Don't Give Up Hope - PART II

by Mary
(France)

...Here, I must talk a little bit more about my father. My father is and has always been violent. He's been like that since he's a child. Therapists believe it is due to his own abandonment issues. Sometimes, with no reason, he just starts screaming and smashing things. Most of the times he manages to get away from people before it happens, and I believe he has never hurt anyone. But because of that he has spent many years of his life in psychiatric hospitals. Now, he's taking mood stabilizers and almost never have any of those crisis anymore. This is something I disapprove, as I believe problems shouldn't be dealt with in the long run with medicine. But that's not the point.

My sister has had her share of problems as well. She's been on drugs, alcohol, and attempted suicide many times. She has the same kind of problems as my father: she's got mood swings and can act violent. This led me to believe when I was a teenage girl that I was like that as well, that it was hereditary. But I don't believe anymore that those kind of things are due to genetics. If we act like our parents, it is because of our subconscious mind. That's all there is to it. And I'm sure we can become friends with our subconscious mind.

I think those beliefs partly explain why I used to injure myself. When I was violent with myself, I wasn't violent with others. Nothing scared me more than being violent towards other people, because it would have meant that I was just like my father. Even now, violence is what scares me the most. I can't stand the mere idea of it. Control is my motto. I do know that it is not the best way to live, but I feel it's still too early for me to let go.

I decided things had to change when I was 16. I was tired of always being left behind. This time, I would be the one to leave. I left home and never returned. The change was immediate. I stopped injuring myself right away. I just didn't need it anymore. Things got way better. I saw my family once in a while, and I wasn't the one waiting for them to notice me, they were the ones waiting for me to call them. I realized they needed me as much as I needed them. Our relationship changed from that day and became a healthier one.

However, I'm still not over my abandonment issues. Recently, I heard something incredible from my father. I heard he left my mother because he was in love with another woman. I can't even start to describe how good I felt. I truly regret my parents chose to tell me they got divorced because they were always fighting. This other woman was the missing piece of my puzzle. Now, every time I feel fear coming back to me I tell myself : "He didn't leave because of you. He left because he was in love" -- And it works.

But there is still progress to make. I want to be able to trust people as much as they trust me, I want to be able to engage in a love relationship. I will soon turn 20, and when I look back at my life I feel like I've done a pretty good job. I like this feeling. With time, I'm sure I can do even better.

Copy & Paste this link into your browser address bar for Part I of this entry:

http://www.internet-of-the-mind.com/do-not-give-up-hope-part-i.html

Comments for Don't Give Up Hope - PART II

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Jan 09, 2010
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I like it :)
by: mxkx

I like how you pointed out the link between flashbacks and self injury and also how self injury actually does temporarily make someone feel better through the release of endorphins. I think this article will be very understandable to those that have self injured as well as those that have never done it but wonder what would bring someone to do it. Thank you for making this addition to the site!

Jan 08, 2010
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Page on Self-Harm
by: Don Carter

Hi Mary, I completed the page on self-injurious behavior. You can view it by copying and pasting the link below into your broswer window:

http://www.internet-of-the-mind.com/self-harm.html

You can also find the link on the bottom of the Iceberg pages. Thanks again for the inspiration!

Don

Jan 05, 2010
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Your Most Faithful Servant...
by: Don Carter

Both of you, Mary & mxkx, have given excellent examples of how the subconscious mind uses symptoms to get our attention & to tell us something is wrong...when we right the wrong, the "symptoms" disappear!

In fact, when you make a change in your life and it coincides with a sudden change in how you function it is a very good indicator that your subconscious mind has been trying to help -- it's your most faithful servant.

Whenever something changes in you and you don't know why or how it happened, that's another indicator that the subconscious mind (SCM) is at work.

Now, an important thing to consider is that sometimes the subconscious mind doesn't always come up with ways that actually help -- even though the intention is good.

