We all have a story. An untrue story we’ve been telling ourselves since childhood—an inaccurate story created by the broken people who raised us. Our Parents.
A Narcissistic Mother and an Alcoholic, Racist Father built my story.
These two broken people created my childhood story filled with chaos, toxicity, no accountability, emotional abuse, manipulation, and reckless behaviors.
My childhood story was built on a toxic illusion created by two broken people–My Parents.
My narcissistic mother, who was emotionally abusive and manipulative and constantly demanded I prove my love to her, built half my story.
My alcoholic racist father, who was chaotic and unpredictable, put me in unsafe situations and who was consistently inconsistent, created the other half.
My childhood story, created by my toxic parents, was a story built on unworthiness, chaos, confusion, and uncertainty which led me to toxic cycles of behaviors, thought patterns, low self-esteem, and not showing up for myself.
A story I did not know at the time was untrue.
A story I believed for years.
My Emotionally Immature Parents with no Awareness
My parents had ZERO awareness. Their world was wrapped up in selfishness and trying to meet their needs through toxic, repeated behaviors and cycles.
My home lacked unconditional love, connection, empathy, and compassion because these broken people created my home.
As you can imagine, this story didn’t allow me to believe I had value or worthiness. It didn’t allow me to believe I deserved anything better than what I got from this childhood story. It didn’t allow me to believe I could do anything different than the broken model shown to me.
My story is not unique but common among many children raised by narcissists and alcoholics. Narcissistic parents break their children down until they depend entirely on them for everything: food, warmth, and clothing. The child becomes an extension of the narcissist; they do whatever they say without question because they want to please them so badly. They don’t realize they are losing their identity in this process because they are too young to understand what is happening in their lives.
How my Story Shifted
How could I heal this broken story? How could I rewrite this narrative? How could I change the ending? How could I rewrite my childhood story?
How did my untrue story shift?
My untrue story shifted in my backyard when I had Coronavirus. This false story turned when I thought I was going to die.
A pivotal moment in my backyard-when I thought I would die from the acute Coronavirus symptoms in April of 2020- was the beginning of questioning that BROKEN story—my childhood story, which those broken people built.
I was short of breath. I couldn’t breathe. My brain told me to call 911, or I would die.
But, I paused and listened to MY GUT.
My gut told me if I called 911, I would die because I would believe it.
Several minutes later, I was ok. How is this possible?
The beginning of questioning that false childhood story started with my own false belief instantly changing.
This moment of thinking I would die was the beginning of my new story and shift. A shift into a new story I would create on MY TERMS.
A story and belief I was worthy of.
A story of worthiness we all deserve.
Awareness is the Key
The first step to healing my childhood story was awareness.
I had to learn that my story was not true because there were too many inconsistencies in it and it didn’t fit anymore with who I was becoming now in this moment.
I had to teach myself awareness of being in the moment and conscious of my thoughts and behaviors. Awareness is a skill every single person has.
I read the life-changing book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza, who is a neuroscientist, Researcher of epigenetics and quantum physics. In Joe Dispenza’s book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, he says that 90% of the thoughts we think are the same thoughts we thought the day before, the day before that, and the day before that one.
This was my aha moment, as I’d never heard of this before. So, I decided to test this by observing my thoughts. And guess what? Dr. Dispenza was right. It was true.
Teaching myself awareness
Observation skills are fundamental in getting to know yourself and your thoughts.
When we can look at situations in new and different ways, it enables us to make necessary changes.
I’ve had to teach myself awareness by observing my thought process.
Observing my thoughts helped me evaluate how I think, behave, and eventually react to every problem I encounter daily.
Observing your thoughts and emotions helps create your new story.
Observing your thoughts and emotions may not come easily or naturally because our minds are used to the same old beliefs and feelings we’ve had forever.
I started by observing my thoughts and reactions and then writing these down. I would ask myself, “Is this thought true? What is your evidence? What is my limiting belief?”.
