Growing up in Toxic/Dysfunctional families is centred around getting to know what our caregivers/parents expect of us, how to carry out those expectations and the consequences of not getting those expectations figured out perfectly. There’s no such thing as good enough, nor is there verbal or emotional communication about those expectations, they are literally unspoken expectations that we learn through being on the receiving end of the consequences of not meeting expectations.
This type of upbringing literally makes it impossible to know who I am. However, as adults, we get to turn all of this around.
Reading Pete Walkers book Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving I came to understand how important recognising the areas I need nurturing in could be plus how knowing this information helps reclaim the parts of my soul not authenticated throughout my childhood.
Over the years I’ve come to understand that my brain needs this type of information in order that I can feel safe in the world. Having the knowledge that large chunks of information about myself are missing helps my brains safety mechanism let go and allow me to fully experience my emotions. Also, I use this knowledge to reaffirm who I am.
As you read through the following information grab a notepaper and pen. Write down the nurturing elements that jump off the page and turn them into developing an awareness of where you need to begin applying nurturing daily. For example: When I was recording the video on nurturing, (it’s part of the Understanding Grief series), I was reading out the Emotional Nurturing section and I realised why my mum couldn’t communicate with me over my weekend chore of cleaning the shower.
It’s not necessary to go back to the past nor necessary to go back to the trauma at all. Over time as you reclaim your authentic self very gentle moments of increased understanding come forward, giving you an ah-ha moment. Yes, sometimes, we need to grieve the nurturing aspects we didn’t receive as children. And that’s more than okay. Tears shed release the emotions our body has been holding onto for years.
The 4 Areas of Nurturing for Reclaiming Who I Am
1. Verbal Nurturance
As a child who was verbally nurtured you would have had the following experiences –
- Your Caregivers would have engaged eagerly in multidimensional conversations
- You would have received generous amounts of praise and positive feedback
- Caregivers would have willingly entertained all of your questions.
- You would have experienced Caregivers teaching you, reading you stories, and providing resources for ongoing verbal development
2. Spiritual Nurturance
As a child who was Spiritually Nurtured you would have had the following experiences –
- Your Caregivers would have seen and reflected back to you your essential worth, your basic goodness and loving nature.
- Your caregivers would have initiated experiences of joy, fun and love to maintain your innate sense that life is a gift.
- You would have been taught philosophical guidance to help you integrate the painful aspects of life.
- Your creative self expression would have been nurtured.
- You would have had a frequent exposure to nature.
3. Emotional Nurturance
As a child who was Emotionally Nurtured you would have had the following experiences –
- Your Caregivers would have met you consistently with caring, regard and interest.
- Your emotions would have been welcomed and valued.
- You would have been taught safe ways to release the anger that didn’t hurt yourself or any other child/adult.
- You would have experienced generous amounts of love, warmth, tenderness and compassion.
- Your tears would have been honoured as a way of releasing hurt.
- You would have experienced being safe.
- Humour would have been part of your home life.
4. Physical Nurturance
As a child who was Physically Nurtured you would have had the following experiences –
- You would have experienced physical affection and protection.
- Your Caregivers would have provided you with a healthy diet and sleep schedule
- You would have been taught good grooming habits, self discipline and responsibility.
- Your hobbies, outside interests and your own sense of personal style would have been helped to be developed.
- You would have learnt a balance between rest, play and work.
If your tears are falling down your cheeks, let them fall, it’s healthy. If you need a hug, seek one, or here’s a cyber hug from me to you. I believe in you and I believe you have the ability to reclaim your authentic self. Seek practitioners that will help you, join our supportive FB Group or seek a local support group as you reclaim your life and build a fulfilling ever after.
Remember to journal out your thoughts and emotions, to put affirmations in place, to tone down the voice of your inner critic and consciously choose each day to love the day, live it as if it’s your last, and laugh long and hard at least once. You will reclaim your joy, and you will make it through this challenge. #togetherwecan