Life is hard, especially in the wake of abuse. We can either be prisoner to it’s effects, or fight…AND I DO MEAN FIGHT! To be free from the torment.
In case you didn’t know…the torment is not our friend! The effervescent lies echoing in our head in the beginning, as well as the ones lingering later..
ARE STILL LIES!
Get rid of the garbage. Don’t (you can decidedly shut it down) placate the negative or pay homage to it. We deserve SO much better!
We can be better today than we were yesterday. There might be something you’ve needed to say to someone that you have been afraid of…there might be something you’ve needed to do but you are afraid… The longer you wait the bigger the potential problems.
We’ll tackle this. We’ll be better for it.
The beginning of tackling a goal begins with the first step.
Within the past few days I have been blessed with ground shaking epiphanies, which I most desperately needed! I have received a new direction, instead of the stagnation that I was plagued with for a while. I was in a mental and emotional tail-spin, trying to figure SOMETHING out. That plateau or stagnation caused me to re-hash everything I had been through during my relationship with a pathologically twisted, psychological abuser…a psychopath. I was searching for a new direction, as I had conquered (for the most part) the first, most obvious one: silencing his voice in my own mind. I couldn’t stand the thought that “that was it” and “I’m stuck like this for the rest of my life”. I couldn’t stand the thought that there was nothing more I could do, to become “normal” again. I’m exceedingly grateful!
I woke up thinking about the place I was when I started this journey, which brought my thoughts to those people who might be in that place RIGHT NOW! What if they found this current direction (destroying the psychopath’s roots within me, and replacing ALL roots with better seeds) while reading my blog, thinking that THIS is what they need to do immediately. I believe this would be detrimental to their own healing process. I believe EVERY phase and beginning step is absolutely NECESSARY! So…this entry is for them.
This current direction I’m in is much needed, but I believe I wouldn’t be able to take this next step without growing stronger, in the beginning. I needed to find strength for the next phase of this journey of healing. The first goal was the stepping stone, but I had to fight to be strong enough to succeed in it. You see, every step, every struggle, every phase you go through is ALL YOU! You have to initiate EACH AND EVERY STEP, in order to get past what you have been through, to become whole again.
It would be like starting a book in the middle. You might get the gist of the story line, but you miss the most important parts. The beginning is what is needed to bring a full understanding of the rest of the story. The beginning ties into the ending. Without it, end result isn’t as good. Ok, I’m not making much sense here, but I hope you get the picture.
If you are battling horrifying depression to the point that you feel suicidal, you might need to enlist the assistance of a Dr, and get on an antidepressant to help. It isn’t a ‘failure’ to do this, nor does it mean that you have to stay on the antidepressants forever.
The beginning of your processing, is absolutely EXCRUCIATING, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Your abuser more than likely succeeded in isolating you from your support network, friends and family. The first thing you need to do is get back in touch with them! They will be such a strength for you! We all have those in our family or network who discount our traumatic experiences. If they, in any way, minimize what you have been through, or tell you “There’s always 2 sides…”, AVOID THEM RIGHT NOW! That doesn’t mean you drop them entirely (unless you want to) though, to pick up that friendship later, it’s just that kind of thinking and input that could drive you over the edge. You need support, not criticism. You are in a very tender place right now.
You are probably confused and in a tail-spin, right now, trying to make sense of everything you’ve just been through. Let it happen, but fight to keep from habitually ruminating. You will in the early days, and it’s necessary to get to the point of somewhat of an understanding. The whole point of the early days is getting his or her GARBAGE OUT! I had panic attacks for the first few weeks. You might too. CALL YOUR CLOSEST FRIEND during the hardest parts. She/he will be the one to give you the strength to make it.
I’ve been in this process for a little over a year, now. I’m only just getting to the place that I can tackle the bigger issues, which caused EVERY abusive situation I’ve ever been in, as well as battling the conditioning from my psychopathic X. I wouldn’t be able to do this without going through all of the hell of the early days of healing. I don’t think I could have, if I had the wherewithal to try.
