Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Jennifer Jill Schwirzer
Series Code: CLR
Program Code: CLR00091A
00:11 Welcome to Celebrating Life In Recovery.
00:13 I'm Cheri your host and we are going to talk with Jennifer
00:16 today, Jennifer were going to talk about
00:17 never feeling good enough.
00:19 So come join us, if that is your issue you're going
00:21 to have a blast.
00:50 You know I would like to start this program a little bit
00:52 different way is that last Sabbath I was at church and
00:56 I got to hang out with my favorite pastors.
01:00 That is John Lomacang, he is amazing, he's so funny and he
01:03 always has these brilliant things to say.
01:05 But he started the sermon talking about the anatomy of
01:10 a fall, and I thought that was interesting title.
01:15 The anatomy of a fall was a study that he had on
01:18 demolitions, like when some body comes in and they are
01:21 going to blow up a building.
01:23 They have to take a coliseum down or they have to take
01:26 a stadium down or they have to take an office building
01:29 down that is 18 or 20 stories high.
01:32 You knows strategically they have to set charges in
01:37 different parts of the building to take it down in
01:39 a way that is controlled.
01:43 So it is not just a chaotic thing, you just don't go
01:45 and nuke it, you know.
01:47 I would think you would put some dynamite in different
01:51 parts and blow it up, but you don't because usually
01:54 there's buildings on either side and so you really have
01:56 to have it fall a certain way.
01:58 In fact on some buildings there is a natural lean in the
02:02 building and they will take advantage of that lean and
02:06 set charges so that the entire building goes down in the
02:09 way of that lean.
02:11 And by the time they are done it is amazing,
02:14 all you have is this little pile of rubble.
02:16 You could have 18 stories, but you have this little pile of
02:20 rubble and it looks like, are you kidding me.
02:23 At one time you watched video of a sports stadium going
02:28 down and it went down almost like an orchestra thing,
02:31 it went down like in a spiral.
02:33 Starting from the outside all the way to the inside it
02:37 fell and again in a little pile of rubble.
02:40 In our recovery, I want you to think about this,
02:43 throughout your life the devil sets charges up and it
02:47 is a strategic thing, he knows where your weaknesses are.
02:50 He knows where you're going to lean and he knows what
02:53 our natural tendencies are going to be.
02:55 He sets the charge right there and at the best time those
03:00 charges are off and you are down.
03:03 The people around you aren't even going to be touched.
03:05 They're not even going to notice what happened to that guy?
03:08 This was not an overnight thing, this was something that
03:11 happened throughout your life and what God is saying,
03:15 I love what God is saying, don't let that happen.
03:18 Jump into a relationship with Me and I will be your
03:22 strength, to those weak spots, I will strengthen
03:26 those weak spots and when that charge goes off, nothing.
03:29 It will not even affect you because I will take that spot.
03:32 I will take that hit for you and you will be safe.
03:36 So what we are going to talk about today is not just one
03:39 event, not just one part of an addiction, not just one
03:43 part of sadness or injury or whatever.
03:46 We're going to talk about the strategy in this person's
03:50 life that brought her to a place where she almost fell.
03:54 But luckily, she didn't and I love that.
03:58 So Jill I want to say welcome to the program.
04:01 I'm glad you are here because knowing a little bit about
04:03 your story, but not all of it.
04:05 So I'm going to ask you and we are going to talk about
04:08 even from the beginning, long before the stuff you dealt with
04:13 that is so obvious to everybody.
04:15 We are going to talk about what you think started it or maybe
04:19 even kicked in those weak areas of your life?
04:21 Oh boy, that is such a big question.
04:22 I know, can you shrink it down just a little bit?
04:25 Yeah, where were you born? - okay!
04:29 Is that little enough? All right, all right.
04:31 Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio at the time were in the Cuyahoga
04:35 River was so polluted that it caught on fire.
04:37 Wow, wow, so you and I have known each other for a while.
04:43 I don't know any part of your growing up other than you
04:47 went through that whole hippie thing. - yeah I did,
04:49 but that was later. Okay.
