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Toxic-parenting purge [Part 2]

30/04/2013 1 comment

51 Move your bodyToxic-parenting purge [Part 2]

Resolving emotional pain can be serious stuff. If you have personal issues from your early years, you may find it exhausting – not to mention expensive – to address them effectively. And if you’ve suffered abuse in your upbringing, it may be depressingly difficult to break free from the frustration, anger and shame of the past.

To continue in the vein of emotional spring-cleaning of my previous blog (Part 1), here’s another spin on taking charge of your own healing, while giving yourself permission to have fun with it and thereby reduce its grip on your life. If you have suffered emotional, physical or psychological abuse in your life, the suggestion of using humour is not meant to trivialize your experience; it is, however, intended to lighten your load, while encouraging your subconscious to take a less serious view of what happened, thereby transmitting more positive messages to your body-mind as well as to the outside world. Since our self-worth is determined by our perception of who and what we are (which has been largely shaped by others), we can reduce any negative perceptions by focusing on light-hearted self-acceptance. When we laugh, we lift our spirit – and we also reduce the weighty ‘charge’ around the emotional pain in our hearts, which can cause us to attract more of the same.

Choosing to have fun with some former painful, damaging experience is a powerful statement of self-determination. It’s an active refusal to allow that pain to further dictate the quality of your existence. And if you’ve already done a lot of personal growth work, having outrageous fun may be the only thing you haven’t tried.

So let’s take that abuse to pieces. Let’s break it down so that it no longer runs your life or makes you reactive. Let’s see what it really stands for, and how you can read something better into this highly-charged word, transmuting it into a higher expression of who you really are, with humour, creativity and self-acceptance:

A is for ab-use – the creative and energetic use of your abs to exorcize your inner demons and free yourself from emotional angst, while making a nice tidy little six-pack of your tummy. Work those abs and pump that solar plexus, where most of your heavy-duty negative programming is lodged, but from where it can be ousted, with a little huff-n-puff and dogged determination. (You can double the benefit by doing this while watching a really funny movie, although you may end up doubled over.)

B is for brave-blogging – a brazen blog on something totally tedious that happened to you, written with all the weighty seriousness associated with a major world crisis. Like when you lost your earring down the plug hole and had to resort to all kinds of contortions and pointy contraptions to fish it out; or when you stepped on a massive mushy slug – in your bare feet! – and the luscious sound and texture of it, as it slithered silkily along the skin of your sole, where all 72,000 nerve endings instantly related the gristly nature of this encounter to every squeamish cell in your bod… or that time you had a really bad hairday and ended up looking (and feeling) like an angry buffalo in need of a parting just a little more to the left or maybe the right, if only your hair were not in a state of electrified anarchy… Be brave. Write unflinchingly. And send your message out to the universe. Speaking of which…

U is for universe – your very own private playground, with endless resources to nourish you and your dreams. Know that the entire universe is there to serve you – to enable you to discover, heal and empower yourself, not to mention having a laugh at all its cosmic ironies. Everything around you exists to somehow make your life better, richer and more meaningful – and it’s meant to make you laugh. The universe is working entirely on your behalf (even if it doesn’t always seem to), and it’s dedicated to bringing a smile to your face, every single day (which can be really hard work when we take ourselves seriously). Look for the humour, especially in the pain, for every single molecule thrives on the vibrations of your laughter. Own it; make the universe yours; and see what wonderful mischievous magic you can co-create together when you see the universe as the cosmic comedian that it is.

S is for scrumptious, sinful, soulful sustenance – the kind your body needs to support you in living your best-ever life. Focus on eating power-packed foods for one whole week and see what happens when you nourish yourself fully, without resorting to the comfort foods that the battered body so often yearns for. Think: brain food, superfood smoothies, maca-flavoured munchies, sprouted nutty nuggets, raw-cacao brownies, veg-n-fruit bars, raw chocolate – all the yummy, nourishing, potent stuff that you can find or fabricate yourself. By eating delicious foods that boost your brain power and your mood, you’ll gain a new understanding of the feel-good factor – and you’ll want to chuck the dreaded comfort foods that only mask your pain and stress your already-addled adrenals. Feed your body lovingly, and you’ll attract more of that loving quality into your life.

E is for everything – what you are made of, what you were created to do, and what you stand to gain by liberating yourself from the pain of your past. You have it all – the resources and the recipes; the faculties and the funnies; the smarts and the sexiness; the ideas and the insights; the wealth and the worthiness; and the power and the purpose, not to mention a host of heavenly hormones and huge hugability.

