Why do YOU smoke?? Is it in the need to feel Validated?

Lol! I used to get asked that question by non-smokers, quite regularly. “It stinks, it’s expensive, it’ll KILL you…” The list goes on. Of course, the forever condition of my lungs made it even MORE asinine for me to smoke. My lungs are shit. Pure and simple. I’ll be lucky to live to 60. My doctors didn’t think I would make it to 40, yet her I am and then some. A PFT (Pulmonary function test) and x-rays showed my lungs to be 25% blocked by scar tissue, by the time I was 12. I’m 46. I’ve been smoking for over 20 years (after first quitting when I was 17.). When I was 22 (ish) my doctor did a PFT test and announced that my lungs have an age equivalence of 50. I’m 46. Kinda screwed, doncha think? Most of the damage was caused by my severe asthma, and the cats that I lived with. I don’t respond to allergies like most people, who pop a benadryl and call it good. Nope, my body reacts by my lungs shutting down completely. A bad allergy usually means a trip (or stay) in the hospital. I rarely have allergic hives or sinus-allergies. Nope…just my lungs. Here’s (as long as we are all being honest) the dumbest part, yet, for me to be smoking…I’M ALLERGIC TO TOBACCO! (all of the allergies showed in scratch tests)

Ok, I mentioned all of this to give you a picture of everything I have going against me if I choose to smoke. Stupid, right?

My girls and I, a few years ago
My girls and I, a few years ago

I also have 2 beautiful daughters whom I love and worry about, incessantly.

My Granddaughter when she was 2 1/2.
My Granddaughter when she was 2 1/2.

My granddaughter is the sun to my darkest days. I am all she has, here, as a place that she can go when things are hard for her and/or her mom. Where would she be without me?

I’m not strutting or showing off or what-have-you.. in spite of everything, I could ALWAYS  sing. I would get comments like, “Where the hell did that come from? Your big toe?” I have always been a powerful singer, in relation to my size. 5’2″. My parents used to be able to pass me off as a little kid to get the discount at an area fair. What most didn’t know is how bad my lungs have ALWAYS been. I learned (I had to) to work and push myself while growing up, to move and “go” even when I was having problems breathing. My dad wouldn’t let me be still, especially in those times. I had to go to school, even if walking was excruciating. I had to get my outside work done, even if I could barely talk. If anyone knew the status of my lungs’ health, they would have asked me, “How are you able to sing?” I think the fact that I HAD to learn new ways of breathing to get my work done, and to be able to go to school, also helped me to be able to sing. I can’t describe how, I just learned the skill and put it into practice. It was a matter of survival at first, and then it turned into something I could pull out of my hat when I needed to or wanted to. It also helped me to keep singing.

With all avenues against me, I still smoked. I smoked for years. On good days, 1/2 a pack. On really stressful days, two packs. Silently but progressively killing myself…and…I have been invalidating both my daughters, My grand daughter, as well as my Mother by ignoring their concerns. My mom has C.O.P.D. The doctors recently told her that she COULD have another 2 years left to live. Mom has to have surgery to remove a mass on her ovary. They are worried that she won’t be able to handle the anesthesia, and could die in surgery. That’s next month. She has a 50/50 chance to live just through the surgery. She wants to live. I want her to live, too. I don’t want her living the rest of her life, knowing that I, her only daughter, is slowly killing herself. My mom cried when I told her. I didn’t want to make her cry, but it’s wonderful knowing that in quitting, I made her very happy!

I want to live, too. I tried EVERY known quit method, not including hypnosis. I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) drop the nasty little coffin-nails.

So…now the story on the OTHER side of the picture.

I recently found out WHY QUITTING SMOKING WAS SO DIFFICULT FOR ME! It was a result of all of the epiphanies and trying to learn about myself. I found the key for me, after I stopped smoking for a day and a half.

My X-monster, in all of his attempts to destroy me, gave me the wherewithal to want and NEED to take a closer look at myself, from the inside. It was necessary to insure that I don’t have a repeat of the life I lived for over a year.

