Sunday, September 16, 2007

A good question

Mark asked an interesting question yesterday: Does writing about Conrad and those abusive times, virtually every day, help you move forward or does it keep your head in that period of the past? . . while I appreciate the catharsis takes time, do you do yourself a service or harm by dwelling on it daily?

It's a good question and one that's hard to perceive in myself -- if only because I'm so close to what I do, there's the risk I can talk myself out of or into any position. Do I feel like I'm stuck in the past? No. Am I further beyond where I was 4+ years ago -- absolutely. Today, I celebrate me. Beauty and the beast. Darkness and Light. Inner world and outer vistas. I know I am healthy. I make good choices. I take risks without risking my well-being through indiscriminate disregard of my intuition. I have strong boundaries. I do not accept the unacceptable as acceptable. I know me and love me, exactly the way I am.

Good questions deserve thoughtful consideration.

I wanted someone's perspective who is close to me. I asked CC the question last night. His thoughtful response was valuable. Speaking from his own experience, he suggested there is always a risk of that happening. That when we continually repeat the stories from the past, or dwell on them obsessively, then we will remain stuck. The challenge is to not use the past as the benchmark for what the future will be. The responsibility is ours to take care of ourselves in ways that set us free of using the past as an excuse for what happens today.

So true.

In being in relationship, I discover 'my stuff'. You know, those triggers and ideas that hold me back from experiencing life as one whole woman. I have lots of them, and it's in relationship that I get to blow through them, discard them, recognize them for what they are and deal with their impact on my life -- or not. The choice is mine.

Some days, it's hard work. Some days, I want to say, Forget it. I don't do relationship and shift back into my peace of mind in being alone. But, that would be giving into my fear, into 'the beast' who likes to rear his head when he sees me stretching beyond where I'm at into places he is afraid to be. Not because he fears the unknown, but rather because he fears losing control, lost in the silence of being within when I am out there, experiencing life on the other side of my comfort zone.

And so, I face my triggers, dance with my inner demons and step beyond their embrace -- sometimes awkwardly at first, but always with the intent of moving towards grace, ease and dignity.

I do not see the Conrad experience as the defining moment of my life. There are hundreds of those. Conrad was the catalyst that blew me out of the waters of my self-denial. He was the final active ingredient that set me free of self-abuse and recriminations. In coming through that experience, I claimed my right to be the alchemist of my interior design.

Alchemical energies can evoke powerful and often disruptive forces in the psyche. Often, because of their power to transform, they cannot be encountered instantaneously, but need a more measured, considered approach. In their initial contact, the energy can be infused with emotion, driven through with feelings that are unruly, uncomfortable, distressing. Only as I allow myself to sit with the emotions cascading within me, only when I journey deeper, longer, more quietly into their transmutative power are their energies able to unfold in a positive and constructive manner from within me to my outer world.

When I write in this space, it is a journey of trust, of faith that what I write has meaning out there. It comes from within me, and therefore has great significance within. But what is what I'm writing sending out into the world?

When I share my story, I am, in the language of AA, sharing my hope, strength and experience. I am trusting in the universe to receive my words in the love with which they are shared.

Do I keep myself stuck in the Conrad experience? It doesn't feel stuck to me. I believe in the alchemical power of my investigations of my inner world to transform my mind, to clear my vision, to heal my heart and open me wide-up to the awesome beauty of the world within and the world around me. I believe in the power of my story to touch hearts, open minds and set spirits free.

When I write of those experiences, I do not feel pain. I do not feel regret, sorrow or even sadness. I feel free.

My purpose in writing this blog is to share -- my story, my joy, my belief that we are all magnificent human beings on the journey of our lifetimes. Sometimes, we will falter. Sometimes we will fly. Always we change.

In writing of those times, I trust in the alchemical power of the story to affect the perceptions and beliefs of those who read my words. I have no desire to forget those times. I have no desire to remember them. They are simply a time in which I became aware of the awesome power of my spirit to fly free of the bonds that held me tethered to the lie: I am unworthy.

In having tapped into my alchemical power to transform the inner world that led me into despair, I have set myself free to claim my truth: I am worthy.

The question is: Where do you keep yourself stuck in judgement, in disbelief that you are anyone other than a magnificent human being? Where are you tied to your story from the past, closing yourself off to new beginnings and different endings?

