by Anonymous MinnCoDA Member
“My inner teenager had a dream…”
The setting was a dream mix of the caretaker’s house at camp and the current Bass Lake house. There was a lot of beige carpet, and it was mostly daytime with that Minnesota silver daylight.
Teenage me was so nervous, alarmed, and angry. She was a blend of 11 to 15 years old. In this alternate world she got to tell the family things are not okay.
It started with the dad and sister. They were sitting by each other kind of buddied up, and as she faced them, the sister on the right and the dad on the left, she communicated emanating “You guys are not acting how my heart knows a family can be.” The adult and teenage versions of myself spoke together “She is so angry about it and she desperately needs it to stop.”
There was a moment when several family members circled together and clasped their hands. The father and stepmother said, “We need to upLIFT ourselves!” They all swung to raise their arms together towards the center and upwards.
In that dream-moment, I felt guilted and isolated. My teenage self wasn’t included in the circle. She felt shamed and unaccepted for trying to tell, speak and share her real experience.
[Wound of not being believed for her reality, also trained that her experience and perception of her own reality is not to be trusted. This led to lack-of-self symptoms of codependency. Also the wound of not having a voice that is treated as valid or worthwhile.]
The family couldn’t fully acknowledge or validate her experience because of their own carried shame and toxic emotional dysfunction that had been passed onto them. [Reference Pia Mellody’s “Shame CD Parts 1-5”] Therefore, they kept her out of the circle, and blatantly in front of her showcased their intense need to be uplifted directly because of the thoughts and feelings younger me had expressed.
At another point in that dream space, the younger me (about 12-13 years old) leapt up and down on the carpeted floor in a short transitional hallway between a living room and dining room announcing to the father that “he wasn’t actually a shy person! he was just co-dependent! And therefore struggled with anxiety and depression!”
Her earth mother was there (yet not present in the aforementioned circle). She was in a smaller room off the main area, unlit with electricity, only the ambient outside light casting in. The earth mother was centered in the space nearer the shadowy wall and Teenage Me was able to tell her squarely that this was not all okay. Younger me expressed deeply that something wasn’t right and she was really upset about it. She shared that the mom had already and was continuing to pass something onto her that wasn’t safe or appropriate. Beautifully, the mom was able to carry and hold the message. The mom didn’t offer a reply in that moment.
None of the family was able to respond with an emotionally mature and validating response that would have helped my teenage self feel seen, heard, supported as an equal family member, and healthfully esteemed. Instead, they had expressed their own knife-slicing discomfort with what I was sharing. They also seemed to be making her out to be the bad guy for expressing her concern that something was off, wrenching fear, sadness, and anger.
I awoke realizing with more integration how this “seen and heard wound” is created down deep from those adults being adult children and co-dependent themselves. They were so afraid of what my young self was experiencing and sharing. They couldn’t respond with emotional maturity. Instead, they tried with great intensity and inner urgency (fear) to dismiss, diminish, and reduce my experience and feelings because their own carried shame was too great to bear.
Teenage me was left unacknowledged as well as labeled as the bad and awful one [defective wound], and the one who gets upset for no good reason. I heard that my emotions had triggered my parent’s life/death wounds of their own inner children and therefore they perpetuated and cloaked this deep secret of emotional dysfunction in our family.
My wounds [emotional losses] were hidden for decades because the family looked and seemed good on the outside and no one was an obvious addict (alcoholic, physically abusive, etc.).
She grew up hearing her parents say, “We’re going to break the cycle of divorce in our family!” So, to young me, that meant her parents were healthy and healing. They had led workshops on marriage and parenting in their community and church. They were what people in that culture called “in the ministry.” Yet it’s possible that because these hidden rivers of wounds and coping behaviors were left unrepaired, (leading to under- the-surface chaos and trauma), my mom got cancer; and therefore, she ended up leaving the relationship anyways, just not through divorce.
And to this day, the father carries his burdensome dysfunction and avoids being emotionally present with himself and therefore his daughters. Because he is not in recovery, the inner children in me can get trigged around him today because essentially, he is the same as he was when she was growing up. Because he doesn’t show his own healing/reparations with me, parts of me don’t know or feel that he is safe or emotionally maturing. He remains cloaked, masking as a very good person on the outside, while the rivers of wounds flow beneath a tar-like protective barrier.
I am the 7th generation, and this generational curse will cease with her. She is healing her recent lineage and coming back into her Higher Power. A clean clear energy without this hidden dysfunction. I awoke hoping there’d be another dream where the family members could respond with emotional sobriety, healthy esteem, and validation. And maybe there will be, but in case there isn’t, I know I can respond that way for my inner family because of my recovery program in CoDA and ACA. I am grateful for this dream and the integrated repair it brought me.