deserving of care

I’m sorry... that I can’t hardly stand you. I’m sorry, it’s not your fault. I’m just treating you the way I was taught. It wasn’t my intention to abandon you. You’re where my love lies. Where my sense of play is. And there’s no way for me to come back for my kids. Without bringing you along too.
— kim, from Wrestling Ghosts

The primary mirror children have for their place in the world is through their intimate relationships with parents and caregivers. When you care for your child you are giving them a story about their life that they were deserving of your attention and deserving of your care. Children who grew in homes without adverse experiences believe carry with them the belief that they are safe, capable, and deserving of a happy life.

Children who are raised in toxic environments absorb the stress around them. They see it in themselves and internalize a narrative that they are to blame. These narratives reinforce the idea that you are not deserving of love, that you are not deserving of safety, that you failed at protecting your parent, and that you failed at taking care of yourself. It’s a natural response to the story you were told.

When combined with the neurobiological straitjacket these narratives can become reinforced throughout our lives and present as intense cycles of depression and self-medication. The narrative that this cycle is the result of our choices or inabilities pulls that straightjacket tighter and keeps us from seeking the care we so desperately need and deserve.

You have to believe that you deserve help in order to seek it out.

You need to be able to tell yourself that what happened to you was not your fault. You were only a child dealing with an intense and unusual situation. You have overcome great adversity and are a survivor.

In order to get to this place, we need to first acknowledge what happened to us and understand how that effected our brain and bodies. Once we can see our injuries we can have compassion for them and then we can begin the process of healing.