Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Mindful Monday: Giving Childhood Baggage to God

posted by Beyond Blue

On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the week!

Group Beyond Blue member Belleo started a discussion thread on Group Beyond Blue called “Life Is a Puzzle?” She writes:

Our life is somewhat like a puzzle. There are many different pieces and they are all over the place. As I look over the pieces that comes out from way, way back in my memory does it help to try to fit them all into the puzzle? It’s impossible to figure out everything all at once. I’m sure to get a headache. And I will be confused. Much better to give all these pieces to Jesus who can put things back together.

I so needed to hear that because for the last two days I’ve been unexpectedly thrown back into feeling the hurtful baggage of my past.

The stuff is deceiving. Just when you think you’ve finally moved past it all, Bam! It’s there interrupting your day again … crying out, “Love me! For God’s sake, please love me!”

I suppose my progress is that I can now categorize my feelings of hurt, rejection, and neediness as “childhood crap” and concentrate more on identifying the consistent patterns and predictable cycles rather than analyzing the person who triggered my reaction.

But, man, have I been taken aback in the last two days. By how much hurt is still there, sitting in my memory and in my heart … in need of so much healing.

Yesterday I yelled at a friend for not getting back to me sooner on an email I sent, and told her that I’m trying not to take it personally, but that that I can’t help but think her communication style reflects her values and priorities (which means I’m down the list a ways). She responded that she was giving me all she had, and that it was unfair to judge her values and priorities.

I hung up the phone in tears. I couldn’t stop crying the whole day. And then I realize why: I had the same exact conversation with my dad so many times, especially after he missed an important event, like my high school graduation. Once I had conjured up the courage to tell him I was hurt, he responded with “Look, I’m giving you all I have to give you. Stop whining.”

Ironically, as I was processing this all, and wanting to go back and fix things with my dad, I walked into the coffee shop and on the radio was playing Frank Sinatra’s “The Lady Is a Tramp,” my dad’s favorite song (I know, I know, great taste) which was played at his funeral.

I knew in that moment, he was trying to tell me he loved me, that he was sorry for leaving me the baggage that I seem to be dragging into most of my relationships. I imagined us sitting down at the coffee shop talking about our day and our lives, something that never happened while he was alive. I imagined a love seeping into my raw centers, so that I didn’t have to cling so much to certain people, especially those that can’t give me the attention and love that I so crave.

Today I have choices.

If I require more in a friendship–if I need a friend to get back to me immediately to feel as though I’m a valued part of her life–then I shouldn’t stick around in a relationship where that’s impossible. Or I can continually remind myself that my girlfriend’s lack of response is unrelated to my dad’s, that it’s really not an indication of her love or lack of it. Finally, as Belleo who wrote the above quote says, I can give the pieces of my puzzle to Jesus, and let him figure it out.

For this moment, I’m going with option three.

There you go, Jesus. I give you my insecurities, my confusion, my hurt, my neediness. I give you everything that cries out for love from within my heart, and I hope that you are able to heal me of my sadness. I give you all of it because I trust that you can assemble my pieces much more efficiently than I ever could.

To read more Beyond Blue, go to http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.

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  • Frank Hulse

    Wow, this is surely something to consider. Nobody is exempt from old, childhood experiences that were painful to the point of leaving scars. I was just writing about this very topic, not 10 minutes ago. The chapter is on Feelings but the specific topic within the chapter is about Forgiveness. I think, (it’s a new thought so not well thought out) that when I leave my muddled feelings and puzzle pieces with Jesus, I’m going to add a P.S. and seek a portion of forgiveness for my responses to the hurts that have crippled me. I know I’ve not always responded to those hurts with anything remotely forgiving. So, I’m not sure just how much forgiveness I can handle – but I doubt I’ll be able to give much until I receive some. I’m an old boxer I guess because when I’ve been hurt, I have always wanted to counterpunch and give as good as I got. Hmm…maybe there’s hope…
    Frank,

  • RB

    Thank you Therese for sharing; while reading your story,I cried for you and I both and I too, know that God is the only answer to heal our pain. We forgave but we will never forget…

  • BChaney

    There is a verse of scripture that reads…Cast all your cares upon Him for He careth for you. But we so often go back and rumage through the garbage to take back what we had cast off. It is difficult to let go. I remember a story of C.S. Lewis where he was being interviewed late in his life. He was asked about forgivness, and if he had ever forgiven a school headmaster who had treated him horribly as a student many years previously. Mr. Lewis replied “at least twice a week”. Forgiveness is a process that seems to occur in my life as I accept forgivness for my own behaviors. Giving Grace that Grace may be extended. I appreciate this blog, and realize there are many folks who need and extend courage and grace daily. Thank you.