This progression started with just one small sentence that another blogger wrote, “My feelings are valid.”. From the moment that I read that for the first time, it felt like I had been hit with a brick! “My feelings are valid”. I realized that throughout all of my life, no-one had taken the time to validate ME, to validate my worth and worst of all, I WAS TAUGHT TO NEVER ALLOW MYSELF TO BE VALIDATED BY OTHERS, later on. I lived my entire life as if my own existence was INVALID!

I began mulling that statement around in my mind. I began repeating it, in order to understand. The rest happened almost naturally. I realized that VALIDATION IS THE KEY to get over my own hell with a pathological liar, with a purely EVIL person, with a PSYCHOPATH. My feelings ARE valid.

I have been struggling with finding new boundaries and reaffirming old ones. The key to success there is in recognizing that in order to do so, you must understand completely and without a doubt…EXERCISING THOSE BOUNDARIES isn’t just because you need to for survival. It’s because you are WORTH IT!

Now, here we are. I haven’t smoked since last Tuesday. I realized while doing my habitual analytical thinking, introspection/extrospection thing, that I was and am DONE WITH SMOKING, ENTIRELY. The real reason I smoked. The real reason that NOTHING I tried, worked… is that those nasty, smelly, life-changing, life-altering, life-destroying coffin nails were my only way to FEEL AND BE VALIDATED!

I am VALID. I am FREE to be who I want to be, free to demand that others respect my boundaries. I am WORTHY OF A WONDERFUL LIFE, JUST BECAUSE… I AM…

Let me restate that: YOU are VALID…YOU are FREE to be who you want to be…free to demand that others respect YOUR boundaries. YOU ARE WORTH OF A WONDERFUL LIFE, JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE.

I am valid without the cigarettes. I don’t have to smoke anymore. I still have the withdrawls, and I am NOT playing games with them. I am taking necessary steps to insure that I NEVER pick them up again. I won’t anyway.

I don’t have to!

9 thoughts on “Why do YOU smoke?? Is it in the need to feel Validated?

    1. It took a Psychopath in my life, in order to decide that I’m worth it! lol!! Wouldn’t he just freak if he knew that in the attempt to destroy me he actually allowed me to be stronger than ever, in so many areas! Thank you 😀

  1. I never smoked. I hate the smell. I never drank. I hate the smell of that too. I love food. My self-abuse of choice is food. When I feel invalidates, out of sorts, ugly, I eat. Replace smoke with eat, and this post pretty well fits me. I’m able to tell how at peace with myself I am by how well I’m eating or not.

    Good for you for choosing you!

    1. The biggest part, I’ve learned, is in discovering WHY you adhere to things. I used to look at cigarettes as my friend. Actually, cigarettes have the same “personality” characteristics as a Narcissist or Psychopath. They use your weaknesses against you, pretending to “love” you, while all the while slowly destroying you. When you can really understand the statement, “My feelings are valid”, or something along those lines, there is a strength you find as a result, that is one you didn’t know you had. I learned this for myself lately. I learned all of the generational reasons “why” the invalidation was there. Why I wasn’t only afraid of negative emotion around me but was also afraid of my OWN… the facts behind why my mother taught me to be like that and her mother to her, and so on… When i internalized the fact that “My emotions are valid” and in turn, “I am valid”, I was able to see my relationship with the cigs in that light. The fact that I came to realize and truly understand that, invalidated (love this!) my own need for the cigarettes!

      Sometimes its good to be self-analytical! 😀

      1. good for you!! I love it when survivors have epiphanies about themselves that create room for more changes that are positive. 🙂

        I’m a smoker too. I’ve been smoking for 35 years. It’s the last habit I need to get rid of and I’m not ready to do that yet. I don’t view it, for me, as invalidating. What invalidated me worse was the psychopath, remaining with him, even when I knew he was killing me. That my alcohol problem developed while I was with him, was killing me. Those two addictions were more problematic to me than my smoking. Had I tried to do it all at once, I would have been suicidal!
        I know I will give up my smoking. I’ve given up a lot worse (see above). This makes quitting smoking a breeze, but for right now, it’s comfort for me, even though I hate it. Just like with a psychopath. It’s the last addiction I need to give up. Congratulations! And I hope Mom gets through surgery safely. 🙂

        1. I understand the “comfort” part of smoking. That’s part of where some of my ability to get past my relationship, came from. Lol! It also kept me from killing him, but that’s another story 🙂

