Guided Meditation on Feelings


I don't know what (if any) physical CSA happened between my mother and I. I do know that there were boundaries around nudity broken until I was in my early teens. I also recognize now the amount emotional abuse she put me (and my father) through. It's funny, before I went to an intensive outpatient addiction program and began therapy afterwards, I would have told you that my addiction was born out of meeting expectations set by my FATHER. Nothing could be more wrong. I now realize that the critical voice I hear in my head is dear old mom, not dad.

I was digging through some work I've completed and came across this from one of Patrick Carne's workbooks (I first read this and wrote on it two years ago):

"Many of us grew up in families that taught us not to feel. Worse, events happened in which feelings were intolerable. Truths were spoken by children in tears to parents who found the truth inconvenient and who dismissed the tears. Caught up in their own chaos, families tried to pull their members into a 'consensus reality' which was easier to manage. Anger and deviation were seen as disrespect as opposed to legitimate or truthful."

The first time I read that paragraph and journaled on it my stomach hurt. It makes sense that the hurt, tearful five year old me who's tears were dismissed came to find ways to deal with my inconvenient pain. Masturbation and 'pornography' in the form of catalogs and sales circulars when I was young, pornography and promiscuity from the time I was teen until I was in my early 40's. It still makes me sad, that so often my tears were dismissed, that I was told I was over reacting, that I was just plain wrong about what I felt.
Wonderfully said John. The roots of our discomfort with ourselves and with life go deep and it takes great courage to unpack what happened to us. Often we don't remember. We see our acting out behavior and judge ourselves without any understanding of what drove us to those behaviors. I felt a great deal of shame over the decades. I met Patrick Carnes along the way as well and believed my problems was simply sex addiction. I attended SLAA meetings for five years. Unfortunately, I didn't find a way through the 12 Steps to compassion, lingering instead with the shame. It has taken another 20 years to understand the truth of how those early experiences of sexual trauma affected me ability to feel good about myself or safe in the world. And this is what all of us who found our way to this website are doing... looking honestly at the residue of trauma as we begin to learn compassion for ourselves and what we need in terms of self-care so that instead of reactivating the trauma through some form of self-abandonment, we can claim our aliveness. Blessedly, we don't have to do this alone... we can listen to one another and offer our support. There is no magic wand that will erase what happened in the past, but with a bit of kindness and care we can take a different path... just exactly what you're doing John. Thanks for sharing this.