Let’s explore the above heading a little together. You could be forgiven to think that surly this is something no one would ever do. What would be the point? Clearly I am not talking here about the act of lying; I’m sure that we have all been a little guilty of a white lie or two. If we really get into it here I am talking about living in a state of limbo. Unable to deal with the realms of the true you, because you feel if you were to do so you would never be able to deal with the emotions it would evoke. Some of the examples that may be given if we were to go take a look in a dictionary may read a little like this.
To live in a way that is dishonest because you are pretending to be something that you are not to yourself or to other people.
To spend your life as someone else
Faking or pretending
Letting sleeping dogs lie
Holding you cards very close to your chest
An outward show to the world of being the clown whilst so acutely aware that it’s all just an act
Fingers crossed we will be believed. After all, we are the only persons aware of the turmoil going on deep inside of us. And we are getting pretty good at ignoring that. Why did it even matter that the outward face you are showing to the world was so far from the truth? They believed that’s all you cared about right? The words rattling around in your head . . . It works for me. If we are ever challenged with regard to this falsehood we defend it venomously. But undoubtedly if you have ever even versed those words – it works for me – then clearly it isn’t or it doesn’t or it would never have been detectable by the person doing the questioning. The unequivocal truth is that it’s right there for all to see like a beacon hovering above our heads. The trouble with this train of thought is that you cannot allow yourself time to think. Consideration or attention cannot be given at all cost. But that is an easy thing to deal with; we just don’t give ourselves the time. So we charge along the road of space-filling. Never spend too much time alone far too dangerous by half. For sure it would be an easy thing to do; there was work, evenings out, and holidays to arrange. You even start planning things way in to the future. Nothing could be left to chance. The worst thing that could happen would be to find you were all alone for more than a few hours, where you and the suppressed you are the only two people in the room. That you can’t deal with. An invitation for them to creep up behind us unnoticed. So once more we are back on the tread mill because no matter what they needed to stay put. We busy ourselves with someone else’s problems finding that easier to deal with then our own. Another space filled. As with so many of the issues I find myself writing about time crops up so often as being the enemy. All the above is something I recognise distinctly. It’s true to say that the many radio shows that I have been a guest on; the same has been echoed to me time after time.
So how do you deny you? Seems an odd thing to say but a statement I have heard many times. I have myself witnessed this in the not too distant past, but sadly I was unable to alter the circumstance surrounding that person at that time. The best I can hope for is that at some time in their future they embrace their past with courage. If we choose not to deal with our demons as we think of them they will only ever be one step behind us.
I was to find out many years later that, in fact, my act had never been believed. At that time in my life maybe that didn’t matter, so was it just that I had to think it was believable? These questions and many more were the reason that for so long I just denied me. Sleep always evaded me because in the dark the real you just won’t leave you alone. I would not sleep for days and then crash from sleep deprivation. I am so very lucky to have now found myself in a place where I know the real me is all I have to be – my past, my memories and all warts included. That same outcome for you is only a step towards faith away.
Many things are to be contributed to this situation, but in my experience it’s our past that keeps us in that loop of non-acceptance. Acceptance really is the one thing we need to strive for, but it needs to be the acceptance of who we are. Far more importantly, it needs to be acceptance of where we have been, along with acceptance of the journey we should never have been made to take. We really need to understand that unless these issues are dealt with, we will carry them all through our lives. They will continue to affect so many things within our lives. We can’t just ditch our past – just how easy would that be! There is hard work to be done. Strive for those nights where you are happy to find yourself alone. Embrace all that you are because that’s enough. In doing so we have to believe that could be your very first tentative steps on the road to recovery, they don’t have to be strides just moving forward.
Crossing your fingers will never be as effective as moving on in your life with an open hand . . .
