When I last wrote about getting to the shame, I said how previous work had been more on the surface. That is not entirely fair.
Believing that I couldn't be loved and believing that it was because I was fat were more recent and closer to the surface than the underlying base of shame, but they still went pretty deep. It is possible that I couldn't have gotten here without going there first, though I can't swear to it.
Regardless, that base mattered, and continued to matter even when I was doing considerably better.
I recently finished Hope Edelman's Motherless Daughters. She refers to daughters' tendency to blame themselves for the death or abandonment as a kind of magical thinking. It's not that uncommon for children and teenagers to assume responsibility for bad things that happen. I'm sure some of that is not having enough maturity to understand all of the possible reasons that can lead to death and illness and divorce, but I think there can also be a hope that if you are the problem, then you can fix it. If that is the case, you get let down a lot.
I was not the reason that my father was unhappy with his life and family. Some factors may have made it seem more likely. One sibling felt very displaced by me, and managed to hold on to a lot of resentment about my birth for a long time. More than that, I was born in the wake of a family tragedy.
I had an uncle who was a pilot. He took his (and my father's) parents out for a flight in March 1971, and they crashed. My uncle survived, but with physical and emotional injuries. Both of my grandparents died.
A lot of cousins were born in the wake of that crash. I don't know how deliberate it was, but I believe there was a desire to cling to life and create new life. It was never really talked about, but it happened.
The last time my father saw his parents, he had fought with them, and had been giving them the silent treatment when they died. I was born ten months after they died, and it was on purpose. I did not make everything better.
That shouldn't have been my job anyway, but let's just say that there was some bad emotional baggage that I was not equipped to comprehend at the time. I developed into someone who always felt a need to do more and to fix things and to take care of others, and without strong motivation to take care of myself, or even openly acknowledge that I wasn't.
Getting back to The 9 Types of Lovers - it's not that it never hit home before; it always did - but it hit harder and deeper. Maybe that was because the issues that had been piled on top of it had already been cleared away. As it was, I was feeling like the poster child for People Pleasers. Even the examples and suggestions of ways to change certain patterns were things I had done or was thinking about trying to do.
There were two crystallizing events. The first one happened May 4th. I was feeling well, and I had meant to sleep some more, but for some reason I got online and I had a distress call from one of my girls.
I just wanted to cry. I cannot do this! And I didn't. I felt like a heel, but I got off the computer and lay down and I took the time I needed. Then I got on and reached out to her, and she was okay too.
It has been a pretty common thing for me to be working on something, and really need a break but I just want to get one more thing done. Then as I am almost ready to stop, someone has an emergency. I knew I needed to stop putting myself in that situation.
One thing I have had to accept is that I have put myself in a situation where emergencies do happen. Usually there is only one who will specifically ask me for help, but I spot people hitting low points all the time. I don't want to stop caring about that or helping, but I need stay functional too.
In this case, that means that I have to be ready before I go online. I pray, I read in my scriptures, I eat breakfast, I try and get sufficient sleep before I start any of those, and then I can be ready.
"Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others." I've even used that example before, more than once, but getting to where you own it for yourself is different. I am getting better.