The SCM can only use the resources available to it to in creating symptoms (or strategies) for helping. That's why we need input and help from others by them sharing their experience, strength, & hope -- to give our SCM more tools & resources.

As the Serenity Prayer points out, no one can change us, but others can give our SCM the resources necessary to change -- Remember that all lasting change occurs at the biological level, in the neural circuitry of the brain, or more specifically, the mind-body connections.

This is also why hypnosis can be so powerful -- it goes right to the subconscious mind and bypasses the critical conscious mind. In fact, when those spontaneous changes occur it's a naturalistic self-hypnosis.

You may never know more about how these changes happened. But I would encourage you to notice when you have "symptoms" and ask yourself "what do I need to do to NOT have these symptoms", then listen intuitively.

Intuition and the "Still Small Voice" from within is the voice of the subconscious mind...and, in my opinion, sometimes its the voice of the Higher Power that created it.

Isn't the subconscious mind incredible? I can see God's handywork all over it. In fact, it may be our spirit that's in charge of the SCM.

Jan 05, 2010
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I'm curious as well...
by: mxkx

I'm curious about the suddenly stopping thing too because I think it may be related to something I went through myself.

Several years ago I dated a man that was abusive in some of the worst ways (he showed no empathy what so ever, played games with people for fun, generally did what ever he wanted no matter the consequences to others, and had a very inflated sense of self).

I have never been too crazy about alcohol, but a few years in to that relationship I started drinking like a fish. Would come home from work and drink until I went to sleep every day. Once I left that relationship the drinking stopped as quickly as the relationship did. I haven't craved alcohol nor drank like that ever since.

Personally I hate getting drunk and I'm not too crazy about the taste of alcohol itself so when I do drink it's something mild and palatable like wine and it's as a compliment to a meal rather than a means to "relax" or get drunk. I still wonder though if that one event made me an alcoholic and I should be avoiding alcohol altogether.

Jan 05, 2010
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Thank you!
by: Mary

Thank you both for your answers! I'm glad to know there will be a page about self injury, I'm sure it's an issue a lot of people struggle with. The thing is that I think my ''new solution'' was directly dropped into my subconscious mind. I can't really remember what kind of situations triggered my need to self injure, and I don't know why I stopped doing it ? all I know is that I stopped when I left. But I'm going to think it through again, hopefully something will come back to me. I really want to know how this change happened, now. I'm looking forward to reading your page on the subject, Don!

Jan 04, 2010
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An Idea for a New Page...
by: Don Carter

Hi Mary, Your question about self-harm has inspired me to write a new webpage on the topic. Look for it in about a week or two.

I tend to agree with mxkx in that there are many ways to describe and experience self-injury...about as many as there are people who have experienced it.

One thing to keep in mind is that every problem in coping started out as a solution -- the only solution available to that person in their specific context at that time.

Once our brain records a behavior as a solution and links it to a certain context, then it will create an urge to use that "solution" every time a similar context is present. Many times, if we try to resist the urge our brain will "turn up the volume" which we experience as a craving -- hence, the feel of addiction. In other words, it's a faulty pattern-match.

The thing to do is create & develop a new, better "solution" so as to give your brain a choice -- being your most faithful servant your brain will choose the best of two alternatives.

The challenge is to find a new choice that works for you and then to go through the awkward stage of learning and practicing that new behavior until you become "skilled" at it -- then it will drop into your subconscious mind and become second nature. This is something I hope you are already doing. :)

For now, it may help to read the following page to learn about pattern-matching (just copy & paste the link into your browser address bar):

http://www.internet-of-the-mind.com/pattern_matching.html

Thanks again for the question -- the answer to it deserves a page of its own!

Don

Jan 03, 2010
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It's a problem with emotional regulation.
by: mxkx

You will hear a lot of different reasons why people self injure, but they all lead back to the same thing - people who self injure have not learned how to accept and cope with their emotions. It has also been found through studies that self injury for them actually does temporarily relieve psychological pressure. Self injury seems so much like an addiction I'm tempted to call it one - mostly because it serves the same purpose that a drink does for an alcoholic - it's a coping mechanism.

