Gratitude Challenge entry #8

Yesterday in my GC #7 I wrote about the lessons and gifts in emotional wounds. Today, I am going to visit my recent self-discoveries. As earlier stated in several previous posts I have felt defeated, unheard, even invisible as of late. I have been lashing out at loved ones but the truth is I set myself up for this. I can only blame me. I understand how I got to this point what perplexes me is how do I change it? 

I got here because I developed a false social persona that kept me ‘safe’ as a child and over the years I have been addressing why I needed that persona. I have reached the point where who I am and my false safety persona can’t co-exist. I understand this and I am willing to say goodbye to my protective mask but:

A). Everyone in my physical world thinks of me in a certain way (which isn’t actually me).

and….

B). Changing a lifetime of modified behavior is a herculean task. 

Here are a few of the incongruencies I need to address and let go of: 

A). I need to stop putting the needs of other’s before my own. Examples of this (and I apologize Sus but you are in the hot seat here) are as follows: Sus loves animals and when she finds one (homeless or not) somehow it ends up at our place. I like animals too, don’t get me wrong, but with her career she is seldom home and that means I am in charge of taking care of everyone. At one point I somehow ended up a foster for an animal rescue and occasionally a local vet or two. Here is the problem with this scenario that I repeatedly find myself in, it is not my goal or dream and it leaves me with very little time to achieve my goals and dreams. 

Before we left India I did state that I did not want to end up taking care of the fuzzy masses again but we are now at 6 inside cats (although down to one dog) and the feral cats in the neighborhood have been showing up and I am standing firm that no one is coming inside. The behavior I need to change is caving in to what she wants. She sulks, gives sad puppy dog eyes, keeps talking about the sad little animal and I eventually cave. I give my reasons why I do not want to add to the fur gang but…somehow I don’t seem to matter as much as those sad little animals or her love of them. This has resulted in anger and bitterness on my end.

I am aware that I cave for specific reasons. The biggest reason is, obligation. I feel obligated to make her dreams a reality because she stood by and supported me at a time when other people turned away. I also do it to protect myself, I can’t be humiliated for who I am or what I believe in (or my talents and gifts) if I busy myself with another person’s hopes and dreams. I am not certain if she is even aware of how much time I invest, I know in cases where I have had to be away it took 3 people to perform my duties but since she couldn’t invest the time herself, I think there is a disconnect. 

I also do not speak up for myself…I again do this for several reasons, mostly obligation and humiliation factor in; but also, I find that two things happen. I will share something important to me and the other person will run with it until it is no longer even remotely related to what I voiced, or I get the deer in the headlight stare as if I am speaking an unidentifiable language which causes me to ramble through a myriad of re-phrasings trying to be understood but somehow simply confusing the issue further, causing a doubt spiral and me eventually giving up because I start feeling like I am getting dangerously close to being humiliated or I am just so frustrated that I can’t find the right words to convey my meaning so I shut down and go into the silent zone. None of this has served me well. 

The added ill bonus of going into the silent zone is that I find I am somehow always participating in activities that I wouldn’t necessarily choose for myself. Not in a bad way but it does lead to the misconception that I like the same things that my friends and family do. I am using Sus as an example again…. Sus and I like to go out to eat and try different cuisine, we often share a dessert at the end of the meal. Now, in most cases the dessert menu is rather small and neither of us care for cheesecake (I am lactose intolerant and if I am going to have dairy it is going to be something I LOVE enough to suffer through the aftermath). Somehow, the shared dessert always ended up being chocolate. Sus loves chocolate and for me it is simply ok. I will eat it but it isn’t my first choice. I do recall stating I would like to try X (X being something not chocolate or dairy) but by the time desert comes it is…always…chocolate. 

I recently pointed this out but it really didn’t change much other than the fact that we are no longer ordering dessert or we end up at places where the only viable dessert option is chocolate. I like to call all these examples, ‘a series of unfortunate events.” No harm is really done (outside of my feelings of non-existence) and sometimes I do find activities to my liking even though they wouldn’t have even registered as a choice. The other examples just help me fine tune what it is that is truly important to me or to point out that I need to find a balance in life. Now to work on my rigid sense of responsibility.

I also need to drop the bubbly, bouncy, life is rosy persona, it isn’t me and it is exhausting to maintain. The truth is I can be intense, I have a wickedly acerbic wit and I have had the vocabulary of an English professor since I was 8 years old. I am tired of dumbing it down and cheerleading my way through life so no one else feels inadequate (sorry mother, but honestly, buy a thesaurus and keep up). 

Today, I am truly grateful for becoming aware of the wounds that have predicated decades of safety persona behaviors; awareness is the first step to changing unwanted behaviors. 

I am also grateful for the recognition of how these behaviors have manifested in repeated self betrayal for I am now free to let them go and move forward in the reclamation of my true nature.

Buckle up! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride….

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