This past weekend, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a workshop. It was recommended to me by a dear friend; Mandi J. Buckner (http://mjbuckner.ca).
Mandi is an accomplished return-to-work advocate and when she recommended the workshop to me, she also recommended it to another one of her friends. This other friend, whom I’m going to call Jennifer, is also a PTSD survivor and Mandi knew if we went together, we might actually follow through with it.
The short course started last Friday night and ran the full weekend, ending at 6:00pm on Sunday; it was called “Keeping the Love you Find.”
The course is based on work done by Dr. Harville Hendrix and was presented by Susan McBride and Dr. Mark Cornfield. It deals with past issues you may have as well as any issues you’re hanging on to from past relationships, that can get in the way when you are trying to become part of a committed relationship. Or in my case - making sure I stay in a committed relationship.
The theory is based on the fact that when we fall in love, we’re unconsciously drawn to someone with the best and worst character traits of our combined caregivers. Dr. Harville Hendrix calls these traits our “Imago,” which is the latin word for image and it refers to the “unconscious image of familiar love.”
If I’m getting it right, it means we’re drawn to certain people so that we can work through and heal the pain we derived from our caregivers, based on an unconscious desire to seek healing and leave the pain of childhood behind. Furthermore, when you can understand your reactions and feelings more emphatically, you can move into a much better place ...a place that isn’t overshadowed by the things that happened to you as a child.
One of the exercises we did, and we did a lot of them, came Sunday near the end of the day. The exercise was being given the opportunity to sit in the middle of our circle and have all the other participants tell us something we needed to hear; something we had never heard as a child.
I watched a couple of people go before me and witnessed them turn into puddles as they heard affirmations they’d been waiting their whole lives to hear. Tears trickled down my face as I thought about what I wanted to hear and I knew I would end up doing what Oprah calls the “ugly cry.”
Mark looked at me empathetically and I mumbled under my breath that I couldn’t do it. I said they’d (meaning everyone in the group), already had the opportunity to see me do the ugly cry and that I just couldn’t do it, so he looked away.
After a couple of minutes, Mark turned back to me and said, “Sometimes crying is what we need.” I thought about it for a couple more minutes and decided that I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. What harm could it do? So, I jumped up before I had the chance to change my mind.
I put myself in the chair, turned to face Mark and said “I need to hear you say - ‘Davina, you are worthy and you deserve to live’.” Mark said “Davina, you are worthy and you deserve to live.” I moved my chair slightly so that I was facing the next person, which was Susan and she repeated it - “Davina you are worthy and you deserve to live.” Then I turned my chair slightly so it faced the next person and then the next person and they all repeated those same words; “Davina, you are worthy and you deserve to live.”
I got part way around the first time and the tears started to fall, but I continued and went onto the next person and then the next person. Each one of them said “Davina, you are worthy and you deserve to live,” and they said it with conviction and sincerity.
I completed going around the circle and once again found myself sitting facing Mark. Tears were streaming down my face and I felt like my chest was going to burst.
He looked back at me with such compassion and I decided I needed to hear it again, so I asked him to repeat it. I continued around that circle like I had the first time and by the time I really started to believe what they were saying, I had been around the circle three times.
I had this incredible epiphany - that everything I’d done to that point in my life, I had done feeling like I was unworthy and the sadness of that had me completely sobbing by the time I got up from the chair.
I know it might sound silly because deep down inside I already knew it, but I needed to hear it and who better than these people I’d just bared my soul.
Going forward, I’ve made myself some goals and I’m going to stay in touch with as many of those people that are willing; in order to keep myself accountable. I also enrolled Gary and I in the Imago relationship workshop so that we can improve on our communication skills and keep the love we’ve found!
Stay safe and stay strong. Thanks for following.