Denial Keeps Me Stuck [Part 2]

In Part 2 today, I continue with another way I have been in denial lately.

As an Adult Child from a dysfunctional family, denial was one of my many childhood survival traits. I believe that all individuals who come from abusive, dysfunctional homes learn to behave in such ways to survive that environment growing up. It is amazing what our bodies go through to keep us alive! Denial kept me safe, but it no longer fits my life in a helpful way. I have outgrown it. But now as an adult, when my entire being experiences a potential threat to my very existence, I so easily revert back to those original survival traits…like denial…. especially denial!

Here is my most recent example of denial in action in my life…

In addition to denying my grief feelings recently surrounding my miscarriages, I have been denying some of my feelings toward a family member who has recently revealed their “SECRET” to me. While I am grateful this secret is out in the open and no longer being kept from me, I have had many feelings surrounding it but kept them at bay until now. The secret was revealed several months ago and at first I was in shock (the first stage of grief). After the initial shock, I was not yet ready to deal with my emotions so I minimized the behavior, denied how it truly effected me, excused it, and normalized it as being part of our ever changing culture…BUT THE TRUTH IS… IT REALLY HURT ME DEEPLY AT MY CORE.

It was time and safe now to finally deal with my feelings. AND so I am. The revealing of this secret has caused me to question my very purpose and role in life. There is shame, embarrassment, confusion, hurt, anger, and pain among other emotions. My emotions are really raw right now because I am allowing them to come. And it is ok for me to be in this place. While I am not able to share this secret yet here on the blog, I continue to process it with safe mentors in my life. I feel compelled and know that I must feel my feelings around this secret because if I don’t I will head down that dark spiral again. I will lose my clarity, serenity, and sanity.

Is it time to get your secret out in the open? AND/OR

Is it time to feel and express your emotions around something that has eaten away at you for years?

I encourage you to find a safe person, place, or support group to share it.

Until Part 3 on denial…Bethie

Denial Keeps Me Stuck [Part 1]

Wrestling…this is what I have been up to lately. Wrestling with feelings of confusion, thoughts, my grief….my denial.

I have been stuck in my writing and wondered why.

With much gratitude, I am aware that I am in this strange place. I believe that my stuckness has been mostly around my grief and denying my feelings. Let me explain…

Recently, I felt a nudge to re-post my miscarriage stories but I kept putting it off. I avoided re-publishing these stories because I was afraid of revisiting my grief feelings. Fearful to re-experience the pain. Afraid to sit in the discomfort of my emotions. What might happen, if I go there… again?

Can you relate? Do you fear sitting with uncomfortable emotions?

You might think by now, especially as a therapist, I would understand that avoiding my feelings only brings more pain. So I decided to face that fear and re-post my stories. I was able to remember my sweet, sweet kiddos, Sage, Cruz, and Zane, who are with me always in spirit. And it was good to remember. Good to grieve my losses some more. I chose to sit with the pain…again. And I am not only ok, but more free for doing so. I feel lighter, less stuck, more connected to the world around me again. I am letting go of the denial.

OH how I miss my kiddos and grateful for the ones who are with me face to face.

You see, I have 5 children dearly LOVED…Remy, Sage, Cruz, Zane, and Hugh. I am overwhelmed with an indescribable love and connection for and to them. So deep words lack the ability to truly explain.

What pain are you ignoring? Feelings you are denying? What is eating away at you that needs to come out.

Until the next story…Bethie

Addicted to TV

Addicted to TV.

I have found myself lately watching way more TV than usual. I have discovered Netflix and have had cable TV for 12 years since I was married.

Before I got married, I never had cable television. Where ever I lived I always had TV but just had a few basic ‘bunny ear’ channels. which was about 5 stations total. Growing up, my parents never wanted to pay for television and I HATED that as a teenager. I would long to visit my grandparents house because on both sides of my family they had cable. My friends also had cable, so I would get an occasional cable fix when I visited my friends houses.

I never knew and still don’t know why we did not have cable TV growing up. It made no sense to me back then. But now as an adult, I really appreciate the simplicity of those 5 stations. With so many choices on TV now, I feel overwhelmed and like I must watch most everything I can…Fuller House…Tidying Up with Marie Kondo…Queer Eye…The Crown…Counting On (the Duggars)…and the list goes on. And so I am caught up in my TV addiction.

However, I am aware. I have not had much fun lately staying close to home with my 3 month old son, so it could be that this is my way of having fun right now. It could be that there are some feelings I am not dealing with and I am escaping through the TUBE. Whatever my reason, I am aware that this is becoming a medicator for me. What I do with it…well…I will have to keep you posted. I am not sure yet.

What are you medicating with lately? What is it that you are avoiding dealing with? Know that you are not alone.

Until the next time…Bethie

Dreams from My Inner Children...