4 comments:

terraflora said...

ML.. I have only now found your blog... after only in the past few days finding LoveFraud... and I am still raw from the recent cruel ending and more - the realizations of what I was involved in/deceived by.

I so appreciate what you are doing. And especially the sharing of your journey, your hope, your joy.
I am feeling the need for a support group -- if you know of anything.. maybe post here?

I'm going to comb through the rest of your blog... Thank you for your honest inquiry into your own experience. And your firm belief that Joy is to return! I will borrow your knowing until mine returns!
Thanks!

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thank you Terraflora -- love your name.

It takes time and courage and belief that you deserve more than he ever would or could have given you. It takes forgiveness and compassion to love yourself, in all your woundedness and sorrow, and the faith that believes you will heal.

When I first got my life back I spent a lot of time at: http://groups.msn.com/psychopath

I occassionally visit the really kind and loving people at:

http://groups.msn.com/TheWebofNarcissim

Writing it out has been a healing gift for me and one I am very grateful to hear helps you.

Borrow away -- and write away.

Love and hugs and healing,

Louise

CZBZ said...

Dear Louise,

I appreciated Mark's question two days ago and wanted to reply from my own experience as a forum manager working with people who must reclaim their lives even when they'd rather pretend a 'tragedy' had never happened. Or pretend they are no longer suffering when indeed, they are.

Healing is long-term and it is HARD WORK.

We learn to cope in the short-run and get ourselves feeling better about being victimized by someone we trusted. But healing doesn't necessarily stop there though most of us would prefer never looking back. (Where's my emoticons? I can't talk without smilie faces, Louise! O well---insert HORRIBLY PAINED FACE here---you get the picture)Healing SUCKS; but NOT healing sucks bigger.

Why?

'Cuz more than likely, we'll get to do it all over again. So remember this: rumination is not the same thing as being 'stuck.'

Now, for the research aspect about deep rumination reviewing our abusive relationship(s) in order to fix what needs fixing and ditch what needs ditching.

People who short-cut their process, experience less growth than those who remain 'In Process' for longer periods of time. (Calhoun and Tedeschi, 1999). A great deal of psychobabble has evolved from the truth that negative, intrusive rumination prolongs distress and prevents healing. However, alienation from the traumatic experience by avoiding rumination and distress, also prevents self-empowerment and healing. It is crucial for each of us to know the difference.

How do we do that?

Short of writing a dissertation on your comments section, Louise, a key indication that someone is ruminating positively is the spiritual growth witnessed in her ability to talk about what happened 'with acceptance'...and 'without self-blame'.

Another key indication that positive rumination is taking place is the awakening of altruism: sharing one's tragedy with others in the hopes of helping them avoid similar mistakes.

Deliberate reflection leads to deeper understanding of the self in an effort (perhaps) to see the benefits and insights we have gained from our struggles.

None of these attributes is the outcome of negative, spinning, intrusive or obsessive thinking about the man, his abuse and our trauma.

I hope my comments are received in the spirit they are given because understanding the Healing Process through my own recovery is my life work.

I hope to be able to help other people just like yourself, Louise. Until I could handle my own pain, it was too triggering to speak about the experience with any degree of clarity.

One of the most amazing outcomes for many is an increased compassion for others. Those of us who have not only survived, but thrived, are able to LISTEN when other people can't.

Why?

Because we know human beings are more resilient and courageous than they believe. We have hope for others because we have faced our fears and rather than becoming bitter and hard, we've become better and soft to the touch.

In fact, though it appears to be a paradox, vulnerability is strength. Being able to review our past without judgment and blame is essential in the process of self-reclamation.

I am grateful you write about Conrad, Louise. But I'm even more grateful that I can write about my 34+ year marriage without denying the truth or repressing my feelings.

If our stories help other people, then we have managed to create meaning in the meaninglessness of abuse.

And that, dear friend---is positive rumination.

Much love,
Carolyn

M.L. Gallagher said...

CZ, thank you for your profund and healing words. I learn so much through your words -- and I gain such clarity and compassion, for myself and for others.

Like you, distance gives me clarity, as does writing about my experience.

Thank you for sharing yourself so beautifully and graciously.

CZ's site can be found at:

http://groups.msn.com/TheWebofNarcissism