Start at the beginning. There’s no hurry, and it’s necessary that you go through each step and phase. Allow yourself to process and feel, but learn to recognize which thoughts are HIS or hers, and replace them with what ever is good, noble, true and POSITIVE. This is crucial to moving past this phase.
Do NOT jump into another relationship right now! Take time to heal and find who you are. A new relationship might feel right or good right now, but it won’t remove any effects from your abuse. Covered, the effects will grow exponentially!
Thank you for stopping by. I do hope this entry has helped with that overwhelming feeling you might have. Looking at the vast expanse that IS healing, can seem overwhelming. Just remember this, which has become my mantra…
One step at a time, one day at a time…breathe in, breathe out.
You will become stronger in the coming days. Relish in those days that you get to see YOU poking through! Be proud! You have looked into the eyes of PURE EVIL and survived! Nothing is near as bad as what you are now FREE FROM!
I wish you peace in your heart, each and every day as you start your journey. The end of the journey is a beautiful place!! We are walking through this together…
The other day I found myself in a situation that I think I HAD to be in. As a result, I think I experienced my first REAL challenging trigger.
I need to step back for a second…In September of last year, I decided to stop seeing my counselor. I wan’t NEAR ready to stop seeing her, but finances just wouldn’t allow for it, even with her working with my fee to keep it as tolerable as possible. She bent over backwards for me, in doing so. I was never diagnosed with having PTSD, but if I was able to continue seeing her, I’m completely convinced that I would have been. I have read quite a few articles about this disorder, though one in particular (seemed like someone was writing my life on paper) solidified the fact in my own mind. Sooo…here we are.
Time for a game plan… #1, all I know is I don’t want a ‘repeat’!
First, I want to thank those of you that helped me get my focus back on track. I have a direction to go again, in my healing process. Judy brought up a much needed point… “Boundaries”
Whether this stems from being raised in a co-dependent atmosphere, with a seemingly co-dependent roll-model or not, the fact remains I have had a problem dealing with negative emotion directed at me. After leaving my abusive situation, this issue has grown exponentially. I need to get a handle on it, that’s for sure. I believe that this fear, in and of itself, is at the root of everything. I’m afraid of standing up for myself or voicing discontent with how someone might speak to me, or act toward me. This has been an issue during most of my life, to some degree.
When my x would do or say something that was in DIRECT VIOLATION, I would try to talk to him about it. It would take me a few days to gain enough courage to confront him, but when I finally did, I was hit with gaslighting, manipulation and anger. He would shut me down, turning all ‘eyes’ on me. It wasn’t him at all. The thing about this is, after getting hit with it EVERY time, try as I did to keep him from getting inside, he still did. I actually questioned everything that I KNEW was going on. I second guessed my own perceptions because his were (though they were LIES) still realistic-sounding. I fell into a pattern of second-guessing myself, and everything I knew. He stopped me from speaking out. He also put a psychological stopper in my ability to be at ease in public situations. I was silent in the relationship, after all. I was silent everywhere. Fear based silence. I allowed him to take my boundaries and invalidate them, entirely. Couple that with an already low self-view, and you have quite the pile of poopy, now.
He took ALL power away from me that I had…at the time.
I do realize this now, and the LAST thing I want to do is reaffirm the lies he set so deep in my own psyche. This last year after leaving that situation, has been spent silencing HIM! The direct assaults on my dignity, the lies about my mental state, and so-on. Positive affirmations, thinking, and input were the ticket there! But they weren’t the ‘magical’ cure-all. I had to pointedly learn what the lies were, and decidedly move my thoughts in a better direction I (either verbally or mentally) would TELL MYSELF which was bullshit, which was his input and not my own, then decide to replace it with my OWN POSITIVE ONES at that exact second. This was a pretty easy exercise for me to put into place. The difficult thing about it is being patient. The negative input was pretty continuous for a while. “Garbage out” I got the mentally audible lies taken care of, pretty early on. They were the obvious ones. It’s the deep-rooted ones that are causing me to be afraid to validate my OWN boundaries, that I need to squelch.
