a life script: earthquake

I find working with Life Scripts extremely fascinating. And here is why:

Picture this day, the 6th of May 1976, North Italy. I am 8 years old at the time.

I go to school during the morning; dad picks me up and we are having lunch together at the barracks were he works; when we finish and go out dad notices some dead irises along a narrow stream nearby, flowers which were alive when we got there before lunch; dad talks to me about the nature of things, and death, and the caducity of life… and as a kid I can only feel a sense of impending doom; we go home to get changed but I feel scared so I follow my gut feeling and hide my favourite doll under a desk; we leave home and travel 30 km south to meet with mum and my younger sister; we go shopping and buy some new uniforms for dad; we meet with granddad and uncle and have dinner all together in a restaurant; the evening doesn’t feel serene and I remember arguments.

At a certain point, around 9pm, an earthquake. A strong one. A bad one. A dangerous one. Everybody screams and leaves, but for granddad and me. He tells me to keep on eating. I remember being so scared I was shaking. I feel abandoned and desperate. But granddad repeats that ‘this is life, and you just get on with it’. Later on in the car mum cries, sister cries, and I can physically sense sadness and drama. But I have survived.

friuli-1976

The 6.5 quake was centred on the town of Gemona del Friuli; it killed 939 people, injured  over 2,400, and left 157,000 homeless. It killed also my best friend; and most of my school friends. My dad started dying that day.

I survived. I am a survivor.

And this is how it happens: I have always thought I was a survivor, and that I should be grateful for it. As a kid I could not understand exactly what was going on, but children create their own stories: I survived because this and this and then this happened.

I survived because this and this and then this happened. A series, a specific sequence of events.

  1. I go to school (good girl)
  2. I feel impending doom & ending & death
  3. I experience mysticism
  4. I feel attached to objects
  5. I spend money for other people
  6. Arguments with family / uneasiness / not serene
    1. earthquake
  7. Abandonment + fatalism + ‘get on with it’

And now I can see how the pattern repeated itself in most of my life:

  1. I am a Perfect Daughter, so I act as a Good Girl
  2. I feel impending doom, weird sensation that the status quo is about to end
  3. I turn to mysticism / religion straight away
  4. I get very attached to objects / the story / … attached in general!
  5. I start spending money to compensate / attract
  6. Arguments begin >>> end!
  7. I leave with the sense of ‘It would have ended anyway!’ (fatalism / self fulfilling prophesy)
    1. + life is hard / shit
    2. + I just have to get on with it
    3. + I will survive / make it anyway

So, while as a child, I subconsciously thought that I survived only because of the sequence of events of that specific traumatic day, as an adult I repeat the same sequence of events over and over and over again – so that I can continually prove to myself that I can survive.

At this point I have a choice, don’t I? What if I start asking myself these questions*?

  1. What changes do I want / wish for in order to enhance my life?
    1. I do not want to feel a survivor any more, I want to thrive
  2. How will I need to change to get what I want / wish for?
    1. I don’t have to leave, I have to stay and speak my mind with honesty. Because when I don’t either I leave (survive) or I go back to pleasing and being a Good Girl which then leads me back to the beginning of the cycle again.
  3. What needs to happen for me to make this change?
    1. I need to be courageous enough to speak up
  4. What am I willing to do in order to make this change?
    1. Be vulnerable and risk.
  5. How might I sabotage myself?
    1. I might say to myself that it’s not that important, that even if I speak things won’t change, people won’t listen, people won’t understand, I made it before so I can make it even now,…
  6. How will I and others know when I have made the change?
    1. I will be assertive and won’t compromise unless it really suits me
  7. How will I reward myself for making the change?
    1. I really have to think about it… I feel a hint of sabotaging creeping in just now (!) … I may give myself permission to journal and be artistic without judging myself 
  8. What will I do in my life after I have made the changes?
    1. I will have gained respect; and I will live and thrive ♥

 

… I will live and thrive ♥…

So, what’s your life script?

 

* http://www.ta-psychotherapy.co.uk/pdf/101.pdf – p.21
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