Something I have come to understand – is throughout my whole life, my existence has been dependent on what I am doing for others. I know why this happened. I was abused heinously in my childhood, and the parentification (the child is responsible for looking after the needs of the parent) abuse I endured, and being made responsible for my siblings, meant my whole worth was about what I ‘did for others’. This is how I was made to feel, by my mother.
Narcissistic parents, have conditional affection/approval. I learned in my childhood, my worth was purely based upon my mothers approval of what I was doing for ‘her’.
This meant I developed a ‘self worth’ belief system, that my existence was purely for being used and useful, to other people. I did not develop any awareness of my own worth – based on myself, or my needs.
I see clearly how this manifested in my adult life. I have been used and abused by many people.
Even though I have been working on my self worth, when I am overwhelmed and in too much emotional pain, I still revert to thinking my only reason for living is my children. I do have an awareness that I deserve to live for me, but when this is tested I realise the awareness/belief, is not deep enough.
I also realise, this is one reason why I have been so dedicated to my online work — to the point of being unhealthy and spending too much time online in the past. Because my online work gives me a purpose for living too. I am helping other survivors – again my worth – being connected in what I do for other people.
So, after processing my own trauma based beliefs and issues that still plague my life…… I also have come to realise – I need to develop a life that is lived for ‘me’. Not just for others.
I need to truly learn I deserve to live for ‘me’.
I need to truly believe my life is worth living for ‘my’ needs, ‘my’ joy and ‘my’ happiness too.
I need to truly believe that my worth for my existence – is not ‘only’ to care for, and being useful for others.
So, I am continuing with my photography, which I enjoy. For me. And I am continuing with caring for my physical and mental health needs, with e.g. my yoga, pilates and exercise classes. And trying to keep mindful, that I deserve this for ‘me’.
I won’t deny, it feels really weird. It is far more comforting place, for me to think I am doing this for others…. e.g. “I am getting fit, to be an even better mother”. I am doing photography, to hopefully be able to provide financially for my children”. “I do my work online – for other survivors”. Those things are indeed outcomes, but they cannot be the ‘only’ reason I am doing them. I need to be doing them for me too.
I know this is an essential part of my healing. I discussed it yesterday in counselling, and it was confirmed that yes…… I do need to start living for me, and not just for others. I realise my low state a few weeks ago, highlighted this issue. I told my counsellor – the only reason I had to live – was for my children. And it became very clear to me, this is an issue needing to be acknowledged and worked on.
It shows how profoundly these childhood abuse and trauma, can affect our lives.
But, with self insight and capacity to work out, acknowledge and deal with these issues, we can move towards healing these deep wounds.
And this is one area of healing I need, and I have no doubt other complex trauma survivors, will also need.
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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