what i've learned along the way
looking back . . .
Published on November 11, 2007 By lobsterhunter In Misc
As I sit here on my couch this morning, I feel extremely reflective. Snuggled under a cozy blanket with Chris' laptop resting on my legs, I'm browsing through some of my old blogs. I’m thankful for written expression. Recording my thoughts and feelings is like pressing a pause button on life. As I read through the events of the last few years, I am amazed how quickly time has passed. The memories seem so fresh . . .

Yesterday, a precious friend and I discussed the beauty of the present, along with the pain from our past. I shared some recent struggles with my childhood abuse issues, and I expressed my fear of falling prey to a victim mentality. She shared a profound truth I needed to hear. “Exploring our past is like looking in a rear view mirror. You must glance back, but don’t stare.”

Because I am a firm believer in choice, I have limited tolerance for people who blame their problems on their parents. However, I recognize the reality that the harm inflicted upon us in our early years of development does in fact alter who we become and how we relate to the world we live in. A trusted professional reminded me of something I learned years ago in an Educational Psychology course. Erickson’s Stages of Development help me understand why I continue to see myself in a self-depreciating way. These steps explain why I occasionally find myself overcome with emotion and unable to recognize truth.

Infant
Trust vs Mistrust
Needs maximum comfort with minimal uncertainty to trust himself/herself, others, and the environment

Toddler
Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt
Works to master physical environment while maintaining self-esteem

Preschooler
Initiative vs Guilt
Begins to initiate, not imitate, activities; develops conscience and sexual identity

School-Age Child
Industry vs Inferiority
Tries to develop a sense of self-worth by refining skills

Adolescent
Identity vs Role Confusion
Tries integrating many roles (child, sibling, student, athlete,worker) into a self-image under role model and peer pressure

Young Adult
Intimacy vs Isolation
Learns to make personal commitment to another as spouse, parent or partner

Middle-Age Adult
Generativity vs Stagnation
Seeks satisfaction through productivity in career, family, and civic interests

Older Adult
Integrity vs Despair
Reviews life accomplishments, deals with loss and preparation for death

When my husband and I went on our first date he asked me a very revealing question. Chris inquired, “Tenille, what makes you insecure?" At the time, I wasn’t even sure where to begin. I was shocked by his candor, and I felt extremely exposed and uncertain. Today, I have a solid response . . .

My insecurity stems from my inability to trust my environment. During the most critical time in my development, I endured some traumatic experiences, and these events set me on a path of shame and doubt. I eventually caught up somewhere around late elementary school, but the damage had been done.

As a young adult I have made some personal commitments. I believe I have achieved intimacy, yet there are days I still feel afraid of rejection. My husband reassures me of his love constantly, and I am finding my way towards wholeness. The times of uncertainty are less frequent, and my insides are beginning to match my outsides. I am healing, but the scars don’t ever fully disappear.

I am grateful for words . . . They provide a concrete method for measuring growth.

Perhaps I will look back on this blog a few years from now and recognize the beautiful woman God created me to be . . . "

Comments
on Nov 11, 2007
My senior year you wrote me a letter that my teacher presented to me as a surprise. In it you wrote these words: "I pray that you simply never leave." I really wish that you didn't have the ability to add to MY fear of rejection. Trinitie
on Nov 11, 2007
I guess that makes two of us . . .

I fear your rejection just as much as you fear mine.

Aren't human beings the strangest creatures? Chris and I went to see Martian Child last night. I cried like a baby at the end. You should take the little girl you are helping raise. After her Halloween experience, I think she could relate. Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts.
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