Getting Good With Solidarity
I haven’t written in weeks…maybe months. A lot has happened over the past few moons…let’s be real - a lot has happened in the past 37 years!
It’s been a special and interesting 365, and there’s a certain kind of magic that’s unfolded since breaking up with my ex almost 1 year ago to the day.
Twelve moons ago I shared a life with who I thought was going to be my forever person. I had a step-daughter, a home in the city’s up-n-coming trendy ‘hood with a backyard, basement and rooms to fill with memories. And of course, my sweetheart of a companion, Xavi, our blue doberman.
I had a family. A plan. A course that I felt was familiar and stable and comforting.
Even though it was completely dysfunctional I was good ignoring that. My roots of childhood abuse and abandonment cloaked me in co-dependant energy that made it so difficult to walk away from what obviously wasn’t working.
My broken and dysfunctional interpersonal skills made me ignore clear red flags and cling to what was familiar. The brain loves patterns and familiar and I would innocently enough run heart-first into unstable, immature and fragile homes made of cards. Healthy or not (it was usually unhealthy).
Relationships that were built on expectations, poor communication, control, constant giving of Self and usually went from “OMG I’ve never felt a love like this” to “My boyfriend is a complete asshole, wtf am I doing?” was a pattern that I could bet money on.
Predictable, yet I didn’t know why.
Fools rush in and I was at the front of the line. Attachment as quick as possible felt like kismet love when in hindsight it was a tight grip on insecurity and a fear that I wouldn’t find someone, wouldn’t be loved and it made me and my counterpart cling onto that vibrational high then commit way too soon.
Like, days in soon.
My mind rationalized like so…
“I’m just one of the lucky ones. Like in the movies! This love is undeniable and it’s romantic!”
Fuck movies like Serendipity and those other fake-ass Rom Com’s that program us subconsciously to look for that undeniable chemistry that will eventually just find us.
Although I do believe undeniable chem is a thing, I think it can be healthy and also unhealthy. Learning which one is standing at your doorstep in a pair of dope Timbs is an art form and it takes slowing right down, asking questions and looking for action vs words. Then patiently noticing which marble jar is being filled (thank you Brene Brown).
I’ve learned that hurt people attract hurt people. It’s familiar. It feels like the right thing because our brains like pattern. No matter how dysfunctional it is our subconscious wants what’s familiar. Familiar, to our limbic system, means we didn’t die. We survived that path so why deviate?
When looking at that pattern head-on it doesn’t make sense BUT we are running on subconscious pattern about 90% of the time.
To break the patterns, the let down, the disappointment, the pain and the story that
“I’m not lovable, not worthy of a life-long partner or real love”
takes breaking down all the walls we’ve built around us to show up for that vulnerable, scared and unprotected child that didn’t have parents or family who modelled healthy relational behaviour.
Healthy relational behaviour might look like:
Expressing negative feelings without raising voices or calling each other names
Speaking to each other with respect when in conflict of any kind
Expressing anger and being willing to sit calmly and talking out
Truthfulness and integrity in their word and commitments/they followed through
Acknowledging difficult times yet finding the opportunity for growth (bad grades, money problems, career problems etc)
Using healthy coping mechanisms like working out, communication, creating art, talking to a therapist etc., vs addictive behaviours to relieve stress like drinking, drugs, fighting and name calling, passive aggressiveness etc., to try to control the situation.
Breaking down the walls we’ve built after experiencing the above situation(s) is deep and is difficult work because by the time we’re 7 years old we’ve already been programmed. Our views of ourselves, the world, people, language, money, opportunity etc. are nestled into our subconscious brain based on the behaviours, language, patterns etc., which our parents and families presented to us as we grew.
Imagine growing up in a family where you were:
Told you you were “too much” all the time.
Told you to be quiet, calm down, or that you were a “bad girl/boy”
Parents who fought, disrespected each other, didn’t show up for each other and didn’t communicate with kindness and love
Siblings who abused us and our parents didn’t take it seriously and protect us
Didn’t have money, spoke of being broke all the time and downloaded fear and scarcity in our mindset
Your parent(s) couldn’t hold down a job, didn’t go for what they dreamed of or displayed poor self-esteem
Or in my particular experience, a mother who was severely mentally ill, didn’t leave her dark room for days, wouldn’t feed me, screamed at people who weren’t there and engaged in horribly violent fights with her alcoholic boyfriend which regularly led to me calling the police, paramedics and cleaning up the broken glass, blood on the floor and soothing my mother as she used me as her therapist rather than protecting me.
I was 12 years old when I finally fled from her.
And … I was deeply programmed by then.
This led to decades of drug and alcohol abuse, co-dependant and unhealthy relationships and mental illness including anxiety and depression as well as periods of being suicidal.
My mind was programmed.
My heart was broken.
My journey of reparenting myself was just beginning.
A huge part of the pain of growing up in an unhealthy environment then learning to reprogram yourself means engaging often in ‘unconscious’ behaviours as an adult that is constantly painful.
“We sit in solidarity and wonder why is life so painful? So hard? Why can’t I find The One? Am I not worthy of such beauty and love?”
