Shame is my default

One of my earliest memories, if not THE earliest, is of my Dad carrying my mom to the shower and throwing her in.

Looking back at it now, I think he was probably trying to sober her up.

But at the time, it just scared me. I loved my mom so much. I was thoroughly devoted to her. In my 2-3 year old mind, I didn’t understand why my Dad was trying to hurt her.

Being already pre-disposed to shyness and fear, I learned to be afraid of my Dad. He was big and mean and loud.

Don’t get me wrong—I know he loved me. We had lots of great times together. But his relationship with my mom was confusing to young child me. They were supposed to love each other! Why were they always hurting each other?

But I digress.

Today when I am afraid, I know that is my default thinking. From such a young age, I was afraid of everything. I couldn’t even trust my own parents who were supposed to give me an atmosphere of love and safety. The whole world was scary.

Our brains want an explanation for everything. It wants to place blame so that it can then solve the problem. For many people, they so desperately don’t want to be the one to blame that they blame everyone around them.

But for me, blaming others doesn’t seem to come as naturally and I wondered why. My default was blaming myself.

I think this is why:

I can control myself. I can change myself.

Everyone outside of me was unpredictable bordering on volatile.

So it makes sense to me that even as a young child my brain found refuge in blaming me. It felt more safe. If I could just stay quiet and unnoticeable, they everything would be ok.

But that no longer serves me. In order to serve the people around me I have to be willing to be seen and heard. I can’t blend in.

The interesting thing is that there really is nobody to blame. My brain is to blame. And not even really to blame. My brain is responsible. Responsible for keeping me safe as a child and now for keeping me small.

In order to overcome it, I have to be willing to feel the discomfort of feeling vulnerable so that I can do my work in the world.

I felt doubt and fear, and then I journaled and coached myself. This is what it looks like.

Self-doubt and fear of failure are par for the course for any entrepreneur (or any person for that matter!), but these two emotions came up for me big-time today. I called my coach (JillFreestone.com) for an emergency session. She only had 20 minutes, but it was enough to get me some large realizations.

My biggest takeaway was that I have a hard time feeling vulnerable. Also, I am not really letting myself feel my feelings all the way.

Soooo… after I got off the call with her, I sat and just wrote and wrote. SIX pages. And I am not done.

In the interest of letting myself be vulnerable and feeling fear and doing it anyway, here is what I found. This is my stream of consciousness with notes in parentheses:

  • What am I feeling? (Keep in mind, this was after opening up to Jill and feeling lots of feelings.)
    • Inadequate– did I not even know what that felt like? Have I been avoiding this feeling?
    • Fear– something has gone wrong, to fail, to not make any money, to be a burden on my family and my husband
    • Angry– that I have to feel this way to move forward. this is hard.
    • Lonely– nobody cares about me, nobody understands me, nobody respects me, nobody loves me
    • Unloved– my family [of origin] rejects me, my family doesn’t care. I shouldn’t have been born. I should quit now. I was a mistake. I cause pain and suffering. I am a mistake. (Interesting I didn’t identify shame coming up, but maybe I just didn’t notice that in the moment.) (I also made a note here that I haven’t been reading my scriptures or saying my prayers since being on vacation and being out of routine.)
  • Vibrations I am feeling (I had so many feelings that I couldn’t identify just one, so I just listed all the vibrations.)
    • tears
    • tight throat
    • full chest, heart beating faster
    • want to close my eyes
    • runny nose
    • hot cheeks
    • tired back (from sitting 3 hours?)
    • pulling my lips down into a frown
    • emptiness in chest/stomach
  • None of my “success” has come from loving myself, feeling joy. It has all come from trying to prove something. Pushing myself. covering the fear/vulnerability.
  • The urgency has passed. Now I feel like a train wreck. Puffy eyes, red face,
  • I keep seeing that I can’t do anything because it costs money. Ultimately I don’t feel valuable. I am worthless. I should die… except that won’t solve it either. This is the job of the Atonement.
  • I really feel like eating something sweet now. (I haven’t been eating chocolate since Jan. 1, 2019 and no sweet treats since Sunday.) I want to get away from these feelings. Maybe I’m scared to feel? What if I kept feeling? I would be weak. People would have to make up for my slacking. I’m clearly not allowed to feel. How is all this true?
    • I AM INADEQUATE! I can’t get myself back to heaven.
    • I am weak. Only through the Savior am I ever strong.
    • I am unloved. By plenty of people. (Like millions of strangers.)
    • I should be afraid! Of what God thinks and his consequences.
    • I am totally and completely imperfect.
    • —> And all of this is how it’s supposed to be.
    • —> I only fail if I stop trying.
  • Truly what if I am not enough? Then I’ll be rejected. Then what? I’ll be alone and unloved. Then what? <Long pause for reflection.> I am not enough. Nobody is. Now what? I can do anything I want. What do I want? Follow and love Christ. Be his example. Love. Love Christ. Be enough for yourself. What does that look like?
    • Going slow
    • Keeping a clean house
    • Massages and alone time
    • Being affectionate
    • Bearing testimony
    • Listen to piano music
    • Spend money on myself
    • Eat well
    • Organize
    • READ
  • What do I need to believe about myself in order to love me?
    • I love myself
    • I’m ok the way I am
    • I belong to myself
    • I can love myself no matter what
    • Everybody is equal
    • I have nothing to prove
  • What else do I need to believe? (I was thinking about all the things I love and why.)
    • Life is beautiful.
    • Everything is perfect just the way it is.
    • God is stacking things in my favor.
    • God loves me.
    • I am so much.
    • I have so much.
    • Becoming whole is possible.
    • Heavenly Father has my back.
    • I am 100% valuable and worthy.
    • I like being around myself.
    • I accept myself 100%
    • I like me!
    • I feel safe.
    • I’m one of my favorite people.
    • I am beautiful.
    • I am my self. (i.e. “He is my son”)
    • This is how it was meant to be.
    • I’ve put so much work into myself.
    • I feel good.
    • I know myself.
    • I am doing my best.
    • I am a hard worker.
    • I am smart.
    • I am loyal.
    • I am my kind of person.