So put your own fresh, sassy spin on that tired old record that keeps replaying itself inside you. Hopefully, the abuse you suffered is a thing of the past; when you find creative ways to let it go, you give us all the gift of your presence by sharing the real, unabridged, uninhibited you.

I look forward to reading your brazen brave-blog.

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Time for a toxic-parenting purge? [Part 1]

25/04/2013 2 comments

30 Missing Pieces telling offParenting is a tough task. Perfect parenting is an impossible one. But most parents do a phenomenal job of caring for their children, while holding down a job (or two), remembering everyone’s birthday and making order out of chaos. There are some, though, whose unresolved issues and emotional pain from their own upbringing result in abuse and deep emotional scars for their offspring. The fallout is costly, with failed relationships, unexpressed anger, and years of therapy for many worthy souls. And even if they arrive at a place of compassion and understanding for their parents’ pain, it can be hard to completely let go of the feelings and memories that distorted their world.

In cases like this, it can be refreshing to give yourself permission to vent and to not feel obliged to love someone just because they gave birth to you. It can be healthy to reclaim yourself by rejecting all that ‘stuff’, through humour and spontaneous self-expression, in ways that got suppressed through abuse in your formative years. If you’ve done years of therapy and have diligently peeled away the layers of pain that got laid down, it might feel good to just ‘let it rip’.

Over the years, many women have came to see me about the pain of their past – and the damage done by their severely dysfunctional alcoholic parents. These parents had dumped all their toxic pain on their children (a projection of their own sense of worthlessness and despair, since their children are an extension of them) and some took a perverse pleasure in seeing them suffer. It’s hard to feel compassion for parents like that – and maybe we shouldn’t even try. If we find ourselves trying to make sense of such wanton cruelty, it’s often because we’re trying to figure out what it was about us that caused them to be that way. That, in itself, is a big part of the damage done to our sense of self and our innate self-worth.

So, for all those lovely women (and men) out there who have experienced the pain of a loveless and alcohol-driven existence, here’s a tongue-in-cheeky recipe for relief that will hopefully bring a smile to your lips and a lilt to your heart. (For other forms of toxic parenting, see Part 2 – coming shortly.)

Imagine a world without those parents; they have evaporated into the ethers in an alcoholic haze and are no longer using up valuable oxygen on planet Earth. You’ve decided to expunge all negative feelings and memories associated with them. What should you do?

Celebrate! Take a whole week off work and give thanks that you’re finally free. But don’t go drinking, now. You know what happened to them, and you don’t want to give them the afterlife satisfaction of turning into an alcoholic yourself.

Spend all of Monday walking on the beach, breathing in that delicious parent-free air. Savour the fact that you are a self-sufficient, autonomous, self-determined being, and give yourself total permission to be as outrageous and creative as you a-parently are.

On Tuesday, eat a whole bar of organic dark chocolate, just to re-affirm that you can actually enjoy yourself (maybe even experience ecstasy, if it’s really yummy chocolate) without getting drunk. Notice the uniqueness of your experience, which you can’t possibly describe to anyone else, even if they’re a connoisseur of chocolate, and remind yourself that all your experiences are your own, for you to accept or reject, as you see fit.

On Wednesday, go into a pub/wine bar and order a fresh orange juice, sipping it slowly as if it were heavenly nectar (which it is). Luxuriate in the fact that your taste buds are alive and well (rather than being numbed by alcohol) and that you can fully appreciate the delicious, sun-kissed perfection of nature’s simple goodness. 

On Thursday, go dirty dancing and take special delight in being able to pirouette 10 times without falling over legless. Even if you do fall over, you can laugh, knowing that it puts a healthy spin on life; and you can get up, knowing that you’re still in charge of you.

On Friday, write them a letter telling them what you think of them and send it off to the Guinness Book of Records, without a return address. Be creative, exaggerate, and inject as much humour as you can, knowing that laughter is a form of self-love – and an antidote to pain.

On Saturday, go sit on a mountaintop and give thanks for all that you are that they were not …and apologize to the universe for ever thinking that you were anything other than perfect – not to mention courageous, strong and forgiving, with an uncanny ability to see life’s many ironies.

By Sunday, you should be feeling fabulous. Parents? What parents…?

Please note: No parents were harmed in the making of this blog.