Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the lies that bind us. {part 4}

being continued from:

which was continued from:

which was continued from:

well, friends.

for those that have actually read through all of this continued story i applaud you.  and thank you, because it hasn't been the easiest thing for me to write.  i have left out details that affect others, and just stuck to my part of the story, but i've still felt completely vulnerable to open up this side of my self to whoever stumbles across it. 

and an extra special shout-out to the comment-ees.  you have no idea how much your words have helped me.  my fear was that my friends would not like this soul-baring version of lynsey and i would scare everybody away.  so thank you so much for your supportive words!

i was willing to risk that though, for the sake of writing the truth and living it in hopes that anyone else struggling in a similar way would be able to do the same. 

so here it is, the grand finale.  the last part.

{and yes it is long, so that there doesn't have to be a part 5!}

where i left off was when i finally saw the truth for what it was, instead of what my negative thinking had swallowed me down to believe.

it was extremely sad to me that i had hurt ben along the way of hurting myself, and i realized that all of those entitled and resentful thoughts were not only lies, they were selfish lies.  i thought only i was affected. and i was wrong.

so after that night of being open, and honest it still took me a little while to really face the truth head-on and start fighting the good fight.  but that night was when it had begun.

about a month later, ben's school schedule no longer allowed him to work full-time so he cut back to part-time.  it was the combination of being honest with myself and both of our schedules relieving pressure that gave me the chance to breathe.

i knew things with me were still....off...for lack of a better word, and didn't know how to fix them.
so one night, when i was alone with my thoughts of sadness and guilt and felt inadequate about my ability to fix myself, i knelt down and prayed.

and here is where i will use an analogy to explain what i felt that night.  {this might get a little extreme for those who aren't analogy-people, so bare with me here.}

i felt like i was standing in one of those funhouses at carnivals, in that room with all of the mirrors. the one where you see yourself in all funny, contorted shapes.  and in each mirror, i saw a distorted version of myself.  i saw the mirror that showed me what i felt like i looked on the outside, the mirror that reflected how i felt as a mother, one as a wife, one as a daughter, one as a friend.   i was alone surrounded by nothing but mirrors.  every way i turned, there was a reflection of some side of myself.  there were dozens of me's just standing there, staring back.

so that is where i pictured myself.  in the mirror room of denial, a world i had been creating for 29 years. 

and as i knelt to pray, suddenly all of those mirrors began cracking, and exploding into tiny pieces of glass that was shattering everywhere.

the inadequacies i had felt about myself, the strength that i thought i had been lacking, the beauty that i can never quite see in myself, the ugly that i always see too vividly...all of the lies i had listened to came crashing down.

but there was one mirror left standing.  it had been unable to be seen because all of the distorted mirrors had been blocking it, but once they had shattered it was suddenly visible.

and how do i explain what i felt then?

the girl inside of what had once been a room of mirrors, suddenly saw her self.  her real self.  the true reflection, staring back.  and i wasn't ugly or hideous like i had felt that i was, but there was something wrong.

i saw wounds.  hundreds of them, thousands.  some were scabs that were starting to heal.  others were small scratches.  then there were the wounds that were bleeding.  some of them showing just a trickle of blood.  but a few of them were huge, gaping holes that were hemorrhaging.  

and the real version of myself that i saw for the first time had tears in her eyes.  but also in those eyes was hope, and the desire to heal.

so i had a choice to make.

"Denial and rationalization are broken power tools."

and it is so, so true. 

i knew i had the choice between truth and denial.  i believe we are all given this choice at some point in our lives, and we have to choose between the two.

in my personal opinion, denial is so.  much.  easier.  everything inside of me that night as i was praying wanted to quickly grab the broken house of mirrors and start to build it all back up again so that the girl who needed my help could be forgotten.  i think denial can be addictive too.  once you hop aboard the denial train... where everything is someone else's fault, or that the lies are easier to believe so that you can lay your head down at night and face yourself the next morning....is very hard to get off of.  it's a fast train that doesn't stop and you have to choose to jump!  and roll when you hit the ground so that less of your bones break in the process.

i had lived in denial in one way or another for quite a while and had been too scared to jump not just because of what i would damage when i fell, but what work i had ahead of me once the jump was over.