***

Ok, that’s where I ended my thought download/self-coaching. I want to keep going and ask myself “Who do I want to be?” That came up in my coaching with Jill. My knee-jerk reaction is “I don’t know.” So she challenged me to decide and try it out and then make adjustments.

I thought all sorts of things as I typed all this up. Things like, This is too vulnerable. People will think I am crazy. People will feel sorry for me. People will be concerned for me. People won’t like me. They will see how broken I am. This is unprofessional. My legs are bouncing like crazy, which is one thing that happens when I am really nervous.

And I just wanted to tell you that 3 things really made an impact after this exercise. 1. Recognizing I am not enough. I have been fighting this so hard for my whole life. Realizing that I don’t have to fight it and I can still live my life was powerful. I don’t have to prove my enoughness, because it’s false. I can just let it be and let the Atonement of Jesus Christ take over for me.
2. When I wrote down I belong to myself I think I actually heard my brain click. It was like I’ve been trying to belong to everybody else for so long, not realizing the only one I really need to belong to is me. I think I remember reading something from Brené Brown about Maya Angelou in this vein. I’ll have to go back and find it.
3. When I wrote down I am so much I was like, “Wow.” It’s true. Each of us is so complex. It felt good. As if I’ve been trying to prove “enough” but really I should have been looking for “so much.”

I think that’s it for now. I am suuuuuper tempted to not post this and to just keep it a draft, but I think it would defeat the purpose.

I am ready to feel all the emotions.

How to get your husband to stop asking for sex– it’s easier than you think!

How do you get your husband to stop asking, nagging, initiating or pouting about sex?

The easiest way?

Have sex.

So what comes up for you when I say that? Why aren’t you doing that already?

Time?

Energy?

Maybe he doesn’t deserve it? (This came up for one of my clients today.)

Is your reason that you don’t feel connected to him, so you don’t feel like having sex?

Do you think he will ask even more and then you will have to have sex even more and it will be a never-ending cycle that you can’t get out of??

Photo by DAVIDCOHEN on Unsplash

Let’s take these one by one.

Time. How long does it really take to have sex? Let’s face it, this is just an excuse. Time isn’t a REAL issue for most of us. See my last post for more evidence!

And if time is a real issue for you, then it’s just a matter of prioritizing your time. What is most important, second most, etc?

Energy. I’m feeling the tough love tonight– If you spent less energy thinking and fuming about sex, you would have more for sex. The underlying belief here is that sex TAKES energy. But what if you are wrong? What if it actually gives you energy? Why would you keep yourself from that?

There are activities that drain us and activities that energize us. It all depends on your thoughts about the activity. So if you can get to a place where you love sex… just sayin’…. it might be energizing!

But really. What if your husband isn’t taking from you but giving to you? What if you are looking at it all wrong?