This is going to mean taking pretty much the same steps I took in the beginning, but with more active attempts and as much of a direct approach as I can muster. This one is going to be a battle for a while, I think.
So, what do I need to set for a game plan?
As with most emotional and psychological healing, the first step is recognizing that I have a problem… Okay…I’m there. #2, recognize the root of it. There are several but with one new, BIG root in the middle. I choose to visualize a time when I was doing landscaping in Arizona:
One job we were doing, the man who owned the housing project requested a Thornless Mesquite tree in the front yard of a model home. These are pretty hard to come by, generally. My boss happened to find one growing in the desert that didn’t have any rhyme or reason for why it was there. Just one. It might have been part of someone’s yard at one point, but non-the-less it was there. He chose it for the yard of the model home. We set out one day soon after, with shovels in hand, and tylenol for breakfast, with a plan to safely dig up and transport this firmly established tree. I swear we dug for 8 hours! The thing about desert plants and trees is they all have a main tap root. Desert trees’ tap roots grow straight down, in search of a water source. They are long, thick and strong, almost like a second tree. I think we dug down about 6-8 feet, before we realized that it just wasn’t going to end. Out came the ax. We broke that tap root, thinking that a hefty dose of vitamin B1 to the tree after transplanting, would keep it from going into shock. Stupid thinking, I know… Within a couple of weeks, that tree died right there where we planted it. Why? WE SEVERED IT’S MAIN VEIN! We severed the root.
The monster has a tap root. One that he uses with cunning skill. Gaslighting, manipulation and brainwashing. He uses it to grow that tap root straight through what makes US strong, healthy trees (I know…bear with me). It’s like a parasite that uses all life energies around it to survive, while sucking that same life force dry from living things around it. The damage he caused also has it’s own tap root. Separate from him, it’s developed into it’s own ‘living’ breathing entity, in a way. That’s what gaslighting and psychological abuse creates in the survivor. It’s it’s own seed, that grows when we ‘feed’ it. Another thing, with the tap root firmly placed, you can cut the tree without killing the tap root. Often times, a new tree will grow from the root. The only way to kill it entirely, is to sever the tap root. See where I’m going with this?
Caving into the impulses to hole up, or loose our grip entirely, only strengthens the parasitic seed, so carefully placed by the Narc or Psychopath. How do we “chop” that root? DON’T FEED IT! Sever it completely! For survivors, this is a little more difficult than pulling out an ax and letting it do the deed. The ‘AX’ for us is in our habitual responses to scenarios that conjure up the fear, or needing to beat feet out of that place. Change our response. Change our views. The fear first starts as a momentary thought or a type of breath we take. We need to learn to recognize what triggers trigger the PTSD triggers, then respond in kind with a more healthy reaction. It’ll take a little more time for me to learn these steps, and how to best direct my responses to situational input. With practice this should get easier.
Whatever we “FEED” grows stronger. Eventually the tap root that is left by such a deplorable parasite will whither.
Looking forward to this new direction.
I would like to hear from those of you who have grown past this point in the process. Any advise?
After reading Betty LaLuna’s post this morning, I had an epiphany, actually a few over the last couple of days, but there is always that ONE, that helps to make sense of all the rest for me..all picked from the “Recovery Garden”…this reference is one to which I have implemented in my recovery as symbolism to my growing garden of epiphanies and lessons learned. When in full bloom, I “pick” from the garden and display them in a beautiful emotional vase in my new emotional home.
