Saturday, March 19, 2016. I am now old enough, having lived almost to my 65th birthday, to talk about things in terms of “many years ago,” and be accurate! (This includes my not only surviving my own childhood, but also having survived these past nine years past advanced, aggressive breast cancer.)
So I can say it was three decades ago that I participated myself through a version of what I today embellish past the original “one part” into my “three parts” (maybe even four parts) process I describe today.
Because I am a craft person, and because I so enjoy creating things in 3-dimensions, and because I like to handle supplies, materials and objects, this little suggestion involves a supply list!
Any version of this will do – so experiment! However, I suggest:
3 old fashioned recipe boxes (large or small)
LOTS of old fashioned index cards to fit into your boxes
Pens, markers, pencils, crayons – whatever!
There are all kinds of ways you can label and/or decorate your boxes. Paint on them, decoupage them, tape and glue things onto them, mark on them, label and name them – or not.
NOW, the important part! Into #1 box will go all the “negative” harsh, painful, etc. statements that appear in your mind. Start with the first one that appears once you are ready to begin this venture. Number that card somewhere with (1), and off you go as you continue to write each one down on a card, number it in order, and stick it in its “old stuff” box.
Now – the trick here – is that once one of these wicked thoughts (all having come from some abuse in your earlier life) comes into mind you do NOT write it down when it comes back again. Soon you will know when it shows up that a thought has its own card already. You can choose, then, what you want to do with these repeats, these reruns. Take its original card out and spend a little time noting this resurrection if this is helpful. Make some kind of note, date or something, that keeps track of when it appears again – whatever you want – whatever seems natural and useful to you.
NOW – in a 2nd box write down on a card super positive thoughts when THEY appear in your mind, going through the same process as just mentioned for repeats of these thoughts, as well. These are encouragements, positive affirmations that fit for you, things people say to you on a given day, etc.
You can even title these card boxes and their collections like “SUPER POOPER” and “SUPER DUPER,” – whatever seems to work for you!
Box #3? Ah Ha! Completely NEW STUFF! Into this box you begin to number cards (I would suggest dating all cards in all boxes) that express thoughts that make you happy NOW and might even seem brand new – thoughts that are connected to what you want to DO next – however close or far away that period of NEXT might be. These cards are from your creative, continually growing and evolving own inner soul self!
These cards are NOT about gaining material things UNLESS such a thing be connected to a self-desire that has an activity-of-new-life component. Want to dance? What to sing, make music, join a band? Want to take or teach a cooking class, improve your kitchen? Your garden? Want to hike or travel or swim or skydive? Want to write, perform, run for office? Be an ice cream vendor?
Who cares WHAT you write on any of these cards? YOU DO!!
Truthfully, I only imagine boxes 2 and 3 – because I only so long ago availed myself of box 1 – and it was FANTASTIC!!! While before I had felt that if I were to make an ongoing list of negative (horribly so) things that had been said to and about me in during the 18 years of my so-abusive childhood the list would be unending – like the porridge from escaping the magic pot in the fairy tale whose overflowing sticky muck swallowed up people, homes, villages and entire country sides – and COULD NOT BE STOPPED!
Not so. It actually did not take very long before every single repeating hopeless (awful statement about me from my mother), thought (and feeling) had been recorded. Every horrible condemnation. All those mental repeating ugly statements (including feelings attached to them and generated by them) had been recorded!
Tidily. Respectfully. There they all were in their little box – with all repetitions noted as they seemed to matter to me – until after only a few short months they whole process became simply BORING!! I clearly now KNEW what was in that #1 box, kept there safely I will admit for a few more years until one day I simply burned the cards and reused the box to keep record of art techniques that interested me.
Only vaguely have those discarded statements ever returned specifically to my mind, so thoroughly did I work this process out at the time – way back then. I KNOW the process I went through to fight back against them, and THAT process was so empowering that what was on those cards matters less to me than the flies I have swatted and killed over the years of my adulthood. What was Mother’s I have given to her. What is mine – I honor and cherish in the very best ways I know how to. I no longer live by that mad litany.
Some people might call box #2 “A Mommy Box” as they end up putting in there cards that document, each on their own card, statements mothers (and fathers if we call this “A Parent Box” – or if you have a missing father, or a crummy father – another “Father Box”) – so that these missing elements can be tracked, accumulated, reckoned with, healed – whatever needs to be done to incorporate positive elements and components that feed and sustain instead of hurt and erode.
An expanded version of this process can include the creation of a separate notebook, a larger file, and/or a scrapbook that will hold awards, newspaper clippings, great representations of anything you feel represents the greatness of YOU and of accomplishments you find happiness-making!!
Part of what I like about these kinds of processes is that they “materialize” things that matter – in a manner that recognizes these aspects of life. What might seem on the negative side to be unending and overwhelming and hopeless – is not!!!
So does some version of this seem fun or useful? Give it a whirl!
Here is our first book out in ebook format. Click here to view or purchase–
It lists for $2.99 and can be read by Amazon Prime customers without charge. A daring book – for daring readers – about a really tough subject.
Tags: adult attachment disorders, adult reactive attachment disorder, anxiety disorders,borderline mother, borderline personality disorder, brain development, child abuse,depression,derealization, disorganized disoriented insecure attachment disorder,dissociation,dissociative identity disorder, empathy, infant abuse, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),protective factors, PTSD, resiliency, resiliency factors, risk factors, shame