because to face your truth, to really face it, is work.  probably the hardest work you have to overcome.  because to face it means you accept it.  you accept yourself, just the way you are.  wounds and all.  harsh reality and the whole package.

once you accept yourself though, it is not over.  because who would want to leave someone just standing there, bleeding to death? 

i chose hard acceptance over easy denial.
i stopped letting the lies i had believed hold me bound any longer.

i jumped off of the train, tucked my head down and wrapped my arms around my knees to prepare for when i hit the ground.  and i stepped over the shattered mirrors, and started to put bandages on the wounds of the girl who was bleeding.  one by one.

it was not easy.

but that night, not only did i accept truth, i found something equally as important.


i think that there are many ways people can define their self-worth.  in their mothering abilities, or in their fulfillment in a career, in how they look and the control they have over their bodies, in how they provide for their families, or their sense of humor, or in their intelligence.

but for me that night, it had nothing to do with anything i was doing, or any outside source.

my self-worth came with understanding who i truly am.

a daughter of God.

now for those who don't believe in God, or any type of higher power, i'm sure they will snicker and roll their eyes when they read this part.  but that is because they have not felt it before. either the opportunity has not yet come, or they have chosen to not see it.

but for those who have felt this feeling, even gotten just a glimpse of it like i did, they can attest to it.  it is humbling and empowering all at once.  it makes these daily tasks we call life that we go about performing seem significant and insignificant.  it is seeing your true potential, and loving yourself not just in spite of, but because of your mistakes...

and i know that you can only truly see this by getting past those lies that bind us.  that want to keep us right where we're at, believing that we are alone in this world.  that no one else feels our pain, no one else knows what we've been through, no one really understands us, and no one would really love us if they knew everything.

that is what denial is all about.  it can come in so. many. forms. 

and just because i have seen several people that i love dearly use certain forms of denial, i'm going to point out a few of them:

1)  being in a relationship...any type of relationship...that involves being manipulated, lied to, cheated on, or just plain someone wanting to make you feel less than you are, and saying to yourself, 

"i deserve this,"  for whatever reason it is you want to tell yourself.

it is not true.  and by you staying in this relationship, you are telling yourself and God that you have no self-worth and lying to yourself that if you "had done better here" or "had tried harder there," that the person might have been kinder, or more honest, or love you the way you truly deserve to be loved.  believing that you can change them, where really you are enabling them to continue their bad habits of abuse so that you can continue your habits of self-loathing.

2)  then there is denial in which you stuff painful parts of your life down inside, unwilling to see them for what they were and how they changed you.  instead you say,

"i'm over it, no use bringing it back up again, i don't need to deal with that.  i'm doing just fine."

and you choose to never face that pain, you pretend it never happened, and you hold yourself back from being able to truly work through it...and truly forgive...and truly let it go.  which is the only real way to be free from that pain.  but to stay in denial doesn't ever really make it go away, and it seeps out sideways and continues a cycle that can affect others around you.

again, to quote miss heather{because i just love the way she puts things}
"Even if I have been through some awful and ugly things in my life, even those things are not excuses for what I'm doing. Because the truth is that we can even be freed from the most traumatic of things, but only if we seek hope and stop thinking about ourselves all the time."

3)  then there were the forms that i used.  first, the inadequacy piece of denial.  feeling like i couldn't deal, couldn't conquer, couldn't handle it without a crutch.  that things were going to be devastating before they actually had even taken place.  that i was alone, and that i wouldn't be able to do it being alone.

and this way when that crutch i had so carefully set in place left, i left myself completely open for my second denial tool,  

4)  the entitlement form, that said i was just so above my situation.  that i deserved better.  that i had been dealt an unfair hand.  it was prideful and selfish and tricked me into thinking that i was better off without the two in the life who mattered most:  God and ben.  by blaming others for where i was i didn't have to face the truth that i had a wonderful life, a lot of blessings and that hard things happen to everyone, but that i could overcome mine.

i know there are more forms, these are just the ones that are a little close to my heart right now.


what do you do when you decide to stop denial?

well, for me it was about first being 100% honest with those who had been affected by it.  myself, God, ben and any others who had gotten a taste of it.  i admitted my faults, apologized, and sought forgiveness.
then, since i didn't know how to fix my wounds on my own, 

i decided to seek out therapy.

it's easy to say there is a stigma surrounding therapy.  that only crazy people need therapists, or only people with "real problems."  but i didn't think i was crazy, and i had not faced problems that i would consider to be on the "big" side of things.  i was just at a point in my life where i was struggling, and had developed unhealthy patterns of dealing with things, and wasn't quite sure how to work it out on my own.  

