By Wendy J Olson, Healing Coach + Founder + Executive Director of Grit Plus Gumption
All month long, we’re talking about adverse childhood experiences and how they later affect us in our adult lives. We call this campaign “Evolve” because as we learn together, we can grow, heal, and eventually thrive.Get involved by joining us on our Instagram page, @gritplusgumption and/or donating using the link at the bottom.
Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Maybe you don’t look like anyone in your family, or they all enjoy something and you’re the only one who doesn’t.
You’re not alone. There are plenty of black sheep and scapegoats out there feeling this exact dynamic in their family of origin as well. While sometimes you physically stand out from the crowd, other times it may be more of an emotional connection you’re lacking with your family. And therefore the only “home” you have ever known doesn’t feel like home at all. You feel like a stranger in your own land.
Cathy Loerzel and Dan Allender discuss this very topic in their book, “Redeeming Heartache.” Many of us have endured heartache at the hands of our family members, leaving us feeling like Strangers in our own country. But a stranger doesn’t have to be a stranger forever, according to Loerzel and Allender. A Stranger is actually a Prophet, and we all know how people treat prophets.
Prophets say the things that people don’t want to hear. Prophets speak truth to bullshit. (Thanks again, Brene!) But prophets are not revered in their home land. They are hated. Nobody likes to be called out. And that sting? That sting they feel from what you spoke to is actually guilt and conviction…and people don’t want to face themselves in the mirror or admit to mistakes. That’s uncomfortable. Humans value comfort.
What We’re Doing About It:
The whole point of our 12-week Story Workshop is to get uncomfortable, find out who you were in your family of origin, what people named you, and then rename yourself with your TRUE name. We turn things upside in weeks 4-9 so we can shake lose some of the things that have been long hidden. I often call this “kicking up dust.” But then you often choke on all that dust. It’s a painful, arduous process, but we get through it. And we’re better for it on the other side. Things can’t stay hidden forever. Sometimes we need to dust off the boxes in the attics of our souls and find out what’s really hidden underneath. We also learn about Implicit Memories and how they may be running our lives. (If you want to learn more about Implicit Memories, email us. We’d love to share a podcast with you!)
How do we know if we are a black sheep or a scapegoat in our family, which then translates into why we don’t feel “at home” when we’re home…?
- If you find yourself dreading a trip home or a holiday visit, this could be a sign.
- Your body starts having a physiological response to the upcoming visit. You may even get sick suddenly, or have anxiety and panic attacks in preparation fora visit.
- If you still currently live at home, you may feel stress and tension in your body when you’re not home alone. Conversely you feel a release when you are home alone, like you can finally be yourself.
- You feel like you have to hide parts of yourself around your family. You become a peacekeeper rather than a peacemaker.
- Everyone in your family seems be to in on the joke, and/or you feel like you are the joke in your family. You feel like an outsider and they treat you as such.
How can you tell when you’ve moved past feeling like an outsider and a stranger and moved into and accepted your role as a prophet?
- You no longer feel the need to “fit in” with your family.
- You’re comfortable around them even if your role in their dynamic has not changed.
- You set boundaries and enforce them despite how they feel about your boundaries or how they react.
- You no longer take ownership of their reactions.
- You don’t feel the need to people please, and while this may mean less home visits, you feel good and confident about where you’ve landed in the relationship.
The fact is that some people will not change, despite your best efforts to convey how they’ve made you feel, and we have to accept that. Life has to move forward. We have to move on. And part of being able to tell if you’re healing or not is whether or not you are or have moved forward. Regardless.
If you found this information helpful to your own healing journey, please consider donating to Grit Plus Gumption and supporting another woman’s healing journey as well. Use this link to donate and receive a tax-deductible donation. Thank you for your support!
Wendy J Olson is the Founder and Executive Director of Grit Plus Gumption Farmstead, a 501c3 nonprofit. She also works as a healing coach, facilitating the Allender Center modality of Story Work, (Narrative Focused Trauma Care. ) She walks with women through their stories of past hurts and traumas, guiding them to freedom and healing.