Do you feel invisible?
Do you sometimes feel as if you’ve disappeared?
You’ve spent all your life looking after everyone else and now you’ve decided to look after you.
But you don’t know who that is anymore.
Why did this happen?
If like many women who contact me, you may have grown up in a family of neglect, abuse, control, addiction or have experienced the loss of a parent.
Maybe you were the family scapegoat who was blamed, shamed and used as target practice by the entire family.
Or constantly compared to a brother or sister (golden child) who, according to your parents, could do no wrong.
Or maybe you were the lost child who lived in a fantasy world of your own, but always feeling like the outsider.
Or maybe you were the family caretaker, the fixer. You were the one who protected your brothers or sisters from a toxic mother or father.
As children, we tend to treat ourselves the way we were treated by our parents.
And we carry this into adulthood.
We tell ourselves that we don’t deserve love , care and attention and that if people get to know us they won’t like us.
We tell ourselves that nothing good will ever happen to us and if it does we don’t deserve it.
And god forbid we act with confidence because we hear echoes of our family code- ‘Pride comes before a fall’ and ‘Don’t get too big for your boots’ or other B.S.
So we neglect ourselves and soothe our pain with food, alcohol, drugs, t.v or excessive cleaning.
We become perfectionists in our relationships, work and home and beat our bodies into shape with excessive dieting and exercise.
Our bodies suffer from stress and adrenal fatigue and we develop chronic illnesses which never seem to respond to treatment.
We try to change our outsides to make us feel better on the inside. Because inside we are deeply ashamed of who we really are.
We are driven to unrelenting standards by an inner drill sergeant who’s criticism is much harsher than any abuse we’ve ever experienced.
And we spend our lives walking on eggshells around emotionally unavailable partners who take power, control or indifference to Olympic standard.
We try to find ourselves in other people but lose ourselves in the process.
Until we wake up.
When we wake up to the truth of ourselves we realise that we are strong.
We are resilaint.
As children were brainwashed to believe that we were never good enough.
The truth is we were ALWAYS ENOUGH.
We are strong, intelligent and beautiful in our own right.
We don’t need anyone’s approval.
We can have good boundaries and look after ourselves. We don’t need to fear people by hiding behind walls or loving too much to get their approval.
We don’ t need it.
We don’t need to be small to make someone else feel tall.
All we need to do is start loving, trusting, accepting and protecting ourselves.
Because when we do, we find out who we really are.
We wake up to ourselves.
We stop feeling invisible and we come into our own light.
And we know that we were always good enough.
Jacqueline Groves is a counsellor specialising in helping women recover from toxic love, worry and wine.