{this was even after i really began to see my true self-worth.  just because i had seen it didn't mean i was all of a sudden twinkled into a perfect human being.  i still struggled with the destructive patterns.}

i have also heard some say that since they have "found God," in a matter of speaking, they don't need professional help.  and don't get me wrong, i am a big believer in coming closer to Jesus Christ through prayer, and having him heal your heart.  but i also believe that God put tools on the earth for us to utilize to help us truly get there in a sometimes healthier....and sometimes faster....way. 

during my first visit with a therapist.  i was nervous, and not sure what to expect or even if i would trust this person with all of myself.  and to be honest, for about the first 40 out of 50 minutes, while she asked me questions about my background and why i was there....i fell back into old habits of not believing that someone could accept the wounded person i actually was....and only showed the happy and positive sides of myself.

but the more that i showed just that side, the more i could feel her wondering why in the world i felt i needed therapy.  i became anxious, knowing that i would need to be completely honest, so with 10 minutes of time left with her, i finally blurted it all out in one run-on sentence.  then the tears came with the truth, {which i usually never show in public and certainly never to someone i've just met} and she and i were able to really talk about what was bothering me, and came up with a plan on how to work through it.  how to stop the patterns of denial and anxiety, and now the shame and guilt that had followed.

the beginning of the process started with a whole heck of a lot of positive affirmations.  you know, the "i'm good enough, smart enough, and doggonit!  people like me!" stuff.  well it wasn't as cheesy as that, but i sure felt like a dork doing it.

but what else did i expect?  of course stopping the negative thoughts to change them to positive ones was going to feel foreign to me.  i had never done it before!  and at first i fought the idea.  but then i had another realization:
if thinking allllll of these negative things about me worked for me to believe them, maybe changing these things to positive truths will cause me to one day believe those.

so i started to give it a try.  and it's not like all of a sudden i thought i was superwoman or anything, but i do believe in myself a little bit more.  i'm less hard on myself when it comes to what i look like.  i've stopped comparing myself to others as much.  and i know that i have strength inside of me to overcome difficult trials.

i am changing.

and again, all of it comes back to the self-worth.  to know that i am not alone, that i always have God there with me on my side, is completely comforting.  sometimes i have to remind myself of this, but whenever i do, my attitude is immediately changed.

it's like i have gone from being an empty bucket that is always searching for something to fill me up, to a full bucket that every now and then springs a leak, but then patches itself back up to become full again.  without any help except through God, the tools i've learned in therapy, and myself choosing to access both of those.

aside from therapy, i started to really take care of myself.  and it actually meant doing the opposite of what my 29-year old habit self wanted to do....which was eat chocolates and sit around.  instead, i began to set a list of daily goals that i would accomplish and stick to them.  each focusing on a different part of my life:  physical, spiritual, emotional.  and since that time not only have i lost 20 lbs, but i have further deepened my connection to my heavenly father, to ben and to my children. 

now i have changed from the one-on-one therapy to a group therapy that challenges me in different ways.  but it is so good for me.  it is humbling, and eye-opening, and a way to get to know someone from the inside out.  it is an easy way to feel what true charity is, the pure love of Christ, to love and accept another human being on a level that can only happen when they are vulnerable and willing to change and so are you.
therapy and affirmations and taking care of myself, and working on my relationship with God has helped me to forgive myself, and to love myself in a way i have never had before.

the wounded girl still has wounds, but they are getting patched up carefully, with love and in a way that will completely heal them so that they don't re-open.

i am not perfect.

but i am willing to see the truth.

and i am working.

and i am trying.

and i am



ta-dah!  there it is friends!  it's out, finished, and i can finally sleep at night without words coming to me over and over again at night to get this out.
i'm still not sure why i shared this with the public.  maybe it's to again fight the thoughts inside that says to me that those who see this side of me won't love me for it.  maybe it's because someone else out there could be helped.  maybe it's for me, at a later part in my life, when i want to try to build back up the room of denial and this is my reminder of what to do instead.  for whatever reason, i feel like a weight has been lifted.

thank you again for reading this.  i can't promise it's the last time i will write about it, but i think the next time it won't be such a soul-wrenching blog dump like it was this time.

and since it's now almost 4am, i am going to sleep.


Heather said...

Woo to the hoo. You've seen it. You've seen what takes most human earthlings a lifetime to see.

Have you read any Brennan Manning. As you're working on this healing thing, the healing thing that takes a lifetime? I suggest his book "The Furious Longing of God." It's been life-changing for me...to learn about how God really is crazy for me and to finally really GET IT...and then breathe it in every day, all day.
Anyway, just a thought.
And thanks for finding me quotable :)

K Harker said...

I know I haven't commented on these yet, but I have been reading them...Thank you for sharing them!

I can imagine how hard this has been for you, and I appreciate you being willing to share these personal endeavors with us, I think we all need to hear things like this to double check ourselves and make sure we don't fall into traps like these.

You are a strong and brave woman and an example to me, and I appreciate your friendship, I really do!

Melody said...

You have a beautiful way of putting into words your thoughts and feelings and I admire you. I too, have dealt with what you are talking about and am in the process of "recovery." It's not easy, but you can do it and this will be a life changing event that you will call on many times in your life. You are "Lucky" to have the knowledge you do. Praise God that you have "seen the light." You are a daughter of God and are loved by Him that gave you life! I love you and thanks for sharing!

Brian & Chelsey said...

You are awesome...Thats pretty much all there is to it! Good for you for doing this as most of us in the world dont have the guts to do something like this. Like i said you are awesome! Such an inspirastion! Thanks for sharing Lyns you have defintely touched my heart and soud...Thanks...Love you guys!

Brian & Chelsey said...

*soul is what I meant...obviously I need to read BEFORE i post! :)

Kurt and Kristy said...

Lyndsey I just have to say thank you for sharing this!! It is something that I needed to hear at this point in my life!! You have a wonderful way of sharing your feelings and I admire you for doing it cause not many people would!! Again thank you! You have given me so much to think about (in a good way)!!!

Lindsay Jane said...

Thanks for sharing this. You are inspiring to make me really look at my life and be honest with myself and know that I can do it too. You are amazing!

Rachel Chick said...

I love you. Thanks Lynsey. For your honesty and for your sweet loving testimony of our Savior. You are such an amazing woman. Thank you. Again, I love you.

Clancypants said...

You and me, lady. We've got some sycronistic things going on in our lives. My story isn't just like yours but I've lived much of the same lies and worked through them with help from a therapist-ish person, who is actually my own aunt who is a life-coach/hypnotherapist. I spoke with her once a week for two years to put myself back together and figure out who the heck I am. It is such an amazing and painful process... so hard, being honest with yourself like that. I commend you for the process you are choosing to go through. Not many people have the guts to really look at themselves. It is SCARY. The scariest thing I've ever done. And it doesn't end. I still cycle through the "digging deep" and then back into the "comatose/survival/surface" living. Throughout the last year I've been in the latter... survival mode, but I'm seeing the trowel coming out. I've been digging at those layers of lies and things I want to change again... slowly. My blog is proof of the coma I've been in emotionally. It's been dead in the water, just like me. But I think I'm on my way back. And I know that that's ok for me to go through those "dead in the water" times. It's part of life, these cycles. It's been the winter of my heart and the spring thaw is coming, when things will start moving and growing again. The trick is to love myself through those winter-times and allow myself to love ME whether I'm growing or stagnating. Or even regressing. Because that is how we learn.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, thank you for writing this. I know how scary public introspection and weakness revelation is. And I also know that you never know who you are going to touch with your words.

I don't know you in real life, but I sure do love you in real life.

Janelle said...

Wow, what a post! I was truly in awe to read the whole story and think you are just amazing!