What are we fighting for?
I got to thinking about what I hope to see at the end of all the re-creating, rebuilding and redefining. What do I hope to accomplish, really? What is the “bigger picture” that is at the end of this road? I don’t mean the end of our lives, but actually the BEGINNING. Afterall, we have been living and breathing. We have been stepping through each of our days but not really fully being alive. It could be that some of us have had a glimpse of being fully “alive”, only to have that ripped away with our hearts, self-esteem and peace, to the brink of tasting what insanity might be like, by a psychopath/narcissist.
At the end of experiencing pure evil in our lives, we are left with everything solid inside and around us, being shattered to microscopic slivers. Our foundation was destroyed as well as boundaries and so many other things. We lost our peace only to have it replaced by anxiety, absolute fear and even PTSD. We don’t have much left to stand on, that is still completely solid…for now. That’s why we need to reaffirm, rebuild, and reestablish the basic things about ourselves. So much still feels like it’s resting on shifting sand, even over a year after…
Part of what we experience at this stage, is we recognize the hard things about ourselves. Those things in us that made us susceptible to and targets for abuse. I’m not talking about those things that make us inerrantly human, such as having a soft heart, a high level of empathy, a strong conscience and so-on. I’m talking about those weaknesses in us, such as co-dependency, the inability to stand up for ourselves, the drive to keep peace even at the detriment to our own well-being and so many other things. The soft parts of our heart that make us human, cause the Psychopath to take notice. It’s the inability to trust our instincts, stand up for ourselves and express our discontent with mis-treatment, that enable the abuse to begin, continue and flourish. Humans are supposed to have a natural “fight or flight” instinct. In women and men like us, that instinct has been skewed and distorted. It’s been twisted either by previous abuse, or some other cause. It doesn’t mean our intuition is stunted, but that our natural reaction to the “survival” mechanism has been replaced by self-doubt, second guessing our own perceptions of what is REALLY going on around us and being frozen in-step as a result. Our instincts, during the relationship with a pathological liar, master manipulator, and conniving jack-ass, are still there. You can probably think back to a time when the hell for you had just started, and your skin began to crawl. When your anxiety quotient was insurmountable. The instinct to get away was still there, but in the psyche of an unhealthy individual, we think, “I know I’m wrong about him.” “I don’t want to say something that ruins something ‘good’ here”. Instead of trusting those instincts, our doubt and second guessing allow the abuser to gain a cornerstone into our lives. He/she builds on it, creating the perfect feeding frenzy for themselves. They thrive on our insecurity, as well as the heightened level of fear they KNOWINGLY produce in us. Instead of standing up for ourselves, or in this case (as with the Psychopath) leaving the situation entirely at the first indicator that the person we “loved” was/is pathological at best, we played homage to the internal dialogue of every victim, “I’m wrong…”.
So…thus begins the journey of healing. The real journey. The hardest steps begin and continue without a good self-help book to aid us. We are all being guided by the knowledge that we can never allow ourselves to endure such abuse again. Some of us considered suicide as the only way to stop it. Others, perhaps for years, decided that they just had to stay in that relationship because they would be “awful” to break up a family, for their (the abuse victim) own benefit. The lie of, “Well, that would just be selfish of me.” was repeating over and over, while the victim was trying to come to grips with and quell their fear for the partner/Psychopath. We can’t drown our own intuition, entirely. To ignore it, invites psychological damage, health problems, and even some have experienced dissociative disorder (some know it as split-personality disorder). All of which are our mind’s only defense in the instance of severe abuse.
Wouldn’t it be better to learn to trust and listen to our own instincts and intuition? To pay attention when the “fight or flight” mechanism is triggered? So we begin these steps by first, identifying those weakened areas and then setting up a goal, complete with a game plan, to conquer the weakend areas and become whole in the end. We start this without any way of knowing how to get “into” ourselves and identifying the sickened areas. What makes us so open for abuse?
We don’t speak up when someone offends us, or is outright abusive (even in the smallest of ways) because its seemingly better to ignore the situation than to make it worse (this is a lie told to us by our unhealthy selves), or hurt someone’s feelings, when the problem isn’t “that big, anyway”.