  • Appalachian Prof

    It might be good to remember that the friend referred to here might have some baggage from childhood too. And that might include feeling panicked when having to deal with the intensity of another person’s feelings.
    I have a friend who gets intense and confrontational with me from time to time. As a result, I have put distance between us, despite my respect and admiration for her. I just can’t handle it when she does it. I feel so drained from all the other claims on my time–and this friend, though not a selfish person in general, has NO sense of time passing. She can easily spend two hours on a phone call without blinking, whereas I feel physically dehydrated after such experiences. She freely gives of her time to others and can’t understand why I’m not so capable. The fact is, I’ve always needed a certain amount of quiet time, or I go nutty.
    My friend IS somewhat down on my list of my priorities–I’ve got a husband, children and aging parents to deal with, not to mention other family members. She is certainly not at the bottom, but I do try to avoid dealing with her when I’m short on time or low on energy. If there was an emergency (physical or emotional) I would go to her right away, but to have a conversation where I’m continually prodded for responses and sometimes have to walk on eggshells is something that, for my own sanity, I must avoid.

  • Your Name

    Although I’ve been married twice (and lost both husbands to death), I carry teenage baggage of NEVER having a date in high school! You may say that’s silly; I’m an attractive, courageous, and independent woman, and ANY man would be happy to have me. However, right now, I’m in a loveless relationship (for the last 3 years), and don’t know if I should continue with it. Now, I love this man, but his libido is in the basement. I’m not saying he doesn’t care for me – he just can’t show it. Besides all the other adjectives above, I’m highly sensual, and am NOT looking to stay celebate for the rest of my life (I’m 61).
    I KNOW I have choices; this man is VERY honorable, VERY intelligent (think “genius”), and VERY giving of his time. We only see each other on weekends, as he lives an hour-and-a-half away, so we don’t have anything like a live-in situation.
    I was asked by a life coach what I see for myself three years down the road. I had to give this a LOT of thought. With him…or without him. I’ve just given it to the Lord to shuffle about. This piece of the puzzle is NOT a “corner piece,” but one in the middle. I KNOW there’s a solution with Grace; I’m just waiting to hear from Him…

  • SuzanneWA

    I wrote the above missive about tangled love; sorry – the capscha caught me!

  • Tommy C

    I’m not sure how I got on the email list. But, I clicked on the link and read your article. I have been renewed. I was in distress and now I am not. Thank You so much.
    Tommy C

  • Leslie

    To Tommy C, isn’t that wierd!! I have no idea how I got on the e-mail list either but it sure seems every time I am feeling down or in need of a “helping hand” I get one of these e-mails that gives me EXCTLY what I need!! Just like this one did today! So thank you beyond blue!

  • Smile

    It’s always inspiring to read and try to implement these wise words. Thank you Beyond Blue. I have an issue that I don’t know quite how to resolve. I’ve been in a relationship for over 2 years. While I respect his love and admiration for his kids and his family; he doesn’t show me that same love. He is quick to point out what problems I need to recognize; he says he cares for me. I feel like I’m a place for him to live; a car to use and some money when he needs it. There is no passion in our intimate side of life; occasionally he tells me he loves me or holds my hand [when things are going good in his life].
    What am I missing here? Time to say good-bye?

  • Kathy

    I hope this is applicable. I had experiences of abuse, neglect and rejection from my family growing up. My father is long dead, and I am estranged from my mother and sister. My tenth anniversary recently, which should have been a happy day , was marred by unexpected feelings of, well, I don’t know exactly what, but crappy feelings. I prayed for God to not let those feelings overtake me a couple weeks later when it was my mother’s 75th birthday. I decided not to contact her, but tried to wish her well from afar. God put it in my head that there were also many other people all over the planet who also had a birthday on that day. I was to go thru the alphabet and wish them all a happy day, saying “May you give and receive only blessings. Happy birthday to everyone whose birthday is today, 7/22.” So on I went, happy birthday to everyone is Algeria, happy birthday to those in Bogata, Happy Birthday to those in Canada, to those in Denmark, etc. These attempts to depersonalize and expand my love beyond the most challenging person I know worked like a charm. In fact, I did it the next day as well and am sure I’ll do it again in the future. It’s a good way to spread love around the world. It also focused my obsessive brain. Thanks, God.

  • muctar kabba

    I not in relationship yet with girl, but I can relate story. My dad die when I was five years old, so I didn’t get to experience any of father son moment, but I could imagine how we would been.