Today has been a full day of learning for me. I haven’t accomplished but one thing that I set out to do…find my kitchen 🙂
In the early days my time was spent trying to make sense of the nonsense I was plagued with after leaving my monster. You all know this particular step: Make sense of who he is. Make sense of what is left of you. Make sense of the garbage in your mind and separate lies from what you know is true. The biggest of all of these is trying to get my mind and psyche to mesh with FACTS! I KNOW what happened, is exactly that. It HAPPENED! I had such a hard time just accepting that particular fact. I will be honest, I still battle that one, though it’s less of an issue. I trust my memories. I know what he caused, what he stole, and what he tried to do. No one, regardless of their views of him as a “person” (barf), can tell me otherwise…I LIVED IT! I’m just grateful that I never moved in with him and that it was a comparatively short stretch. It was just horrendously damaging. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, “He was good at his game”. He was good at his, but I’m getting better in spite of it all.
I don’t have to tell you, as you can see it from some of my posts. There have been some hard days, yes, but the fear is mostly gone, now. I am not nearly afraid of him or the damage he could do. I’m constantly aware of his potential that I never did see. I do understand that he is dangerous. I also understand that he’s the insecure little boy, manipulating everyone around him because he knows…deep down…he’s absolutely unlovable. The twist is he doesn’t care. All he cares about is how to build a better mousetrap. I suppose I have to retrain myself in my day-to-day life, to continue to reaffirm who I AM as a person. To eradicate his manipulations and hand in my actions and reactions. I’ve come to gain understanding in my mind. Now, to put this all into practice, outwardly. The beginning to this is in the first step.
How long has it been since he’s been out of my life? Since I was able to win my freedom?? Fifteen months. A year and 3 mos. I wonder how long this is going to take? Since there’s more involved than healing from a “bad” relationship, such as rebuilding myself, killing off areas that cause me to be attractive to predators, getting rid of areas I really didn’t like anyway, etc it’s going to take quite some time, I think. There’s no time limit, nor am I stuck to a rigid calendar. I’m recreating who I am, and beginning to become who I want to be. It’s a blessing that I have such a bad attitude toward men in general. I can NOT succeed if I’m continuously dealing with someone else’s insecurities or what-have-you.
There are some definite steps that need to be taken. In fact, I can probably outline them as goals. Maybe I can do that here? Bear with me…
As I said in my earlier entry today…Recognizing needed boundaries and setting them in stone. Without this as the beginning, the rest cannot happen. This is the building block…the corner stone to a bigger accomplishment as a whole.
Retrain my reactions into that which I want, instead of what That BASTARD conditioned in me. This falls back onto boundaries. I will not be “bound” by silence. I will be proud at the end of all of this, and claim it beginning today. No more second-guessing.
Remember my dreams. Success or fail…I have to work to see them through. This falls back on the previous 2. I can’t push to see dreams come to fruition without confidence in my step. I can’t have confidence unless I can trust myself to be my greatest advocate.
Be a strength for others throughout this process, as they bring strength to ME!
I refuse to be held prisoner for the rest of my life. Remember the “shit-kicker” scenario? well, I’m pulling up my boot-straps and trudging through….
If you haven’t already done so, please visit this girl’s blog!! Every post (so far) is as if she and I reacted to each instance and realization in exactly the same way. Same lessons, same realizations, same affirmations. This particular post is where I am NOW. She’s 2 years out. I’m one year. This is a tough roe to hoe…but as long as I keep moving my feet, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is impossible or unattainable.
