Monday, February 5, 2018

Collateral Damage

I worked pretty hard at hiding feelings for years. I think because it was... unpleasant to deal with people dealing with my feelings. I've spent most of my life around emotional cripples. On one hand, I got a guilt-inducing, manipulative, control freak, obsessed with (despite all desperate claims to the contrary) drama and on the other hand the ultimate drown myself in hobby and home improvement, avoidance of conflict enabler acting as voice of reason and/or emotional eruptor. Both are their own versions of self-sacrifice, but to no good that I can see except tolerable co-existence. In any case, I can remember a time when I felt things intensely. My emotions were all encompassing and that was hard for me. I couldn't really express or communicate effectively. I was "protected" by a lot of life and conflicts, which only taught me to hide things as well, and I saw a lot of people not being honest and open with one another, a lot of being ruled by emotion. I was never taught a healthy emotional language or way to cope and accept everything I went through, so I tried on my own to manage.

That was a disaster.

Credit: Alex Arshansky, Emotional Turmoil Too

In my teen years, I went to extremes. I would desperately seek out approval. Being raised by a perfectionist can lead one to really internalize everything, take offense at pretty much any benign comment and lead oneself to believe one is never "good enough." I also would seclude myself, immerse myself in imaginary worlds of music and celebrity. My existence was one of a dying fluorescent light, bright flashes of rage, inadequacy, sadness, fear and manic joy and energy, alternating with dead moments of nothing, depression, darkness and apathy. When I sank into these moments of nothing, they became longer periods, I think mostly because I found it easier to exist that way. You get by when nothing is wrong. Sure, nothing is really good either, but people are comfortable with a mundane existence. Essentially, I think that's what most of us struggle all our lives to accept. I fought with it though. I hurt myself. I wanted to feel something. It was like emotional cpr. Then a jolt and I was exuberant again. People like exuberant sometimes. I think it's something that many admired in me, but the balance of that is the experience of all energies intenseley, some of which are less acceptable. When those less desirable emotions would surface, I was again, not guided much in managing them (art helped, but there's only so much self-help can do) and they were discouraged. The problem is, you don't get to just discourage one side of the coin. It exists as a whole or not at all. My marriage is probably what got me to the not at all.

Credit: secret-fantasy, Hiding

Crying. He couldn't take crying. Still can't. I know that without specific therapeutic techniques, this will never change. I know that now, anyway. That's why I'm gone. I looked out the window of an ill-kept home into a view of such intense beauty and that felt exactly like the shell I'd become, looking out into my life. I worked so hard over the years to not cry, to not show emotion, so we could have level-headed discussions which would still eventually lead nowhere. Alas, another pair of emotional cripples. I'd try to be more preventative, I decided. I'll keep the conflict from ever happening! Ha. Silly little girl. Passive aggressive controllers can never live without the energy of drama to replenish their hateful reserves. I should have known that, given my upbringing. I know it isn't their fault. The only way they were taught to thrive emotionally is off of the control and decay of others. I suddenly understood in a very new and intimate way, the benefits of being an avoider. I shut it all off and wandered away when I could to absorb myself in some hobby somewhere. I avoided the damage being done around me. I had to in order to get by.

So.

I'm working on being on my own, to try to regain some concept of who I might be. Maybe I can find feelings again. I don't want to put up a front for my kids, but at this point, it isn't really a front. It's lack of... something. I don't know what. I am starting to feel things again though. It took this experience to really get to feeling things again. The most intense ones right now are rage, betrayal and relief. I'm furious and disgusted by those around me who cared enough to have opinions, but only express them to others and behind my back. They care enough to tell me shit they know absolutely nothing about, but only after I took action in my own life. Then they put it on me. Lauren! You're not approachable! You wouldn't hear us anyway! Back to the shame of the coping mechanisms I developed in the care of emotional cripples. Maybe I'm writing this to stab at those people. Is that true? Maybe. But even if it is, maybe that's ok. Maybe I need to do a little jabbing, fighting, attacking, to feel things again, to be true to me for once.

Credit: Cornelia Parker, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View

I'm not a doormat, I'm tired of being treated like one. I'm not sorry if that means I'm lashing out right now. I'm in a place of pain and I'm glad, because at least I have a chance at the other side of that coin. The euphoric joy I feel when I talk to my baby girl or give my boys hugs, is just like a new sensation. I'll take it, even if it means a little pain for others around me. Because guess what, no one is innocent here. Each person has played their part and they get to reflect on that, too. You don't get to blame the victim for your own fear of intervening. You don't get to say you're happy for what I've done to take control of my own life. You don't get to tell me I'm doing the right thing and you especially don't get to take credit for having felt that way and not saying shit and then saying I'm the one at fault for you not saying shit. That's some serious manipulation and I'm done with it. I'm not blind to the behaviors I've had over the years. A drowning person will claw the air in search of anything to grab onto even knowing nothing is there. The people watching sit by saying, sheesh! Doesn't she know she's drowning? It's not like there's anything to grab onto, what the hell is wrong with her? Well, somehow I've made it out of the water. I imagined into existence my own life raft. Now I get to hear all of you saying you would have thrown me something to grab onto if only I would have taken it, but I was just so content to grab at the air.

Credit: Mario Sanchez Nevado, Delibertion

I don't know if any of this made sense. I don't know if it was hurtful. Right now, I don't really care. I need to start living my emotional truth. I have to start living my life, for me, on my terms, to get back to a place that is healthy again. I know this is part of that process. I'm done and I mean fucking DONE trying to make everyone else happy. Look where that's gotten me. I'm rebuilding this house and it's not ever going to be perfect, but I want it to be as bright and colorful and honestly me as it can be. I used to be this person before I worked so hard to fit into the expectations and needs of others. I was whole and not everyone liked it and I felt that and decided I was the problem. Fuck that shit.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing, thank you for having compassion thank you for not embarrassing me publically.

    ReplyDelete