  • maegan

    I also think I’m doing so well and I feel so at peace and pulled together and then…someone screws it up. (And yes, I’m working on my blame/victim issues.)
    I’ve been trying to remember it’s not always about me. We’re all human. We’re all flawed. And that’s the beauty of it. These setback help us grow and growth is sometimes uncomfortable.

  • Julianne Forrelli

    I have been receiving these emails for quite some time and everytime, they are uplifting to me….I never respond because I do not want to join anything…however this touched my heart…. the baggage piece caused me to reflect on what I need to do as a spiritual Christian……..I grew up in West Virginia and suffered the most horrific childhood that involved alcohol, sexual abuse, physical abuse and sickness on my part….I was a very ill child…..God came into my life as a teenager…..He also took the painful memories away from me so I really cannot remember a great deal of my childhood which is fine with me….about 5 years ago…my sister reemerged and called me…..she was a recovering alcoholic , then switched to drugs…we started talking…and she said “I am the eyes and ears of your childhood” ” I have been living with this all of my life….I need to tell you” and she proceeded to tell me the most awful stories of her opening the door and seeing what she saw…..at first I laughed because she said it in a humorous tone…then I began to think about “the poor little girl with the pony tails trying to survive”…..and my own mother sat in the other room she told me……bottom line…it put me on what I call “the 10 year delay” of life…….now I am 56….I have forgiven my dad and given it to God, my mother is still crazy…alive and I still want a relationship with her……I raised 4 daughters…..all very successful…I became very successful at sales……I try to pick in my life wonderful partners……I realized I had the alcoholic gene and gave up alcohol…I am 2 years sober……I thank God every day for his Grace on my life to get through…yes I have bad days…but generally my spirit is so strong and my relationship with God is the reason for my hope and forgiveness….I hope I have helped anyone who needs to put the “little girl or little boy” away and say I am responsible for my adulthood and move on….as God wants you too and learn to take the tragedy of people and what they do….to what am I supposed to do on this journey we call life……to grow and prosper in times of ill health. all giving thanks to God for “seeing” everything in a clear light. Take care.

  • kenyatta j

    Im,very thankful and grateful for god sending this special message to me because i’ve been going through this childhood baggage for so many years now that im ready to remove myself and my children away from my family,but since i’ve read this heart warming story i feel like god has answered my prayers and now i need to let go and let god.im sure ill get through this some how being that i carried this with me for thirty-two years,i know i need to make that extra step so god can see me through this obstacle.god bless

  • Taborri

    I am an Atheist (I have my reasons) so therefore there is no ‘god’ to give Childhood hurts to, I have to work through them and release them from my body and heart and let them die in the atmosphere. I do not have any contact with the 2 called “parents” or the youngest female sibling as they are wicked beings in flesh sacks that caused many thousands of hours of torture and abuse of every type upon me.
    Group member Belleo is wrong when she states “Just when you think you’ve finally moved past it all…” you will not move past it all. It is a fact that for every year you spent being abused, it takes at least 3 – 5 years to recover. Figure out your math, honey, everyone. And if you stuffed it in a strongbox for years and years to do things like raise children and be married (and had problems you couldn’t understand) until the box opened and the problems yelled “tah – dah!” then you start the math from there.
    Here I am, a woman with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Service’s and a Minor in Psychology having to go to therapy and group sessions for my own discovered Bipolar/Manic/Depressive/Suicidal/Severe Depression in my late 30’s after a botched suicide attempt! I know all about these types of mental issues; I have the qualifications to be a Therapist but I’m not – professionally. Here I am, under the care of a Team and working to heal from a horrific childhood and horrible marriage. I use my skills to supplement what I am learning with cards all over the house full of support statements, spells and “prayers”, art work, and a folder with articles from Beyond Blue that are relevant to my situation that I can read over and over. I can’t believe that I haven’t seen actual Simple Suggestions to create said cards and books… I’ve seen complicated articles, but us with brains that don’t work right need easy instructions! And I share what I’ve learned with others, like I’m sharing with you.
    Your childhood will always be part of you. Your child self is always part of your Entire Person and will often rise up to be heard, so be ready for child you and listen when s/he speaks. It is always important, and love is an important part of the healing process, no matter how horrible the speech is. Love your child, everyday. Always. And in that love, god or no god, healing will come.

  • Teresa

    I forgive every time, and go back for more, get hurt again instead of being loved or cared for each time, this have been a lifelong problem. This time I have forgiven, but I have not gone back yet.

