Doing the Work
The reasons above point the way to a richer, fuller, more authentic and free life, the way God intended for us. Befriending our ego essentially means, not being ruled by it, but reconciling our true selves to it. Much as Brennan Manning says in The Rabbi’s Heartbeat, reconciling to our false selves as it is a part of who we are. If we are operating out of continual and mounting unhealed brokenness, we are headed for disaster on ever increasing levels.
It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to have genuine, healthy, thriving, loving relationships on ANY level if we are functioning out of broken paradigms of our past, childhood scripts that keep dictating to us who we are and how we will function in life. Resistance to the inner healing work at best leads to a lifetime of coping and hoping, denial, addictions, judgement, bitterness, all in an effort to do this thing called life on our own. God did not intend this. He intends community. That starts with me.
One of the young women I have worked with for about a year now, recently shared a narrative with me that outlines several areas in which she needed to make massive changes due to her broken past, and subsequent continued dysfunction in life, and particularly relationships. I will share a portion tonight and over the next few days will use her experience as a case study to help us all get a better understanding of working through a process that can help bring lasting deep change.
“My childhood was bleeding into my adult life. Both of parents struggled with drugs and alcohol. I have never known my mom not high on prescription drugs. She would smoke and drink all the time mixed with whatever she was taking. My dad was very addicted to cocaine and went to jail for selling it. He went through rehab to get off of it but turned his addictive tendencies towards alcohol and drinks every day.
My parents never had a good relationship and my mom left when I was a young teenager. My older brother followed a lot of the same behaviors and was arrested for selling prescription drugs when he was 18. I never had anyone truly parental growing up so I ended up being the parent, not just to myself, but my to my parents and brother as well. As a kid iI was in survival mode to just be able to live and try and stop my dad and brother from drunken binges and drugged out nights.
As you can imagine being the only sober responsible one, I took over a mom role when my mom left and I ended up parenting my dad and brother. They always struggled communicating with each other, so I was the mediator. I was always the voice of reason, and things were always run by me. I was resentful as an adult of all the things I had to do for them, but I also thought I had to do everything or they would fight, continue to use, or maybe even die. The codependent relationships I had with my family just kept getting worse, and the damaging effects in me more deeply rooted.
Growing up I always struggled with anxiety. It would inhibit me from doing anything and everything. I became a very depressed and anxious teenager and eventually adult. When I had my first anxiety attack at 10, my mom picked me up from a sleep over I was at and gave my a Xanax. My mom was not trying to hurt me, she had never learned how to deal with her emotions so she gave me the medications she used to calm herself down. So from that day on I relied on drugs to solve my problems and heightened emotions. I never learned how to self soothe, pray, give anything to God, or control my thoughts. I left my emotions take over my life, let my anxiety cripple my activity, and I just coped and hoped.
When I started seeing Bill and told him about my life, I expressed that I didn’t think anything would help me get off the prescription drugs I was using to settle my anxiety and to sleep. I really didn’t think I could be fixed.
Stay tuned for more of this compelling story tomorrow.