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by | May 1, 2024 | ComLine, Voices of Recovery

For me, this sacred element has been the single most important tenet of this program. Crosstalk absolutely hinders my recovery no matter how benign. 

I had my feelings, thoughts co-opted in childhood and in my closest relationships as an adult, in the name of care/help/advice/support. Even when the support was not supportive, or the advice did not apply or was not helpful, I pretended it did, and said thank you because how dare I not? How dare I disrespect my elders’ wisdom? Before I came to this program, I did not know what was helpful to me, I am still untangling what my needs are from what I am looking to others to tell me they are after a lifetime of people pleasing to avoiding angering the community around me by seeming ungrateful for their help. 

I am learning whether or not help offered aligns with my needs, is not about the person offering it, and if help does not feel helpful, I am allowed to say so, and keep seeking help from others, until I find help that meets my needs. And, if a helper puts the emotions my truth triggers ahead of my needs they committed to show up for, I can do what I need to establish boundaries to keep myself safe. It will not stop me from continuing to say what is true for me, and it does not mean I am ungrateful. It means I love myself enough to be in touch with my needs, to know I am not responsible for other people’s emotions. 

I now know I do not need to be fixed or fix others, to carry their burdens in expectation that they carry mine. I no longer need to feel resentful when I show up so much for others only for it not to be reciprocated to the same extent. I refuse to continue to meet expectations of self-sacrifice, of being “strong” for everyone else, of feeling drained, which only serves to keep me stuck and dysregulated, to shorten my lifespan. I do not need to follow in the paths of my foremothers who gave everyone else everything first without knowing they could give themselves that without guilt. I refuse to continue to benefit capitalist systems by devaluing myself and my contributions, offering them for free, trying to over explain and to prove I am worthy of being of help. I no longer need to create distance in my relationships by creating drama around my help not being needed or giving advice when it was not asked. I am realizing my worth is not tied to how useful or helpful I am to others. 

I go where my contributions and problem solving skills are requested and compensated, where I am valued, where my experience is appreciated and ready to be listened to. I hold space for others and listen and wait for questions before I speak, I speak only from my experience, and I ask for help rather than hope others offer, because I internalized that learned helplessness and manipulation/guilt is the only way I can receive support. I now recognize the ways I was taught to be in community by my family of origin does not align with my true self, whose needs were suppressed. In recovering myself, because I am now able to listen to myself and realize all the answers I need are within, I am understanding I can trust that I am equal to others. And, because I am not powerless, others are not powerless, and when I try to fix them, I assume they are. I am learning that showing up to fix others is a form of control which allows me to abandon myself and avoid my feelings. I can remind myself that being surrounded by people who love and are responsible for themselves creates safety, allows me to talk, to trust, to feel, and am no longer in childhood where the opposite was true, because I was constantly cross talked.

This practice and this program is directly tied to my liberation, recovery and autonomy in a society where my existence threatens the oppressive foundation of lies this abusive dysfunctional parent of a society is built on. It is life changing, and has transformed my relationship, the lives of my family members and friends, my health and nervous system, my financial wellbeing, how I am treated by others, and has given me peace and freedom.

Thank you all for holding this space, I feel complete.

Ifechukwu O

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