  • Leeannn Danzig

    Thank you all of you a well as Beyond Blue. I as well think just when I have got through my childhood baggage it comes back and bites me in the a–. I give it up to the Lord all the time and it seems to come back to me. This is where I agree to a point with the shrink that we need to love that child and that child will always be part of us and it is who we are and maybe once I love that child for who that child was and went through and accept her then maybe I can move on and that is the lesson I believe the Lord has been trying to tell me all my life to love me and my inner child and accept what happened and forgive and then only then can I truely love those who love me and let go of all those insecurites and more important find that strong person inside of me.
    God Bless all of you and thank you to bringing to all of us the fact of the child within all of us that will always be there and will never leave our lives b/c it is who we are.
    Leeann

  • Your Name

    I am grateful God the special message. All of my childhood baggage for years has been all around on me. As child, i rejected by own mother & brought up by strangers. i was phisical, sexual abused name it all. With this message, i feel like God is asking me to give it all to Him & forgive my self as most of time i keep bleming self for all childhood baggage. Now i need to let go and let God see me through. Thank you all 1 Gods blessings.

  • Alison

    A lovely post, as always. Letting go of childhood baggage doesn’t just help us, either, it helps everyone around us.
    Childhood baggage plays a big role in my family – I regularly am faced with the aftermath of childhood events that happened 20 years before I was born – I am in my 30s, and things that happened fifty years ago have created such vast desperation and unsatisfiable need for reassurance and approval that being in the presence of some of my family members is exhausting. And that includes family members who, like me, were born after it all started. And I imagine the baggage stretches further back, generations back.
    So things that happened 80 or 100 years ago are still wreaking havoc. It’s heartbreaking, but each of us can only heal ourselves.
    Still, as someone who doesn’t regularly respond to emails very quickly, I promise you, Therese and readers, that things like that probably have nothing to do with you, and I say that with love. When so many days are a struggle to accomplish everyday things – and that’s even when my depression is in remission – I have learned to place house and home and body and immediate family first because if I don’t, I get sick, both physically and emotionally.
    Some days, the world outside, including my beloved friends and extended family, have to come second, simply to keep me sane, to keep me from losing it completely. I have come too close to having no more me to answer emails. But I love my friends dearly, and I trust them to remember that and hold it in their hearts. It isn’t a reflection of my feelings about them, but a reflection of me and how each day and I get along.

  • Your Name

    I’ve read all of the comments and have been intrigued by all of them. Everyone’s view point makes absolute sense. Who we are as a child sets the foundation of our adult lives. If that foundation is not strong, then the rest of us will crumble initially when we experience adulthood. If we don’t take care of one part of ourselves the others become unbalanced and dysfunctional. That’s like putting clean clothes on a dirty body. You may look nice on the outside (for the most part) but feel disgusting on the inside. And eventually that dirt will begin to seep through and everyone around you will be affected by it. We have to tend to every part of us no matter how unbearable it may seem because only then can we be our true selves.
    Be Peaceful….

  • Tiffany

    I completely relate to this!

  • Dianne

    Wow, Therese, you hit the nail on the head today! I am forever dealing with childhood issues, but there are two things I do that help.
    1. Let myself feel, go through those thoughts of being not important or unloved.
    2. Then I tell myself to stop. It is MY problem, and I try to see another side of the story…maybe the person is truly busy, or maybe they have family and friends that demand a lot more of their time. That doesn’t mean I am not important. Those to whom I am important do call when they can, or write, and we all have issues to deal with.
    Sometimes this is enough to get me through the day, and sometimes it is not, then I just have a good cleansing cry, then reach out to make more friends. Our support system is vitally important to our mental health and we cannot have enough friends, although I am one of those with very few, and also one of those who find maintaining them difficult as well, my friends do know I try my best, so I try to keep myself positive with the knowledge that they try theirs too. Thank you so much for this post, it makes me realize that not only am I not alone and many of us struggle, but there is strength in numbers and we are all here to support one another. Bless you, and have a wonderful day!

  • Letha

    I so needed to read this article. All my life, especially my adult life, I have lived with the emotional baggage left over from an abusive mother. She was abusive mentally, physically, and emotionally, and she has continued that abuse even from the grave. I had not realized it, but my husband said that every day I mention something my mother said or did that was negative. Even though I am 48, married, have 7 childred, 2 grandchildren, graduated with three degrees, I still carry that inferiority complex that my mother instilled in me all those years ago. This article helped me see clearly what I was “allowing” and why. I made a vow to myself to improve, and let go of this heavy load I have carried for so long before it completely ruined what is left of my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • Your Name

    Great post; thank you.
    We all seem to carry much baggage for our childhood. In my family shame was a big issue; just because we were not perfect.(Who is?)
    Even I´m my adulthood, when I get depressed, shame appears in the arena but that also has made me more compasionated and try to allow my self and others,to be who they are, in spite myself and others are not perfect.
    That prayer sounds wonderful! I´ll pray it.
    God might do a better job than the one I have done.
    Thank you again.

