My brain is like a filing cabinet. For years, I had stored these files away, never daring to open them up. Some of them, in fact, I had forgotten about–they were in the very back of the drawer, gathering dust…but still there, waiting to be found again.
When I started EMDR and talk therapy, my brain found it useful access a lot of these old files and, suddenly, I remembered…I remembered lots of things I had buried long ago, hoping I’d to never have to talk about.
I realized this weekend though, what part of my struggle is: As I have remembered all of the horrible and hard stuff from childhood, it has reawakened a sense of injustice, anger, and grief within me.
This probably seems pretty normal, right? In fact, in a lot of ways, it is probably healthy to feel these emotions–emotions I wasn’t allowed to feel as a child–and re-process them in an adult way.
The problem is though, the emotions–at least, right now–feel very REAL. Raw. And, the people who caused so many of these emotions–my parents–are still here, alive, and in my life. Still dysfunctional. Still making my life feel hard.
It feels like my repressed childhood emotions are crashing into my current life. What should be taken care of with some carefully inserted boundaries suddenly becomes bigger–a passive aggressive comment that is meant to make me act like a loyal and dutiful daughter should be easily shrugged off by me at this point. I am learning my value. Instead, my brain hears it and I feel my body arm itself with a thousand comebacks of why they should even be lucky to have me speaking to them.
I am processing painful memories, most of which they caused. I am also supposed to be caring for my chronically ill mother–me, one of three of my mother’s children, and the only one who “cares.” I am vacillating between feeling sorry for my mother, and wishing I could just run away and live far, far away, where avoiding her would be simple. Helping take care of the woman who hurt me, made me feel unloved, and who, despite all of this, I still have confusing desires to beg real love from, is causing me stress.
My childhood, right now, is alive within me. They don’t know that…they can’t know that, or my problems would just become bigger. But living with the past and the current stressors is making me feel like I am trapped in this terrible place where “getting better” feels impossible because I am surrounded by so much pain and dysfunction.
I’ve had a really rough weekend. I am hurting and aching. I am feeling dumb for, essentially, taking the bait and allowing them to make me feel small and hurt all over again. This is not something that I talk about casually with friends but I need to get it out somehow. How, as adult children with the pasts that we have, do we navigate the present and future with the people who caused us so much pain?