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So what is dissociation . . .? Everyone can relate to periods when this occurs naturally; we take a familiar journey with no memory of the journey we have taken at all. It can also arrive as a form of self-defence, a mechanism that helps us to survive a traumatic experience. There is a need to escape reality at that time, time off as it were to deal with the present situation. We all have our own feelings thoughts and memories. When these memories become too painful where do we go to escape? If we stay as we are in that present time, fully occupying our conscious mind how can we keep the pain of reality at bay? Answer we disconnect. When that happens we have in truth lost our own sense of identity. We see the things around us differently; there is a need for someone far stronger than us at that time to deal with the present situation. It’s even possible to alter our memories, rewrite the outcome if only the situation had been dealt with by our alter ego. It has been referred to by many as an out-of-body experience, somewhat like you are watching a movie where the plot unfolds in front of you.
You may feel like there is a struggle within you to define yourself, but no matter waiting in the wings is the safety of the rock we have come to depend on. Through my work and a very close relationship, I have spent much time with someone who deals with this situation as an everyday occurrence. Over the last six years I have been in a situation that allowed me to see first-hand, the effect simply by spending time in this lady’s life. I have been witness to this dissociation many times. For her for so many years there were two main characters, she was surviving simple because they were there. Sadly through the current stress upset and trauma in her life, she now finds herself with a further edition. We need to ask why this was necessary, but will we every fully understand the reasoning? If I were to take a shot at unravelling this dilemma, to my mind the previous well-known safely nets no longer felt as if they would hold fast. When this dissociation happens there is a complete loss of the timeframe, along with the loss of any memory during that time; events being relayed at a later time are not even recognised. I myself have felt the need to escape the trapping of my life; within my own experience I have also travelled that road. I am sure that everyone out there has experienced, or can relate to this situation on some level.
Those of us that have been abused have all felt some form of disconnection, how would it even be possible to make it through the day without that get out clause? I clearly remember needing to use that clause many times, to be able to remove myself from the reality going on around me. It was someone else being abused, I was just an observer unable to take part in or alter in any way what was happening. Everything was somewhat obscured from my view. Oddly at the same time feeling the pain and complete helplessness, for that part of me still within my abuser’s grasp . . . Today I no longer feel the need to escape the world around me. Simply said we all need to make headway in that direction, embark on the path to us once more becoming whole. There is a misconception that we should let sleeping dogs lie, but the absolute truth is that they never do. We run around with conviction, firmly believing that if we try hard enough in time they will. Let’s not instigate trouble just leave the past alone. Don’t restart or rekindle, don’t disturb the situation it will only serve to complicate. The ultimate outcome of this misconception is that we morph into that person we know to be stronger than us . . . with the dogs just behind us snapping at our heels. This cycle we believe will serve us well, whenever we feel threatened, pain, or the world around us becomes too heavy to carry alone. We feel that if the situation is shared between our alter egos, we will surly make it through. So how long do we continue along this road, with our separate layers strewn out in front of us? Answer – For as long as we continue on with dissociation.
This takes us right back to the start of this piece . . .
For us to become whole once more we have to deal with the past, those alter egos are there firmly in place for a reason. They have served to protect us, when that protection was the only thing that seemed real. For many years we have not had to carry the pressures of life alone, so we ask is it a burden too much? Can we really allow their departure? It’s a difficult question but one that must be addressed if we are to succeed. Let’s think about parts of a jigsaw, we need every piece to complete the image. We have just forgotten where each piece fits. Maybe we have even misplaced a few pieces, but if we rummage around long enough they are all still there. Life is a jigsaw where all the things around us need to fit in order to make us feel safe. We may even feel that we need help in the construction of it, when the job seems too much to deal with alone. I am sure that every day we encounter times where we would wish to be someone else, somewhere else even. Those are the everyday knocks in life; however there is a big difference from wishing and dissociation. But please believe me when I say to you right here and now, the strength you needed has always been there all be it in more than one guise. The answer eluding you was in recognising them and then simply putting the pieces in place. That’s the time your alter egos will join together in a show of strength, taking all you need from each one in order to move on. Dissociation will no longer be a factor in your life; you will then become the whole person that you rightly recognise as one . . .