04:51 So I would say I was raised in a real idyllic home,
04:54 at least outwardly speaking.
04:56 You know it looks good, my parents stayed married and
04:59 that is rare anymore and there was enough money,
05:02 we weren't in poverty, we were educated, we went through
05:05 the public school system.
05:06 We went to church, nice family boy, girl, boy, girl.
05:11 My mom couldn't get pregnant for a while so it was perfect
05:14 in many ways we were evenly spaced.
05:16 Everybody was relatively healthy and nobody had any
05:20 I would say serious learning disabilities or anything like
05:22 that so outwardly speaking we were like the Walton's or
05:26 the Brady Bunch but without the remarriage factor.
05:30 But in a way that made it even more difficult.
05:34 Because anybody looking in just says wow I would like to be
05:38 that family. Well for years when I was struggling with my
05:41 recovery I was saying what was wrong with you?
05:42 You had such a better life than people like Cheri Peters.
05:45 Look at your life and people with similar testimonies as
05:49 yours and I would say you have no excuse, you have
05:51 nothing that explains how you ended up where you ended up.
05:55 So even with all that normalcy, all that household where
06:05 everyone is fine and all that stuff, what's the feeling?
06:09 Did you have feelings of insecurity, were you sad?
06:14 It sounds like with all that there was something that
06:17 started really early.
06:19 Things are really good as a little girl, I have to say
06:22 there is a lot to be said for an intact home.
06:25 You know poverty tends to be a problem, wealth can be
06:29 a problem because it tends to separate families, but that
06:32 middle-class lifestyle is a very good lifestyle in terms
06:35 of the growing up years so I had a really good childhood.
06:38 I have many good memories but I would say, here's how
06:43 I would say it, that the relational skills, the bonding
06:47 skills that my parents possessed were not sufficient to
06:50 get us through adolescence.
06:53 So now you got a, I'm like what?
06:55 You are, hold on, hold on, you are a psychotherapist for
07:00 a living now, and so right now somebody is out there going
07:03 what did she just say? So turn that into regular language.
07:08 Connect, we didn't connect on a level or at a depth that
07:12 it was good for childhood but then when I went through
07:16 adolescence the attachment didn't hold.
07:20 So family became or my relationships specifically
07:23 with my parents became fractured during those years
07:26 when your hormones start rolling, and boyfriends
07:29 came into the picture.
07:30 Let me just interpret for her, because she is having
07:33 a hard time telling it. - Wrong? - No not wrong?
07:36 But even what is interesting is with families like that
07:40 everything seems to be going well or whatever and it's
07:43 like all of a sudden I actually need to know where your
07:47 heart is and that your heart is towards me and you're connected
07:50 to me and all that stuff is real and we know how to do
07:53 that and it has to be more tangible.
07:56 At that time you find out that maybe people were not as
08:01 comfortable with loving each other and maybe we weren't as
08:05 connected as we thought we were.
08:07 I don't know where it started, or why it started, or why
08:10 it is happening but right now I just feel like
08:12 I'm floundering, I don't know who I am. I don't know
08:15 how to connect anymore.
08:17 Yes, So specifically like my dad and I, my dad is a strong
08:20 personality, in fact I have inherited a lot of his traits.
08:23 I'm a lot like him, very strong leadership tendencies.
08:29 I like to organize people, to organize things.
08:32 It is a standing joke in our family when we get ready to
08:34 go on a trip to Florida and he had to pack the car.
08:37 When he packed the car every body else knew to just
08:40 stand by and observe silently, nobody tried to help him
08:44 or anything because he had a very specific way he was
08:46 doing it and so we would get in the car and go off.
08:49 My dad was like that, he was very particular and had
08:53 strong leadership tendencies but that sometimes translated
08:56 to him being bossy at controlling of the kids.
08:59 - and you're not doing it right. - yeah, and that
09:01 yeah and that worked out fine when I was little for
09:05 the most part, I have some memories of my dad censuring or
09:08 being harder on me for things that he could have let go.
