As a little girl, I can't tell you how many times my mother told me, "Don't be ridiculous," when I voiced my truth. I didn’t know it then, but I was being taught by my parents and other authority figures not to trust my inner knowing.
My mother was a screamer. If I said, "Mommy, why are you angry at me?" she would yell back, "Don't be ridiculous. I'm not angry." When I shied away from an uncle's seductive energy and slobbery kisses, my mother said, "Don't be ridiculous. Your uncle loves you." When I told my mother that I wasn't cold, she said, "Don't be ridiculous. It's cold outside."
Of course, I eventually stopped telling my mother how I felt. But she wasn't the only one who trivialized my intuition. It happened with teachers as well. Over time, I stopped trusting what I knew.
It even happened with psychotherapists who tried to impose their views on me instead of helping me learn to trust myself. So, I stopped listening to myself. I started to rely on others to tell me what was true, real, and important.
In addition to being taught that my opinion wasn’t reliable, I learned that men were smarter than women. So, I made my husband the authority over me and ignored my own inner truth. But I could do this for only so long. The cognitive dissonance caused by substituting someone else’s beliefs for my own was too great, and I became ill.