the walls that once provided . . .
When I am dealing with too much than I can handle, I turn to old habits like building walls; emotional walls, like electric fences and barbwire’s!
Those walls served a great purpose in the past. It kept people out, and kept me from leaning in. It kept people at bay from me, and kept my emotions caved in.
It provided me a soft cusion, and kept me safe. It pushed even the good people away; while I survived it alone, day after day! The walls were the only thing I had my whole life.
Years of therapy has helped me take down all those walls! Many many walls have been taken down, and sometimes it can be scary.
I have now learned to think before building walls. My therapist always tells me “lean in” “reach out”, “connect” “you have support”. I have learned to turn to those things before building walls, but not without work and a lot of trust.
When things become too much inside like it has in the past couple of weeks; like things being thrown at me left and right – those are the times that old habits kick in, and I kick into survival mode, and I start slowly building!
I start building walls to not only protect myself from having emotions around it, but I also do it so that I don’t put burden onto others with all that I am holding inside that feels too much.
When it becomes too much inside for me at once, I start to think it’s too much for others; therefor I build walls.
When you have carried things your whole life on your own; you feel you have to do it alone. To hand it over to anyone else – it’s just too much for them, and then my self worth is on the line – and the rolling ball effect begins!
5 years of therapy, this technique of building walls is not working as well as it once did. Today was one of those moments that it just didn’t work, and for the first time, I noticed it, and started to “un-build” the walls as fast as I started to build them.
I went into session today with the walls already starting to be built just little. I have been holding a lot about my mom and other things that have been thrown at me that were least expected.
At first I felt myself becoming quiet, which is the start of the wall building. Then I started to get uncomfortable and that is the 2nd stage of wall building (giving myself a reason to build). Then I start to get defensive, which is the pushing away part of the wall building – and slowly I actually felt myself doing it, and realized what it was I was doing!
I then got up, told Andy I needed a few moments alone, and went into the bathroom. I knew deep inside, I needed that space for a moment, and that it meant something.
I went into the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face, looked in the mirror and said “stop!” “no walls” “no silence” “lean in“. – “I am supported, I am cared for, and I dont need to do this alone! stop building the walls”.
I went back into the room, sat next to my therapist, and started talking, and talking and talking and talking and letting go for over 90 minutes straight! I broke down and let all my feelings, worries, concerns, burdens, grief, fears, and even some joys be let out into the room!
My therapist looked at me and said “do you know what you just did? You just stopped those walls from building, took control over it, and you right now, look as connected as I have seen you in weeks!
I realized today that those walls that once provided me relief, no longer provide me relief, but provide me more pain. If I had not broken down and talked about what I was carrying inside; my blog would be a whole different story today.
My blog would be about “holding” and “swallowing” what I have had inside since the weekend. I would have built walls and carried the grief about my mom alone. I would have tried to be strong and say “I can do this” when in real I CANNOT DO THIS ALONE! and I don’t have to!
Those old walls, made me do it alone, and slowly I am learning that I don’t have to do it alone! Each time I go through this little by little, I am learning that this is a journey filled with support, care and love – no walls are needed!
I don’t have to live behind the walls anymore, not even to protect others. Leaning in and reaching out for support when I need it is healing. I have said this before, but I am realizing that being weak, is almost powerful sometimes.
Much like Sunday, I am breathing today. I lifted the weight, I talked about it, I broke down, I had support, I had comfort, I had supporting words, and the best thing? I was told “you will get through this, and not alone”, and we figured it out!
I have a plan – we have a plan. I have ways to work around what is going on now. Things are slowly falling into place. I didn’t have to run home and retreat to figuring it out by myself, and there is no way that could have happened with walls.
I am grateful that today I saw what was happening. Just a year ago, I would have built those walls sky high to avoid the truth called emotions, and to protect others.
I am healing even when it hurts like hell, and that is good, because I know I will get through this – I don’t need any walls for me to see that.
I know that tonight, tomorrow, the next day and the days after that – no matter what – I have support to help me through this hump I am going through right now, and that is more powerful than ANY wall I can build.
March 20, 2012 at 7:25 PM
LOVE this Karen! I love the photo! how do you pick the perfect photos to fit the story!
This is very true. Walls were ok when you needed them when you were young, today, they are unsafe against your support who cares about you.
I love this story today Karen, I got chills all over my body when you explained going to the bathroom and looking at yourself in the mirror!
Did you get up and dance in celebration? I was waiting to hear that funny part!
I am so happy that you talked it out, and I hope your soul feels lighter tonight
March 20, 2012 at 7:34 PM
Good for you! That’s an awesome accomplishment! 🙂
March 20, 2012 at 7:40 PM
Thank you Stacy! and thank you for reading my blogs.. it means alot to me to have that outside support as well.. truly it means alot to me.
March 20, 2012 at 8:30 PM
No, no dancing today.. I left with tears still. We celebrated on the phone when he checked in this evening and talked about how I BUSTED THAT WALL DOWN! lol!
I am celebrating through my blog, and sharing it with others. That is my celebration, is healing through writing as well!
I have never looked at myself in the mirror today like I did, and said those words.. I knew I needed to push throug the walls if I was going to have any relief!
I haven’t slept much in days, I hope tonight I sleep! I need it!
Thank you Hanna as always !
March 20, 2012 at 9:32 PM
I am going through something similar with walls. It’s hard breaking a habit and turning to others.
Thank you for this reminder today that the walls can be broken
March 20, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Thank you Anna 🙂 .. walls are hard defenses to break! I am glad the blog helped 🙂
February 25, 2016 at 2:20 PM
Wow, I’m amazed at how much you have overcome and grown. I don’t even know your whole story, but it’s encouraging to put the pieces together as I read various blogs about your life’s experiences.
February 25, 2016 at 2:25 PM
Thank you SO MUCH Christina . . . that means a lot to me 🙂 this has been a great journey and you and others have said similar things and I think I am going to write a little something that touches on what my past was like . . . lI am encouraged to do that .. I got an email just yesterday from someone who wanted to read more about my story . . .
Thank you again 🙂