09:13 But nothing huge or terrible or awful, just a feeling
09:19 I would say, a basic feeling of him not accepting me,
09:23 or wondering if he really likes me and then I got into
09:26 adolescence and become very clear he really didn't,
09:29 because of some of the choices I was making.
09:32 Let me just say, what do you think about this?
09:34 You are looking at underlying themes during this whole
09:37 season and sometimes high expectations and all that
09:40 stuff in households are very much unspoken.
09:44 When they are unspoken it makes it to where, for a child
09:48 what you know all the time is not enough, I'm just not
09:51 enough. - the atmosphere of, and I would say since
09:55 I've gotten into the counseling field, I notice that
09:58 a lot of families that have it outwardly together seem
10:01 to do well that have good incomes and intact marriages
10:04 and so forth, and they function pretty well.
10:06 There is often a spirit of criticism in the family
10:09 where people do not feel accepted.
10:11 It seems to me that is even worse in families that are
10:15 outwardly together, I can't prove that.
10:18 - that's the sense you have.
10:20 I think that was what was happening when I was growing up
10:23 is the spirit of criticism was there and me feeling over
10:26 sensitive, a very sensitive individual and me feeling
10:30 sensitive about that.
10:33 So coming into adolescence with that problem already in
10:38 place - and the hormones - and then you meet the guy and
10:42 he thinks you are just wonderful and you're not really
10:46 well attached to your father, then you attach to this guy
10:50 and he supplies the place that an attachment to your
10:55 father would have supplied and its disastrous
10:58 from there on out.
10:59 You see that as love and that's what I've been starving
11:02 for. - yes and I remember coming home one night, it
11:06 was actually funny because my boyfriend and I, and I had
11:09 been going out with the same guy for three years and
11:11 we were like attached at the hip.
11:13 We got into a lot of trouble together and did a lot of
11:15 things that my parents didn't know about, involving
11:18 drugs and sex and all that stuff.
11:20 But this one particular night we went to a bird sanctuary.
11:24 We were really into nature and we were into riding our
11:26 bikes because we didn't have cars yet.
11:28 So we're riding our bike's and we parked our bikes in the
11:31 bushes and climbed over the fence of this bird sanctuary.
11:34 We went walking in the bird sanctuary holding hands,
11:36 I mean it was so innocent, I was even - how romantic.
11:40 I know it's was great and I was riding home and I thinking wow,
11:44 we didn't even do anything terribly sinful tonight.
11:45 We are so innocent here.
11:47 Well amazingly the cops pulled me over on the way home
11:51 and they had seen our bicycles in the bushes and
11:54 they pulled him over to on his way home because
11:56 we went two separate ways.
11:57 So the cop put my bike on his car and got me in the back
12:01 seat and drove me home and escorted me to the door
12:03 and told my dad what had happened and so I sat for half
12:07 an hour while my dad screamed at me about
12:10 this boy he couldn't stand.
12:11 I don't like him at all and I don't like it one bit.
12:14 I don't like his long hair and I know you're up to no
12:16 good, I mean he shouted at me for half an hour and I just
12:18 stood there like wow. Finally I screamed and ran out of
12:22 the room you know.
12:24 But that was like the blowing of the volcano after such
12:29 a low level percolating for years.
12:33 So finally somebody said it out loud. - yeah.
12:36 - this right now is being spoken, I'm screaming and
12:40 dad's screaming - and I would say it there was a pattern
12:43 in our home of not saying any thing until it got to a certain
12:47 point and then blowing.
12:49 So was an all or nothing communication pattern.
12:51 Usually it was attended by a lot of criticism and put down
12:56 and that type of thing whereas if we had sat down and
12:59 talked through things.
13:00 I don't really feel quite right about this boy you're
13:03 dating talk to me about him, and what is he really like?
13:05 What are you guys doing when you're together?
13:07 If it could of been like that it would've been
13:08 a different thing.
13:09 Instead of a lot like a pressure cooker all
13:11 the time, there was always pressure and nobody could point
13:14 to it. - exactly, it was always brewing, it was always
13:17 there and it will blow once in awhile.
13:19 Then things will calm down and we would think everything
13:21 was okay now, but it wasn't okay because
13:24 we weren't communicating.
