My mother is very sick, and no one quite knows what’s wrong. She has flu-like paralytic episodes which leave her weak. Her voice becomes froggy and scratchy. She’s been tested for just about everything, but there has been no firm diagnosis yet.
The sicker she has become the more I have been able to clearly see the depths of my father’s abuse. His nonchalance regarding her medical care is really the tip of the iceberg in an ice-cold sea of psychological and emotional abuse. It has become the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I am the camel.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I could no longer act like everything was fine. That this is just the way he is and I needed to quit being dramatic. At least he’s not physically abusive, right?
So I began to pull back. I started to work on myself. Because I am the only person I can control.
I put boundaries between my parents and me. If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist you know that isn’t easily done. Any boundary you put up they will barge right through with ‘how dare you do this to me’ entitlement.
The more I pulled back, unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the sicker my mother became. From the time I was a very young girl, she needed me to withstand my father’s abuse. I can see now how unfair it is to impose that responsibility on a child.
I ended up having to cut ties with my father completely. I feel like he left me no choice. I was falling apart. Anxious (still am, extremely so) and constantly afraid. What was I so afraid of? As I thought more about this I realized I couldn’t ever remember not being afraid to some degree.
I finally had an epiphany. A slow epiphany of sorts because it took me all of these years to get to this point. Here I was in my late 30’s, and I still worried about making my parents, especially my father, mad. Walking on eggshells. Trying to do what I could, only to be told it wasn’t good enough. That epiphany helped me realize something.
He can not hurt me if I do not allow him to hurt me.
So what if I make my dad mad? His opinions, actions, moods, and abuse do not have to dictate how I feel. In fact, they can have no bearing on me whatsoever, if I don’t allow them the power.
Though it was extremely hard, I put a shield up against him and his attacks. I blocked him on Facebook. I blocked his number on my phone. I no longer let him in my house. Not that he tried to contact me often. Most of the contact was usually done though my brother or my mother. My brother texted me often to tell me how bad of a daughter I was.
I imagine cutting off contact with him probably made him treat my mother worse. I’m sure he took his anger out on her. I feel tremendous guilt over this. I should be able to protect her. But it is not my duty.
Because I am not the one abusing her.
Though they would have me believe the opposite, I am not the one at fault, and I cannot be held responsible for fixing an non-fixable situation. I have no control over how my mother chooses to live her life. I have no control over how my father treats her. I can’t force her to leave him. Just as I can’t make my father see how abusive he is. I can only protect myself. If I did allow contact then that would, in a way, condone his behavior as I would be forced to I sit idly by and watch it happen. Not to mention he would think it’s okay to be abusive towards me again.
Going from doctor to doctor my mother ended up at the Cleveland Clinic. After going over her records and doing some tests, the doctor asked how her childhood was. It was probably no surprise to the doctor that her childhood was pretty rough. Of course, he wasn’t going to ask how her marriage was with my father sitting right there, though I suspect the doctor knew. He knew how years of abuse can affect the human body.
As it happens far too often, my mother went from an abusive childhood straight into an abusive marriage. She was barely 18 when she married my father. She’s now 65.
She doesn’t think that her illness is psychosomatic. And, who knows, it might not be, but she doesn’t think her emotional health has any bearing on her physical health.
Yet, it does. The body carries trauma. We find ways to cope, to excuse away the abuse. The brain may allow us to forget, tucking it safely away in the hippo campus, but our bodies don’t forget.
I imagine if you add up 65 years of abuse it can do a real number on your nervous system. The weakness she keeps having, the body aches, the scratchy voice; it all tells a story.
Her body is screaming loudly what her voice can’t actually say.
I still maintain a relationship with her, though it is quite different than it used to be. I am no longer the codependent daughter she was accustomed to having.
Letting go and coming to terms with the reality of my family dynamic has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Knowing I can’t change my father, that I can’t make him see the error of his ways and accepting that I can’t fix or save my mother has been simultaneously heartbreaking and freeing.
Ultimately I had to step away from their dysfunction and relinquish their power over me so that I can heal.
Never Doubt Your Instincts
Enter the doorway into the mind of this incredible Survivor Voice
Jenni Z aka artgirlcreations, is an artist and art journal creator who, through her multi-layered collage work and raw writing, explores ways to cope with her anxiety disorder, as well as the trauma she suffered as a child. Language, art and color lead the way through the muck of her past, as well as bridge the gap to a more mentally healthy future.
Was it really? The absolute worst day you’ve ever experienced in your whole entire life? No day has ever been worse than this one?
“I have the WORST headache!”
The worst? So bad it’s not preventing you from staring at
your glaring phone screen and lamenting about it online instead of treating
your headache and resting your eyes?
“Life is NEVER going to get better!”
Never ever? For the rest of your life you have seen all of
your future days ahead and have resolved to yourself that life will never
“I just CAN’T take another day!”
But you’re here the next day, still saying you won’t be able to take the next day either… or the next… or the next. So really, you actually can take another day.
“My life is OVER!”
Is it? Over? You’re dying because your mate left you or you lost that job or you’re having a high anxiety or pain day? That’s it? Life just ends? You see no possible solution available? Not even the ones being offered to you that you’re finding reasons not to try?
This may not be a popular post. I might piss some folks off. That’s okay. I get to speak on this subject. Why? I have been on this journey. I’m talking to you from experience. I’m speaking from days, weeks, months and years of crawling through the muck of my catastrophic victimhood into some harsh realizations that changed my life for the better.
Catastrophizing our language is extremely damaging to our mental health. The above statements were often heard leaving my lips as I was writing “Cult Child“. The process was brutal. There were times I really believed I might die from grief.
Yet, here I am. I didn’t die. How might I have made my healing process slightly softer had I known what I am about to share with you?
In order to understand the biology of how our language affects our lives, we should take a brief look at the scientific connection between linguists and neuroscience.
“This effect of framing or filtering is the main effect
we can expect—regarding language—from perception and thought. Languages do not
limit our ability to perceive the world or to think about the world, but they
focus our perception, attention, and thought on specific aspects of the world.
In summary, language functions as a filter of perception, memory, and
attention. Whenever we construct or interpret a linguistic statement, we need
to focus on specific aspects of the situation that the statement describes.
Interestingly, some brain imaging facilities are now allowing us to examine
these effects from a neurobiological perspective. For example, in one study,
authors prove that language affects the categorical perception of color—and
that this effect is stronger in the right visual field than in the left visual
field. Discrimination of colors encoded by different words also provokes
stronger and faster responses in the left hemisphere language regions than
discrimination of colors encoded by the same word. The authors conclude that
the left posterior temporoparietal language region may serve as a top-down
control source that modulates the activation of the visual cortex.
This is a nice example of current biolinguistics research
(in a broader sense) helping to achieve a better and more balanced
understanding of classic questions in linguistics—like the relationship between
language and thought.”
Are you thinking, “What the hell did I just read?” Alright, let me break it down simply. When you read your favorite author, as they describe a room in detail, can you see that room in your head? If you nodded yes, they have done their job.
They’ve used language to create an image in your mind.
We see this in our mental activity when we create scenarios which have not happened yet, for instance. Have you ever thought of the worst that could happen in a situation, finding yourself falling down a visual rabbit hole where you actually see it happening in your mind? You’ve just created your own visuals with your thoughts. That thumping heart you feel? You’ve just manipulated your own emotional state as you created that mental visual.
We can take this a step further by looking at great speakers and story tellers. They use their skill of language to create a picture in your mind.
Here, David JP Phillips rolls out an excellent TEDx talk in which he explains how media is used to manipulate your emotions to the point you will spend your money excessively or search endlessly for a love which has been unrealistically described to you.
All of the above are examples of how language influences your thoughts, your own words, your behavior, your buying and voting patterns and the simple ways in which you think and see situations and the community around you. More importantly, it influences how you view yourself.