My most recent post, “The Crazys”, was about feeling disjointed in public/social situations. I thought it was because I was afraid of any closeness with people or being put into a possible bad situation. Judy over at http://theprojectbyjudy.wordpress.com/ made a comment that really hit the real issue. I really love others’ input in my posts. I spend so much time trying to figure everything out, that I get lost. Sometimes I don’t hit the actual issues. For whatever reason, I either can’t see them or I don’t want to see those hard areas. Judy brought out an eye-opener…one that I most definitely needed. I hope you don’t mind, Judy, but I’ve decided to paste it here. Maybe I’m not the only one who needs your wisdom 😀
“Something else to add to the pot: Work has automatic boundaries you don’t have to establish. You mentioned it yourself: You’re behind a counter. It’s there without any work on your part. You didn’t have to decide if it was too much or too little. It’s there; you work with it. When you’re not at work, you have to establish every single boundary and decide with whom to expand or contract your boundaries. I’m much more myself online than anywhere else because there are automatic boundaries I don’t have to establish; they’re already there. In the work place, you know pretty much what to expect, even up to and including understanding monsters still show up. However, you have the awareness that should monsters show up, you have back up to protect you, other workers, work rules, etc. I think I hate that the most: My NM taught me to doubt myself, taught me I wasn’t capable, taught me no one would accept me, taught me I couldn’t trust myself : the person I must trust the most because I cannot escape myself.”
Judy is such a wise soul!
First, where do we learn about boundaries? In normal families (I assume this to be the case, and where the initial learning should come from) the parents are the teachers, whether that be in word or in deed. Our parents are supposed to be our protectors. They are also supposed to lead by example. What was my example?? (Please don’t misunderstand..I love my Mom and Dad. They did the best they could with what they had. Parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual, especially if one parent is already one that was damaged. You can’t teach what you don’t know, yourself) My Mom is like me. I learned her views, why she does the things she does, and so on. She was brought up in a very dysfunctional family. She was the first Mother that didn’t cart her children to someone else to raise. However, my Grandmother did do that with my Mom and Aunt. They were raised in foster homes, enduring all manner of abuse, so my Grandmother could pursue her life the way she wanted. She didn’t have time for them. At least that’s the gist I get from it all. My Mom’s method of dealing with difficult things or situations, “minimize, ignore, devalue”. I learned to do the same thing. She is dealing with life from a co-dependent view point. I’m not saying that she is necessarily co-dependent, but she does have some traits…as do I.
So…growing up, I would see her battle with my Dad. Instead of really standing her ground (unless she was completely pissed off, then she used such skill at getting the point across, it was amazing! I didn’t hear her yell…EVER.) she would stay quiet, while he cussed at her or threw things. You get the picture. She would stay quiet. Then if someone would mention it, she would push it aside completely…”Oh, it was nothing” or change the subject with a shake of her head. Translation? “That’s too hard to think about right now. It’s hurtful to recount. It’s over, now.” Not to mention the age-old ideal of “don’t air your dirty laundry for others to see” “It’s no one’s business what happens at home” and so-on.
She didn’t demand that he respect her boundaries. I don’t remember hearing her bark back, “Don’t you talk to me like THAT”. Nope, she stayed quiet during all of it. My lesson during times like this? “When someone is cruel or angry with you, don’t stand up for yourself…be quiet.” When my Dad and I argued when I was a teen, she would pull me aside and tell me, “If you would just stay quiet, it’ll be over faster.” I remember her and I talking when I was little. She was enforcing the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Respect for others. There was always more emphasis on respecting others, than teaching me how to respect myself. Growing up I learned that everyone’s feelings mattered. Mine didn’t. I set out to protect everyone around me from the potential that I might hurt their feelings. I did everything I could to ensure that I was respectful, caring and never losing sight of how another might feel, or how I was causing that person to feel. I avoided negative emotion like a plague. AvoidED? I STILL do!
Of course, seeds grow. Even bad ones.
This one has completely festered into a near impossible type of bacteria…algae. Whatever. This one I have to kill at the root. This is also the reason there has been so much abuse in my own life. I didn’t respect the boundaries that I SHOULD HAVE HAD AND SHOULD HAVE DEMANDED!! If I had a healthy view of my own boundaries, my experience with a Psychopath may not have ever happened. At least not to the degree it did.
