by AJ cross posted from her blog I am Phoenix
I’ve been experiencing some shifts lately, and my eyes keep opening up to new breakthroughs. Some with my subconscious. It’s completely exciting for me. Somewhat painful. I feel like things are ripping on the inside of me. In a good way. I feel somewhat more balanced now than I used to be. I’m getting used to the constant changes in my perspectives. I feel like I accept things more.
I haven’t yet written down in my journal or this blog a huge shift that occurred four months ago while I was working with a deeply compassionate and insightful medical intuitive named Brett. We were working through some trauma that occurred, and he was helping me release the trauma, as well as identify toxic emotions and beliefs. He also helped me set the stage for healthy beliefs to come flooding in.
He also helped me zero in on the exact psychological and emotional reasons I got sick. Stuff that was hidden to me… I had no clue these issues existed. But before I get to that part, however, I have to underline that a genetic disposition and other long time physical stresses were running along side these psychological and emotional stresses, each helping to culminate in adrenal burnout.
So there is a genetic tendency toward adrenal burnout in my family. My mom and older sister are currently in less severe stages than I am. Before I was born, my mom had three children in a row, spacing them less than a year apart. By the time she had me, her hormones hadn’t had a chance to rest and reset. Also, she was being abused by my father when pregnant with me. She was copper toxic and passed the heavy metals down to me. I was a space cadet even as an infant and child, always dreamy and thinking artsy, magical thoughts. My mom said that the first day of my life as an infant, I had complete control of my hands and arms. She said that I put both hands together, lining up each finger perfectly, and then twisted them. Took my fingers apart, then lined them up again just so. My mom was convinced I was either a genius or was autistic. I’m neither. I was just fascinated by my hands, I guess.
When my counselor Brett started working with me, he told me some fairly blunt things about myself. It’s almost like he had me swallow a truth serum, and he could read my mind or subconscious. I feel like I’m performing open heart surgery with a clumsy shovel and spade in my attempts to try to relate how Brett knew these things about me. I feel as though I don’t have the exact words at my disposal to describe what happened. Regardless, it was like scales fell off my eyes. I didn’t know this before, but in my subconscious, I believed for almost three decades that I deserved to be sick and mistreated because on some level, I thought I was worthless. Who believes something like that, right? I didn’t even know I believed that. I could barely fathom I could entertain such thoughts. But there it was buried deep and somehow hardwired in my subconscious. I believed I was unlovable, a looser, and that I didn’t deserve a good career, health, or loving relationships. In the deepest part of my mind, I was sabotaging myself without even knowing it. I believed this because I had been abused, and didn’t come to grips with it in a healthy way. Because of what happened to me, I assumed that there was something intrinsically horrible and wrong with me, otherwise I wouldn’t have attracted that kind of treatment. I assumed that if I was a lovable girl, I wouldn’t have been abused.
I would have never admitted out loud or even in my own mind that I thought I was worthless. But it was the driving thought in my subconscious pushing me and molding my decisions year after year. I often fell into what could have tuned into abusive relationships. Fortunately, I was smart enough to break up with guys before they could do much harm to me. Also, my sister Thalia and I early on saw what my father did to my mother. We reasoned that if my mom had a college education and good job, she wouldn’t have been trapped as tightly as she was, and she could have escaped. So we decided that in order to escape the fate of our mother, we would need to have a good education, solid career, and our own apartment. That way, if a man started going foul, we could easily break away from him and be completely strong and independent on our own.
So even though I tended to attract abusive men, I was able to detach from them fairly easily, and did so on a regular basis. Every two years or so, I’d move on to a new guy. But outside of the realm of relationships, I was attracting to myself negative, toxic, and unhealthy life situations. I earned my degree in Elementary Education, had an excellent student teaching experience, and had a job offer from a good school district. I was instantly afraid. Why would an excellent school district be interested in me? The thought turned my head upside down and didn’t jive with my beliefs about myself, so in my subconscious mind, I distorted the reality of what just happened. I told myself I would never get hired, they had become interested in me by accident, and it was best to ignore their phone call and pretend like it never happened. So I did. A week or two later, the school called again and my mom answered and said I would get back to them. I never did. I got upset every time she mentioned the call and eventually my mom stopped reminding me. I then pursued a job in a school in inner city Baltimore, Maryland, in the heart of the ghetto, an hour away from my home town. I got the job but only lasted three months. It was a nightmare. There weren’t enough desks, chairs or books. Children ran in and out of the room at will. Some went across the street to get snacks and never came back in the class. I was never able to take attendance because they wouldn’t sit still for me to count them, and they wouldn’t all tell me their names. It was chaos. They were fighting with each other, like rabid angry wolves. Kids were throwing desks at me, crying in rage and anger, or snarling at me and stepping on my feet on purpose. I couldn’t teach because I was breaking up one fight after another. My stress level was over the top and my mind would start going numb, like I couldn’t even think straight. And yet, I felt I deserved this.<
Years later, I tried again in another school in another rough neighborhood, this time in Spanish Harlem, NYC. It was just as bad there, but this time I told myself I must make it work. And I did. I thrived in that war zone, and was constantly in fight or flight. After a while, the principals saw what a trooper I was, and saw how quiet and well behaved the children were in my class. They were well behaved because of my blood, sweat and tears, not because they were just a naturally good class. Soon the administration promoted me to lead teacher, started sending teachers to train under me, and had me leading seminars to break in new teachers. Teachers who stuck around and did a good job were rewarded and given easier classes year after year. It was only the first year teachers who were given the toughest classes to cut their teeth on, sort of like a sink or swim kind of situation. The teachers who passed the test and stayed on the ship were given better classes if they made it through the first year. Very few dedicated teachers wanted to apply at the school, and turnover was heavy each year. The administration didn’t want any experienced teacher to leave, so once you became an experienced teacher, you were spared the onslaught of children with behavioral issues. So I was at the point where I was being sent calmer students, with only one or two challenging cases per year. Things were looking good. Until word got around that I had a knack for soothing troubled children. Soon the administration started sending me slews of the toughest kids, the ones that were making the other teachers quit by the droves. I was in a war zone again in my own classroom. I didn’t even think to question this, and I didn’t think once about leaving the school for another. I didn’t believe in myself or my personal worth, and I had no boundaries, so I just smiled and toughed it out. I felt this was what my life was supposed to be like.
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AJ was raised in a spiritually abusive cult based on the teachings of ATI’s Bill Gothard. She has five siblings. After enough time AJ developed Chronic Fatigue, Adrenal Burnout and PTSD from the stress of her childhood. Her parents refused to help her in her ongoing health battle. She is married to a man that has recently emerged from spiritually abusive religion and together they are healing and moving towards daily joy! She blogs at I Am Phoenix
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce