I grew up in a small town with both of my parents and two younger sisters. I had a happy childhood, and I was a care-free and wild child. I was an eighties kid, playing outside with friends until dusk, and basically doing my own thing. I loved to make up all sorts of games and have adventures in fields and forests.
While my happy go lucky attitude was my experience and felt true most of the time, there were days a storm cloud would rain and wash away my joy. My dad experienced childhood trauma and when he was around I felt there was no room for joy. He unintentionally projected his low self-worth and feelings of inadequacy onto me through subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, emotional abuse. I didn’t feel I had the freedom to be a full expression of myself. I was always afraid of shining too bright, being too happy or upsetting him in any way. While I know he loved me, I lived in fear of his reactive tendencies and anger.
I grew up with many layers within myself. Some of them were compassionate, graceful, accepting, naive, trusting, optimistic, and playful. And some of them were darker. On some levels, I felt like I could never get anything right and I could never be good enough. I took on responsibility for everyone’s emotions around me, becoming the peacemaker in my family when my parents fought. Over the years it became a heavy burden I carried without my awareness. It fed many of my insecurities and at the same time was a driver to be a force of good in the world.
I decided as a teenager that I wanted to become a therapist to help improve relationships. While my ambition was strong I didn’t realize that I needed to do my own work healing, and that by doing this I would not only change my life, but also be able to more fully guide change in the lives of those who came to me for help.
My childhood experiences led me to be anxious - worrying a lot, fearing the worst would happen, and never feeling truly at peace within myself. I would beat myself up a lot and blamed myself for anything that went wrong. I constantly criticized myself and I felt like I was never doing anything right. It took me a long time, and a lot of inner work to shine light on my self-destructive patterns because they felt so normal and in some ways comforting and familiar. I realized I needed to start giving myself the kindness and compassion that I so easily gave to others.
My toxic relationship with myself led me into a toxic relationship with my husband. I started to feel like I did as a child around my father, when I was with my husband.
I remember when I realized just how messed up my marriage was. It was after we had our second child. I was trying to juggle everything - school, daycare, work, appointments, housework, etc - and I felt so alone. I felt like everything that wasn’t going well was my fault - in my relationship with my husband, with my kids, with life in general. I felt like nothing about me was ever good enough for my husband, and I thought that meant that there was something wrong with me. I desperately wanted *him* to change, to approve of me, so that I could feel ok again.
But there came a day where I finally recognized that we can’t change anyone except ourselves, and in fact we don't need anyone else to change in order to have a different experience of ourselves in the relationship. So I made the choice to fully commit to doing my own inner healing. I have been doing the work to heal the relationship I have with myself, and heal the beliefs I have about the world not being safe, for over 2 years now. It's the best thing I have ever done, and it is changing my life.
I am learning how to love myself. Not just love the easy parts, but how to love the shadows - the dark, messy, ugly parts that have long been rejected. I am much more at peace. I trust that things happen the way they are meant to, and it is not my fault if things don’t go the way I would want. I have built a strong foundation for myself where I can stand solidly in who I am, and don’t need to be reactive or defensive, at least most of the time. I am absolutely a work in progress, but I am grateful everyday for working to create a kind and loving relationship with myself, and working to trust that I can feel safe. Being human is hard, and it is also a miracle. YOU are a miracle! Each one of us is.
This work is tough but beautiful. I would love to support you on your journey, to offer guidance, strategies, and an unwavering belief that your heart, your own inner guidance system, knows what you need and loves you just as you are.
My name is Rosemary, and I am both a Registered Clinical Counsellor and a Certified Intuitive Healer.