I am currently reading “Healing the Shame that binds you” by John Bradshaw. It is an assigned reading for me by my life coach Maia Berens. I have been experiencing some familiar old feelings as I read through the material and it talks about the negative side of shame caused by various childhood abuses.
I have talked openly in this blog about being a survivor of incest and some of the other experiences I had growing up in an alcoholic family. I have also done some serious soul work to heal the effects of my past. I was however taken a bit by surprise as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, to have these intense feelings come rushing back prompted by reading the book. I first began to notice the anger. Thoughts like, why didn’t you protect me? What were you thinking? How could you do those awful things to your own child? My anger actually creeped into our group coaching call and when it was my turn to talk I tried to express it. I don’t feel like I was too successful in relaying my feelings to the group, but they seemed to get that I was in distress. Maia, who identifies with the situation understood and agreed to talk with me about in more detail the following day. Both of the other group members touched base with me to also offer their support. This was an amazing feeling. And actually now that I think about it, this show of support and unity is a big part of how I was able to move away from the feeling of “being out of control” much quicker that in the past.
In earlier years of dealing with memories or flashbacks of abuse I would shut down for several days. More specifically I would become withdrawn and non-communicative with the people in my life. I would feel tired and want to sleep more and basically get really depressed. Not this time! I had great conversations with my fellow coaches and with their help was able to see the growth that I have accomplished and the wonderful things I have done in light of my abusive upbringing. I was able to see the reaction for what it was, just that, a reaction. Not the abuse happening again.
The amount of time spent in a “funk” was less than 24 hours. I did not shut myself off, actually the contrary. I was open to talking about my feelings and navigating my way through them. AND the big thing for me was that I had the tools to work through the issue. I have learned so much lately from being in a coaching group, having an incredible life coach, keeping an open minded and doing my work in YOU University. I am proud of myself. I feel great. I am continuing to read the book without fear of what it might trigger because I know that I can handle it and it will be a learning experience for me.
When I step back and take a look at the big picture, I can really appreciate this latest experience. It can be used as another teaching tool for my clients. I can relate to people who have gone through this same trauma (with my first hand experience) AND show them the tools that are available to help them deal with it. More specifically I can facilitate their journey through YOU University in a unique and personal way.
Just one more validating experience in the journey as a YOU University life coach!