I never learned to establish personal boundaries. If I had ever spoken out when someone violated ME, it would “hurt their feelings” or “cause them to be hurt or angry with me”. I couldn’t tolerate that. I always wanted others to respect MY feelings and MY boundaries, but since I never let anyone know I actually had them and deserved for people to respect me, they saw that I had no boundaries, which caused EVERYONE to see me as a door-mat.
I’m tired of being a door-mat.
They deserved boundaries. I did not. At least, that’s they way I have always lived my life. Devalue, discount and ignore.
What boundaries do I need to establish, and then stand behind?
If I’m uncomfortable with a request, or invitation… “No, thank you” should be as easy for me to say as, “I would like to, but can’t today…maybe another time”, In that case, I feel obligated to follow through with it. What happens as a result? I’m uncomfortable. I stay uncomfortable and that person thinks everything is ok. When I finally become brave enough to be honest, they are bewildered and shocked. Then I feel guilty for not being open and honest in the first place. I need to be honest and upfront in the beginning. Stop assuming a person will become hurt, angry, or anything. If I don’t feel comfortable with the request, my needs matter the most. Not their’s. (this is the base rule, though there are situational acceptions, as with family and close friends.)
In respecting my own personal wants and wishes…saying “No”, I also respect them, recognizing that the person doesn’t want to be given a false idea. They want to be validated, too.
Anger: People are notorious for being hurtful and cruel when they are angry. I’ve also learned that people are COMPLETELY honest during their most heated times. People can become verbally and psychologically abusive during this, too. If someone is angry with me, that in and of itself is ok if I did something that deserves at least their discontent. HOWEVER it is NOT ok for someone to be demeaning toward me. If that happens the LAST THING I need to be is silent! I don’t have to be the outright bitch, but definitely need to say something if that person stepped out of bounds. If they still don’t respect my boundaries, then it’s ok for me to become more demanding. It’s ok, and I need to recognize that the fact I’m a viable person, makes me worthy to have someone respect MY feelings for a change!
These are a good start… Baby steps…wish my feet were smaller at times.
Every day I’m noticing some things I like and others I don’t like, happening in this “healing” adventure.
I’ve noticed that I’m most like the old me when I’m at work! No kidding! That’s most definitely ironic, since I was least like myself there, in the beginning. Here’s why, I think…
I don’t have any real close relationships with anyone there. I like some, but aren’t close to anyone. Some people, however, we’ve developed a playful relationship which creates even more of a fun atmosphere. One co-worker in particular likes to mess with me at every opportunity. He’ll playfully wave from across the room, yelling (in front of customers, too) “HI!!” lol! I respond in kind. It’s nice. The manager that I was so fearful of when he joined our team has become someone who I really enjoy working with. The girls are confiding in me about life issues, and really seem to be ok with me.
I joke with the customers, who sometimes take the “jokes” a little too far. I can handle the ones that are a bit “over the top”. When the transaction ends, they leave. “Whew!” I enjoy working with the customers I don’t know. I can hide behind the counter, and I think that’s become a sort of “safety” barrier for me. The walls of the building are a safety net, though I do remember the monster who can walk in at any time.
Away from work, however, I’m still disjointed. I worry that I sound crazy to whom I’m around. I try on occasion to get out of my house and have fun, but I act and sound like I’ve lost it. I don’t know if anyone has picked up on that when they are around me during those times. I feel it. It’s almost painful. I do know I’m uncomfortable. When I feel like that, it’s like something takes over and some things that pour out of my mouth sound strange even to me. I don’t know how to describe this to you.
I’ve always been an awkward person. I’ve always been a little unsure of myself when around others, but it’s become accentuated since my experience with the Monster. Now, I’m completely disjointed. I’ve always felt like I didn’t completely ‘fit it’ anywhere, but was okay around others. I always had a ball when my friends and I would go sing karaoke, or what-have-you. Now, I REALLY don’t feel like I fit in. I still have a wall of protection around me, and I think when I’m in a potentially precarious situation, it makes things much worse. I still feel like I have to shield myself. But, from what?
