Originally from the North East, I live in my imagination expressing my mixed up soul through story, writing the long (novels, screenplays) and the short (songs, poems, articles, social posts) when I'm not using words, I use my hands, designing one of a kind originals for quirky-chic jewellery brand LadyLLondon.
I'm wild about travel especially cruises, red pandas, losing track of time with my besties, owls, Red velvet cake, total self-acceptance and living each step authentically, not entirely sure what I'll be writing about yet, so watch this space... xoxo
Severing a long-term connection is never easy nor should it be, Memories, Feelings, Emotions and a host of other song titles get into the mix, it’s Complicated but, when the person you have to break up from is your own parent, that’s a whole other level.
I recently had to endure this life-altering process, after many decades of being my mother’s golden child or scapegoat.
Like a physical injury the initial break hurts like hell unfortunately, that’s just the beginning, this person’s defined you, from the start you’ve been at their emotional beck and call, jumping those endless hoops, believing if I just get through this one…. then they’ll stop, it will get better, then I’ll be enough… you make it through that one but, there’s always another one and then another…
So how on earth do you stop chasing that elusive star of worthiness, of acceptance, where control and perfection were standard and forge a new path, to becoming that fantabulously flawed sun in your own solar system?
Well, there’s a ton of information out there written by experts far better qualified than I, however, I’d like to share six signposts I’ve discovered along my unique journey that are still guiding me every day, why six? It’s my favourite number there are many more so in no particular order.
It’s ok, it’s me, not you, … seriously it’s not!
This is a tough one as the source of their power lies within this falsehood, so long as you stay fundamentally convinced this is ok normal family life, or you’re the broken one, the cause, the problem that needs fixing, then their merciless merry-go-round keeps on twirling.
Your parent is the damaged one, the one with the problems whatever their unique backstory one thing is for sure they couldn’t/didn’t deal with it and so tragically your formative years were spent having to.
Also the moment you accept this parent doesn’t know you better than everyone else or sadly ever even saw the real you, though, they profess to “have your best interests at heart” they couldn’t because, it’s never ever been about you, only them, is both earth-shattering and truly liberating in equal measure.
You’ve broken the cycle
Toxic parenting goes down the generations so when it gets too dark and confusing, the unknown crowds you at every turn remember, you are on this healing path so that it stops with you and the precious people in your life won’t ever have to pay the prices you did, it’s not fair it’s awful, hard and so lonely at times but, self-healing’s the only way to finally be free, be whole enough to give and receive the love and authentic connection you’ve always deserved.
Feeling vs Fact
Another continuous struggle, separating how you feel about yourself from the facts that intrinsically make up who you are.
I began with the basics human, woman, living solo in North London and built up from there, it’s amazing how many inner doors suddenly fly open as you discover a lot of what you feel inside has no basis in fact. While some “alternative facts” can be easily discarded, others are sneaky little suckers and no matter the mounting evidence to the contrary you accepted them at a core level, can’t see yourself any other way… until that unbelievable ‘aha moment’ when you do.
Surviving under a toxic parent severely limits your range of emotions as it was impossible to fully express your developing self without sanctions so, when you finally allow your frozen feelings the space to thaw it’s terrifying, frustrating, there’s a desperate need to just quit this self-stuff as it’s not a pick and mix, all your frozen feelings get released, the good the bad and the long-suffering ugly ones.
Regular reality checks are essential as you test, repair and rewrite your narrative and I have found many silver linings in this cloudy process, raw emotions are kinda bad ass plus when you hear your own inner voice for the very first time, it’s pretty darn awesome.
You’ve got a friend
Whilst a lot of this inner repair work is done solo as ultimately it’s about building healthy connections within yourself, I’m beyond grateful I didn’t have to endure these past few months alone, having my kindred spirits who wanted to stay around after those old masks finally shattered, has been one of the greatest rewards from this whole ordeal.
Another is being able to lose yourself in a moment, no strings, pretence, hoops or spin, it feels totally alien at first, you’re suddenly able to be spontaneous, foolish, silly and wholeheartedly present, you panic, over question, wait for the catch but, with your besties it just doesn’t come.
These weird people simply want to hang out, you don’t have to earn it, they genuinely see, like and care about you, they enjoy sharing, connecting, teasing it’s all fun and free.
Slowly your mindset moves from monochrome to seeing the world in honest, imperfect, glorious Technicolor, after a while you don’t even recognise yourself anymore, it’s a truly mind-blowing process.
This healing path can leave you feeling desperately lost, unsafe and unsure, alone in a whole new world, all of a sudden your inner rulebook has been blown to smithereens, make no mistake you are very vulnerable at this stage, may find yourself longing for somebody to dictate another rulebook as, the idea of finally writing your own story is hopeless and overwhelming.
You’ll always find members of the “I know what’s best for you” brigade, it’s tough to stay away from those familiar personalities but, the answers lie within you.
This trek will involve trial and error, at times being really out of sync, finally laying some boundaries and sometimes losing people who won’t respect them, you’re a mature rookie angry that you should know better but, you don’t, you’ve never been this version of you before so, don’t be so hard on yourself let “I don’t know, maybe, ok give it a go” into your mind, take it all step by step and remember what Elsa sings “No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free” oh yeah, you know the score girl!
Life is Improv
Since control was a cornerstone of the daily grind it’s extremely difficult to forge a new relationship with it, relinquishing control feels way too risky, it’s the only thing keeping all that dangerous chaos out until, you realise that risky chaos really needs an entry pass.
Life is messy, complex, multi-layered and we all just muddle through the best we can, it’s not your fault if others are down or up, it was never your job to fix people, you’re not to blame and you are enough, no matter what you’ve been conditioned to believe.
Authentic life is improvisation, of course, we must take action, listen to our inner world nourish it to flourish and thrive, in other words, book the proverbial venue, the fellow actors, refreshments etc, but, once that curtain rises it’s all in the moment.
Some shows are on fire others are a wet blanket and some nights it’s just that thing you do and all those nights are absolutely fine, you are now part of something real, unknown, spiky, rainbow, confusing where mutual mistakes are made and forgiven, actions speak louder than words and most importantly precious time is shared unconditionally, it’s all about giving and receiving, respect, being there 100% for yourself and those people who truly know you and have your back.
I wish I could report if you adopt some of these signposts in your journey you’ll get where you need to be easily and everything will be peachy, however, every one of us is different whilst they’ve been lifesavers for me during the past six months you may never need to encounter some of them.
My own unexpected healing journey has only just begun and every day a new scary challenge (like writing this article) or an insight hits me like a sledgehammer, I still need all the help I can get, so feel free to share your own signposts they’re just like jewellery, can never have enough.