For the past several years, I have been on a journey to heal my trauma. And not surprisingly, it hasn’t been easy.
I have discovered countless belief systems holding me back from the life I want to live. I have expressed more emotions than one body should be capable of holding. I have written my forgotten childhood in hundreds of pages of documented recovered memories. As a part of my coaching business, I have spent hours on the phone with other survivors helping them to learn the same techniques I have learned. I have never felt lonely or bored or without purpose. On the contrary, I have sometimes felt that my life was hurtling out of control and I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to. (I didn’t want to though.) With all the beliefs I have left behind, there has been one nagging, unresolved feeling.
I have had NO desire for a social life. I just haven’t really seemed to care about it much. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t felt isolated either. My children are always around. I interact with the parents from my children’s school. I talk with clients all day long. I even go to parties sometimes. And when I am around people, I have been known to NEVER EVER shut up. I know you are not shocked about that. But when I am considering what to do with my free time, the desire to be alone wins almost every time. My extreme extroversion is barely noticeable. And honestly, when it comes to intimate relationships, there has been absolutely no interest.
While the later may make some sense based on my past, it also doesn’t make sense. I spent my young adult years as a serial monogamist. I could not be single. It was impossible for me to do it. My inner safety seeker felt a need for relationship in order to feel protected and safe. My love seeker felt relationship was her only validation as a person. These were some of the many beliefs I was brainwashed in to believing by my family. And I had a serious tendency toward the “fear of missing out”. If my friends were going places and doing things, I could not be left out. I was always paranoid about friends leaving me, abandoning me, rejecting me. And it all stemmed from my trauma.
But once my recovery started (and especially once my business started), all those desires went away. They just weren’t there. On some level, I saw it as progress. I knew my intense desire for relationship was coming from my inner parts. I thought it was healthy to stop that. But there was this feeling in the back of my mind that something wasn’t quite right. It felt like I had swung the other direction. And now, I think that was almost right.
As I come to understand my latest inner part, I am getting a sense of where it might have come from. And it isn’t coming from my hard-core isolator (which explains why it hasn’t been so extreme). This part is bold. She is a rule-breaker. She is interested in purpose, in manifesting amazing things. And she is tired of being told she can’t. She is tired of living up to others’ expectations of what she is supposed to be. And honestly, I really, REALLY like her. Really!
But as with all inner parts, she comes with baggage. She has been squelched one too many times. Friends, boyfriends, husbands, acquaintances and mentors have all told her she can’t be who she wants to be. It didn’t change her mind about her purpose. But it did teach her not to bother with others. In a recent conversation, this is what she had to say:
“If you want to be you, they will try to stop you. They will try to change you. If you aren’t perfect, they will tell you. They will try to get you to be the way they want you to be. You need to look perfect. You need to have perfect finances. Your house needs to be perfect. Your kids need to behave perfectly. You need to behave perfectly. You need to be the perfect combination of beautiful, fit, outdoorsy and intelligent. You have to be the perfect entrepreneur and make perfect decisions. Otherwise, they will see your flaws and tell you about them. It is best not to have them around if you want to be yourself. Otherwise, they will make you change.”
And she’s not changing for anyone else. So she just won’t have anyone else around.
So now we are having a conversation about the right person versus the wrong person. I have to help her understand that not all people expect her to be perfect or will try to change her. I have to help her see that some people can love her authentic self. And honestly if they can’t, I will send them packing. Because much like her, I am not having any more of that crap. I just have a different way of addressing it.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW