The Past Weighs Us Down
The past can weigh us down like an anchor. It whispers lies, “Things were so much better back then.” This can be especially true if a certain someone loved us back then but doesn’t now.
The past calls us back to certain memories and feelings, captivating us with its false allure. Then we worry about our future, will be happy or lonely, financially secure or struggling, will our kids be OK, etc.
“If you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future, you’re pissing on the present.” Malachy McCourt
Why do we do cling so tightly to the past or future? I believe it’s because we feel insecure.
How We Became Insecure People-Pleasers
When we were children, we really needed our parents to survive, right? We were totally dependent upon them for our sustenance, food, shelter, emotional well-being.
To compensate for the anxiety, we clung to things that gave us comfort. Maybe it was food, drugs, alcohol or some behavior like organizing our enviornment, a/k/a becoming a neat freak, collecting toys or gadgets, training for the next generation of people-pleasers, controlling some aspect of our life.
And we are social creatures and need to feel safe, to belong to our tribe, to feel connection. If they didn’t provide a safe haven like this, then we are probably lacking to this day in feeling secure in our connection need.
Not Getting Our Connection Need Met Feels Like Death
We can get our connection need from anyone or anything that means a great deal to us, like our mom, dad, spouse, child, sister, brother, pet, etc. This connection runs deep.
We will do everything to keep it, to control the outcome of that connection, because if we don’t it will feel like literal death to us. We will violate our values and sacrifice our own well-being to control this “drug,” the hit of connection need.
Angie’s People-Pleasing Origins
For example, when I was growing up, I lived in a turbulent household where I was uncertain of what my dad’s mood would be. I love my dad and don’t wish to criticize him for the past, AND this is part of my history that will help you understand how the dynamic created an insecure attachment within me.
He had an anger issue and would take it out on my mom. He also didn’t know how to express his feelings and communicate with my mom, me or my older brother. As a result, I felt very uncertain about my mom’s safety. She was my main caregiver. If something happened to her, what would happen to me?
Can you see how this would affect a child’s feeling of safety in the world?
As I grew older, after a bitter divorce, giving away custody of my daughter, and many deaths of loved ones later, I realized just how strong this connection need is. You could also call this over-the-top connection need unhealthy people-pleasing.
It’s this feeling of “I’ll do anything in my power to keep people loving me” that turns us into perfectionists, approval seekers, people-pleasers. We will do anything to fly under the radar of disapproval and judging eyes.
Because of this survival connection need, we will take actions to violate our true values, such as truly loving others with a heart of service, believing in ourselves, and sharing rightful custody of our children, and on and on.
We Have to Be Willing to “Jump Into the Fire,” to Surrender Control
After a major loss as in a death or divorce, we temporarily lose our footing in life. It mimics our own “death” in some ways, because it feels like a total loss of control. What can we do?
We have to be willing to learn to trust our inner knowing and not engage old patterns of control. We have to be willing to jump into the fire, get our hands dirty, surrender control.
This will allow us to feel into our physical body and tap into our emotional reserves. We’ve been so “protected” since we were little kids who felt unsafe in our crazy-making homes that we learned to get out of our bodies and go to our intellect to rescue us.
We couldn’t stand the discomfort of our home life, and we found a coping mechanism in busy-ness or things outside of us.
Release the Power of Suppressed Emotions
To make peace after divorce, we need to learn to re-connect to our bodies, our feelings, our breath. Reconnect with Nature. Get outside. Ground our bare feet on the earth.
Our power is trapped in all of these suppressed feelings. You can use tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique to begin to release these feelings.
We will do plenty of tapping in the upcoming Heal Your Heart online retreat (offered quarterly).
At this all day retreat on Sat, 6/18, you’ll learn practical logistics of divorce, strengthen your self-worth muscle, and re-direct anger, guilt, shame and resentment and get unstuck from the fear of the unknown, so you can move forward to a brighter future for you and your kids.
Guiding Women to a Brighter Future After Divorce/Loss,