(This is part 2 of a 2-Part article. Read Part 1 first )
I was soul-sick. No doubt about it. When I should have been bonding with my mother as an infant, she was nurturing her career and I was left with a babysitter & bottle. When I could have turned to her for protection at school, and at home she was ensconced in bed after work with a quart of Butter Brickle ice cream and TV, or one of her severe migraine headaches. When I first got sober (I began my addiction at age seven, after discovering that huffing isopropyl alcohol made me float away), she went along with the rest of the family’s perspective that drinking could be controlled, why give it up all together? When I confronted her about my father’s sexual abuse, she pointed at me angrily countering: “You always had your father wrapped around your little finger!”
The loyal, strong, reliable ally that guided me from soul-sickness to soul-health wasn’t a therapist (though I’ve seen therapists, read many books written by and for therapists); it wasn’t a 12 Step Sponsor (though I’ve benefited from their support); it wasn’t a guru (though I have done somatic work, meditated, and been part of women’s groups). Who really showed up for me WAS and IS me. “Laurie’s Cure” is all about adult-Laurie mothering little-Laurie. Here are the steps I implemented that rewired my brain, and altered my core-identity.
Adult-me, stands hand in hand with wounded Little-me during the cortisol and adrenaline blasts of facing the terror, the truth, the FULL PAIN of what happened to me. In the beginning, I laid down, closed my eyes, and invited the awful memories and feelings that I usually held at bay…to come. I breathed deeply. I visualized myself as an adult entering the memory. Sometimes, I would:
- change the course of events and intervene with my parents by scolding/threatening them, calling the authorities, or even striking them
- take Little-me away and brush my hair, and give me clean clothes, bedding, and healthy delicious food.
- stand near Little-me and coax her away from the parents, particularly my father, whom she had an unhealthy bond with. I assured her that if she trusted me, jumped into my arms she would find true love and safety (and eventually she did jump!)
When Adult-me hears Little-me slip into her Fantasy Bond of sharing the blame or buying into my mother’s perspective that I was a seven year-old seductress, I push back hard against the intense shame I felt/feel with loving compassion, and an accurate accounting (much as I did when my own children woke up scared from bad dreams):
- “Little Laurie, you were absolutely innocent, just like all children are!”
- “You didn’t and COULDN’T cause sexual abuse. You SHOULD have been safe in your own home, your own bed”.
- “You deserved to be cherished, and loved, and protected!”
- “I know you want to believe mommy and daddy loved you, but that isn’t what love feels like.”
- I would envision myself as the healing Mother-Nature in Disney’s movie Fantasia and spread my abundant arms wide around the cold, trembling Little-me and enfold her in warmth, security, and absolute safety. And tell her, “this is what a good mommy’s love feels like”.
Through nurturing myself, I took the small example of kindness that neighbors showed me and fanned that hope into the life I have today; I have created a stream that I can relax in. I was not instantly cured, and maybe never will be. But when:
- I feel PTSD just as I’m falling asleep, I repeat the previous steps.
- Rub my chest over my heart, and other gentle self-massage.
- I identified the energetic darkness in my pelvic region. I did the following: I danced and shook my hips. I danced and squatted and told the gunk to “get out!” I laid down and visualized breathing out from my heart, from my belly, and out between my legs. I imagined a clear golden light shinning through my whole core.
I ask for help. Adult-me can’t carry all this work at times. Part of the spiritual program I practice is to simply say “help me.” Some people call this praying. I just know that it often delivers a peacefulness and reassurance I can’t just conjure up through self-will. As a result of the steps above, my body has become a happy place, my heart is open to love, empathy, and feelings (even the previously taboo feelings of sadness, and anger), and most importantly I am spreading that positivity. It feels like a healthy-soul to me.
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