I had a realisation in early November that I had spent a lot of my life in survival mode. In fact it has become a recognisable bed I was lying in, but not a very safe one. The last 3-4 years have been particularly bad and my external life had reflected that financially, in my home situation, physically via the cancer and emotionally just feeling numb and being okay about having so little.
Living in survival mode means you are always living in fear: fear of death, fear of destruction, fear that the few things you have in life will crumble away and you will fall into the abyss. That is how I have felt for as long as I can remember. This terrible fear led to becoming a control freak – trying to manage aspects of my life – money, relationships, day to day living, and my son – so as to feel “safe.” Living in the fear, but pretending to yourself you are not; “its okay you’ve got it all under control Maxine.”
But the fact is in all those aspects of my life, I may have controlled them or felt I did, but they weren’t natural or loving and none were being done very well. Control does not allow for love to flow and controlling addictively to avoid fear is unloving. Avoiding fear, living in fear is unloving, restrictive and self-denying as well as unloving to others as to avoid feeling vulnerable you try to control those around you, sometimes heavily disguised as “taking care” of them, but still controlling them.
Being in survival mode is really bad for your health too. When we are in flight or fright mode we produce adrenalin by the pint and all this adrenalin constantly pumping around our system isn’t good. In the end it creates a toxic environment and it is exhausting. Now that I have started to pay attention to my fear, I have become aware that daily I do so many things to avoid feeling unsafe physically, emotionally and spiritually.
I have become an expert in batting back, ducking, avoiding, distracting myself from feeling fear. In the process I have created a facade that is dull and hard and uncreative. I have lost more and more of myself.
However, compassionately, there are some deep causal events and emotions that started this whole survival mode. John Bradshaw, in his book Homecoming, says “a witness to violence is a victim to violence.” I had a father who was violent, a step father who was even more so both, physically and mentally to my mother. I sat on the stairs or behind my bedroom door many times listening to the shouting and violence going on near me. I even have a memory of standing in my cot and feeling this big dark red cloud coming into the room. It was rage – I think it was my father’s rage, at my mother, I don’t have the details, but I feel panicky and scared…and there is still much I haven’t remembered yet.
Then there is the other violence, of being shouted at, clipped round the ear, blamed and shamed in one way or another as my parents, unable to cope with their own emotions, sent them my way. The terror that comes when you think your mother has killed herself – again and again and again: all these things and so many more. I wish my experience was unusual, but it isn’t or am I minimizing it? As a small child, all these things shake you to the core and it has left me with the constant feeling that my world will end at any moment, that there is no solid foundation to exist from and at times no real love to be found.
When I hit the wall in November, my body aching from doing a job that was too demanding and pushing myself to the limits with it, and only months after major surgery and cancer and then coming home to live in a place I really don’t like, reduced down to living pretty much in one room with no space to get the things I love out – my art materials and writing materials and no money to buy new clothes when I need to or enjoy things I love, counting every penny and struggling to pay off some debts.
So I started to feel some emotions about it – yes mostly effect emotions – sadness, and some frustration, but mostly sadness, at the situation I was in, and created by my unhealed emotions, my choice to keep suppressing them. A painful realisation, but to be frank to feel something was a good thing and it created some small shifts in me, about what God wants for me and it not this – this small life.
In relation to this, for the last 2-3 of years I have also become aware that I have attracted a large group of spirits who do not want what is best for me, but only want to control my life, zap my energy and keep me small and at times completely destroy me. They have been with me for a good while I feel. By not feeling my emotions I allow that attraction to continue. It has been tough dealing with this. I feel them sitting on my shoulders, at times suffocating and crowded. It has kept me awake at night the last few months and I have felt I have no privacy whatsoever. Every time I try to take a step forward I feel they come for me. It has felt like a real battle for my soul. So I am in the process of feeling more truth about this, bit by bit.
I am letting myself feel that facade, I am returning to long-ignored passions that connect with my real self and I am doing a few things to come outside of my “comfort” zone/prison. They are a few small steps, but I am feeling a shift in some areas. I still have much to learn and feel and discover, but letting that control addiction go is tricky, but I really am beginning to dislike it. It doesn’t feel like me, just like a strange creature that has taken over. Plan A: to turn from rock to river!
I wanted to share this, to help those of you who may be doing the same as I have been. It is so important to be honest with ourselves, to look at our lives and see what it is showing us about our unhealed emotions, our self worth and our denial. We do have the power to change all this and we have much greater power to change all this if we include God in the process. Step one, for me, is working through blocks to receiving God’s love. (which would so help me soften to emotions).
The blocks I think I have identified about God are (constantly up for review!):
- Anger that God has made this so difficult (I feel it is very difficult).
- Fear I will never receive God’s love/lack of faith
- False beliefs about God judging me and deciding I don’t deserve Love ( parental stuff)
- An addictive demand that God should give me love despite my lack of desire/fears about receiving or when I am being unloving.
- Lack of faith that God is good and that her Love will make me happy.
- I have more faith in my addictions
- Lack of self worth prevents the openness to receiving.
- A fear of emotional overwhelm/losing control if I receive God’s love; what will happen?
These realisations have created some changes. A week after my meltdown a new job came up and I got it and I am working in a more loving environment – though still having to watch my own self care in it, and with that my finances have improved and I am looking for somewhere new to live, and I am writing more and have joined something called solo autobiographical theatre which is triggering memories and emotions and pulling me out of a comfort zone and challenging me to do it despite fears that come up.
The Divine truth teachings are never far from my mind and heart. The God blocks are still there, but by listening to the videos by Jesus and Mary, I learn about God’s truth and re-educate myself about Love and Truth and error and as always nature is one of my greatest teachers about God and her Love. Also, books like the Robert James Lee trilogy (see the extras page) give such hope and wonder and curiosity to keep searching and investigating the truth about God, and Love and life. I am blessed to have this knowledge and experience at my fingertips and I do not want to walk away from it until I start to really walk it and keep walking it, with no turning back and no fear.
This year is about my moving out of survival mode, of really finding out what being me is about, what loving myself is really about: to move from the pretend love that feeding my addictions gives me and finding out what God’s love really feels like. To create a blunt analogy I feel I have been clinging to a pile of hard crap that I have convinced myself was a soft cushion: comfortable, but sticky and not allowing me to move much. Clinging because I felt there was this deep bottomless pit below, a drop into the unknown, to a point of meaninglessness and death, very related to childhood fears and flight/fright mode. Now it is time to let go of clinging to this crap, falling into the abyss…whatever it may. My feeling is instead of nothingness or danger , I will find God’s hands there ready to catch me and lift me up to greater heights, even with wings to fly – just has he planned. I can see even see that knowing smile…… Yes my child, here YOU are… here you truly are…
Oh goodness, now won’t that be wonderful…