  • Your Name

    Truly.God’s word is alive,”there is always time for everything,time for every purpose under heaven”.When it’s time to make a stand,one shall by all means stand up because the strenght comes from Him.

  • http://www.entwomen.com Sydney

    Thank you so much for this article; it really has meaning for me.

  • Your Name

    HOW VERY TRUE THIS ARTICLE IS & IT REALLY HIT HOME. EVEN THOUGH I AM A SUCCUESSFUL NURSE & CAN ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT I AM INTELLIGENT & CAPABLE, I STILL LONG FOR MY MOTHER TO SAY “I’M PROUD OF YOU.” NOT ONCE IN MY CHILDHOOD OR EVEN AS A ADULT HAVE I HEARD THOSE WORDS. IT WAS ALWAYS, “YOU COULD HAVE DONE BETTER.” I STILL STRUGGLE WITH INFERIORITY ISSUES AND CARRY THE BAGGAGE OF PHYSICAL & MENTAL ABUSE WITH ME. I TOO SPEND DAYS CRYING BECAUSE I SUDDENLY RECALL AN INCIDENT OF ABUSE OR BECAUSE I NO LONGER HAVE THE OPTION OF SAYING TO MY ABUSER, “I WAS HURT BY WHAT YOU DID. ALL I EVER WANTED WAS FOR YOU TO SAY YOU LOVED ME & WERE PROUD OF ME.” I WILL NEVER HEAR THAT SINCE SHE HAS DIED, BUT I HOPE SOME DAY TO BE ABLE TO CUT THESE MEMORIES LOOSE & REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES. THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THIS ISSUE TO THE FOREFRONT.

  • Edyie

    Wow, what a strong message. Sorry but I just read the article. It brought to light why in my friendships I have always taken personally things I should not have. Instead of fixing them, I’ve decided to only have one friend. Not good, since I used to have many. All my life I guess I’ve never felt deserving of someones friendship therefore I tend to destroy them all. I also have felt in the past when I wasn’t included in something I felt I should have been I treated that friend badly. So much in my childhood has caused me to feel worthless even though I have married and raised three children. And worked doing it all. I’ve never felt the kind of unconditional love that I desire. At age 60, don’t think I ever will but I will give all this over to God and pray for his love and guidence.

  • Tiffany

    I am in a place in my life that I am making important changes for myself and my children and this article hit very close to home. I love the prayer at the end and thank you for it.

  • Paul

    A conversation about your day with your Dad, “something that never happened while he was alive …” I think that was what moved so many men to tears in the movie “Field of Dreams.” So many of us share this pain.
    But I am puzzled by your closing choice of “giving it to Jesus.” Why not have a conversation with your loving Lord. What you describe sounds to me like saying a magic word and all will be better.
    But as popular and often heard as it seems to be, I am very skeptical as to how effective or useful “giving it to Jesus” really is. What about listening to what Jesus might be telling you?

  • Lucy

    Dear Beyond Blue,
    Thank you for this article and for providing a place to come and be encouraged by you and others with the same struggles. I hope that you are encouraged to know that you are helping us.
    Bless you.

  • tmomof6

    Wow. Your Name could be my sister. We were both abused, mother is dead now. & there is all this random pain. I cant stand the smell of dish soap because it triggers evil nostalgia. LOL, My inner child is an underfed, stringy brown haired girl, with blacked eyes & a crusty nose & perminantly chapped lips & a coldsore that never seemed to go away. i did confront my mom once & she acted like I made it all up. Now she’s dead & there is no closer, how do I fix this?

  • Julianne

    Bethea:
    I read your articles all of the time and feel you should explore this subject more….why???? Because anyone from abuse lives in a total separate world from the “normal” world but there are so many….I like to say…the little girl behind the closet door..I had an upsetting episode in my life…which took me back to the “hurt little girl.” I realized that I have great words to say on getting past everything ,makes sense…but when this rejection of someone I loved appeared…I was totally helpless…the little girl…and I was negative..I have the art of wisdom and humor…..and I covered very well…but this soulmate rejection brought this ugly monster out once again….I have truly been dealing with…Do I hear myself talk?….My children are very successful in life…..and one of my daughter’s said…”you never look at your accomplishments”…I did for the first time..imagine….all the years I pondered (negative) and what really is important is the moment to see, feel and live…Always a subject that one who has been abused never sees first……Julianne

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