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I got this letter in the mail today. I wrote it or rather my inner children, Little Bethie and Teen Bethie, wrote it to me about 6 months ago while I was attending the Dream Big Conference in Tennessee. I spent time there at a retreat to get more clear about my BIG DREAMS and how to pursue them.

As I read the letter I had forgotton about, tears poured down. I am remembering today what my inner children are asking of me. Here is it is:

“October 30, 2018…Dear Adult Beth,

This is little Bethie and teen Bethie here to share some love, encouragement, and guidance to you.

First, we want to thank you Beth for truly hearing us. We have a voice now. We missed you for a long time, but understand the pain. Thank you for labeling the favoritism and abuse that we endured and survived long ago.

We have a message for you…actually lots of wisdom to share. We continue to want to be heard. We have a story to share with the world. Others need to hear this story. The stories we have and you have as an adult have a purpose and need to be shared. Please let others know about us through writing and counseling and speaking. God has alot of big things in store for all of us and our family. Please others need to know about us. We want you to be our voice to the world. Tell others about us please. We can’t say this enough. And there will be other stories, more stories to come. More will be revealed. Please hear and trust us, love us, continue to talk to us like you have in the photos, we really like it!" And have fun too with music, quilting, sewing, your/our kids and Adam [my husband]. We want you to enjoy life like we couldn’t. You are our lifeline. And we will continue to sit with Jesus on the beach on the throne no longer being harmed but safe. We love you Adult Beth…go get em’ Rock on!“

While I am putting the quilting and sewing on the back burner for now, I am beginning my dream of writing. It is a small beginning here on these daily blog posts, but it is a beginning never the less. I have a story to share and I am sharing it here in my tiny little corner of the world… on my blog. There is probably not many people reading my posts right now, but I am ok with that. There is a purpose here and I am following it. I am writing. I am a Writer. I am not sure yet where this will lead me, this small beginning, but I am hopeful, excited, and forever curious about what will happen next.

What is your BIG DREAM? What is one step you can take today to pursue it?

Until the next time…Bethie

Lessons from My 6 Year Old Daughter...

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Six years, almost seven. Where has the time gone!? EEEKKKKK!

Just like my 2-month old son, my daughter Remy has also taught me many lessons in her 6 years. I am realizing that my children are some of the most influential teachers in my everyday life. Here I am thinking that I am supposed to be teaching them and yet I feel like they teach me so much more! They make me want to be the best version of myself that I can be. They motivate me to be so much more. I cry often when I think about how much my kids have impacted me and how much they mean to me. They are both truly precious gifts and my little miracles. I hope to steward them well as they grow.

I believe the most profound lesson I have learned from both of my children is just how precious OUR VERY LIVES are. Life in and of itself is miraculous. Every human body that is alive…it just took so many biological, physical, emotional, and spiritual processes for us to be here on this planet earth. All the joining together of things bigger than myself to create breath and life. It is really a miracle that any of us are here. My kids help me not to take life for granted.

So here I go…a list of things my daughter has taught me.

  • That creativity first thing in the morning is important and starts the day off right. Creativity is fun and peaceful.

  • That life is best lived in the present moment.

  • That dancing in the rain is more than ok, it is extremely FUN.

  • That, in fact, FUN is a daily goal. Have as much of it as possible.

  • That taking a break from the routine or that schedule is ok. Sometimes we just need a break.

  • That it is ok to follow your gut when it tells you to take a rest period from that fun activity.

  • That sometimes we all need a day off of school and work.

  • That being your true self is all that really matters.

Remy is full of joy, light, and laughter. I love her dearly! By parenting Remy, I am learning to reparent myself like I needed to be parented. I am giving her what I needed..freedom to create…fun…grace…mercy…patience…calmness…and permission to make mistakes along the way. She teaches me to know my own inner child all the more.

My daughter’s name, Remy, is a shortened version of the word, Remedy. She has truly been a Remedy for me.

What have your children taught you lately?

Until the next story…Bethie (who by the way is the name of my Inner Child)

The Body Speaks

It is there again. That shoulder tension and tightness. Usually it is in both of my shoulders, but this time it is mostly on the right side. It weighs me down. It is painful. It consumes my thoughts.

My body is speaking to me again. I want to listen and I want to avoid all at the same time. I listen because I want to grow and experience healing. I avoid from the fear of what I might need to do to experience that healing. When my body is in pain, I am learning that I usually am holding onto something emotionally that I need to let go of. Maybe it is a truth I need to speak, a resentment I need to let go of, or a forgiveness I need to give. Maybe it is an old core belief that no longer serves me; an old survival story that is no longer valid.

What do I need to let go of this time? My body is speaking. It never lies to me. I am learning to trust my body when it speaks rather than condemn, criticize, and tell it to hush. My body is for me, not against. It wants to survive and thrive.

How about you? What is your body speaking to you today?

Until the next story…Bethie

Lessons from My 2-Month Old Son...

