“Someone else’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” Les Brown
This is a deeply personal article about recovery from abuse.
If you’re not up for it, I suggest you spend your time elsewhere.
Recently I had an evening to myself and queued up a movie I had been wanting to watch for some time, “Steve Jobs,” a dramatic representation of the life of the Apple founder.
Being a life-long Mac person, I had been curious to watch.
Instead of being fascinated as I watched the actor Michael Fassbender portray the icon of our generation, I found myself feeling more and more upset, angry and appalled as I learned how Steve Jobs had treated his daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
I know exactly what it feels like to grow up the daughter of a brilliant man who psychologically and physically abused me.
It wasn’t until I married my first husband – a man now deceased so I can perhaps find the courage to discuss – that I ended up in a YWCA support group for battered women and began to understand what had really happened to me growing up.
For two years I sat in a group of women who came not just from the projects but all the way to the wealthiest neighborhoods in Nashville, Tennessee.
We learned about the Wheel of Power and Control, a learning tool to explain the eight primary ways – other than physical abuse – that you can be abused, manipulated and controlled.
It was eye opening.
Every meeting we started with a leader drawing a circle on a board.
Those of us in the group would have to remember the eight methods of abuse (I’m quoting from the diagram because I could not tell you this from memory) – using children; minimizing, denying and blaming; using isolation; using male privilege; using emotional abuse; using economic abuse; using coercion and threats; using intimidation; and finally physical and sexual violence.
Even though I had graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University, I sat there every week for two years and still could not remember all the major facts.
To this day, I still have to look it up.
Humankind cannot bear very much reality, T.S. Eliot observed.
So as I watched the movie “Steve Jobs,” it brought up my feelings of rage, resentment and sadness.
All of a sudden, at age 62, author of 10 books, host of the Natural Healing Show for UK Health Radio, I still felt like I didn’t matter.
Growing up, it didn’t matter that I had been a straight A student, a good person, a kind person, a thoughtful person or that after graduating from college I made my own way in the world.
In my mid-30s I had the revelation that even if I won the Nobel Peace Prize I still wouldn’t matter to my family.
I decided at that time I might as well do with my life what would make me happy.
And so I set about creating the life and work that feeds my soul and that has blessed me for 28 years with the privilege of making a living as a medical intuitive healer.
Those of you who have also devoted decades to inner work may appreciate how you can clear layers and layers of pain, only to be taken aback suddenly when yet another layer arises.
Another Frustrating Growth Opportunity!
So when I found myself all out of sorts after watching the movie “Steve Jobs,” I called my mentor in healing and asked to receive a healing, “I matter.”
I was so upset as we discussed this subject that we both decided I would need yet a second healing on this subject.
It just so happened that the following weekend I went away for a long overdue family reunion.
Everyone was there except for my father, my original abuser.
The rest of us got along great.
His name scarcely came up.
He has done such a poor job of relating to others that now he has barely any relationship with any of his surviving blood kin – not much to do with his son, with myself, his only daughter, or with his beautiful, brilliant and only granddaughter, my niece.
At the end of the family reunion I had a revelation.
“No, HE is the one who doesn’t matter,” I realized.
Through his many years of petty bitterness, greed, abuse, prejudice and condemnation, he had burned virtually every bridge to the people who once loved him.
Still, there were more layers for me to peel back.
I realized that watching the movie “Steve Jobs” had simply brought up my hurt ego.
My wounded inner child could feel a little bruised but I’m still ok deep down.
I recognized that I wasn’t looking at my life through the spiritual perspective.
Even though I have a very strong prayer life and pray every morning and evening for a treasured group of loved ones, I decided I needed to add another prayer.
I began to pray every morning to be of service that day.
I asked God to use me for the highest good, to use all my talents to the best of my personal ability to lift up everyone around me.
It wasn’t about me mattering.
I recognized that I have been deeply blessed and that I simply had to step up and say, “OK, God, let me serve at the highest level of which I am capable.
“Use me up, use my talents, let me give all the way from the depths of my soul.”
As I began to say these prayers, my entire perspective changed.
My work felt even more rewarding.
I could feel the direct connection between my soul and each person I was teaching or healing that day.
I could feel myself giving from my soul, and that matters to me.
We all matter to each other.
It’s just up to us to be able to see how, to treasure that divine connection, and to allow the love we have in our hearts to flow through.
Sometimes in life we lose our way.
We feel like we actually don’t matter, like we have never mattered, that nobody cares or that we will never amount to anything.
One of the wisest things I have ever read about abuse said that when a person has been repeatedly abused, they come to believe there is something actually very wrong with them, that they deserve to be abused, and that has very damaging long-term effects on our self esteem.
If you have gotten to the end of this story I want you to hear from me that YOU matter.
Even if you don’t know how or why, your unique presence is important.
Be strong and true to yourself and you will find your way.
Sending you love and light for now, Catherine Carrigan.
What is healing? Healing happens when you recognize that you matter, that your very presence changes everything.
To set up an appointment for a medical intuitive reading or healing work, please email catherine@catherinecarrigan or call 678-612-8816. If you are calling internationally, please call me at the same number through WhatsApp so I can return your call toll free!
Thank you for this honest and encouraging post. Your words helped me greatly.