WHAT IF NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH ME?
By Eva Angvert Harren
What if I had grown up without abuse? What if I was loved and taken care of as a child? What if I didn’t have post-traumatic stress injury?
Would I have been one of those calm, kind, compassionate, and loving moms? Would I have screamed less…or less loudly…or not at all? What if….
As I’m writing this, I am getting a cramp in my throat, an ache, as if I were throwing up a golf ball from deep inside. It feels too big. It feels like an ache boiling up from the bottom of my soul. My stomach hurts; I’m feeling nausea.
A sense of anxiety is creeping in, as if something bad is forming around me, in me. I can feel the panic, and the tears, like a cloud lurking before the storm. And then comes the first lightning rod: “God! What a bad mom you were!”
I’m “losing ground”; I cannot feel the chair I’m in. My head is starting to pound. I’m getting dizzy. Okay, here we go again. I’m falling into the rabbit hole. I have nothing to grab onto. As a bad mom, I wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t stay connected.
Then comes the second thunder crack: “Remember when you didn’t pick her up?” “Remember how, when you screamed, they got so scared…of you…their mother?” “Remember?”
When the third blow hits me, I feel myself sliding down: “God, you were a terrible mom.”
So…Just. Be. With. It…right? That’s what I tell my clients.
So…Eva, are you walking your talk?
I’m sitting with it, allowing it to hit me, to wash over me like a wave of regret, of the panic that comes from realizing I cannot change it, fix it, erase it, or even talk about it. My kids aren’t really interested. They’re going on with their lives saying, “I’m fine, Mom.”
But’ I’m not! I’m physically hurting.
Oh, wait a minute. It’s also Kristina time. She was born September 30th and died December 1st. I see. It was thirty years ago! For God’s sake, get a grip, Eva. My brain is saying, “It was a long time ago; get over it.” But my body remembers. The body is hurting, aching, shaking, itching. It’s that time of year.
If we are not paying attention to our body, we can get lost in our brain. What? If I do not stay connected with my Self, I do not feel when my body starts sending me messages.
I do not pay attention to the fact that I’m getting irritated, sad, lonely. My husband doesn’t understand me, my daughters don’t enjoy spending time with me, my friends don’t have time for me, nobody likes me, life sucks. I might as well not be here.
And all it’s about is that it’s that time of year, Kristina time, and I, in my body, am a little more vulnerable, “sore”, sensitive, and sliding into survival mode. We, my body and I, just need to make it through the day.
In the past, at this time of year, and like a lot of other people, I was busy with the kids: Get them to school, practice, and dinner…do laundry, run my business, attend my college classes, and so on, and so forth. Slowly, though, I have become less busy, and life has calmed down.
Now…there is silence, painful silence, heavy silence, as if the oxygen I’m breathing in has weight to it. The gravity is pulling harder: I feel heavier, I feel lost, I feel “spent”; nobody needs me, the most important people in my life don’t need me! WTF!
I was overwhelmed with taking care of my family for more than 20 years, and now…they don’t have time. They have their own lives. How dare they!
Be. With. It! For God’s sake, Eva, Be. With. It! That’s what you’re telling your clients. So, I AM with it! Right now. In the present moment.
I’m giving the pain some space, allowing it to ascend, like a bubble from the bottom of the ocean of my pain, slowly expanding, ascending, through my aching stomach, and up into my chest.
The pressure in my chest feels unbearable, and when the bubble reaches my throat, right around the collar bone, I’m ready to scream. That’s what I used to do, just scream in raw panic, having no idea what to do. Now I know.
Now, I’m sitting here, allowing the bubble to expand even more. My throat is now really hurting; it’s difficult to breathe. It feels as though the bubble is too large to pass through my throat. I swear, this time my head will pop off. I’m feeling the panic that used to make me fly off into a rage.
But NOT ANYMORE!
I can Be. With. It! I can!
If I’m just willing to let this bubble of pain pass through me. So painful. So familiar.
Then it happens: the breath, and the exhale, a spontaneous exhale, and it’s done!
Wait a minute! It’s not about the kids, or my husband, or my situation. It’s about my body sensations!
It’s about recognizing the sensations in my body. I don’t need to ask questions; I don’t need to be stuck in my brain, analyzing, trying to remember, attaching meaning to it all.
All I need to do is to give “it” space, give “it” compassion, give me space, give me compassion.
I think we hurt when we do something against our Inner knowing, our intuition, our greater self, our internal guide. Call it what you want.
There is a knowing in all of us that understands the right thing to do. However, many of us can be disconnected from that knowing, and we cannot feel what we are supposed to do.
We become reactive, irritable, frustrated, angry; it escalates to panic or rage. It’s scary not to know what to do, how to be, or what to say.
If you do not know any of this, how the hell are you supposed to teach others, especially your kids.
You love them! You want the best for them. You have your own issues to heal, but you don’t have time.
There is laundry, dinner, driving the kids to school or practice; there’s their homework and more laundry. When are you supposed to take care of You, so you can take care of them?
I did my best. I have learned to believe that. If I had known better, I would have done better! I just didn’t know.
So…time for Self-care!
We do not benefit from watching the waves behind the boat; it’s too late to do anything about what is behind us!
Let’s look ahead, see where we’re going, aim for a better way of feeling into who we are. Let’s be ready for another day.
Oh, that’s right! I just had a moment of dis-connect. It created a sensation that became a thought, a sad, uncomfortable, and scary thought…a thought that took me down the rabbit hole.
I just had a thought! However, the thought is not who I am; it is just a thought!
Ahhhhhh, what a wonderful exhale! The cloud is gone, the sun is breaking through. Ah, exhale into another day of possibilities. And feel better now!