jennifer jade merrihue
I spent most of my life training to be in love.
Nov. 30. 2020
I would sit on the train on my way to school and find ways to fall in love with strangers. Even if just for that moment.
I went through so many terrible things and found ways to fall in love with them too, turning them into gifts and wisdom.
But the truth is, I used my creativity + wisdom to bypass feeling the true pain of betrayal, to bypass feeling weakness, to bypass feeling the true wisdom of being a victim.
Without fully feeling these things, boundaries are but a distant theory. If you haven’t fully felt the cost of being wronged, you’re not going to shy away from it in the future. Especially not if, like myself, you make pain and hardship the very SOURCE of your strength.
A few years ago, I began a mission to face my own trauma. As a coach, I am doing work on myself every day of my profession, I didn’t expect to find anything I hadn’t seen in my self before. Boy was I wrong.
I’ve coached refugees, veterans, war survivors, rape survivors, people in impossibly hard relationships. People who in my mind had “real” trauma.
Trauma is sneaky like that. Always hiding behind excuses. Comparing itself and invalidating itself cleverly.
(Two people can experience the same thing and one can internalize it as trauma while another can easily not.)
Mine was subtly running my life. It wasn’t loud or crippling. It was high performing. It was the loving overachiever. The good friend. The martyr.
I had trained myself to associate pain with strength + wisdom. Something we praise and honor in society. But I have had to learn that I don’t have to be in a constant state of achieving, suffering, or overcoming to have strength.
There are so many other ways.
I had trained myself to believe boundaries meant I loved people less. I was greedy. Selfish. Lazy. And I was oh so good at not being those things.
The cost? My health. My joy. My playfulness. Livelihood and sensuality. Creativity. Abundance. Freedom. All the things worth living for in life.
Having a whole bunch of unintegrated trauma means a lot of things. For many it looks like a child is driving their inner programming & decision making. Reactivity, numbness, lack of desire, apathy, inconsistency, indecisiveness, anger...