I was walking on the beach, talking with a fellow Second Gen (those of us born and/or raised in an extremist situation). We were discussing some challenges I’ve faced recently and how I stayed with and for myself, despite some pushback, and some challenges she’s faced recently and how she stayed with and for herself, despite some pushback. As two people who were deeply groomed to sacrifice for others (the litany in my cult was literally, “the individual sacrifices for the family; the family sacrifices for the society; the society sacrifices for the nation; the nation sacrifices for the world”), staying with and for ourselves, especially with some pushback, was hard…and we were really proud for ourselves and each other that we’d done that.

We talked about the healing we’d each done and the healing we do every day. We talked about the “how-to’s” people often ask us for – “How did you learn to love yourself?” “How did you learn to accept yourself?” “How did you learn to stand with and for (and up for) yourself?” – that are both very easy and very difficult to answer. (See my last blog post – give yourself grace today – for some of the ways…)

And then these words came out of my mouth.

“Healing allows us to fight in the places we need to fight and love in the places we want to love.”

When we have to, or even feel we have to, shut down as children (or adults) in order to be safe, we lose a lot. We can lose the ability to fight for, or even ask for, what we want and need. We can also lose the ability to fully love and connect with others.

Healing allows us to heal that. 😊

I was thanked for my sacrifice and told how wonderful I was when my mom left us to move into the church center. (Well, actually she asked us what she should do, and we told her to leave us and move into the church center.) I learned not to want or to need. I was taught that it was Cain-like behavior (as in Cain and Abel in the bible, and therefore BAD) if I ever was angry as a cult-child. Well, actually I never got angry, or at least I never knew I was angry. I learned not to want or to need. I was told that any even slightly wrong or selfish move or thought on my part would “break god’s heart.” Again, I learned not to want or to need.

And to not be in choice about how and when and whom to love.

My decision and ability (and required self-love and strength) to stay with and for myself this week, especially despite some pushback, astounded me. My decision and ability to do it lovingly, with love for myself and for those around me, delighted me. Dare I even say that I am proud of and for myself, and of and for my fellow Second Gen, for how we showed up. Always learning. Always growing. Always healing.

That healing that allows us to fight in the places we need to and love in the places we want to.

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

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