My X hasn’t been around (other than the occasional time at work) since the last court date. He’s left me alone (directly), though I know that the Psychopath will never be completely gone. They never completely stop their shit. He’s just doing it on the side-lines where no one can see. I’m positive the internet searches are still going on. He’s still blocked in every area I can possibly block him.
I’m still dealing with some things that are a direct result of his conditioning. His brainwashing. I’ve turned into at least part of what he wanted me to be. I won’t pretend to understand anything that he did or even what his desired end was. That will always be a mystery to me. If I were to ask him, he’d lie to me anyway. He’d throw out the normal gaslighting and manipulative shit he always did, in answer to my question. Nope, won’t go there.
Again, what am I shielding myself from? This is in regards to going out in public or spending one on one time with someone I used to be close to. I’ve always been a little shy, but when I was with my friends, I overcame that pretty easily. Within reason 🙂
If anyone is curious…this is me, doing the ‘introspection/extrospection’ thing I’m a slave to. This is how I figure things out… Keep reading 🙂
Lets take a step back. What is one common denominator in this? CLOSENESS! I think when I’m out in a normal social situation, I unconsciously (or somewhat consciously) realize I’m potentially in the direct line of “fire”. I’m exposed. I’ve become one that feels safest in a completely controlled environment. It can’t be completely controlled unless I’m in control. When I’m at work, I’m not in control so much, but it IS a controlled environment. When out in a social setting, I’m anxious. It creates the “crazys” in me, when I’m around others. It’s embarrassing and excruciating. I would rather be home, where I’m safe and call all the shots.
What has lessened my anxiety at work? The fact that I HAD to be there. I REFUSED to quit my job or stop anything there because of my X. I had to be there to further my place in the company. I didn’t want him to gain anything by my quitting so I stayed. It created a forced practice scenario. I had to be there when my anxiety was on overload. I had to be there when I was having my panic-attacks. I had to be there for a paycheck. It’s taken a full year, but I feel almost at home with my co-workers. It’s a strange area to be blessed, but I am non-the-less.
My friend suggested that I see my doctor and ask for antidepressants. I refuse. I’m not “depressed”, I’m just struggling in areas. I’m as contented as I can be at this point in time. I’m just struggling in some areas that will be better in time. That is, only IF I don’t allow myself to stay stuck. If I don’t challenge myself and my anxiety around others, this will become ingrained in me for the rest of my life. I’m aware of that, too.
I think it just takes practice.
Think I’ll call my friends and plan on a girls night out. I miss them. I’ll have to give them expressed instructions to forcefully drag my ass out, since the closer the night comes, the more likely I’ll back out.
I’ve said it for years, “Hind sight is a cruel teacher”. I say that because that’s the only way I seem to learn my biggest lessons.
I don’t remember very much from when I was growing up. I assume my parents taught me to avoid people who are drug addicts. Actually, the only way I think they tried to teach me, there, is through example and “down-talking” drug addicts. My Dad was in a division of law-enforcement, could have anyone watch me from anywhere…AND I DO MEAN ANYWHERE…and questioned me about my behavior when I got home from high school, driving in a COMPLETELY different town, or what-have-you. I learned not to hang out with “those” people. Lordy, could I tell you stories! lol!! Even now, I don’t know half the stuff he found out by watching me or having me watched. I don’t know how he knew..but he always did.
I behaved myself. Never got into drugs, drinking, fights, skipped school or anything like that. I was a virgin when I married my children’s father (since I was molested as a youngster, I still considered myself a virgin since that was never consensual). My grades could have been better, but all in all I was a good kid. I started going to church, instead. Each morning I left for church (my parents didn’t go), my dad would make fun of me as I was heading out the door. He upset me more than once that way. If I had friends who were overweight, he would make it a point to make fun of me for hanging out with them, and demean them, though never to their face. Always to me.
