Friday, May 09, 2008

Valuing Self

Everyone has different aspects to their personality. It just tends to be more extreme for victims of abuse. Some abuse victims become multiple personalities, others of us just...compartmentalize.

I was thinking about this after watching the movie: The Three Faces of Eve (which my mother made me watch growing up—perhaps because she “lost time” a lot when she was in college). (If you're MPD you probably don't want to watch it. Even as a kid, I was appalled at the idea that "success" might be getting rid of 2/3 of yourself!) But it got me thinking about times I've suppressed part of who I am. Did it as a kid to survive, of course, but I was also thinking how to get through my divorce, I had to in a sense suppress the part of me that liked being married/in a relationship. And at another point after that, something happened and I suppressed the kid part of me that had needed to cling to the other person involved.

See the thing is, there's always a cost when we suppress parts of ourselves. That needy kid part is also the part of me that can love unabashedly and is able to reach out to other people without fear of getting hurt. That part of me that liked being's tough to move forward and even consider another relationship if one is suppressing that part of oneself.

And I realized the hurt that happened when I suppressed the needy kid wasn't so much because the other person's words or actions were so damaging. I doubt he even had any idea there was this needy a kid inside me. No, the real damage happened because my reaction was to suppress that needy little kid. If I'd reacted by soothing and valuing that part of me, I doubt the experience would have been so distressing. If I'd been able to soothe and value that part of me beforehand, the fiasco might never have occurred and/or I might have been able to continue to reach out to others as easily as before. Mind you, I couldn't see it that way at the time. At the time, I blamed that part of me for precipitating a crisis that hurt not only me but the other person as well.

But I see now what a mistake it was to try to suppress that little kid inside after that fiasco. Just as I see that rather than suppressing that side of myself that liked being married/in a relationship, I'd have been better off cherishing that part of me and focused instead on why a different relationship could be better.

The goal is always, it seems to me, to value and integrate all the aspects of oneself so that they all work together. Victims of abuse or not, we are not served by bashing any part of ourselves. We are best served by accepting and nurturing who we are—rather than trying to shoehorn ourselves into someone's image of who we should be—even our own images of who we “should” be. We are who we are and the more we accept ourselves, the easier it becomes to explore new possibilities—and perhaps grow in ways that enrich our lives and bring us greater happiness. Plus, the more we love and accept ourselves, the less likely we are to ever hurt anyone else.

I don't know if my mother was MPD or not. I do know she went to her grave desperately unhappy and hating herself. I feel profoundly grateful that my life has taken a different path and that I am able to be happy.

Here's hoping that each of you is able to love and cherish all of who you are. Sending blessings and safe and gentle ((((((hugs))))))),



keepers said...

Dear April Optimist

You are so right, not pushing down certain parts of us, letting each of us be a part of our system and being accepted by us is so important to our happiness. It took us quite a while to do that but it was part of our turn around and beginning to thrive.

peace and blessings to you


Marj aka Thriver said...

I'm so glad you can be happy, April. You deserve that so much. I like your insights about the hurting kid inside us. Not only do we not recognize, value and comfort this child--we often shame and chide her. This is such an important step to self-acceptance and self-love--honoring and cherishing that child within. You wise woman, you! Hugs! (((((April))))) :) xoxoxoxo

Kahless said...

Hi April,
I totally agree; health / healing comes from accepting all parts of ourselves. Success isnt getting rid, success is accepting.

Thanks for your post.

gypsy-heart said...

Very sage words April dear heart!

Thank you for sharing them!

jumpinginpuddles said...

Multiple or not this post is valuable, we are learning like any siongleton not to pusah down any parts or memories that we think might not be healthy for us to hear or see because we arent ready.
Soemtimes not being ready is exactly the right moment to learn new things especially when it comes to yourselves/yourself.
Oh and lol our therapist wish it was that easy to call an alter out like in the three faces of eve LOL

April_optimist said...

Keepers, So glad you can accept all of yourself!

Marj, Yeah, we do shame and chide that needy one inside. I've written a bit more about it in pt. 2.

Kahless and Gypsy-Heart, Thank you!

JIP, YES!!! Where we are is exactly right for this moment. LOL about your therapist wishing it was easy to call up various alters. I swear that movie makes me wonder about the intelligence of the doctor she saw--as well as their arrogance. They totally missed what was really going on--and I say that with absolute certainty even though I don't know "Eve's" real story. It's just so obvious.

motherwintermoon said...

Just wanted to stop in and let you know I'm thinking of you. Wise words as usual, April. Happiness is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Best to you always and all ways, MW