The silent treatment

I grew up in a family where there was huge emotional strain on us from a young age. My mum was incredibly sick and my dad was mostly absent, working to support the family. This taught me some interesting lessons and created many patterns in my formative years.

My mum was one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever come across – a pure heart and soul and someone who we were all deeply terrified of losing. But for some reason we were one of those Italian families who kept everything hush hush. Only a handful of people knew that she was sick which meant that we had few people to talk to. Even among ourselves, I also have a brother, we did not speak about it or how we were coping or feeling.

This created all sorts of problems from strained relationships, to learning to suppress emotions to the point where we never felt them, to an inability to connect with others as we couldn’t share so many things about our life. It meant that even though there were four of us in the same situation, we each felt totally isolated and consumed by it. We each reacted in different ways, mine was all of the above.

It has taken many years of learning to conquer each of these things as I started from zero, and they are still deeply ingrained patterns that rear their heads when I’m not looking ie not consciously living. I’m sure in the journey of this blog I’ll write in more depth about each of these but for today my thoughts are about communication.

For me this began at base level. I had never learned to communicate. Sure I could talk but never about anything personal or important to me. To add to the situation, growing up with such a high level of emotional stress and pain I taught myself not only never to discuss these feelings, but not to feel at all.

I felt a huge level of guilt when I felt angry or sad because I had to be strong for my mum and I’d tell myself that it wasn’t her fault so I shouldn’t feel like that.

For a young child totally confused about what was happening, these emotions were totally natural but there was no one around to tell me that. Though even if I had had someone around, I wouldn’t have known how to express what I was feeling anyway.

My parents sent me to a few counsellors in my teens but I’d just sit silently, daring them with my eyes to try and get me to open up. I remember speaking to one, answering her questions, beginning to open up and feel, and then the hour was up and I was kicked out of the room feeling vulnerable and angry. I vowed never to speak to anyone about these things again and to the best of my memory I didn’t for many years.

Thankfully in my early 20s I was having some major health issues and my aunty insisted I go to her kinesiologist. I was suffering from many things but none that any specialist or doctor could properly diagnose or cure. They all simply shrugged their shoulders and told me that this was how life was going to be.

Now at the time I didn’t want a bar of any woo woo whatever natural crap – yes I was closed minded. I was angry and sick and no one seemed to be able to help, but I also knew that there was no way I was going to spend the rest of my life feeling like this. So I sucked up my pride and went along.

The kinesiologist was the most kind, gentle and knowledgeable woman I’d met at the time. She never pushed me to talk about anything and made me feel instantly comfortable.

She explained that kinesiology was all about the emotional cause of illnesses so it could help get to the root cause of issues and ailments. How? By muscle testing what was really going on in my subconscious.

Now this all sounded woo woo to me still but it seemed like my chance to get better, plus I didn’t have to talk about anything so I gave her a few goes. And to my surprise, I began to get better.

As we worked on my illnesses for the first time I realised that I had a huge amount of emotions bottled up that I wasn’t even aware of. I’d suppressed so many large emotions from such a young age that it was automatic, and I’d forgotten I did it.

I truly thought that all of the things I shrugged off constantly didn’t bother me, not realising that I was brooding and screaming deep down.

She taught me how to feel again, and eventually how to communicate these feelings. Many years later I grew even more, learning how to realise and communicate my needs and wants.

This woman changed my life and I am so grateful. There was a huge amount of work on both of our parts but I slowly learned to master feeling and then communicating.

I started at absolute zero my beautiful readers and can now feel the scariest and most overwhelming emotions without suppressing them, and express my needs even when I’m scared to. If I can learn, so can you.

Much love,

C.

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