1) A proposed scenario: I have a tendency to do things the “hard way” first, instead of using my mind for a second, to discern a quicker and easier way. Lets say this were the case…a person (say, your boss) notices you didn’t think things through before beginning the task. He comes up to you while you are working hard at the task at hand, and says, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?! What are you, some sort of half-wit?” What is your response, here?
a) While you are visibly embarassed, you choose to remain quiet. It’s better to endure this verbal and psychological abuse than potentially losing your job.
b) You are afraid of negative emotion, so you instinctively clam up inside, remain silent and beat yourself up for hours or days at the thought that you really are “that” stupid (I’m speaking ABSOLUTELY FIGURATIVELY, HERE) and you’d better make some changes so your boss will “like” you and appreciate you more. Do you go home and beat yourelf up, crying sobs because you are such a screw-up?
c) Go to co-workers to complain about the poor treatment that you endured from your boss, but still choose not to say anything to the one (your boss) who mistreated you.
d) Cordially approach your boss about how he/she chose to talk to you. Let him know how you feel about it and so on. If your boss isn’t a Narcissist or Psychopath, he will take what you say to heart and refrain from using such powerful demeaning words to you and other employees as a “viable” management tool in the future.
If someone is outright inconsiderate, in even the most “human” of ways, such as by not helping you carry a large load or carrying something that is heavy for you, without even an inclination to help; we choose a response that is safer (seemingly) to us than it would be to voice our discontent or let the other party know we are offended by their callousness. How do we handle this situation?
1) You are carrying a hamper full of laundry up the stairs (2 flights up), while finger-holding the detergent in one hand and trying to hold the hand of your older toddler with the other, when someone you know and trust passes you by. Of course he smiles at you as he passes you on the stairs, while commenting, “Wow, that’s some load you have, there”. He doesn’t offer assistance to you, thinking you are “capable” of handling it yourself. What is your first, gut reaction? You’re offended, right? Maybe disappointed that this person who you know, just passed by without helping you carry the load or at least take the hand of your toddler. What do you do?
a) You stay quiet, knowing you can do it on your own without any help…but knowing it would be easier with some help. You think of your toddler who is in the direct path of the hamper, should it fall. You don’t holler out to your friend, and ask for help in spite of every bad potential.
b) You speak out about your discontent to get it off your chest, but make sure it’s quiet enough that you won’t offend the friend who passed you by.
c) You yell out his name, calling him to you and inlist his help immediately.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Each scenario has #1, our standard method and then in contrast, #2, the way we SHOULD HAVE handled it. List your own personal experiences in this. Then list each response you have had, as well as how you should have handled the situation.
Each scenario echoes how we handle mistreatment in every relationship. In refusing to speak out, and remain quiet, we enable the abuse to begin and continue…growing exponentially. In a way, by not voicing our offense, we are telling the other person that, “It’s ok for you to treat me like shit”.
Now, I have been battling the inner self-loathing dialogue of, “I am damaged and tainted. I have to stop this behavior so that I don’t make these same mistakes”. What I should have been saying to myself, as you should say to YOUR self… “I am beautiful and worth loving.” “I deserve to be treated like the wonderful HUMAN I am.” and “I will not allow someone to mistreat me or be inconsiderate of me, in any way, without letting him/her know how I feel about it and do so IMMEDIATELY!”
At the end of all of this retraining, what do you hope to see in the end? What picture do you see of your life in another year? In 5 years? What do you hope to accomplish? Who do YOU want to be when you have “arrived” to the end of this lesson?
I hope to see a new conditioning emulating out of the ashes of the old. I want to become respectable, and see others be proud of me! I want to be known as one who will “speak her mind”, but is never cruel. I want to be proud of MYSELF! Right now,
I am proud…
I am worthy of being treated like I matter, and will not allow anything otherwise.
I AM beautiful where beauty matters the most, on the inside. I deserve consideration, and will ask others for help when needed, instead of expecting them to.
I AM NOT above others, but deserve the same consideration as others. I deserve all the good life has to offer.
I don’t begin speaking to correct a situation out of bitterness or even hatred for myself, and looking at myself as ‘damaged’ and a ‘screw-up’. Rather, I love myself in all of my short-comings. They are just building blocks toward a better future.
We have to rebuild our corner-stone. What better material than LOVE for ourselves and others?