Questioning this story, these beliefs created by those broken people, was my game changer. Questioning these untrue beliefs created my new story of worthiness, strength, and how I viewed myself.
Our thoughts hold the key to that untrue story, but our awareness has power then our questions change that story.
What do we do when a painful childhood memory comes up? Do we ignore the painful memory? Do we stuff the painful memory down with food, drugs, alcohol, sex, overworking, toxic relationships, starving ourselves, people pleasing, and saving others? What do we do if multiple painful childhood memories flood in at once?
This episode was inspired by my client who didn’t want to remember her painful childhood. Little did I know a flood of childhood memories would happen after our encounter. Memories of my father always using alcohol, drugs, weed, cigarettes, etc. Memories of him giving me alcohol when I was 3 years old. Memories of my father teaching me to cope with stress with any substance you can get your hands on–every single night.
I recorded this episode as I was sifting through these memories. My goal is to help others shift through their painful memories as well. These memories are coming up for a reason. I am grateful for my painful memories coming to the surface because I NOW have the choice of what to do with them.
Connect with Christine for Mental Health Discussions and Tools for Recovery:
Welcome back to episode 37, part TWO! Dr. Perkins and I continue our conversation about the importance of Spirituality in Mental Health recovery.
Jack Perkins is a licensed professional counselor and the founder of Psuche Education Counseling & Coaching Services. He has a heart to help others discover the secret to living a fulfilled life by integrating their spirituality into every area of their lives. He’s seen first hand how the integration of spirituality into healthcare is important in the recovery process.
Why integrating spirituality into healthcare is important
Why people turned to prayer after Sept 11
Spirituality gives people hope and helps them cope with depression
Why Christine went into nursing
World Health Organization states spirituality is a pillar of healthcare
Low Percentage of doctors assessing spirituality with patients
Importance of spirituality assessment in healthcare
Providers need to assess their spiritual health first
Provider bias with patients’ religions and spiritual beliefs
Jack’s touching story of helping grieving parents whose baby just died
Connect with Christine for Mental Health Discussions and Tools for Recovery:
Dr. Jack Perkins, Founder of Psuche Education, Counseling & Coaching Services in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
What is YOUR definition of Spirituality?
In this episode (part one), Dr. Jack Perkins and I talk about the power of Spirituality. The power of finding meaning in our childhood suffering.
Dr. Perkins tells his personal story of suffering first. His story of childhood suffering touched me deeply. I know it will touch you deeply as well.
My guest today is Dr. Jack Perkins. Jack is the founder of Psuche Education, Counseling & Coaching Services in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma. Jack is an ordained minister, conference speaker, licensed counselor, certified life coach, and sexual addiction counselor.
Spirituality has been a huge part of my inner & outer healing.
Spirituality has been a huge part of my Long-COVID healing. Spirituality has deepened my connection with my friends and family, and my connection with clients. Spirituality led me to discover my inner worthiness and love for myself I was never taught in childhood.
Evidence-based research shows integrating spirituality decreases anxiety and depression symptoms. Neuroscientific research shows the practice of mindfulness, the brain’s cortex literally grows, with an increase in grey matter and more gyrification (Spencer, 2012).
What is your Story? What Story have you been telling yourself since childhood? What is the constant story running in your head?
Today’s episode is about My Story. The Story I’ve been telling myself since childhood. A story built by broken people AKA my Parents.
The purpose of today’s episode is to help Empower You to create a new story.
I share techniques that work for me. You deserve to feel good in your story.
I first began observing my thoughts and emotions. “What am I feeling?” Then ask yourself where does this feeling come from? Is it real? Is it based on fact? Is it based on a memory or an emotion from childhood? Is this a belief? What is the evidence that supports this belief? Are there any other points of view that might support this belief? What would someone who loves me say about this belief? Would they agree with me or disagree with me? What can I do today to support myself in making changes toward becoming healthier emotionally and spiritually?
