that he hurt with his sex addiction and his alcohol addiction. I told someone last night that my dad was a mean alcoholic. Then I changed it and said he was mean without the alcohol. The alcohol just made him meaner. I guess when I am ready, there is some more forgiveness work to do on this issue. I am not ready yet. I still have to feel the anger and hurt for awhile before I am ready to let go of it.
I received another award today. This one comes from The Filipina Mom in Denmark. It is called the KISS-ASS Blogger Award. You can find out about this award by clicking on the following link: http://www.filipinamom.com/index.php/my-first-award-the-kiss-ass-award-0552 and from MammaDawg at http://www.mamadawg.com/2008/08/kick-ass-blogger-award.html . I like the KICK-ASS Blogger Award too. In my current mood, it would be Kick-Ass instead of Kiss. Thanks to you, Ana for the appreciation. I am honored to have received the award whatever it is called. Like I have said in my forgiveness articles, being forgiving doesn't mean that I don't still get angry with my parents.
I also wanted to direct you to another article that is posted by Ana which is called "Deafening Silence." Go to the following link to read it: http://www.filipinamom.com/index.php/deafening-silence-0687 . This article talks about a recent visit to a park and is filled with practical information on what to do if you see or even suspect that abuse is happening to a child. The article lists the "Signs of Child Sexual Abuse" which are good to know. Thanks Finipina Mom for your contribution to stopping child abuse in your neighborhood.