My son, Hugh Callum, and I. I love this photo. It brings me such JOY! He is 2 months old here. He loves to listen to my heartbeat. It is a meditation for him.

My son, Hugh Callum, and I. I love this photo. It brings me such JOY! He is 2 months old here. He loves to listen to my heartbeat. It is a meditation for him.

The joys, the challenges, the highs, the lows of parenting. I am so grateful for the birth of our second child, Hugh Callum Barrington, born earlier this year. I under went a long process to help get him here! I am feeling alot of relief now that he is outside of my belly! In his two short months, Hugh has already been a GREAT teacher to me. Truth is both of my children, whom are miraculous gifts, have taught me so much about life and how to live it. My daughter, Remy, now 6 years old has been a true Remedy, as her name is derived, for my very soul. Writing about her will be another blog post.

What I have gleaned thus far in my short time with Hugh is that he knows what it means to live FULLY in the present moment. He does not think about tomorrow and its accompanying worries nor frets over the past. Whether he is eating, sleeping or enjoying a walk he is truly living in the moment…TAKING IT ALL IN. It is all new for him… life, the outdoors, everything. Lesson #1: He teaches me to be in the moment and NO WHERE ELSE.

The next lesson he is teaching me is found in his baby coos. He loves to coo and smile and OH HOW rewarding it is to receive those. While he coos, I will coo and hum back to him as if I am mirroring what he said. What I have found is how soothing it is for me to coo, hum and even sigh. It lets out this calming energy for me, like a release is happening both emotionally and physically. It soothes my very soul. I can remember humming and moaning during his long labor and finding such great relief from the pain. Lesson #2: There is comfort, ease, and relief that can be found in cooing like a baby.

Two lessons so far and many more to come I am sure. What are one or two things you have learned from you children?

Until my next story….Bethie

I want to have Compassion for them AND Speak My Truth

Over the last several years as a therapist with my own personal history of trauma, I have undergone a journey of self-discovery and awareness. It has truly been a process, not happening overnight. How many times do we just wish that change would happen like yesterday already?

Early on in my process, I came to the realization that I am codependent. Meaning that I tend to just do what others want and what others expect of me at the expense of what I truly want. Codependency has caused me to hide my true feelings, appearing one way on the outside and FEELING much different on the inside. An inconsistency, if you will. I have lived this way for a long time. It is quite exhausting! However, I get it. This trait helped me survive growing up….just make those straight A’s and join that swim team and my parents will be happy! If they are happy, I am happy. Right? WRONG!

My process is now shifting into a new season. It is time for me to start a conversation with my parents around what my childhood was like growing up. It is time to address the elephants we have danced around for years in the room. I have waited to start this talk with them, because I want to come into this conversation from a place of compassion, love, AND MY TRUTH, not anger and not my codependent place. I have worked on the anger piece and it is time to let go of my codependency with them. These no longer serve or protect me as they once did. I am grateful that they helped me survive and now I need to SPEAK MY TRUTH. I need my voice to be heard regardless of the response I get. This is for my healing.

What has allowed me this new freedom to start a conversation with my parents is that I now have compassion toward them. I have more understanding of their histories, their stories of childhood, their traumas. Armed with this understanding and that of my own background, I am now free and clear to begin a conversation, not a confrontation but a soft, calm, graceful start up. This will be the start of a series of conversations I hope to have over the course of this year. I have high hopes and low expectations. While I am not responsible for my parent’s response, I am responsible to my Little Bethie. She has a voice and it is time for her to be heard. Compassion AND My Truth.

Until next time…Bethie

What is your Truth Story?

There are many ego stories in my life...perfectionism, control, productivity, victim mentality, comtempt/resentment… These stories also known as my character defects (to use my recovery language) helped me survive growing up in my dysfunctional home. In times of extreme stress or major life changes, I can so easily revert back to these ego stories. They can show up in full force through my body physically via back/shoulder pain and tension, getting sick, trouble sleeping and an overall heaviness in my body. My Truth Stories are what I spend my time seeking out. They show up when I am operating in my recovery through the opposite of these ego stories. My perfectionism opposite is my 'it is ok to make mistakes, Bethie’ mantra. My control opposite is my practice of 'letting go and accepting what is.' My productivity opposite is taking 'rest and times of doing nothing.' My victim opposite is 'taking ownership' by using “I“ statements and focusing on changing myself rather than controling others. My contempt/resentment opposite is practicing 'using my gratitude.' My Truth Story shows up in my body through a clear mind, a peaceful and calm motivation and physically little to no muscle tension and overall more energy. I see it in my face too when I look in the mirror. My faces glows and has a certain warmth to it, red healthy cheeks. When I operate in my ego story, I have a darkness to my face and a frown. When I am in My Truth Story, life flows well and serenely. I am at ease and not striving. What story are you in? What story do you want to be in?

Thanks for reading!

Until the next story…Bethie