Hand Me Down

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Through the years I have encouraged many to have pictures taken of their hand upon their loved ones hand and even vice versa. It will be a treasure the rest of your life, at the ending of theirs.

While I have encouraged many, I did not do it myself. The  cell phones we have today with cameras were not as popular or even available back in 1996, although not for certain, knowing I did not have one.

My hands now are my mother’s hands. I never realized this until my niece grabbed my hands at the dinner table, many years ago and was in awe saying, “You have Grandma’s hands.”  I do and even her swollen, aching knuckles she complained about of which I don’t care for, but thankfully just two on each hand and that is enough.

As Mother’s Day approaches this weekend, I tend to get somewhat melancholy. Wondering will my boys remember me, do they think I was a good enough mother, etc. On the other side, being a daughter, I found this date to be awkward.

E344AFA3-CD97-4C33-BB02-D53AFCC98BE8My mother will always be my mom, of course, but all throughout my childhood to adulthood, we never had the mother-daughter relationship. I found myself yearning for motherly love from other mother figures and felt free to share my thoughts, touch their hand and hug. Never understanding why I felt guarded with my own mother. I know she loved me, I was her daughter. I loved her, she was my mother. It was just the acceptance of love that existed but not freely shown or spoken. What a disappointment in life.

As a family, there were many fun times, mostly with beer, at our house with many around, when I was a child. Later, it became less people in our house, as my siblings moved on with their lives. I was a late baby so I am still home. Due to work of both parents back then, the house was quiet, more seriousness, sometimes verbal bickering and I sensed jealousy, which became the norm. On top of this, I watched my dad drink heavily and then it flipped-flopped, like overnight, and mom took over the role of an alcoholic.

Understanding and realizing what I endured, I am an adult child of alcoholics with childhood emotional neglect. It all makes sense even though, so sad. Reading lately about Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), a book by Pete Walker, that can be thrown in the mix, too. In research, I have found that each of these intertwine. Since 2014, my eyes have been opened to so many things of my past and present, hopefully in recognizing and changing of my future.

My mom passed away in January, 1996. My marriage was unsettled, feeling it was all my fault. I was dealing with our young children, watching other children, tending to my father four times a day with a feeding tube, his house, our house, finances, life insurance with mom, etc., all the way down to taking out the garbage. There was no time to grieve.

It was when I stood in the grocery store, in the aisle with greeting cards and looked at Mother’s Day cards knowing I did not need to get one that year. Through the years, I would read and put back many cards as they read of the closeness and the mushy stuff between a mother and a daughter, which I never had. I just needed one to be straightforward, Happy Mother’s Day, signing my name possibly noted, with love. Standing there looking at the cards, I could not get out of the store quick enough, the grief and sadness of it all took me by surprise that day. Still, each time as I stand in the card aisle looking for just the right card to give to someone, I always remember that moment. Those silly Hallmark cards, they get me all the time. Sometimes thinking that the intercom will come on announcing, cleanup in the card aisle, a lady is crying a river.

The love was present, just knowing, and I was taken care of in the physical sense with clean clothes, nice house, etc.  The outside looked fine and I learned early on how to wear and adjust my mask to appear happy, when the inside of me there was always a little girl crying out for love and attention.BE264BE2-3596-4234-B9D6-ACBFFE8414F0

While in 2014, walking in the counselor’s office about a different matter, which we discussed and I understood, it was when she said, “Now, let’s deal with you.”

While this was a surprise to me, it was not to the Lord. I have no doubt that He prepared this counselor for this time and place in my life. All through my life, I yearned for motherly hugs, never knowing why and it bothered me. It made me feel like I could not show love or receive love from my own mother (family), always coming up with the ‘what is wrong with me’ mentality. Shame had taken hold of me early on as a child, building year by year, basically stomping me down over and over of the unworthiness and feeling unlovable.

