When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us. - bell hooks
1 comment posted: Friday, May 7th, 2021
Negative Core Beliefs
I’ve been working in IC lately on core beliefs and wanted to share something that clicked for me in a big way. My IC had been nudging me in this direction for six months or so, and sent me a link in October to a page that listed different variations of negative core beliefs. You know, she would comment- after I related some emotional response to a situation - something like, “oh, that probably relates to the negative core belief you have.” And I’d think, right, sure, I must think I’m bad deep down otherwise why act out? Duh! So I wasn’t quite connecting there...
Until I read the link. Okay, yes, we have negative core beliefs, those inner voices or triggers from our FOO, our childhoods, our trauma experiences. And please shake your head if this is obvious to you, but I thought that negative thought was just some murky pond at the bottom of my subconscious that I needed to be aware of. Except, no, that pond water had its own texture and flotsam and I needed to swim down to its core to understand it. To heal it. I didn’t realize that until I read the list she sent me. I guess something about the way the article is worded helped break things down for me differently. My IC had also used this list with her therapist, and said that she had the same lightning bolt experience, along with some of her other clients, so I wanted to share it in hopes that it could help others make that leap too.
I want to be clear: none of what I am writing here is to say that any of these beliefs excuse infidelity in general or my own cheating in particular. It is not to minimize anyone's pain. It is to help others put together pieces if they so choose. A tool, if you will, for building your coping toolkit, instead of reaching for destructive and harmful band-aids.
This realization has been incredible for my healing and the health of my marriage. It gives me the ability to consistently trace back the activations I experience and understand them, soothe myself. It's a piece of building my oxygen mask. I can sit with myself more, I can sit with my husband, my kids, their feelings. I don’t know if it will be helpful to anyone else but I will share it with the hopes that it could help someone heal those wounded places that can keep us from healthy connection.
There are different types of negative core beliefs. Mine is “I am defective.” I know a lot of this has to do with my mother being abused by my father, and in turn struggling to deal with any sort of emotional stress as a single parent when I was a child. I had experienced abuse, CSA, had a lot of problems, and she coped as best she could, which meant sometimes saying to me, “you’re just like your father” or that I was abusive, dangerous, when I was mad about doing homework or being grounded. My dad said it was my fault that he couldn’t get paid in cash because he owed child support, that it was my fault that he lost visitation rights because I finally told my mom I didn’t want to go see him after he continually abused my stepmother in front of me, etc. There’s a lot more but the seed was effectively planted. I stopped speaking up for myself, expressing my emotions, and eventually turned to whatever I could to numb. That pond flooded over and over until it blasted apart on D-Day, where I scrambled to hold all the water in my hands. Everything was fine. Just fine. Drowning. And my husband was drowning, and my family, and my life, and me. I poured more ditch water in every time I cheated, drank, hid. The trauma loop replaying, the self-fulfilling prophecy. I found my IC a week after our mutual discovery and she commented, so kindly, that I didn’t know who I was, did I?
No, I didn’t. But I am learning now, and this list has been very helpful. I can counteract those messages with positive ones and reframe. Here is the link, mod-approved (thank you, WOEz!):
13 comments posted: Sunday, November 22nd, 2020
I have a question about possibly getting a link approved. Could someone please take a look? Thanks!
1 comment posted: Friday, November 13th, 2020
I’ve been having a lot of breakthroughs in IC with my CSA processing lately. A big one is how disconnected I lived in general and especially sexually. I’m wondering, how many people here experienced a disconnect like that? BSes or WSes? My “wild and crazy” sex life ended with me sleeping with my rapist. I see BSes experiencing a lot of fears about sex in affairs being amazing or transcendent. My husband struggled with thoughts like this and still does during his rare triggers. I empathize with it, too: When I found out my husband had a habit of getting pictures from girls on Snapchat, I thought a lot of those things. My own history kept things in perspective: sex wasn’t romantic or pretty. My choices weren’t about him, which didn’t make them any better, at all. I had zero self worth and had no idea how to love myself. Sex was running rails up my arm or slamming a bottle. My IC refers to my process as one of objectifying myself, while my H’s is one of objectifying others. A match made in heaven, right? I had a lot of “full menu sex” and I’d just feel empty, even with my husband. Especially with my husband, because I wanted to be fixed, be loved, look, I can do this and it’s totally fine! Big disconnect, and so confusing and painful for my H.
This is a lot of meandering to: Sex wasn’t about connection for me. It was destructive. Does anyone else have that experience? Was it absent for you? What was your relationship to sex? Or your spouse’s? If you had maladaptive views regarding sexuality, how’d you tackle the healing process? My husband and I have wonderful, varied, and connected physical intimacy now, but I had to claw my way through 28 years of shame to make it happen. It was and is a major goal of mine to get to the root. If I hadn’t, I would’ve just been bombing him with the same dysfunctional crap.
Anyone else? Bueller?
47 comments posted: Monday, July 13th, 2020