He doesn’t deserve it. If you are thinking this, there is a good chance you are in a parent-child dynamic with your husband. And who the heck wants to have sex with their kid? Umm, not me. This feels like a responsibility, a heaviness. Your brain is gonna want to get far away from that. What if pleasure is not something we deserve or earn with good behavior? What if pleasure is just something we naturally seek and then it’s just about what we want or don’t want– the type of pleasure we are up for? The scriptures say that Men are that they might have joy. We are created for joy, and that often comes from pleasure.

So again, what if you are looking at it all wrong? He doesn’t deserve it or not deserve it. And neither do you! This is just about pleasure, connection and desire. What do you want? (And do you see that when you withhold sex from him, you are also withholding sex/pleasure from you? Even if you don’t enjoy sex yet… the promise of future pleasure with practice is being delayed for yourself.)

Connection. Yes. Connection leads to intimacy. But intimacy also leads to connection. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. Either you have to have connection first. Or you have to have sex first. Depends on your desire type (responsive vs. spontaneous) as to which way you will prefer.

Also: connection is a feeling. Feelings come from our thoughts. You can create connection by thinking loving thoughts about your husband. Try focusing on what you love about him. What do you appreciate? What would you miss if he were gone? Boom. Connection.

Here’s the thing. It’s so much easier to give the power of our emotions away to other people. Then we don’t have to work at it. But it’s much more satisfying to do the work ourselves and create the feelings we want on purpose. It’s not easy, but it is powerful. I promise it will help you feel more connected to yourself and therefore more connected to your husband.

The never-ending cycle. OK, so right now you are just having sex the bare minimum in order to shut him up about it already. Your heart probably isn’t really in it; it’s just a physical act for you. This is like eating bread every meal. It’s not filling. What if you had sex more often but you still aren’t that into it? Like having more bread meals. What if you have sex and you decide to be all in? After all, if you are going to do it, you might as well do it right! This is like meat and potatoes meals. You might be surprised, but your husband likely doesn’t want sex just for the sexual release. It means something to him too. He wants you to be into it! He wants to be filled up. He wants to feel loved and like you mean it. When you can get to that place (and I assure you, you can if you want to), he will likely want sex less often because the “filling meal” will last longer.

Maybe I am wrong and his desire is off the hook. In that case I want you to recognize that you always have a choice. You don’t ever have to have sex, even with your husband. So if you are having sex even if you “don’t really want to,” the alternative is worse than the sex to your brain. What’s the alternative? Only you can answer that.

*Another way you could get him to stop asking for sex is to get divorced. There are always alternatives my friend.

***

Man, I love this work. I love helping women love their sex lives which leads them to love themselves more so they can love everyone around them more. Come join my coaching program so you can get amazing results in your life. I promise it’ll be worth it.

Choose to trust your partner for better sex and a better life

I recently heard a fellow life coach on a podcast talking about marriage. She said most struggling couples think they need better communication, but what they really need is more safety. (I’m paraphrasing here, go listen to the episode– it’s gold!)

I think this same principle applies to sex. Sometimes we think we just need to figure out what to DO, or how to tell our husbands what we need. Really we just need to trust ourselves and our husbands.

Trust is a form of safety.

When we think we don’t trust our partner, we feel uncertain or even fear. When we feel uncertain or fear, we act needy. We question them, we ruminate on what could go wrong, or even avoid them. (I mean, who wants to have sex when they are scared?) And when we act in these ways, the impact on ourselves is that we continue to feel uncertain and fearful. It’s a never-ending cycle that all starts with the thought.

On the other hand, when we choose to trust our partner, we feel safe. When we feel safe, we act in a relaxed way. We don’t even think about what could go wrong. We are focused on loving our partner and ourselves. And this reinforces our trust of both our husband and ourselves.

Here’s the other thing: sometimes we don’t trust– without cause. Would you rather be stuck in fear all the time until something happens that gives you good cause to fear? Or would you rather just be afraid when you really need to? Distrust holds us back from living a full life in the meantime.

Of course there are scary things that happen sometimes, but being afraid ahead of time doesn’t help. It might feel like it helps, but it never does. Fear keeps us in hiding. In order to prepare for the Scary Event, we need to stop hiding and, well, prepare!

If you find yourself in a position where you want to distrust your spouse, you can choose to trust them. The past is in the past. You can trust them going forward by thinking trusting thoughts.

***

I am enrolling now for my Summer coaching program! Email me to set up a totally free consultation call. I promise it will be worth your time, even if you don’t enroll in the program. Do something for yourself this summer! denitabremercoaching@gmail.com