Reconciling with One’s Self

Shortly after writing yesterday’s post, something happened.

I experienced betrayal for the first time.

You might be wondering how it is possible that I’ve never experienced betrayal, but I truly don’t think I have. Yes, there have been things that people have done that have hurt me, but beyond break-ups, I’ve never had a falling out with a friend or anything like that.

I won’t go in to details, because they aren’t necessary. Of the two people involved, I feel nothing but anger towards one and sadness towards the other. In short, I feel betrayed.

What happened felt like a good segue into something my counselor and I have been discussing: the three voices of self:

  1. The Wounded Child
  2. The Critical Parent
  3. The Healthy Adult

As far as explaining these, I’ll start from the bottom and work my way up.

the healthy adult

The healthy adult voice is the voice that should be guiding the majority of our life and decisions. The healthy adult voice says “Wake up. Shower. Brush your teeth. Wear clean clothes. Pray. Eat breakfast. Go to work…” etc and etc throughout our days. The healthy adult also acts as the voice of truth, reason, and logic. It reminds us that while we are sinners, we are also worthy and deserving of God’s love. It helps us to see ourselves as the Lord sees us.

the critical parent

Ah, the critical parent. This is the voice of Satan. This is the voice that says to us “You are nothing. You will never amount to anything. Your sins are too much, you do not deserve forgiveness because you will just sin again…” etc forever because Satan is the devil (and that was the least funny pun I’ve ever said). This is the voice that attempts to reign in our hurts and force them down, because we need to “grow up” or “handle ourselves better” or any other incorrect or false thing we’ve ever told ourselves.

the wounded child

Oh, this is our hearts. All of the wounds we’ve experienced throughout our entire lives encompass the voice of the wounded child. When the wounded child feels those hurts, it tantrums and begs for nurturing. So we indulge it. We stay in bed all day. We listen to sad music in our cars and intentionally bring out sad feelings and then cry bitter tears for hours. We harbor our hatred and grudges and blah.

When the wounded child begins to tantrum, the other two voices respond: the healthy adult nurtures the wound, allows love to hold the child and uses logic to remind the child that life is not over because of this hurt. The critical parent, on the other hand, punishes the wounded child, tells them that they are overreacting, that their wounds mean nothing.

Obvs, the critical parent is a beyonce (my family’s b-word– you’re welcome) and we KNOW that what the critical parent tells us is wrong. But in the moment, oh, it is just so easy to say “you’re right. I am shit and to shit I will return and there are no good things about me and this hurt is my fault and I can go on forever hating myself and self-sabotaging because I deserve no goodness.” I spent the first few months after my breakup feeling this way. Just living in a cycle of blame.

It has taken a lot to break this cycle, and this current wound of betrayal sent me into critical parent mode last night until I realized that hating these people would not make me feel better. The healthy adult stepped in! Here is what it told me:

Catherine. You are loved. What is happening is not fair. It is not just. It is unkind, and you are allowed to feel upset and angry. But you need to recognize that you deserve better than this. A person who would do this to you does not deserve your respect. You need to forgive them. But you will need the Lord’s help to do that, and that’s okay. His plan for you is so much more grand. Why would He expect you to accept that the man you marry would treat your heart in this way? You are worthy of such greater love. You will find such greater love. You have a wonderful family. You have friends who love you deeply. You have so much to offer, and you deserve someone who is going to cherish you above all else, as well as friends who respect you and will not betray your trust. You are enough. You are beautifully, fearfully, and wonderfully made. Never, ever let the hurt of man destroy your image of self.

Healthy Adult: 1000000000

Satan: 1-1 so goose egg.

Pray for me, friends, and know that I am so thankful for each of you. I will be keeping you close to my heart.

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