Monday, June 13, 2011

How many times...

I found myself thinking of an old LDS commercial from the 1980s tonight - one that never failed to sicken and sadden me.  Two scenes from it come to mind.  The first is a boy coming through the door all excited yelling, "Hey Dad!  I got an 'A' !!" and an off-staged dad's voice saying, "How many times have I told you never to slam that door?"  Similarly, the next scene is of a girl flushed with success, wiping her hands on a dish towel, saying, "Hey Mom - I washed the dishes!"  And a woman's voice comes on and says, "Did you clean the sink?"

I remember vividly the soul-crushing feeling of having accomplishments ignored and generosity trampled by unthinking comments like that.  

They engendered beliefs about myself - false beliefs that I had to counter with the truth.  In my own journey of recovery from abuse and other issues, I found that I actually had to be the parent to that small, insecure child inside of me - to tell her that I was proud of her, to tell her that what she did mattered.

The false beliefs sounded something like this:   Nothing I ever do is good enough.  What I think and how I feel doesn't matter.  I don't have the right to have feelings - my feelings are wrong and can't be trusted.  I am not worth anything, I should never have been born.  The world would be a better place if I wasn't here.  I always screw up.  Everything I touch gets ruined.  I don't deserve to enjoy myself.  Nobody will ever want me as a friend, a wife.  

Quite a downer, eh.  But I truly believed those things and they came from things that grown-ups (and others I looked up to) said to me, the way they behaved toward me.  

So - I countered the lies (for that is what they were) with the truth.  I am valuable.  I have intrinsic value to God, to other people.  People can like me for who I am.  I can make an important contribution. I am capable.  I can trust my own feelings and have the right to feel them.  I don't have to prove anything to anyone.  What I do is good enough.  I am loved, and lovable.  

It took many repetitions over several months, and catching myself at telling myself the old lies, stopping in mid-thought, and countering with these new truths, before the insecure child that was me started to believe the truths and begin to mature the right way.  I'm living proof that the truth will make you free, but also that it will create you - recreate you. 


  1. This is where I find myself at in my recovery - constantly challenging those lies. Some days it can be exhausting and then some days I'm discovering it is starting to come easier. It saddens me to think of those who just never see that there is a different truth than that of what may have been given our entire lives, first by others and then reinforced by ourselves.

  2. Too true, my friend. Too true. Yet we are not responsible for THEIR truth. Just as others are not responsible for ours. We may have had those things fed to us when we were in no position to counter them, but now we are able to face them with the empowerment of God... and grow from the inside out. The result is that sometimes those who need to see the light shine from our own recovery actually do start to see the need for such a light in their life. But that's a side-effect - albeit a rather gratifying one. :D