I was on the phone with a Second Gen friend (those of us born and/or raised in an extremist situation or cult). She has two young kids and had lost it with one of them. Her shame slam was huge, because she felt she hadn’t been the amazing mom she wants to be.

I let her talk and talk, and when she had calmed a bit and was ready to maybe hear, I told her that she actually was (still) an amazing mom. That she had actually taught her kids that sometimes we get angry and yell…and then we apologize (which she had already done). I reminded her that having two young children is HARD. I told her, with all the wisdom of someone whose kids are in their twenties, that her children would be fine.

And then I offered her the kicker. “It sucks to be human when you were raised not to be,” I said.

That stopped her in her tracks.

She, like me, had been raised not to be human. She was raised in evangelical Christianity, and she, like me, had the option of either being perfect with no flaws or being sinful and base. There seemed to be a binary.

I remember the first time I realized that I was not okay being human, with flaws and mistakes. I was in therapy, decades and decades ago, and my therapist pointed out my humanity. That did not sit well. I absolutely knew that she was wrong.

I do believe my perfectionism has eased so so much. I do not hold myself to standards like I used to and I wholeheartedly embrace my many many mistakes. I also believe my deeply engrained drive fell off when I got sick, and I am happily picking it back up only by choice and only when helpful or necessary.

But I know that rejection of being human. I do know I was raised not to be. I know that I can still slip into a need to be healed and wholed and can have a hard time accepting just where and how I am right now as fine. That that part of my humanity can still be a bit evasive.

I also know that these are lies that were carved into my brain and psyche and that I can and do choose, every day, to let that s—t go. To embrace my humanity. To have compassion with myself for my many many mistakes. To not take myself so seriously anymore.

To be okay with me and with me now. Even though I was raised not to be.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Drew Muse on nappy

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