I played those scenarios out over and over. Never really understanding my part in the whole mess of it all. Thinking I was just having bad luck and blaming vs taking the reigns and doing what I needed to do to stop playing out the stories my subconscious programming preferred to experience because it was familiar. It taught me on a deep level that that was life. That was normal. That was predictable and safe.
Until this year.
This past year I was forced to get good with solidarity. Twelve months ago my idea of normal fell apart. Even though it was abusive and completely co-dependant I wanted it because it was familiar. None of this was conscious. At the time, I was all-in even though I deserved more. Way more.
The after effects of losing my boyfriend, step daughter, home, car, beautiful dog and what I thought was stability, was messy.
It was manic. I couldn’t control it. I felt like I was spinning down a tunnel with nothing to grab onto. No light, no idea where it was leading and every second was lubricated by anxiety, anger, sleepless nights, defensiveness, gut pain, irregular periods, a relapse with addiction and an eating disorder…the list goes on.
Stress triggers relapse.
Until we learn healthy coping strategies to manage what our scared, neglected, vulnerable and fierce inner child who is wildly acting out. She is only rein-acting what she modelled growing up.
She only knows what was taught to her growing up.
Those lessons are gifts in my opinion. What fun is life if there’s no adversity?
I thank my mother for what she modelled to me growing up. The abuse, the neglect, the dysfunction all gave me opportunities for growth and to be empathetic with my clients and friends and other family members.
And in those lessons, in every trigger lies opportunity to reparent myself.
Reparenting ourselves is where we stop when we recognize a trigger and take a second to filter it.
Questions like the following are examples of self parenting:
What is actually happening here?
What am I making up about this situation?
How do I want to show up in this situation?
Do I need to step away, protect myself, cool off or speak to someone about this?
What is my part in this difficulty?
Am I engaging in co-dependant patterns?
How can I take great care of myself in this situation?
The list goes on…
All of this has come together for me since getting good with solidarity. NOT being in a thing is where I’ve been able to create the space for healing. No crushes, no dating, no boyfriends and, shit, I’ll be honest, getting good with solidarity was hard.
My inner child has used men and relationships to feel safe. There’s been love addiction, sex addiction and co-dependancy at play for decades.
She didn’t want to let go of that familiar yet oh-so-painful pattern of jumping in way too quickly, committing, moving in and playing house with a stranger. Giving my body to someone who wasn’t worthy and still questioning my own worthiness in the dynamic when things started to not feel great.
She kicked and screamed and pulled hair and had a full-on hissy fit. This past year she misbehaved and fought the stronger version of Cassandra who had integrity and insight every step of the way. But ultimately she learned that adult and conscious Cassandra had a plan. A good one. One that she could trust and release control to.
My inner child has been reassured over and over and over this past year that I will not let her down. I will use the tools I’ve been gathering over the years in my studies to calm my compulsions which led to hurting her and I.
The addictions, the skewed perception of the world, men, relationships, money, my worth etc., all are being put on pause while my conscious self takes the wheel.
This is incredibly scary work for the brain. We’re constantly battling our reptilian, primitive, limbic system which is designed to engage in pattern - whatever that looks like - and assessing EVERYTHING for danger.
It takes a TON of brain power to create new neural pathways, new belief systems and new behaviours.
But the cool this is …
“We Are Capable Of Change”
I’m standing here, in this phase in my life, completely raw, vulnerable, open to being alone - facing the waves of fear, addiction, self-doubt and the enticement of falling back into pattern and I finally feel a sense of trust that I can choose differently this time.
I can slow down, create boundaries that will protect me from dangerous pattern, gather info and just observe others, say “NO” to someone who is pressuring me to engage in intimacy that feels unhealthy, forced or co-dependant.
I can create a new life, one that I am proud of and feels healthy, light, soul quenching and nourishing simply by using this time of solidarity to create new patterns.
“I’ve gotten good with solidarity.”
I have no idea what lies ahead for me. Instead of that scaring the shit out of me and leading me to cling to and over commit to someone I barely know, it’s actually exciting me.
I’ve never been so comfortable with talking about and managing finances. I was once terrified of money. This is HUGE for a kid who grew up in the projects surrounded by poverty and regularly went without basic food and clothing.
I now feel confident I will only accept a supportive, nurturing and mature man in my future. I once on the regs committed to the complete opposite.
I will trust my intuition and feel empowered saying “no” to what doesn’t feel right. I once doubted my gut instincts and led my inner child into the lion’s den.
Getting good with solidarity feels like emotional freedom. It feels like self love and it feels healthy.
Because when the time is right. Really right. I will align with situations that are truly worthy of me and my inner child will be protected. That sweet, sweet girl deserves that.
I will do my best to not react to triggers with unconsciousness and addictive behaviour.
I will show up in my life as the woman who has reparented herself and taught Little Cassandra that she IS worthy. She IS incredible. She CAN be the woman she was meant to be, free from playing out the cyclical patterns the women before her did.
“All the women in me are now free”
How can you get good with more solidarity and what work needs to be done in that space for you to live a more peaceful, happy and fulfilling life?
Take your time. You are worth the wait <3
Be well with hope,
Cassandra Hope RHN + mindset coach