Today, meaning this time in my life, understanding the ramifications of areas mentioned, it helps me to know the whys and not question, to notice the shame as it tries to attach itself to me. I never thought I would ever get over the screams within for the hugs needed, but I have. At times wondering if I had put walls up, so that I would not be hurt again of not needing those motherly hugs, but it was and has been different. Understanding brings healing to the broken places within that the Lord knew I needed mending, and she helped me to find clarity.

Thankfully, the counselor knew me well enough in those four years, that she could probably hear the screams within or see in my eyes, oftentimes me saying in reluctance and embarrassment, Please Hug Me!

I love not having the deep yearning for love and acceptance of others. I can leave one that was or is like a mother figure, or perhaps maybe we do hug, but not feel the deep torment of the love and care needed in the loneliness felt, as I walk away. To accept myself, to care, to love, to know and that I am lovable, there is a freedom and a healing that I have never, ever experienced.549D22D1-1FC2-4533-9AB0-889B7B9E4E9F

Mother’s Day brings many emotions for my own mom, those fill-in mothers in my life and for myself, as a mom.

Happy mother's day - brush calligraphy greeting. Vector illustration.Happy Mother’s Day to each of you as a mom. If you are a son or a daughter, and your mother is living, you need to contact her. If she has passed, you can still whisper or say, Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Mom’s everywhere need to know they are not forgotten on this day.4785CCEF-CC36-409B-8D56-B5EA5F728B49

This has been an emotional blog for me to write, as I have missed out on so many levels of love. Even though, the tears flow and I stop to mourn the loss between words, there is a joy within, as I am not the same person. As I look at my hands, my mother’s hands, they can hug that little girl within and bring comfort to the lack of love known so well, with the screams silenced, and healing to my mending heart day by day.

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Sadly, I do not know what this is like between a mother and a daughter. What a great loss… for me but for mom, too. 

 

C-PTSD http://www.pete-walker.com/

ACD https://adultchildren.org/

CEN https://drjonicewebb.com/

Peg Streep https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-support/201304/daughters-unloving-mothers-7-common-wounds

 

 

C-PTSD – 1

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Chapter One

I have my book in hand, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker, as I work through it and share my thoughts and parts of my life. Just maybe it will be helpful to another reading my blog, or just for me.

Since we are all confined due to the quarantine, I decided to not do the Telehealth offered by my one counselor. Perhaps that is part of the anxiety of what I will be reading and understanding of myself in this book. When offered twice for the Telehealth, I froze and tensed up, basically freaking out within. Thanks but no thanks, I will get through this, which probably is another sign.5948BF28-DC41-42D8-A82F-DD062597C528

I tend to open a new book, skip through and find a chapter or information I was searching and become content with and in understanding. I then put it on the shelf, over and over again, majority of my books not read but I got what I needed, at the time. My books are mostly self-help and informative ones, as this book is, in order to understand and to be a better me. I have no time or interest in reading other books, such as romance, fiction, etc., which totally bore me.

This book, came to my attention from a counselor reading and discussing on Facebook. In her quarantine, she decided to read through this book each week online and discuss further. So, this has been like counseling for me as it feels personal. I believe I need this right now.EA2C9847-8700-474A-93EE-2254571CB86B

First page, a person wrote in her comments, which intrigued me to read page by page.  The comment by ‘DM’ was “I found myself. I found myself in your words. It’s as if you had unzipped me, stepped inside my traumatized inner self, meandered around a bit, come back outside, and wrote about what you discovered inside of me. For the first time in my life….. and I am in my fifties now….. I don’t feel defective…. or crazy…. or “weird”…. or even unlovable.”  Wow!

With that comment and what I have heard from the counselor on the Facebook page, I feel I am going to learn some things about C-PTSD, plus about myself.C0E8C49D-07EA-4C0F-B909-814C438A34B2

I felt somewhat overwhelmed with the Table of Contents, as a lot will be covered within the book. I found it somewhat funny that Mr. Walker even suggests skipping around in the book to where you need to be.  He already knows me so well, but I am going to try my best and go chapter by chapter.

The book he writes is to help the reader ‘create a map that you can follow to heal the wounds that come from not enough childhood love.’ Just that, I thought back to when my former counselor had me do a timeline from my childhood to adulthood. A timeline can be done in many ways, I myself used an excel spreadsheet, just find one that you like. Often, I wondered if she read this book. 9E66D2F6-D2DA-41D0-8647-E11405258942At times, when reading, I wanted to contact her. My goodness, I just got through Chapter One, but to express and say, ‘Look, look at this, this is what we had discussed so many times through the years.’ There is an excitement within me and an anticipation to read more but there is also a fear that I will have to face some issues that have been hidden. As the quote goes, If the Lord brings you to it, He will bring you through it. I want more in life, as too many years have been wasted due to circumstances, some in and some out of my control.

I am one that will mark up my books, even my Bible, as I go with underlines, arrows, stars and if a highlighter is near, I will add color to the areas that speak to me. So far, it is marked up quite a bit. Again, Wow!

I am on a journey, and I have been. At times knowing and feeling an anticipation and at other times the negative thoughts will seep in to take any hope away.

C-PTSD is a more severe form of PTSD of five common and troublesome features: emotional flashbacks, toxic shame, self-abandonment, a vicious inner critic and social anxiety. C-PTSD is a learned, not your DNA, of a failure in developmental tasks. What is learned, can be unlearned. So there is hope!

In your early years of life, it can come from growing up in a severely abusive and/or neglectful family. Traumatizing abuse and abandonment can occur on verbal, emotional, spiritual or physical levels with sexual abuse especially traumatizing.

Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions to the overwhelming feelings being an abused/abandoned child (fear, shame, alienation, rage, grief and depression). All triggering the fight/flight instincts.F644D5D8-2771-483F-B9A0-ED96A09B92FD

Toxic shame affects the self-esteem with an overwhelming sense that s/he is loathsome, ugly, stupid or fatally flawed. Toxic shame can also be created by constant parental neglect and rejection. It inhibits us from seeking comfort, often isolating. Being stuck in the negative view of yourself is probably causing emotional flashbacks.

Suicidal ideation is common, a depressed thinking or fantasizing about wanting to die, ranging from active to passive suicidality. Passive is more common with C-PTSD and typically a flashback to our early childhood when abandonment was so profound.

In this book, it was noted that C-PTSD is often misdiagnosed with various anxiety and depressive disorders, many labeled with bipolar, narcissistic, codependent, autistic spectrum and borderline disorders. C-PTSD is not recognized in the DSM manual used by mental health professionals.

The Four F’s: Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn, are each B9C72F89-CAD3-41B2-A5DE-FDEA05980DEAmentioned and how they come into play with C-PTSD, in this chapter.

This chapter was jammed pack with information that I could relate to and so many times we discussed within my counseling sessions. While reading, knowing some information already but having it in writing before my eyes, underlining and often writing ‘Me’ was mind-boggling. It took me a few days to get my thoughts in this blog because it was so much to take in and having to re-examine areas I’d rather forget.

As I journal through this book in my blog, if any of it resonates with you or if you know someone that it would, I would recommend the purchase of this book.

I am unsure how I found the counselor reading this book, EB368285-54BD-4F32-9A32-86E0B836EE99but I don’t think it was by coincidence. Just as I was in counseling years ago and my journey moving forward, there was and is a part of me at times when I wanted to just stop. It was too hard.

The Four F’s mentioned, I always tend to fall in the ‘freeze’ mode, and I have felt this come into play already, which is no surprise to me. So if C-PTSD is learned of what was not provided by my parents, as in my case, I can now unlearn by myself with my willingness to walk through this further, by reading this book, continuing with my counselors once the quarantine is lifted and be thankful I had a major jumpstart with my former counselor.

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Isaiah 41:10 ESV 
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV 
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

 

National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

 

https://www.johnbradshaw.com/books/healing-the-shame-that-binds-you