A few months ago I read a book entitled Healing from Childhood Abuse: Understanding the Effects. Taking Control to Recover. In this book Dr. John Lemoncelli describes the effects of abuse and the abuse itself as a parasite that slowly eats away at its host. He discusses how the parasite must be located and eradicated. He also discusses the effects of this parasite stating that the self or ego begins to fragment. I was curious what this fragmentation was and what it looked like, so I contacted him through his website. This was a seemingly benign question, but his response to me stated that he must talk with me to answer in context. Little did I know he would examine my life and give me examples of my own fragmentation over the phone for a little over an hour and a half.
Photo by Ning Shi on Unsplash
I have discussed before about the peril of all or nothing thinking, but I had no idea that this all or nothing thinking was really the fragmentation of self. All or nothing thinking is the opposite of seeing gray areas in your life. In all or nothing thinking if I make one mistake I am a failure.
I explained to Dr. Lemoncelli that I do not view myself as very intelligent, and he asked me to think about that statement. He told me that no one graduates with a Masters degree by being stupid. I also discussed my lack of pride in myself, but upon further questioning I was able to tell him that one of my proudest moments was giving the commencement speech in 2008. He again pointed out that you don’t get that honor by being either “bad” or stupid.
In my discussion with him, the topic of perfection also came up. I have to be perfect. I have this extremely high standard for myself. He laughed at me and said he was happy to talk with God. In essence, I want to be perfect but I see myself as perfectly bad. He told me that perfection belongs to God alone. Not even Satan is perfectly evil. He is a fallen angel. There was good in him. No matter how hard I try, I will never be all good. Nor will I ever be all bad. I believe this in my head, but getting it to my heart is a whole different issue. Sometimes the decisions I have made seem far too paralyzing. Perhaps this is the origin of the parasite part of the effects of trauma.
The parasite is what keeps the all or nothing thinking so relevant and in the forefront of the mind. For me, this parasite is that I caused the trauma I am attempting to work through. I am petrified to talk about what actually happened. I am convinced someone else will see me the way I see myself. And again, all or nothing thinking has me believing that I am the sum of my mistakes and therefore a mistake.
In contrast, this blog has been an escape from the all or nothing thinking. This blog allows me to be honest about what I think without caring what others think. That is progress. All or nothing thinking says there is no progress. There is no change. My “self” of today is very different from the “self” of nine months ago. My Psychologist and I discuss this somewhat frequently, so I don’t get trapped in all or nothing thinking. I am grateful for both Dr. Lemoncelli and my Psychologist for the recent microscopic analysis of my thinking and beliefs. I am slowly walking away from this negative thinking pattern.
3 thoughts on “The Analysis”
I am so proud of you and all your accomplishments. I love you so much.
I am the all or jothing type person as well. I read a book last year called Present Over Perfect. I think not only do I have the failure mentality you seem to be processing too, but I think that the all or nothing is actually based on proving myself. Which boils down to my worth. I have the will and determination to prove myself to those that abandoned me. So much to still heal from here too.
Thank you for sharing. I hope your journey is as rewarding as mine. Keep trusting the process!