13:25 I wish that somehow, with really outward dysfunction
13:29 you can point to it like crazy, but this is more common
13:33 than the outward dysfunction.
13:35 The family that argues is more typical.
13:37 - and most people can't point to it.
13:39 That's right but as a counselor I work with stuff like
13:42 that all the time where people are maybe outwardly looking
13:45 okay but they are having disasters in the relationships
13:48 in the home and trying to teach them how to communicate.
13:51 How to actually sit down and talk through an issue without
13:54 blowing their stack.
13:55 Once you learned that it's amazing, once you learn that
14:00 it's amazing. So during that time you jumped into drugs,
14:04 alcohol, relationships and all that stuff.
14:06 It was during the time that a lot of people were taken
14:10 that jump, the hippie time.
14:13 I'm going to date myself here but it was during the
14:16 Ashbury hippie days in the 70s and 80s.
14:18 I could picture you there - totally, okay.
14:20 People have told me that, okay so anyway I do bathe
14:24 so just reassuring you, I'm really into hygiene so I have
14:28 some similarity with hippies and some dissimilarities.
14:33 So yet was during that time, I was the kind of kid coming
14:38 into the peer environment I couldn't be with the kids,
14:42 I couldn't hang with the kids that were on the sidelines,
14:47 I had to run with the fast horses.
14:48 I was the kind of kid that whoever was the coolest,
14:51 whoever was the most outrageous I had to be friends with
14:54 them, I was drawn to people like that.
14:56 Do you know why? Do I are you asking me that? - yes.
15:00 You tell me you know why? - no do you know why?
15:02 Oh do I know why, - don't interpret my question she's
15:05 definitely a therapist, I'm like I just asked a question.
15:11 So I think it's probably temperament, part of it,
15:14 probably compensating you know.
15:17 Because just listening to you I'm thinking that as soon as
15:21 you got out and the pressure was lifted I would have went
15:25 crazy, and it sounds like, see we never had pressure in my
15:28 home, my dad would be gone like, you want some of this.
15:32 So is a whole different thing. - I wish for experiences
15:36 like that where we would talk about let's try to
15:38 get my mom high.
15:39 Because you're relaxed. - there's a rumor in my family
15:42 that my mom smoked pot with her friends and we just all
15:45 cracked up about that and laugh because
15:47 We would've loved it.
15:49 So when you got out you just kind of said I'm not going
15:52 to put myself under that kind of pressure, I'm going to
15:55 do whatever I want to do.
15:56 Here's another factor, when I was 10 years old we moved
16:00 from a really idyllic sweet, quaint little town in Ohio
16:04 to a more Cosmopolitan area in Milwaukee,
16:08 Wisconsin, should I say what that word means?
16:11 City, citified, it wasn't urban but it was just a racier
16:17 neighborhood, let's put it that way and more influences
16:22 from the city and the kids were way, way more
16:25 sophisticated, and way, way more edgy and racy than the
16:29 town I came from.
16:31 So I came to school first-day wearing these little white
16:34 ankle socks and a long billowing dress and I was 10.
16:38 The girls were all wearing short skirts and nylon
16:41 stockings and they were all done up.
16:45 I was immediately ostracized a nerd.
16:49 So one thing led to another and again I wanted to run
16:53 with the fast horses and to make friends with the kids
16:57 that were on the edge so I fell in with the crowd.
17:01 But they were so mean and so cruel and at one point
17:04 we were reading, this was interesting because we were
17:07 reading the book the Lord Of the Flies, I don't know
17:09 if you know that book.
17:11 It's a book about a bunch of kids that crash on an island,
17:13 a soccer team are some that crash on an island and they
17:16 basically turn into animals and preying upon one another.
17:18 There is one of them like a good kid, and they are just
17:20 about to kill him when the book ends and the Coast Guard
17:23 comes, so that it is this whole book about the animal
17:26 within each of us.
17:28 I'm going through that very thing on the playground as we
17:31 are reading this book. So again on with this group of kids
17:35 and they would turn on a person, it was a very strange
17:38 pattern, but they would pick one person and turn on them.