Why Witnessing Injustice on a Daily Basis was Necessary for My Purpose and Calling
By: Christine Zethraus, PMHNP-BC
Growing up and being raised partly by a loud, obnoxious, alcoholic, drug fueled, racist father was draining. I am a lover by nature so having a parent who was the extreme opposite of myself was challenging to say the least. My father and I were polar opposites in our approach to life. He was harsh, crass, vulgar, and forceful. I am pensive, reflective, laid back, and try to see things from many perspectives.
I ask a lot of questions. I crave truth and seek the other side of the story. My father made a lot of assumptions about others. And built his stubborn house there.
Beginning of My Gratitude for my Racist Father…
Now, don’t get me wrong. I can be loud, relentless, in your face, challenging, and forceful when it comes to unfair treatment of others. This is where my gratitude for my racist father begins. He taught me sometimes IT IS necessary to get loud when you are fighting for what you believe in. It is necessary to be vocally forceful. Sometimes your approach is needs to be challenging and drain others I suppose.
Unfortunately, I can also have these same qualities when I feel personally betrayed in romantic relationships…ugh.
That story for another time. (hint: daddy issues)
Hearing the N-Word was Essential in my Childhood…
Hearing my Father say the N-Word constantly was absolutely necessary to my upbringing. Watching my father scream racist remarks to folks minding their own business driving by was imperative. Observing violence and constantly feeling fear in my Father’s presence was essential to my childhood. Being afraid of the person, parent, father figure, family member who looked like me was fundamental.
My Purpose in this Life…
Why in the world would I ever say such a thing? Why would I say my Father’s violent behaviors and racist mindset were an essential part of my childhood?
I would never have cared about any other issues outside of my own race, culture, economic status, education, and upbringing had I not experienced my racist Father’s wrath of misguided hate towards others. Along with his misguided hate towards me at times. Being front lines to daily injustice shaped who I am. Shaped my mission in this world.
I had to physically feel injustice. I had to emotionally feel injustice. I had to intellectually feel injustice. I had to encompass the enormity of all sides of to care, ask questions, reflect about the Injustices of different races, cultures, economic statuses, education and healthcare disparities. I HAD to experience, witness, feel the hate and fear of it all in order for ME to see the multiple sides of the injustice coin.
I find solutions by seeking other’s truth, ask questions, and do my best to see it all from many perspectives.
What does the word adversity mean to you? Chris Allen is the definition of overcoming adversity.
A powerful follow up conversation with my new friend Chris Allen. His honesty, vulnerability, transparency, and directness about his difficult childhood filled with abuse and chaos inspires me to be more vulnerable and transparent about my own story.
Chris and I tell discuss losing our virginity at a young age, Chris’s former approach to sex and intimacy before meeting his beautiful wife, and his father’s suspicious suicide. And the weird thing Chris and I have in common! Find out the ONE question Chris COULD NOT answer at the end.
This episode left me speechless. It is not often I meet someone who’s childhood has similarities to mine. Much less someone who is as direct and transparent about the value of having a traumatic childhood , how reframing our conditioned perspective of our painful past is where your power lies and shows our true purpose.
My honest no-holds-barred conversation with Chris Allen, CEO & Co-Founder of Advanced Computing and Technology, Athlete, Father, Husband, former prisoner turned Advocate, about his Journey of Reframing Conditioned Views of Male Strength is a game changer. How beautiful for two people who barely know one another to instantly trust & feel safe in sharing their dysfunctional childhood resulting in seeking love in toxic relationships, multiple sex partners, and choices altering our destiny forever.
Society tells us that men should be “strong”, the head of the family, the one that we can lean on, the one who has all the answers, the one who won’t hurt you, the one who will rescue you. Then women, such as myself, become disappointed when men do not live up to this misguided societal conditioning.
The purpose of today’s episode is to start reframing our misguided conditioned beliefs about male strength.
Thank You Chris Allen for trusting the listeners with your story. Thank you for being honest about your own mistakes you made in past relationships. Thank you Chris for being vulnerable. You are a role model in male vulnerability.
Chris Allen is a role model in Male Vulnerability. Male Vulnerability is the VERY definition of Male Strength.