Jan 02, 2010
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Thank you for your comments!
by: Mary

We've all got different ways to deal with problems but somehow it's really great to find someone who used to do it the same way I did! The sad thing is that when you're a child you don't even realize you're blaming yourself for things that aren't your fault. And acknowledging it is probably the first step to recovery. With time I also realized that my father used to blame himself for leaving us as much as I blamed myself... it did took him a lot of time to get over it. In the end, I guess we really do act like our parents until we realize it.

I can relate to what you're saying about your mother, I lived the same kind of thing with my sister. However I was already a teenager when she started crossing the line, so it probably made things easier for me. I'm not sure I would have been able to deal with it if I had been a child. But it has left painful memories nonetheless. I remember coming home and trying to wake her up, but she wouldn't wake up, because she had taken too many sleeping pills. Then my mother would call an ambulance and my sister would be taken to the hospital, once again. I don't know how many times it happened, but while it should probably have worried me it only angered me more and more. I guess it was the only way I found to keep it from affecting me too much.

I never really felt I had to take care of my father though, because it was more about fear. I used to be really scared of his 'fits of anger'. With my sister we always had to be very careful not to upset him, not to scream or make too much noise. And playing without making any noise is definitely a hard thing to do!

As for self injury, it's still something I'm trying to fully understand. I've met many people who used to do it, and they all told me they did it for different reasons ? so what are exactly the mechanisms which lead people to self injure? Hurting yourself shouldn't make you feel better in the first place.

I'm sure I still have many things to learn from this site, the few articles I've read have already made a lot of things clearer for me. When I'm not learning something about myself, I find out I'm learning something about someone I know, it's really exciting!

Jan 02, 2010
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I Self -Injured as Well...
by: mxkx

I can relate to thinking the violence is hereditary. I learned self injury first hand from my mother. She would be violent towards me and then turn the violence in on herself. She also spent a lot of time in and out of psychiatric care and it was made clear to me by others that her kind of issues were hereditary (she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia... now I personally believe her issues are purely psychological and that's why all the medication in the world never helped her). She had a very low tolerance for anything that did not go "perfect" and often blamed me before blaming herself for things not going "right". She was also suicidal. I learned at a very early age that I had to "take care of" her, and for me that meant making sure everything went "right" so she wouldn't have a "fit" (this is what I called her episodes of violence... it would start off with blaming me for something, then blaming herself, then sometimes attempting suicide with only me there to stop her from doing it).

I think this taught me to feel guilty for negative emotions and/or things not going the way others expected them to, that I needed to be punished for them, and that it was ok to punish myself for having them. There was definitely a huge punishment aspect to my self injury. It was about punishing myself for things not going "right" and feeling angry and/or ashamed. A lot of times after my mom left me I felt like I had to punish myself since no one else was going to do it for me any more.

I am glad that you found out first hand that your father did not leave "because of you". However, I must note that no matter the reason your father left, it's still NOT your fault that he left! You cannot possibly be responsible for the decisions that others make, including your parents. And the reason why you felt like it was your fault is because that's how a child normally thinks. Their parents are gods and they have to make those gods happy in order to become a healthy adult. That's why it's so important for parents to make sure their children know that they are happy with them and proud of who they are just as they are... otherwise those children are likely to grow up blaming themselves for their parents' mistakes.

My best of wishes go out to you on your road to recovery. It sounds like you are on the right track. I'm guessing if you're still the avid reader you are probably on your way to reading everything you can possibly find on this site. It is all extremely useful in understanding what has happened and also what you have to look forward to. I do hope you will come back and share more of your insights with us as well. It's so nice and encouraging to see someone here that dealt with the dysfunction in their childhood almost exactly the way I did. I can barely contain the excitement! :)

Jan 02, 2010
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by: godbear

WOW!

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