17:41 Like they'd have this kind of feeding frenzy.
17:43 So at one point they turned on me and decided that they
17:46 were going to abuse me and they drug me out to the baseball
17:49 diamond and I went through sexual and physical abuse at
17:52 the hands of a bunch of girls, it was very bizarre.
17:55 This was with guys watching on.
17:57 It's interesting because the girl that was the ringleader
18:00 recently contacted me because one of our mutual friends
18:03 had died and she wanted to send me some things that were
18:06 hers, all those feelings came up again.
18:09 The Lord got a hold of me again to forgive but.
18:13 Did she ever mention anything? Now she talks to me
18:16 now like we're old friends and say I got married but it
18:19 didn't work out, had two sons in running a bed and
18:21 breakfast and blah, blah, blah.
18:23 But I'm like having all these emotional responses, but it
18:26 was really terrible, it was terrible.
18:29 You know the common thing for the last few years is
18:32 bullying, and you're saying that it has always been
18:36 around. - oh yeah. - I think people would be surprised
18:39 and how intense it is and how ugly it is.
18:43 When you are the kid that is being focused on that it can
18:47 almost destroy you. - yeah exactly, grass matted
18:51 into my hair, mud all over my face was red with crying.
18:55 I still remember the dress I had on and what they did
18:59 every detail of the event.
19:01 So I went through that it was a severe, I was put on the
19:06 margin socially because of that and I felt like
19:09 an outcast socially.
19:10 I don't have this real strong bond at home, I don't have
19:13 the kind of relationship with my parents were I can go
19:16 home and say this awful thing happened to me, help me.
19:19 I had that with my kids so now I can make a comparison and
19:22 say I wish I had that.
19:24 Yeah because what you did was not talk about it to anyone.
19:27 And there was a reason why, if you tell your parents they
19:30 do something about it then you get more attacked by the
19:33 kids so there was a reason for that but on the other hand
19:36 if the bond had been close enough I would have told them
19:39 and we would've worked together towards a solution.
19:42 - Exactly - you know so I didn't tell my parents
19:46 because I didn't want them to say my friends were bad.
19:48 I really wanted those kids to like me and accept me.
19:51 - exactly and you know Jennifer what I want to say is
19:54 I've known you over the years and didn't
19:56 know that about you.
19:57 I want to just say I would like to care for that, just as
20:01 your friend, I don't know how I'm going to do that other
20:05 then just praying that if there is anything left from
20:08 that incident that God brings a place for you.
20:12 Well I tell you I think it did impact me and I am really
20:15 into cognitive behavior of real therapy now that I am in
20:18 this mental health field, I still get triggered.
20:21 I don't have a lot of fear of it happening a lot,
20:24 I'm pretty confident around people, but occasionally I get
20:28 around someone who I sense is just feels they are better
20:30 than me and that I'm going to get condemned by them.
20:33 I just sense it, and it all comes back to me.
20:36 Especially if there is any kind of banding together,
20:39 like if people are talking to one another about me
20:42 it triggers me and I go into orbit.
20:44 It is almost overwhelming and I had to fly to Jesus and
20:47 say all the CBT in the world is not going to fix it,
20:50 I just need you Jesus to get me through this.
20:53 I'll stay away from them at least for now.
20:55 I love what you're say because a lot of us when we are
20:58 fighting for our recovery, were turning it over to God
21:01 and doing all that stuff, but triggers are triggers are
21:03 triggers and we can end up being that kid
21:06 on the playground, that quick.
21:08 You know sometimes, and I don't know if this is right but
21:11 I just avoid certain people because I just know being
21:14 around them, or I avoid certain situations with certain
21:17 people, not very many it's not like it's a whole bunch of
21:20 people, but there are certain people that are toxic
21:24 combination and I just realized that I can't push it too
21:28 far and I have to accept my limitations.
21:30 It's incredible important at this point in your recovery,
21:33 is that you have the right to do that.
21:35 I used to exactly, used to be I have to get them to
21:38 accept you, I have to prove your okay, or a least you have
21:42 to learn how to relax around them and how to be okay.