          I didn’t know how to comfort myself, ever. I would write, which was somewhat comforting, but in actuality all that did was tire me out. Smoking for me, was calming. It also allowed me to take some time (that I wouldn’t allow, otherwise) for reflection. I have never really had any other addictions. I could see potential for some (like drinking), so I avoided mixed drinks like the plague, as soon as I recognized I really liked them. My addiction to fear and anxiety was also one that I needed to overcome, in order to even leave that relationship. I had to understand…really understand…the person (as if he were human) is is, and how absolutely dangerous! I was forced to take a hard look at myself afterward, in order to insure that I never have a repeat. I ran from negative emotion, regardless where it came from, whether that be from myself or some outside source. Cigarettes also helped silence those. My addiction to those things was quite solid! It took the place of every hard thing I needed to do, in order to make my own life better. If I could silence the negative (or hard things) I wouldn’t have to take care of them.

          The cigarettes themselves didn’t invalidate me. I did my OWN invalidating (echoing every other time I was invalidated…it was generational teaching and conditioning), it was something about smoking that was the only way I felt valid. Strange, I know. I don’t know how to really explain it.

          Thank you for your well-wishes for my Mom. Her spirits and attitude about it, sound good. She’s resigned to knowing whatever the outcome, she will be ok. She isn’t afraid. I am deathly afraid. Totally selfish on my part, I know.

          1. I do understand what you’re saying. Smoking doesn’t do for me, what it did for you or to you.
            I think we can safely say that smoking is reeeeally bad for you. Even if you weren’t sick to begin with.

            Smoking isn’t my life and is very secondary to all I do. When I say comfort, I mean I get a cup of coffee and go outside and smoke a cigarette, lol! It’s a habit of comfort for me. Having given up my psychopaths, lol, and alcohol cold turkey, this is nothing comparatively.

            I could not reflect when I was with him. When I was drinking. I could not write. I could barely function. Had I stayed one more month in that relationship, it may well have killed me. I was just that emotionally and physically ill.
            Smoking is not the same in that way. It is not my life. It is not how I reflect, it has not taken from my writing, nor from the important and monumental changes I have made to my life. It seems so very insignificant comparatively for me. But only for me. Just like smoking represented for you, it isn’t the same for others, but is significant for you and something you SHOULD be very proud of given your allergies and what it does to your asthma. Ironically, I have three chronic asthmatic children. I never smoked in the house or near them because of this. I worried that even the smoke on my clothes affected them. Asthma is very serious and nothing to mess with, so I completely understand why this is so huge for you.

            Just like giving up psychopaths and alcohol, was for me.

            IT showed me I could do anything and that I had the power to decide when, where, how much…

            Being around a psychopath doesn’t leave us with many options when it comes to taking care of ourselves.

            I’m very proud of you. 🙂

        2. Just a side note, that I failed to mention :D..Do you have any idea how many times I tried to “strong-arm” my way through quitting smoking? So many tries and failures! Last year, I got set up through work for “quit for life”. In doing so, I was able to have my health insurance at a lower premium. I failed…miserably, though they did set me up with some jaw-breaking nicotine gum. I was so sure that I would never quit, i decided to be honest on my enrollment paperwork for my insurance, this year, and claim myself as a smoker. I had given up any hope of ever quitting smoking! Weird how this has worked out. There’s something that is holding you to it. No one can “educate you” (or me, for that matter), or anything. Hell, I’d seen every advertisement out there about “why” you shouldn’t smoke…(After all, Little Orphan Annie’s parents smoked..). My doctors tried to scare me with real-life situations, complete with gross verbal depictions of what happens. None of it was enough to give them up. I really did like to smoke.

          when you are ready, you’ll be able to. I realize that most don’t have this life-changing epiphany like I did, and all of a sudden be away from cigarettes. I realized I don’t have to smoke, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought of reaching for my boss’ cigarettes or buying another pack. I realize that I don’t have to smoke anymore. That doesn’t mean that there are no withdrawls 🙂 From here, it’s a decision to never pick them up again. What I learned, has given me new strength to follow through and succeed. It’s still day to day, at this point.

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