"I'm afraid if I don't do as my husband says my family will be homeless"
I have just discovered your site on Trans4mind and read your answer to the over-eating question.
Your explanation of the fear of embracing our masculine energy has made me realize how much this is affecting me and that it is my biggest fear. This is my story; please help me to help myself.
I was adopted when I was six weeks old (in England). My parents are loving and kind, and brought me up and cared for me the best way they knew how. I think I was spoiled and it has made me weak and fearful. For years and years I felt that my life was someone else's fault. My first marriage failed although I have two beautiful children. Sadly, between us my ex-husband and I have terrorised our two exquisite children with our arguments, etc. I wasn't the best mother I could have been when my children were little (they are now 10 & 8, girl and boy respectively). When I finally divorced I started again in a beautiful little house with my children, but I was never any good with money and soon got into debt with credit card bills. I didn't want to look after my children so my mother was always there to take care of my poor abandonned children. I rushed quickly into a second marriage to somebody who I now realize had the same personality traits as myself, both good and bad.
The beginning of my second marriage was terrifying: obsessions, depressions, arguments, fights and distrust, and the children were bullied by both of us. I became terrified of my husband's mood swings, I felt bullied all the time by his moods, and was so angry with him for doing this to my children. He lied and blamed me for everything, we were constantly criticising each other. I found my husband unbearably negative and weak.
I am quite a free spirit, I need to dance and sing and have spontaneous fun, and he wanted everything just so, tight and miserable. He hated his life and couldn't bear it when I talked of being positive. I have fought endlessly for a better relationship, I have felt trapped and terrified with no way out, I have no savings and would just have had nowhere to live if I had left my husband. I was also fighting constantly with my ex. So as you can see, a mess. Things seem to be better now, but I am worried that things could go out of control again. I worry that I have damaged my children irreversably and my daughter especially holds her feelings inside, finds it difficult to make friends and is very suspicious. I am responsible for damaging this beautiful flower. My son is nervous and edgy, and is addicted to his computer game.
I am slowly taking control of the situation, but everything is driven by me - I took the lead to sort out the finances. But I am terrified, frightened that if I don't constantly try to improve, be a good parent and go to work, that this much improved state will go away. I don't trust that my husband will stay OK if I just let things go, and without him we would have no home. I find it impossible to concentrate on my job, which is becoming a problem. I feel I can't survive without over-eating or cigarretes, even though I wake up every day desperate to be healthy. I am convinced that I can never undo the damage I caused my children. I feel that they must be flawed and the flaws are my fault. I am terrified to let the house get too messy in case it stresses my husband out. We have long periods of good, but I am always aware that things are bubbling underneath. I am terrified to let go of my beliefs because my husband can hurt my children emotionally. I know I am creating a very bad impression to my children about the power of the male over the female. Please help.
Hi - there is a lot of stuff going on to clear. First of all, I invite you to find a really excellent therapist and begin some intensive inner child work. Check out the issues of 1) desertion, 2) your personal ability to be creative and to find your self-expression.
I would look into doing sessions of holotropic breathwork also. At least 20, minimum.
It sounds as if your inner child is terrified. Often this develops from beliefs created very early on where the child believed she had to do an overwhelming and impossible, not to mention totally inappropriate job, such as caretaking others, dysfunctional parents, perhaps - a job which she was just too little to do. What this sets up is an utterly impossible, terribly insecure and helpless, no win situation, for a little child cannot be the parent, or take care of others, when it is desperately needing security and to be taken care of itself. Still, courageously and full of love, she tries to do it, thinking it's her job, but it's an impossible situation, a set up for failure. Often what happens is, try as she might to do the job, it only backfires on her, as it's set up to do by its very nature, and she's the one blamed and criticized. This creates terrible anxiety, no sense of inner security to call upon, deep and abiding terror, feelings of profound failure, incompetence, not to mention rage, frustration, anger - the belief develops that somehow if you had done a better job, or been a better little girl, you would have been able to keep things and people around you functioning, secure, safe, intact, and healthy. Since you couldn't do that, life always was and continued to be something out of control, too big to deal with ... life, or the job you think you have to do, feels terrifying and overwhelming, as that little inner child is still the one trying to face and cope with all of it and do this job which it thinks it must do - but can never hope to accomplish. Still, she plugs away, always feeling terrified, thinking she has to heal and take care of every thing and every one. Since this little child had to face big, incomprehensible moods, energies, and behavior in big folk which she couldn't begin to understand or deal with, life (as well as people and relationships) is one terrifying experience after another - and no wonder then, that you'd attract a mate who seems terrifying to you as well, or feel terrified and guilty that you are "failing" as a mother.
The only job you have to do is to take care of yourself and become healthy yourself. Everything else will work itself out from there. Read that again. THE ONLY JOB YOU HAVE TO DO IS TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND BECOME HEALTHY YOURSELF. That may mean you say, when faced with another's moods or dysfunctions: "I feel really scared of that energy and I don't choose to be around it" or "I don't know what to do with this" or "This isn't my job to fix this, although I support you in finding your way" or "I'd like to help and support you in this, but I don't know how. What do you think you need?" Or, you could say to someone, when it's appropriate and doesn't go into caretaking : "Will behaving this way get you what you are seeking? If not, what do you, yourself, need to do to get the results you are looking for?"
Whatever you find yourself saying, when in a situation that feels terrifying, the important thing is to be honest with what you, yourself are feeling and needing to do to take care of yourself. The old pattern will want to kick in immediately, and you'll think you have to deny yourself in order to take care of them. You'll think something like: "Oh, I can't say THAT because that person is so scared themselves. I have to help them," etc. So - you'll need to be aware of that and catch it. It will take time to change this pattern, so be easy on yourself, as many times the old pattern will click in before you catch it. Just be aware of it, and then gently remind yourself how you are now choosing to respond. Slowly, take it moment by moment, breath by breath, one day at a time, and this will begin to shift.
You will need to heal this inner child and begin to understand, moment by moment, experience by experience, decision by decision, how to take care of yourself in each and every situation. You will need to remind yourself, to take a breath, an emotional breathing space, in order to stop before responding in the same old habitual way or pattern that you have done for so long, and say to yourself: "What is the most appropriate way for me to respond that takes care of me, is honest with what I am feeling and needing here?" instead of immediately denying yourself and your needs and going into trying to fix it and caretake others.
Again, a good therapist will be very useful and a great support, a gift you can give yourself to begin the journey of taking care of yourself, to help you understand and deal with this and to create new behavioral patterns that will feel great to you and lift this terrible little girl burden, a burden which she never should have carried, and is not in any way appropriate.