21:45 Now I just say, I don't, I don't have to feel all right
21:47 around them, there might be something wrong with them.
21:50 I might be picking up on something, I'm not going to
21:53 condemn them, maybe Lord hasn't talked to them yet
21:56 about that but I'm going to accept it,
21:57 it is not working right now.
21:59 - exactly so you went from that to?
22:01 So I went from that to then I got more into high school
22:05 and then the boyfriend came so I had that trauma to my
22:10 very core, my self worth, my self esteem and then I got
22:15 into high school and this guy came along and fixed all my
22:18 self esteem problems, because he thought I was beautiful
22:21 great and wonderful and fascinating.
22:24 But somebody has to hear this, somebody has to hear
22:27 this more than you hear anything else is that when we
22:31 fix our stuff outside of us, it's always going to bite us
22:35 eventually. - Amen! - what is really cool is you got
22:39 that Band-Aid - for the time - for the time.
22:43 But then it created a worse, a worse wound in the long
22:46 run because when you get too involved emotionally and
22:49 physically too young you are not old enough.
22:52 You're in high school and not committed... it creates,
22:56 it just hurts people. - and it's not easy to fix, all
23:00 our damage and stuff, Jesus says let me fix your wound
23:04 and your heart and let Me stand you up so you are whole
23:08 before you reach out.
23:09 That's what we miss, that whole step.
23:11 Can I bring in a teeny bit of theology here? - yeah.
23:15 Okay so in the Garden of Eden the original sin was the
23:18 apple right? The original sin or, the original sin or
23:21 the first sin after the fall was fig leaves, the first thing
23:25 they did was made fig leaves which is self fixing
23:27 like you're talking about.
23:28 The Bible says that, I think it's Isaiah 64 where all
23:32 our righteousness, and He puts it in a plural,
23:34 are filthy rags, here's my thing.
23:36 I just see this in the mental health field that people try
23:39 to fix themselves - they grab a rag - that's right
23:42 and that's literally menstrual cloth which is really
23:45 shocking, but when people try to fix themselves the self
23:50 fix is in of themselves is sinful and sin hurts people.
23:54 So when we engage in a sinful self fixes we end up
23:58 deepening the wound and that is exactly what happened.
24:01 But it was in total ignorance at this point, I wasn't
24:04 a Christian and I didn't know anything about people or
24:07 how they function, the do's and don'ts or what was right.
24:10 You just knew I felt better when I'm in a relationship.
24:14 I feel better when I'm smoking some weed.
24:17 I feel better when I'm not having to just think
24:20 about all the stuff.
24:21 And my dad would say, my dad was someone who's father had
24:26 told him to sow his wild oats before he got married.
24:29 In other words go around and have some immoral relationships
24:32 and then get married.
24:34 My dad chose to wait until he was married, he had that
24:37 much sort of innate morality in him.
24:40 So he would preach that to me, my father told me this but
24:45 I waited and so should you kind of thing.
24:47 Here's a man that I don't have a really good relationship with
24:50 telling me that I shouldn't have a relationship with this
24:53 man that I do have a strong bond with, I just could
24:57 not figure it out.
24:58 It would set you up for rebellion at all kinds of stuff.
25:01 Because then we have to start we rebel, start lying,
25:04 start sneaking around and start doing things then all of
25:08 a sudden we have talked about those charges being set.
25:11 We are going to go ahead take a break, but those charges
25:15 are set really early and for Jennifer's life she learned
25:18 to really early on that there's not some real connection,
25:22 enough that she could hold on to that makes her feel
25:25 safe and okay about herself and finds them in these
25:28 relationships at school and some charges are set.
25:32 So strategically she's being set up for the fall.
25:35 But in her life it doesn't happen so we are going to
25:39 come back and find out why.
25:40 But remember I want you to think about your life.
25:43 Where was that charge set in your life? Is it still
25:46 there? And do you have a protection in your recovery
25:49 because that is the coolest thing, God says let Me
25:51 protect that area because I don't want you to fall.
25:54 It is not in His plan that we fall.
25:56 We'll be right back stay with us!