Sunday, April 26, 2009

Echoes Of Childhood---Family Hero Role

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.
Patricia

24 comments:

Jay Schryer said...

Wow, Patricia. This is very powerful, and moving. Thank you for sharing this. I know a lot of people who feel like this, and I know that reading this will help them feel better, simply because they know they are not alone.

Patricia Singleton said...

Jay, thank you. This has been a week of discoveries and feeling for me.

positively present said...

I really appreciate your honesty here. I know how hard it can be to open up about your personal experiences and you really do it (and do it beautifully!) here. Thank you for sharing this inspiring post with us.

http://positivelypresent.typepad.com

Patricia Singleton said...

Positively Present, you are very welcome. My writing abilities are a gift from God. Writing for myself has gotten me through most of the challenges of my life. It helps me to see my thoughts on paper and not just hear them in my head. Thanks for your comment.

Lance said...

Hi Patricia,
You've shared openly here, and with true emotion - very real and honest post. And I feel your pain, and want you to know I'm here to support you. Continue to be a light for those who suffer, and also continue to be vulnerable if that feels right. In fact, in reading that here, I feel more permission myself to be real and open - and vulnerable... thank you for this.

Patricia Singleton said...

Lance, you are welcome. Thank you for your continued support. That is one of the benefits of being vulnerable is that it makes it easier for others to do the same. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Slade | Shift Your Spirits said...

Patricia,

Congratulations on even more awards and recognition -- it is obvious why you are so deserving... You ARE a kick-ass blogger!

xxxooo
Slade

Patricia Singleton said...

Slade, thank you. The name of the award makes me smile. I have tried to tone down my take control abilities a little so as not to scare others. This is one area that it is good to show my strengths and revel in it. My intensity can scare others away. That isn't what I want my blog to do. Thanks for your continued love and support.

Just Be Real said...

Patricia, I so appreciate you sharing from you heart! This post is truly inspirational and appreciate the honesty. Blessings!

Patricia Singleton said...

Just Be Real, thank you. I appreciate honesty in others as well.

April_optimist said...

Oh, how I can relate to this! It wasn't until I started doing public speaking that I was in a situation where allowing vulnerability to show was SAFER than hiding it. I'm so grateful for that lesson because for most of my life I didn't dare.

Patricia Singleton said...

April, being safe means so much to survivors of abuse who didn't feel safe when they were children. Thanks for stopping by.

Just Be Real said...

Patricia, I have an award waiting for you in the post "Just Be Real Award." Come by and take of it dear one!

Patricia Singleton said...

Just Be Real, thank you. I am honored by your award.

Colleen said...

Beautiful post. I too have "hero" issues. God bless.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, thank you. God bless you too.

www.bebelissimo.com said...

very touching post, thank you for writing it!

Albert | UrbanMonk.Net said...

Hey Patricia, this is another beautiful and honest post, as usual. Thank you for it, I don't know what else I can say.

Patricia Singleton said...

Bebelissimo, Thank you. It is nice to have you visiting all the way from Romania. Have a glorious day.

Patricia Singleton said...

Albert, thank you. Your support means the world to me.

Ray said...

Showing vulnerability Is not easy for me either. My wife Has seen my vulnerable side. You seen some of it on the phone. I leaned on you more than I have ever leaned on anyone other than my wife. When I talk about things, I feel weak. I don't like feeling that way.

If you show someone you are weak they will hurt you. Thats just the way the world is.

I have a John Denver side and a Motley Crue side. Guess witch one I used to make this post.

Patricia Singleton said...

Ray, there is nothing weak about showing others your vulnerability. It does take courage to let others see that side of you. Ray, I am honored that you allowed yourself to let me see your vulnerability. Thank you. I do relate to much of what you said in our phone conversation. Know that I will never use that information against you. I know what betrayal feels like. Not everybody is out to hurt you. There are safe people that you can trust.

Before I could learn to trust others, I had to learn to trust myself.

I love John Denver's music and don't know much about Motley Crue. I am glad that you feel safe enough to leave a comment.

Anonymous said...

Please get a hold of me. I am a Family Hero, too, and entirely relate to your story and sharing of feelings.

My yahoo screen name is: Not2bforgot10

AIM: Not2bforgot10x

Thank you.

Patricia Singleton said...

Not2bforgot10, I am glad that you can see yourself in my article. Now that you have the awareness, if you want to, you can make any changes that may be needed. Notice that I said "if you want to." It is up to you to accept what you are and then decide if you want to change or not. You may like all the different parts of you. They may or may not help you to live the life that you want to today. Only you can decide that.