This brings me back to being inside of our own minds, our thoughts and being aware of how we speak in general. Speaking negatively to a child or AROUND a child blocks them from building healthy self-esteem.
Someone I know had a decent childhood. They had everything they wanted. They weren’t abused or neglected. However, the one thing they did deal with was a mother who consistently spoke bad about herself. Because of this, my associate developed body dysphoria, something they fight every day, a lowered self image simply from being exposed to someone else’s lowered self image.
Alternatively, speaking positive to or around a child helps them develop a good sense of self. So then, imagine what you could do for yourself, if you focused in on changing your language.
I used to joke about myself when I was very overweight. I would hurry up and call myself fat, because that’s what I assumed everyone was thinking anyway. Then, I’d feel horrible and eat to soothe myself. When I changed my lifestyle and took pride in being healthy, I stopped speaking so poorly of myself. I have occasional moments I fight self-deprecating thoughts. The difference is that now, I catch myself. “No. Stop that. You are who you are.”
As children, many of us were left ignored and un-cared for as we suffered with pain in silence. This left an imprint on us, an illusion that we needed to inflate the seriousness of our struggles out of fear of being unnoticed.
If my lumbago is having a flare up, I don’t head to social media to lament about it. In fact, I put social media away, purposely keeping my mind in a very clean state. I go into self-care mode. I rest. I do what needs to be done to soothe the flare up. I don’t allow phone calls. I don’t allow stress. I listen to my body’s needs.
If I am in an off emotional mood, maybe having a day where I feel like I may be easily irritated, for instance, I bring my self-awareness higher. I don’t want to lash out or project those emotions toward anyone else or any slight situation. I try and avoid spaces where controversy might trigger me. Occasionally, I fall prey. I have an alpha tone to begin with. Imagine when I’m irritated. I do what’s right for myself. I sit with the emotions and process them.
What if you chose to look beyond the pain? What would your language look like?
If my hips are aching, I thank my legs for still working. I stretch slowly. I say to myself, “Alright, it’s one of those days.” If my heart is sad, I find gratitude in the fact I get to choose self-soothing. I have the freedom to write it out in my private journal.
I could have died as a tortured child. I survived. I triumphed. I fought my way through the rubble of Sam Fife’s sick, sadistic cult. I refuse to fall prey to their misery. So what worked for me? How did I flip my catastrophic language into uplifting ways of speaking to others, about others and most importantly, to and about myself?
I first designed my journal “Becoming Gratitude” in a notebook I used for myself. The sole purpose of taking that journey was to re-program all of my senses away from catastrophic and negative thinking. It absolutely worked. I decided to share this extremely inexpensive, simple, five-week gratitude course with the world because it worked for me. Consistency with the daily five minute task was absolutely the key for my success. Within as short as a week, I was saying to myself, “Okay, this feels good. I’m onto something here.”
“Becoming Gratitude” even worked for one of my most hard-headed and dearest friends! She left a hilarious and super real review about why she did not think it would work for her, which you can read here.
You can choose to exercise gratitude in your life in many differing arenas. The key word here is choice. Ending catastrophic thinking and speaking and beginning forward-moving, solutions-based thinking and speaking takes active self awareness and work until it becomes natural. Your change will happen quickly.
You’re going to get addicted to feeling good inside.
Choose your words in a way which creates a positive image in your own mind. As I am constantly working on growth in regard to my mental and physical health, I visualize myself where I want to be, how I will be living, my environment and joy. As I continue to speak good about myself, the better I feel and the better I become.
You deserve your good. Speak kindly to yourself. Speak highly about yourself. Accept your abilities. Accept compliments. Embrace the positive parts of yourself. It’s okay. You can be a Thriver and still speak about the wounds you have endured. Healing doesn’t erase what happened to you. It just makes living a lot easier.
The journey into the realm of thriving really does begin with a first step. Choose Gratitude.
Hymns from my childhood occasionally pop into my mind, sometimes replaying over and over, like a broken record. One mental trick I use to make repetitive mind music go away is to try and remember the end of the song. Normally by the time I’ve tried to remember the end of the song, it has disappeared from my mind.
After going through a personal situation a couple of weeks ago which opened up some old wounds, this happened with a song I had not remembered in over 20 years. I tried to use my “end of the song” method, but this song kept playing over and over and would not go away. These specific lyrics were the only ones playing repeatedly.
“This world is not my home. I’m just a passin’ through. If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what shall I do. The angel’s watchin’ me from heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
Suddenly, my mind took a completely different turn. I found myself actually wanting to look at the differing lyrics of the many songs I was taught to sing repetitively as a child.
“What in the hell kind of lyrics are these, really?” I thought. The lyrics suddenly felt vile and suicidal. I had an urge to examine each word for exactly what they are.
I had never broken down gospel lyrics on a deep level like my mind was now doing. I had always blown them off with an eye roll.
In my teenage years, my older sister and I would get through church by adding “under the covers” at the end of the hymn titles and snickering quietly together. We had been taught about back-masking in secular music while growing up in a cult. For example, we were told that “Another One Bites the Dust” held a subliminal message telling us to smoke marijuana, but it could only be heard if the record was spun backwards. Also, they TOLD us what we “should” hear; literally gave us the sentence then asked, “Did you all hear it?” Well, now we do! That’s called suggestion. When suggestion is used on the mind, of course we hear and see what we are told we are supposed to hear and see.
Now that my mind is free from falling prey to suggestive phrases, I recognize them more.
So then, I recognized that something was terribly off with these lyrics going through my head. What were they suggesting? Christianity teaches that suicide is a sin. Here are seven different accounts of suicide in the Bible. Yet, this song is telling me that Earth is not really my home. I’m just passing through here, and that I shouldn’t feel at home in this world.
That was exactly how I felt when I was struggling with suicidal ideation. Now, I was hearing these same phrases in a gospel song as if it was okay to leave this world and even feel joyful about it.
How did this affect me as a child repeatedly singing these lyrics? What did it do to my mind in regard to my thoughts and feelings about death?
Hence, I set off on an exploration to find out how many gospel lyrics hold suicidal suggestions. What a confusing childhood, hearing and singing songs containing subliminal messages about sacrifice and suicide. At the same time, this religion was teaching me that suicide was a sin; a guaranteed ticket to hell.
Now, with clearer eyes, I was seeing the root in the mindset of why many humans might suffer with not wanting to live. How many of us grew up religious and abused and/or neglected based off this type of doctrine? How many of us sang these songs as children, day after day, year after year, sinking them into our subconscious, to live there, even if we felt we had deprogrammed religion but still struggled emotionally?
When I was feeling suicidal years ago, I had a meditative moment while taking a bath one evening. A voice audibly whispered in my head.
“Suicide is simply a program that was implanted into your cellular system by your abusers and the trauma you endured every day.”
I sat straight up in the bathtub. I had never looked at suicide as a mind control thought pattern infused by abuse. After this realization that I had actually been programmed to not want to live, I never struggled with suicidal thoughts again. My love for this life and its amazing possibilities grew inside of me. My refusal to allow my abusers to win created in me a mighty storm.
Shai Linne is a modern day gospel artist who gears his music toward the younger generation, teenagers and young adults. He has a gospel album entitled “13 Letters“. It has a spoken intro:
“Uh, soli Deo gloria, (Glory to God alone) uh. Once again. Thirteen letters! Yeah.”
We will focus on only one part of these lyrics: “Thirteen letters!“
We most often see it represented on the backs of the American dollar bill. There are 13 stars above the head of the eagle.
The Last Supper took place on the 13th day of the month, and the crucifixion occurred on Friday the 13th. The Knight’s Templar, protectors of the Holy Grail, the cup Jesus allegedly drank from at The Last Supper, were all slaughtered, on order from Pope Clement, on, yes, Friday the 13th. Judas was allegedly the 13th person to take his seat at the table during The Last Supper. Matthew says that Judas committed suicide after the crucifixion.
In a non-religious context, the number 13 was recently used in a suicide show entitled “13 Reasons Why“.
“How Great Thou Art” is a popular hymn that has been sung in churches for centuries. Children sing these lyrics.
“And when I think of God, His Son not sparing Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing He bled and died to take away my sin.”
In this song, the mind is subliminally being taught that without sacrifice, the individual is a sinful human being. Repetitively singing lyrics which instruct gratefulness that an invisible being horrifically sacrificed their own son on behalf of the individual, drives the point home. The individual no longer can deduct that this is, for instance, murder, and punishable by law. Instead the individual praises it.
Believing someone was murdered so that they could live, creates a deep wound of guilt in a person if they question or begin to reason the truth behind this. Instead, the repetitive program keeps them believing they have a responsibility to honor the human sacrifice that was the crucifixion of a man named Jesus.
The popular hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, ends with this line:
“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!”
Another popular hymn, Amazing Grace, ends with this lyric:
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’ve first begun.”
The key to these songs is the number 10,000.
The number 10000 is used 45 times in the Bible.
Saint Paul said to Corinthians: “for even though you might have 10000 slaves to look after you in Christ, you still have no more than one father”. (1 Co 4,15)
In this verse, Christian followers are referred to as slaves.
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne . . . : and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. [Revelation 5:11]
Indeed, ten thousand times ten thousand angels, which equals 100 million, symbolizes a great number. To sum up, there are numberless concourses of angels, an innumerable company of angels, and hosts of angels—all of whom are allegedly in the service of a God who requires humans should join this army as well.
Ten thousand guardian angels escorted Mary and Joseph during their trip to Bethlehem, for the birth of the Word, according to the visions of Catholic mystic Mary Agreda.
For the Chinese and the Mongols, the swastika cross (sign of salvation in their ceremonies) means the 10000 truths which concern the mysteries of the Invisible Universe, the Primordial Cosmogony, of the Theogony. It symbolizes the movement, the energy, the forward walking.
Hitler, inverting its orientation, used it as emblem of the Nazism.
“The Tao has fathered one, one has fathered a two, two has fathered three and three has fathered ten thousand“, wrote Lao-Tseu.
The song “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” ends with the following line:
“Soon in glory bright, unclouded, There will be no need for prayer— Rapture, praise, and endless worship Will be our sweet portion there.”
The word that is most important to look at is Rapture. What is the Rapture? According to North American Christianity, the rapture is the transporting of believers to heaven at the Second Coming of Christ. In regard to children, the Rapture is rarely talked about in detail. Children are likely to ask these questions:
When will the rapture happen? We don’t know Is it going to hurt? No, Sweetie! Do we fly into the sky? Yes. We will be taken up into the clouds.
At an extremely suggestible age, under five years old, when the mind is open to absorb deep into the subconscious, children are shown pictures of humans ascending up into open clouds. When these children grow into adults, they have been so programmed that humans will fly this way, that even as adults, they are unable to critically think into the scientific impossibility of this phenomena.
Likewise, they cannot logically break down the fact that the Rapture has been being promised to humans by other humans for thousands of years and has never happened. This is a very deep form of “death” programming when directed at a child, that at any moment of their life, a god could take them, but it will be a wonderful and painless death.
A child often adopts the adult’s “joy” as a way to comply and cope with the ideal, however, they rarely feel excitement at the prospect of death, even if there is some kind of heaven promised afterward. Don’t underestimate children. I knew very well as a child that the rapture concept equaled death for me.
As children we cannot turn the idea of heaven into a tangible visual which we can see. We can only imagine what is suggested to us. This description of pearly gates and golden floors does not enter our minds when we are children pondering the death which comes with rapture ideology.
One of the most popular religious songs children are taught to sing is “Jesus Loves Me“. The last line of this song says:
“Jesus loves me! He will stay Close beside me all the way; Thou hast bled and died for me, I will henceforth live for Thee.”
Again, we see the reference to human sacrifice. The child is being taught that they should live only for a god, because this god did a very special thing for all humans. It instructed its own son to die for them. These lyrics anchor the belief that a very special human bled to death, something a child often sees on television or the internet as a traumatic visual that they understand from a pain and suffering perspective. Children are literal and will see it as such, regardless of the way a parent may try and sugar coat the bloody sacrifice of a super human named Jesus.
Have you heard the song “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down In My Heart?” Let’s look at the last line of this song:
“I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus down in my heart. I’ve got that opposition to conscription down in my heart.”
Conscription is a noun meaning “compulsory enlistment for state service, typically into the armed forces.” This religious song teaches children and adult citizens of our country that they must have opposition to the armed forces. A child is a human who has rights to grow up and freely make this decision. It should be a violation of their human rights to strip their minds of future career choice possibilities.
Children sing this lyric, most likely never being taught the meaning of this word. Evangelical religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses or Sam Fife’s Move of God, for instance, have a history of teaching against joining the military and/or going to war for any other reason except God.
Cult leader, Jim Jones, used a children’s choir in his People’s Temple, to welcome new members.
Another interesting concept religion teaches, whether actively or by way of reading the Bible, is that Christians are descendants of a man named Abraham.
One song that is popular in this concept is “Father Abraham“.
“Father Abraham had many sons Many sons had Father Abraham I am one of them and so are you So let’s all praise the Lord.”
The origins of Father Abraham begins in the history of the Jewish people in Bronze Age times in the Middle East when God promised a nomad leader called Abram that he would be the father of a great people if he did as God told him. Jews regard Abraham (as he was later called) as the first Patriarch of the Jewish people. Abraham appears in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Let your mind absorb that for a moment. These religions of separatism are actually quite linear in their history and belief. Yet, so many of them are killing one another. All three of these religions teach their children they are descendants of the same man. Which one is the real one?
Here, a child is shoved into subconscious confusion and an automation of trying to figure out or come into compliant acceptance that they are here as Christians to fight WITH the Jews because of this lineage or they are to fight AGAINST them and ALWAYS against the Muslims.
Outside of the Bible, there is no “family tree” lineage proof that all humans are descendants of a man named Abraham. If, in fact, all humans descend from Abraham, the dissection through religion would be the largest example of a dysfunctional family on a global scale.
“God is love. O God, a man You became; A cursed man to be, God, You died for me. Lord, You hung from a tree.”
It is fair to deduct, after researching the many lawsuits against secular music due to lyrics, that religious music is not exempt from having self-deprecating lyrics which dissect a mind’s ability to build its own independent self esteem and trauma free thinking. Singing songs about humans being hung from trees is another form of tonal death training.
Finally, I leave you with the platoon-like cadence that children are taught to sing, while being taught body motions to go along with the programming of being a part of an army for a god.
“I’m In the Lord’s Army“
“I may never march in the Infantry, (march) Ride in the cavalry, (pretend you’re riding a horse) Shoot the artillery. (clap hands together) I may never zoom o’er the enemy, (spread arms out and pretend to be a plane) But I’m in the Lord’s Army. (point one finger up to God) I’m in the Lord’s Army, (yes, sir!) (salute) I’m in the Lord’s Army, (yes, sir!) I may never march in the Infantry, Ride in the cavalry, Shoot the artillery. I may never zoom o’er the enemy, But I’m in the Lord’s Army, (yes, sir!)”
A human’s mind is a complex organ. Everything that it absorbs from birth, and through life, forms the way the human will develop. The subconscious mind is constantly running behind the scenes. It is holding everything it has absorbed since the day it entered this dimension. We can look at scientific studies of how music affects the fetus to understand deeper the importance of choosing tones and lyrics carefully, in a way which fosters a subconscious which is soaking in peaceful, calm and self-loving infusing.
In all, stay aware of your mind and what you allow it to be absorb. Guard your children and be selective of what they are exposed to as they grow. Allow them the freedom to explore the world safely, and may you explore this world safely as well.