My parents didn’t teach me about self-esteem or pushing toward my dreams. If anything, they really tried HARD to discourage me from accomplishing any dream I had, that they thought would steer me in a direction they didn’t like. I don’t remember either one of them talking to me about the warning signs that someone wasn’t who they pretended to be. I didn’t learn life lessons that would keep me safe from abusers. If anything, I was encouraged to pursue a life of being someone’s tool. Not purposefully, mind you, but in their “ignoring’ of important topics. Things I really should have learned before I ever left home, got married and had my own children, I didn’t learn until I went out into the “real” world.
At 14 I was allowed to go see a new boyfriend whom I had met at a summer camp. He lived 7 hours away from me. Literally 2 states away. Our youth groups were at the same camp. The plan was for me to visit him and his family for the weekend. They didn’t know him or his family. They paid for a train ticket, dropped me off at the depot, trusting that someone would be there to pick me up. Nothing really happened that weekend other than just hanging out with him and his family. There was one instance that my new boyfriend was a little “forward” with me. He had never acted that way with me before, or gave me any inclination that he would, and he chose to do it in front of his family. A little too handsy for the company, if you get my drift. I put a stop to that, though my first thought was about his feelings. I was entirely embarrassed, I can tell you.
I can only imagine normal families who talk about the hard things together. Normal families where the parents don’t willingly put their young teen-aged daughter in a potentially dangerous situation. Normal families that didn’t ignore problems, hoping they would just “disappear” or handle themselves. Normal…
Perhaps they thought the schools would teach me. We all know how well I was taught through THAT avenue!
That left hind-sight as my only life coach. My only teacher of the hard things. My lumpy, bumpy closest confidant. Yes, I’m being facetious.
This type of non-teaching left me entirely vulnerable to predators. It set the playing field for me to be more concerned about someone else’s feelings over my own well being. I had to learn all of that on my own. One excruciating lump at a time.
What have I learned? A myriad of things, though never before I was in bad situations. Always after.
I can say I knew one instinctively: If someone is OVERLY complementary, they usually can’t be trusted. They are hiding something. You’ll get the willies, I promise you, when around someone like that. Trust your gut. I didn’t, and had my wedding ring stolen by someone who couldn’t stop telling me how “nice” I was, and “wonderful”, etc… Long story. Willies: The sensation that your skin is crawling. Short hairs are tingling, among other bodily signs.
Hind-sight has taught me to ALWAYS pay attention to my FIRST gut reaction. If your skin is crawling while talking to someone new, even if the reason isn’t apparent, please heed that warning sign and beat feet out of that situation. It’s taken countless times of not listening to my gut, and being reminded that I really SHOULD have, to finally get me to listen.
It took an experience with a Psychopath, to finally get it beat into my head.
I’ve learned that it’s of MOST IMPORTANCE to voice your discontent or opinions when someone is violating you in some way. If you are being mistreated in any way, it’s important to SPEAK UP! I still have problems in this area, though I know the right thing to do, now. Remember, silence is an abusers greatest weapon of choice. SPEAK LOUD, SPEAK PROUD!
Respect other’s feelings. Encourage their success and do what you can to ensure their well-being is still in tact. BUT… DON’T DO THIS to your own martyrdom. YOU ARE IMPORTANT TOO!!
Don’t listen to someone’s opinion if they are demeaning you and tearing you down. Here again, SPEAK UP! The peacemaker mentality is a good one, but if imbalanced will make you afraid of your own shadow! No kidding! If you have been working on something and you are proud of it…(I had an epiphany last night about something I’ve been working on) yes, show it to your friend. BUT if that same friend tells you it’s “wrong” or “not good” enough, don’t listen to them. Don’t give up on it! Their opinion is just their opinion. You still have the choice to disagree with them. You aren’t a bad person in doing so, nor are you being insensitive to your friend.
YOU MATTER MOST OF ALL!!!
Please don’t let life be your only teacher. The lessons are longer, more painful, and harder to recover from as you get older.