Caring is Scary

Dear Elisabeth,

I see you working hard every day to make a difference in your life and in the world.  I hear you talking about how things can be better, how we don’t have to live in pain.  I know you mean well with your optimism and your hopefulness.  But I don’t think you are right.

I can’t understand how life could be the way you think.  How is this possible?  My life has never represented the world you believe exists.  Nobody cared about me.  They only cared when they wanted something.  Maybe they wanted to abuse me.  Maybe they wanted me to do chores or fix dinner or loan them money.  But they never cared.

And the response was always the same.  I could do nothing right.  Everything I did was wrong.  Everything I touched was messed up.  Every time I tried to make something better or get any appreciation, it ended in disappointment for me and others.  There was nothing good that came from my efforts to make it different.  And they didn’t just reject what I did.  They rejected me as a person.  They rejected all that I represented as a human being.  They rejected my creativity, my femininity, my intelligence, my hopes and dreams.  They wanted me to know that I wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t good enough at anything.  I never lived up to their expectations and no matter what I did, I never would.

Why would you want to make your way in a world full of people like this?  Why would you want to live in a universe that clearly doesn’t care if you are here?  I can’t do it.  I had to shut it all down.  I had to stop caring or I would have crumpled on the floor in despair.  The pain was too great to allow myself to care.  I could not keep going with that hanging over my head.  I had to detach.  There was no other way.  And now here you are with your hopefulness telling me that it is okay to care.  It is okay to dream.  It is okay to believe that something good can happen or that life could be what I always wanted.  How am I supposed to jump on board with that?

Look.  I am not trying to reject you.  You seem nice.  I can tell you mean well.  You listen to me, to what I have always wanted, to my nightmare experiences from the past.  You even let me write your blog.  That’s pretty cool.  But you are only one person.  How can you protect me from the critical “naysayers” of the world?  You can’t.  They are everywhere.  They are the only people I have ever met.  While it is tempting to think about my dreams that were squashed as a child, it is dangerous.  The disappointment could be too much.  I’m not sure I could handle it again.  I’m not sure I have another round left in me.

The Goddess


Dear Goddess,

I want to start by telling you how much I honor and respect your decisions after all you have been through.  You have heard nothing but negativity.  You have had nothing but rejection.  It is no wonder you have chosen to give up, to stop caring.  I really get it.  I get it deeply.  I feel your futility and I know it must have been hard to stay alive through all of your experiences.

But what I have to offer you is different.  It doesn’t come with a promise of approval and unconditional love from others.  Honestly, that is unrealistic.  It isn’t possible.  You are right about that.  What I have to offer doesn’t require their approval.  It is a new way of living.  Honestly, it is the way you were meant to live.  It is how you have always tried to convince me to live, but the approval-seeking got in the way.  It only takes our approval now.  If we decide we want it, we can have it.  Of course, there are time and money to consider.  The controller is there to remind us of that.  But with the right commitment to what we want, we can create it.  And what others think won’t matter.

Why did it matter before?  In childhood, it has to matter.  That is why life can be so confusing.  The rules change in adulthood, but nobody tells us.  They don’t tell us we can do things differently.  That part gets left out of the “How to Adult” manual.  We have freedom now.  We are not required to follow those rules anymore.  Yes.  There are laws.  But all those made-up childhood rules don’t apply.  We don’t answer to those people.

So please let me show you another way.  Please share your hopes and dreams with me.  Please trust in me to make them happen.  And please be patient with me as I navigate the fears of the other inner parts and figure out the best way to make our dreams happen.  Share with me any futility you need to share, but know that I will work best with you by my side.  I need you by my side.  I hope you will consider what I have said here.  I am truly excited about what is to come.

The first to love you unconditionally,


Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW

Caring is Scary was originally published @ Beating Trauma and has been syndicated with permission.

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