Well this is a tricky one for sure and so very complex when so much depends on that other person we are sharing with and hoping they will understand, during these times we are walking on a very fine line as we struggle to feel comfortable to do so whilst also knowing that we could be opening a can of worms. So we sit with it within and struggle to keep hold of how we are feeling like we have to keep our tummies empty, but as with any other type of can we can’t eat its contents unless we pick up that can opener and proceed with the process of opening it. Of course this is metaphorically speaking but until we do we will never be able to examine or attempt to solve a problem, and yes at times this can inadvertently complicate or even create more problems or trouble for ourselves.
It’s a difficult meal to arrange not knowing what the other person prefers to eat and what will lie heavily in their stomach, but before we even present that meal we struggle so deeply with finding the right ingredients. We are not a Michelin chief and not at all comfortable even being in that kitchen, the ovens seem to be so very hot and we are so convinced that before we walk away from that kitchen we will for sure suffer from severe burns.
As with everything else within our lives we can’t avoid this issue without doing what’s needed it’s a little like trying to feel full without eating, until we face up to that meal we are going to suffer those hunger pains and eventually suffer with even living healthy on a day to day basis. Until we sit down at that table and share that meal we have no way of knowing just how unpleasant it will be to digest, but the one thing we all know is that we have to eat to survive.
When we hold on to those feelings how can we ever expect that another to understand without the knowledge of understanding how we feel, without being able to convey how we feel creates so much damage within us but speaking out is so very scary right? We will never have the forefront of knowledge as to their reaction until we do speak out. Hell when we do so we may find that we are not in the same restaurant or even looking at the same menu, but maybe when we do so we may find out that we are in fact able to taste each other’s meal with an open mind as to how it will taste.
I have found myself on many occasions sitting across from another as to speak and the language on the menu seems to be written in complete double Dutch, trying to share and being misunderstood or delving into that place of reaction judgement or anger which I know is not at all tasteful. But also knowing and feeling the indigestion of that if I stand up from that table and leave then I may never be giving the chance to taste that particular meal again. I guess all we can ever really do is to speak out and express our feelings whilst hoping that we will be received in the right frame of mind in which we have intended, we have no guarantees in life as to where to go from here only the knowledge that forward motion is needed. All we can ever do is to take that chance in the trust that in time and with shared conversation that meal will become a pleasant thing in which to share.
As a suffer of past abuse we will struggle with our emotions because we never really feel like they are our own, they are so very mixed up inside of us that at times they feel so completely alien. We feel that extremely difficult conflict going on around us but in truth quite simply we are in conflict with ourselves; what’s needed is to come together as one by really looking at those recipes within in order to run a successful restaurant. We try to eat correctly because we are told that we all need a balanced diet to stay healthy and our emotions really aren’t so very different.
I’ll see you the other side when you’re ready to pay that bill……..
Most people don’t realise just how psychic they may be but in truth one sure way of knowing is the ability to feel another’s emotions or energy, when you think of someone else do they think of you at the exact same time? This can often be a spiritual connection or a deep based affinity between two people. This happens to us throughout our lives even if we are not aware of its nature or existence, we feel a pull towards another that is difficult to disregard or ignore. Time spent with them is looked forward to with fulfilment whilst within their company or even when we talk to them on the phone they just seem to fit, at times we seem to have the same thoughts emotions or sadness as if it’s kind of mirrored. Have you ever started to say something to that person and they say “hey I was just thinking about that very thing” in a sense it’s the ability to feel even if you are separated. We are all aware of things like – we make a call and on reply that other person will say” I was just thinking about you I was going to call” You can feel them around you during your daily life and they never seem too far away. There is a kind of camaraderie between you that you don’t feel with others it’s just that feeling that you find so difficult to explain, we only know that person fills a space within our hearts that is indescribable.
We often feel this tie with the ones that we love and are closest to us as if we can read each other’s minds and at times it can be a little eerie it’s like they have direct access to our thoughts, where has this invasion come from? Somehow an energy cord has been formed. It’s often said that this is an automatic response on meeting our soul mate where we just know that they are the one but how do we know? All we know is that we are drawn towards that person with an overwhelming instinct that is bigger than us.
During the years that I have been writing about my own abuse I have felt this extreme psychic pull so many times whilst relating with other abuse survivors, there is a link that I can’t explain but it’s there and felt strongly. It’s a shared emotion that we will never share with others that have never been subjected to sexual abuse; it’s a kind a feeling so deep within that at times it can give you that stomach over turning feeling or anxiousness within. I never fail to feel this emotion whilst writing a new piece for my website or being interviewed on live radio, I have no way of knowing just who may be listening but I always feel that I am being heard. Somehow I feel that link and I never fail to finish a radio show without a knot in my stomach from an outside influence, which leaves me very uneasy for the rest of that day it’s just as if I have left a part of me there that I needed to leave. A sort of psychic tie that may be invisible but its effect is felt in both directions; we have a common state of mind simply because we know just how it feels to endure the devastating effect that sexual abuse causes.
I could sit here and try to guess or explain how or why this happens but in all honesty I’m not sure that I have the required skill set to relate the how’s and why’s, the fact that it does needs no explanation to me I know that the draw towards that other being is not within my control. In a strange way because of my abuse I have an army of people out there that I can find some comfort with and I never ever really feel alone, even though the receiving of this felt comfort is through the sharing of a terrifying experience. So I guess that is why I am here today to remind you that you are not alone and comfort can be found by just reaching out in the right direction, suffice to say that I awoke this morning with this overwhelming feeling to remind all of those out there that has ever suffered from the terror of sexual abuse that we are here just waiting.
So is it a psychic link or shared experience? I’ll leave that for you to decide……….
Deep seated anger it’s a feeling that we can all relate to because anger is an emotion and as with all emotions we will feel them, every emotion we feel is so completely different and insights a different response. With the emotion of anger we can at times feel like we are within a demolition site just standing there as the building falls around us, unable to move for fear of being crushed whilst our ears are bombarded with the sound of the explosions that won’t cease even though we are the ones with our finger on the button. We stand there holding on to it with a death grip and even then it seems that the button has its own mind and we can do nothing to remove our finger until this anger has been expunged. By that time your head will be spinning with the heightened emotion felt and the experience you have just been subjected to, as we are left faced with what we still have left in front of us whilst not caring if anything can be salvaged from the rubble at all.
We feel that the anger that arose within was not unjustified but still OK someone has to come in with the bulldozer to clear it all up but it’s not you so that’s fine right?
We experience many emotions there is the emotion of complete love of disappointment or complete sadness and let’s not forget worry. Our range of feelings once evoked by our emotions can seem endless and are so very complex, that we could go on here filling up the page with the awesome range of our emotions but let’s go back to the subject at hand i.e. deep seated anger.
This emotion is nothing more than a wrecking ball hell bent on destroying our lives by the way that its felt it’s an overriding feeling that is so dam hard to get control of once it’s out of its box, it will fly off in every direction having the same effect as TNT which we then use to bring the house down. The walls fall around us but we will not be content until its structure is completely demolished right down to the footings, because it’s then that we can gaze at our work with complete relish and satisfaction and see the effects of the bomb that just went off all around us. There we stand righteously gazing at the carnage of damage as the dust swirls all around us trying to find somewhere to settle so that we can see through the fog. Completely unaware and not caring about the materials that will be needed in time to rebuild this desolation, to be able to start from scratch with something liveable but it’s really not our problem right?
It was justified you were right to lose all control because you felt either judged or suffered disillusionment with another or was it was a broken trust? Next time whoever will know just how far you are prepared to go if this situation recurred right? There we sit on our extremely high horse with our head in the air but mostly feeling completely removed because we had not been the cause of it right? So many questions but we have all the answers don’t we? But as we leave that situation with all that in mind we can’t help but take with us the fragments of what has just fallen down around us, the pieces of broken debris which may at that time be invisible to us, the dust in our hair and the dirt that we walk away with on the bottom of our shoes. We may have left that building site but inevitably it will take more than a shower to make us feel clean once again.
Deep seated anger has no real place in our lives other than to buffer our dented ego or to make us feel righteous defensive or pain, but the problem with this emotion is that it can’t help us to feel better about ourselves it can only in time give us a deeper understanding of that situation. I’m really not talking here about the recipient of that explosive emotion because I guess we could do no worse, we have made it completely clear just how we stand and there could be no mistake. I’m talking here about that emotion of regret that as yet has not even entered our minds but who sees regret at a time like this? Well I guess that’s just another unanswered question for now.
Regret for how that emotion made us feel because in time nothing is without its cost let’s hope that the cost won’t not be too high, because everyone pays the price when this deep seated anger is invoked. So before we embark on this lonely angry exercise should we not try to answer at least one question? Is that TNT really needed or what’s warranted? Just maybe the restructure of the existing building would suffice but that’s for you to decide. For myself I have already been within that emotion so many times that I have come to realise that I have lost something from each and every encounter on that demolition site, so sitting here today I try to avoid the one thing that hurts the most and for me that is regret although I don’t always succeed so I guess I’m a work in progress.
As abused children we grow up without even recognising the deep seated angry within us and that angry only grows with time, it’s inevitable that all the pain and control we have lived through serves to make us feel that we will always need to fight the world around us. As time passes it sits festering with seemingly no outlet or anywhere to put it down, but we have to keep looking for that place before that angry takes from us the rest of our lives in front of us. Sadly so very often that anger seeps out at the wrong time or the completely and utterly wrong place or even directed the wrong person, but we have to keep trying to find some control over that anger or we will never find any peace and it may even destroy any happiness we may have found.
Holding on to deep seated anger is nothing more than pushing the detonator and watching the devastation it causes- whilst expecting our own house to withstand the blast.
All of us at times hide behind a mask to be able to keep our true feeling hidden because we will never feel comfortable with all our feelings and emotions out there for all to see, that part of us needs to be kept deeply within us so that ultimately we are still in over all control. Whether we are or not is a completely different scenario but it needs to be seen as such from the outside whilst what we are really feeling is a struggle deep within. When you have suffered from abuse you have already spent most of your life behind that mask, for us it’s far more than a prop that we are able to remove after every performance. It’s habitual and consistent and continuous as we portray to the world the face we want them to see, and this is true of all of us whether we have suffered abuse or not in whatever social situation we are in.
If we were to gather all of our friend’s family or acquaintances together every one of them whilst mingling will surely have their masks perfectly in place, but for those of us that have been abused then we need to add to the mix the vulnerability we are feeling. We are hiding and holding back so much more of who we are under that mask due the fear of being exposed seen as weak or judged, the feeling of not being able to stand up with any resistance to the elephant in the room that’s always with us. We feel sure that no one can lift that mask unless we let them so each time we are in a social situation out comes the super glue and that mask is going nowhere, but if we think that by doing so we also won’t be able to see ourselves beneath that mask that’s a complete misconception. What’s more during that said social event we find ourselves holding on tightly to that mask as if we are sure that it is somehow slipping, so now retreat is the only answer where we need to reapply that much needed and completely inscrutable glue.
I guess that in all truth we may never reach a place in which we feel that mask is no longer needed and shown to the outside world, but the only one that needs to see beneath that mask that really matters is ourselves. That sounds like a really easy concept but that’s not even close as to being the truth, because in all honesty the internal mask we wear is ever present the one in which we are the only ones that can find the strength to lift. It sits there like a kind of barrier between who we would like to be and who we really are, and if we were ever to try to peel away that mask well that’s a very daunting prospect. None of this struggle is even visible to the outside world, and for sure even if it were they would not have the skill set to be of any help this fight as always is down to us to make that forward progression. We can of course continue to project to the world that false image and even convince ourselves that’s who we really are, but there is a reason for that face makeup applied liberally that at times still allows us to see the tears of a clown. When you cry on the inside there is no body there to hear or dry your tears but that doesn’t mean that they will never dry.
We all have within us the strength to be that someone that we really want to be without fear or feeling any judgement, because as abuse survivors there is no judgement that even comes close to how we already judge ourselves. I guess what I am saying is that the mask we continue to wear was measured and manufactured by our abuser as children but if we really think about it have we now not outgrown it? It’s now way past time to be who you are without the need of that mask because that’s all that we need to be and to feel completely free where that inner mask no longer dictates who we have to be, that outer mask will always be around but we can choose to only take it out for that mingling we talked about above because lets be honest everyone enjoys the odd costume party.
Our lives will only ever alter for the better when we are prepared to take that chance……..
At times we truly don’t have all the answers when looking at it from the outside because the only way we will find them is by going within and this can be a very lonely place. We can’t answer others questions because we ourselves don’t know the answer if it eludes us how can we reply? During my own recovery I have gone through many stages and they have all been challenging, but what if the challenge never goes away no matter what you do on the outside? What if it seems that no one can help with this situation for an array of different reasons? Well we are then stuck in a place that seems impossible to escape from not only during the day light hours but also whilst we are sleeping. What if those questions still enter our minds in a way that we seem unable to be control? During the day we may find respite from these questions with an extensive effort which only seems possible in the worst gangster movies we ever seen or heard off, as we continually look for the answer to these questions finding no peace of mind whatsoever. But during the night that is a whole different ball game and we try so hard to control the melting pot of question marks as if it were even possible, the truth is the only way to avoid these questions is not to sleep at all but that’s impossible right?
l have spent many a night trying to do just that willing my eyes to stay open but ultimately it’s a fight that I will always lose. The dark is always a place that insights a little fear if we are within it alone and not knowing what may arrive, but to be in the dark knowing that the inevitable will always turn up it’s a place where we will never feel rested . So what can we do to change this situation? Well that’s an answer that seems to change on a nightly basis as the situation alters just as you seem to be up to speed with what you’re within right on cue the wind changes direction and you haven’t a clue. You become that leaf in autumn where you have no choice other than to fall from the tree going wherever the wind takes you, never knowing where you will land, and then once more being uplifted with another unexpected gust that can take you in any direction whatsoever. We all know that the elements at times are one of the most destructive ripping through anything that stands in its way so to be able to control the wind is not near impossible it’s completely impossible.
You toss and turn alone in the dark and then someone holds out a hand to you, but before you can grasp on to it the wind once more does its thing changing direction and you are blown along aimlessly. There you go without having any say in the matter only able to go where the wind decides is your next direction. Your feet never seem to touch the floor as you reach back desperately trying to clench on to that hand because you need to find some much needed grounding, but you are left watching sadly as it disappears out of sight and your continued journey rolls on. Only ever stopping when you awake in a ball of terror and a fear and confusion that we feel will never leave us or can be controlled.
So what if you’re days and nights suddenly become as one like you have never woken from your sleep and you are still within the night, through no fault of our own we start to live like these twenty four hours are one which then rolls into another twenty four hours never ending until the next. Where everything around you starts to act as if it were only possible within that film I talked about above, because this situation you find yourself in could only ever be in the realms of a book resembling the Kray twins. You start to live your life fending of those quick fire questions but you’ve never been equipped with the answers. Well it’s a very familiar feeling for me because as life continues I arrive at another set of these of quick fire questions sessions as though I am being tested, and as always I cannot ask the audience or phone a friend I am forced to rely only on my own grey matter for so very many reasons. The real complete craziness is that so many of the questions that are asked of me I find myself second guessing every answer that I arrive at. We will never be able to control what goes on around us but just maybe we can learn to control the within and our reaction even with everything around us still in turmoil, where we know with certainty that control will never be ours until the passing of time and a drop in the wind speed. We can never hope to control the wind so we must learn to feel it’s OK to be taken wherever it may blow us and to be that leaf that covers so such ground in so little time, to take each touchdown as it arrives as all the grounding that we need even though it may be fleeting.
The next time you observe that leaf take a minute to really see it because it’s not fighting the wind it’s just moving within it………
Its always there hiding deep within us carrying all the bad memories that our conscious mind is unable to, it’s a place so deep within its only there that we are able to hold on to all those dark memories without the absence of light. We know it’s there but we can keep that door closed tight daily with our newly acquired strength that we have finally found during our journey to recovery. Our conscious mind really has that one covered and no longer do we feel its weight or its depth it seemed always, no longer do we find our minds drifting off quite so often as if we were within a day dream and within that place of pain. The lights are on the sun is shining and we are in full control within our daily life well as much as possible. We have days where it’s not all that good but we have learnt to process our thoughts whilst in a wakeful state.
Our subconscious mind is a million times more powerful than it’s predecessor our conscious mind, the activity of our subconscious mind never stops it just sits there in the dark waiting for night to fall. It holds on to our memories and experiences our beliefs habits and behaviour. Our subconscious mind acts like a compressor containing all our mental process that is inaccessible to our conscious mind through our choice, it can influence our judgement our feelings our emotions and our actions. It can also hold open the concert door for all those performing demons deep within, that during a subconscious state of mind we no longer have any control over. It’s where we store and hold on to everything and retrieve data from so like it or not it’s part of our being, because in so many aspects it’s who we are and where we’ve been in essence it’s the path we’ve walked so far. It’s where we subconsciously file all of the conscious happens during any given day that we have experienced, anything to heavy and we put it there immediately from learnt behaviour.
The time when our subconscious mind is mostly in control is during REM sleep which can happen many times nightly, and each time we enter REM sleep the period we stay within it lasts much longer as our sleep deepens. During this time our heart rate increases and our breath quickens whilst trying to process everything being directed our way, as we start to relive the day that we have just retreated from. The first time this happens we are still within that feeling of not quite asleep but not quite awake either, but it’s just the beginning where we then start the process of putting our rendition of the day where it belongs and in its proper place. It’s somewhat like we are a conductor making sure that everyone sits in the rights seats to aid the acoustics of the hall they are within, because sitting in the wrong seat can make quite a difference to the sound.
At that point we still have all control over the orchestra from the strings to the drums and everything in between; they join in with the onset of the music only when invited whilst looking at the musical notes in front of them- but then and only then. As the conductor we can ask them to stop, we can ask them to play just that little bit quieter, or to just fade away into the background because they are playing as directed and recognising our leadership. But as the night passes and our REM sleep becomes much longer in duration and so much deeper, it seems that no matter how hard we try or where we starting out from we are no longer the conductor. In fact we no longer play any part in that particular musical sheet whatsoever all directing has been taken from us.
That’s the time when the concert really starts and no matter how hard we try these musical demons awake and start to play unchecked with any instrument that they choose, and they continue on for however long this particular musical rendition lasts and all we can do is to sit and listen.
For such a long time sleep as I’ve said often in the past sleep was the real enemy for me and I’m sure that’s true for many others, I would fight it with all I had because of where I knew it was going to take me. To a place where without doubt I would no longer conduct anything, a place where the music became so very deafening and also without any rhythm or rhyme. Where the music played on with the instruments joining in or dropping out at their own choosing, never stopping it seemed to me not even to take a breath. All I would be able to do was to sit there with my fingers in my ears although metaphorically, as it seemed so clear that my past abuse had tethered itself to these musical instruments and had taken my place on the bandstand. They were now holding on to the baton tightly as they played the devils music with such deafening disarray.
We have all been there often so that we recognise that this rendition at their disposal could play on in theory as if endless but in truth the music has to end; even if we awake in a bath of sweat from what shall we call it a musical nightmare? So I guess what I am trying to say here is that it only takes an act or a reminder during our wakeful hours, or a jolt from the past surrounding our abuse for a rendition not of our making to lay low until we dare to close our eyes. But clearly close them we must at some point so we lay there in dread of the inevitable, because without doubt we can’t escape from where our subconscious may take us, we can only ever hope that as time passes we learn that music takes on many different lyrical sounds and as in life we don’t always like everything that we hear. We have to learn that we don’t always have a choice on the music being played, and just by doing so the transition from our conscious mind to our subconscious mind becomes less of a tuneless mess than before.
In truth I don’t have the answer to the length of the song sheet because I myself was recently reminded that there is some really crappy music out there.
But I continue to reach towards a place where I can once more remove my fingers from my ears; they are already not there quite so often. There is no set date or time when the music we may hear will only be sweet because we can’t predict that which is in front of us or where that may take us, there will still be times when our fingers can’t reach our ears quick enough. But we have to believe that there will come a time where we will accept all and every musical sheet presented to us, and reach a consciousness deep within that we no longer need to conduct that which is not within our control so to hell with them let them play on.
In time we will all reach a place where all we can hear is the idyllic rendition of a harp we just have to find the tuning fork……..
The heading of this piece means so very much to me because we all need our own identity without it who are we? I guess it’s an imprint within me from my past where my identity was completely lost, to a point where I was just coursing through life a very lost soul. During that time it was a feeling that I excepted because if I had to question who I was I would be made to look at who I had become, and I really believed that I was invisible to the rest of the world so why would I point me out? As a child I had felt so completely worthless a nothing that nobody cared for because they just couldn’t see me. I remember all the times that I had been standing in front of an adult trying desperately for them to see me, for them to tell me that I mattered but my silence meant it would have been almost impossible. I just couldn’t tell them why I felt that way it was just far too dangerous and even then would they still not see me? Ultimately I was too afraid to try because I would not have been able to deal with the further emptiness.
So I went through my childhood a very rebellious soul at times acting out causing a scene creating disruption in the class room, because that meant they would have to see me which caused me no end of trouble and so many visits to the head of school to explain my bad behaviour. Even there waiting to receive my punishment it was better than just fading away into the nothingness, I was receiving recognition I had my identity although it was in a manner that was less than ideal to say the least. Standing alone there as a child I so wanted someone anyone just to say my name even in anger because even that was better than being nobody.
So what does it mean this having our own identity? In truth it means everything we all need to know who we are to be able to find a place that is right for us. This is true of everything that affects our lives from where we choose to work our relationships or where it suits us to live, to the friends that enter our hearts because they mean something to us they just fit in with our identity. If we don’t have our own identity how do we know those most fundamental parts of our being or create structure in our lives, and equally chose those that we can relate to or wish to share portions of our life with. Everything becomes difficult as we spend our time second guessing as to whom we are and if we are complete. We can’t do any of those things without our identity it’s just not possible when we are fundamentally missing.
During our life time as we try to heal we will come up against this identity crisis so often and as a result of that feeling we are on constant alert, we create battlements all around us digging out the moats just waiting for that invasion to arrive. Constantly checking if our identity in which we are trying so hard to build is in danger of once more being overthrown. Depending on the situation our reaction can go from being a mild stir within us to a full blown earthquake, so our reaction is governed in just how much we feel we need to react to this war declared upon us. During my life I have been in this situation so many times that it’s just too hard to remember how many, but I know that as time passes I am learning to deal with this military stance a little better.
Of course that doesn’t mean it’s left me completely and it rears its head on occasion when that feeling of losing my identity creeps up on me completely unnoticed, until I’m in too deep to find the control needed to recognise my old pattern. It’s so very hard to explain just how frightening this feeling can be its like your world is in danger of being pulled out from under you, that you are being chased by an army of emotions that are running riot in your head.
You hear these words over and over in your head without any construction whatsoever – who are you? Where do you fit? Your thoughts and feelings don’t matter! Just accept that your choices aren’t good ones and others need to make them for you. Right pay attention! You need to take control over this situation because you are about to be lost all over again! That person without needs to make your decisions for you because you’re just not capable! You will once again have no control or identity because being controlled is just one step behind you so you better head for the battlefield and in a hurry! And they are but a few.
Once this descending army has been halted you stand there in the aftermath that has been created on the battlefield realising just what that section of time has cost you? Whilst feeling that it was your only course of action we then have to find a way back from the insane journey of conflict that we have just taken; the problem is whilst within that situation all you were able to do was defend yourself with everything you had with your own army at your disposal, because going back there again would finish you completely and the battle would be forever lost.
Maybe in time these skirmishes can be undone but equally it could be a war wound that will forever leave a scar. We can only deal with the situation at that time because it’s completely without rehearsal just how do you rehearse the feeling of losing your identity? Finding yourself was such a long journey and quite a fight to have been in, and the truth behind this overwhelming emotion is that we have become so overly protective of the identity we had craved for. I’m sure my words will resonate with many of you out there that have found yourselves in this situation, and I’m sure we will do so again because this finding yourself and believing in yourself whilst trying to establish your identity is something that we rightly hold dear.
In time maybe I or we will find ourselves in a different place with a learning that no one can take from us what we consciously refuse to give, I hope that in time I will arrive in such a place but I have to admit that journey to completion as yet eludes me. We need to understand that someone else can’t make us feel that our identity is in jeopardy and that we can hold on to it whatever comes along but that’s a learning I’m afraid that is solely down to us. No one can invade a defended position once we reach it and really believe that we do by finding the peace within to put the big guns down.
Its then that we realise that we are no longer children truly believing that we now can use our new found identity to its true worth, but also except that if those choices involve another person all of these choices cannot and shouldn’t be all of our own even when it’s a difficult balance. Even after recognising this we will still unfortunately make mistakes because that a human trait and part of life. But just recognise that others can’t see or understand the panic within us and they are left believing that our reaction was completely over the top. They just can’t see this vacuum of torrid emotions racing through our minds during that time how could they? Unfortunately I don’t have all of the answers but in the here and now I am grateful to at least be able to recognise the question. If you find the strength to leave the confinements of that deep dugout you will see in truth that your identity is now yours you just had to connect with it.
It’s then that we see that a ceasefire has at last been reached………..
Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run, to use tough love you need to feel actual love for the person behind this action! If it sounds much like I have taken that sentence from the dictionary you would be right, because that’s exactly what I did trying to gain some insight as to what that really means. Much like I was looking for a way to understand the reason this has to happen, and the words on every page made complete sense sitting there in front of me in black and white. Advice is given freely where I could dot the i’s and cross the t’s Ok this should be a breeze if only I follow their direction what was I worried about? Here I sit with all that knowledge aware that this action is taken daily and needed by so many people on this journey of tough love. But in truth I am butting my head against a brick wall almost daily as I try to find my way through this emotional minefield.
As abused children it’s been a little like that for most of our lives or what we were told was love it was just so confusing, simply because we held on tight to any love shown in our direction even at the hands of our abuser. We never really had any understanding of what love was but we knew that however we felt this so called love in any direction, we had to hold on to it with a death grip because that person was showing us affection. However bizarre that sounds to us now as adults whilst no one else seemed to care about us at all how could they care? They never at any time came to our aid. Believe me love doesn’t come any tougher than being drawn towards someone for affection and not understanding desperately looking for some kind of affection, whilst all along feeling so alone that you could be on a dessert island looking for something at that time we didn’t even know we were missing.
The problem with this tough love is that unlike a flat piece of paper where those words could have been written across our consciousness, we are going to be effected emotional because of this action taken even when we try pushing our feelings and emotions into our subconscious. We are armed with the knowledge this tough love that’s needed would be aiming at those that are engraved in our hearts but that’s what this tough love is right? What is forgotten or explained is that you yourself will be affected greatly by this choice you may be forced to make.
I guess we only ever take this action as a last ditch chance to show the person involved that something has to change, because we can no longer accept the treatment coming our way it’s almost like it has become their pastime. We’ve tried everything else to no avail they just don’t seem to see the pain they are causing us; in truth do they even see what they are doing? A hard emotion felt so deeply so we question ourselves with do they even care? And in that instant there we are back sitting within our childhood. I felt my heart strings being pulled by that statement because no one is immune to this situation during our lifetime. So it seems that this tough love will always go both ways because within it we have nowhere to hide from the love felt towards that other person it’s no easy task!
We lose so much during this time whilst hoping greatly that in time they will have an infusion of understanding seeing what needs to be addressed, can they find their way back to the straight and narrow? Because all we can do is to sit aimlessly by. On every occasion when this direction of choice is needed it’s always felt by so many other people in all innocence, but still they are embroiled and a shadow is implemented on their own memory and their emotions felt within are it seems unavoidable. But how can that be right? Quite simply because our love radiates in so many directions causing upset by default it seems without intention to the innocent, wow those words are really hard to read never mind being within this situation where innocence is so easily taken away by the thoughtless actions of others.
Tough love is something at times all we have left open to us but it’s such a hard choice to make, armed with the knowledge of all the above felt deeply within but also knowing it’s no longer avoidable. I guess all we can take from its arrival is that you love that someone deeply enough to feel the pain of your own actions also, because in truth tough love would never be implemented unless we love that someone immensely. It’s not difficult to see why it’s simply because they matter if they didn’t why in all probability we would want to take that journey? Walking away without a second thought would be easier but that love you feel for another has your feet nailed to the floor, because loving and likening someone in the here and now when that choice is decided upon is such a different emotion. But there is no doubt that you need to walk in with your eyes wide open and excepting a hurricane of emotion that will floor you completely. Once initiated somehow those nails that were holding you firmly in place within their lives are extracted with such finesse and precision that you miss it completely. An action in which you will find yourself no longer in possession of that nail gun hell you can’t even find the box of nails! Your choice has initiated a reaction and you better hold on to your hat it’s going to be a white knuckle ride and one in which you no longer have any control.
In so many ways tough love by definition is showing us the depth of our own love for another in essence we are making a choice to put our own feelings aside, in the hope that this choice will help that another see just how their choices are affecting you and also those around them. Sometimes when a different guise of love arrives it can be from an unexpected direction, but that doesn’t mean anything other than we forgot to look in the right direction needed at that time. It seems at times for all concerned all we can do is to walk away in the other direction and it hurts like hell because this tough love is always felt both ways.
A change in their direction is needed and they are the only ones with access to that map……………
Well, it’s been a while since my last piece I guess that’s because I found myself once more within just such a situation, it’s also the driving force for this piece and as it unfolds that will become obvious. The last few weeks this emotion for me has been really tested to almost breaking point, it was a real surprise for me as I thought that I had seen the last of that emotion and its effect on me to this degree, but it seems that there is always someone ready to shake your timbers from the rooftop for their own game or gain. As abused children, we are somehow compelled to keep an eye on our rear and our backs to the wall, looking back for us is a knee-jerk reaction because we know all too well the magnitude of the things that may creep up on you. It’s so hard not to look back there was a point in my life that it seemed my head was continuity on full rotate in an aim to catch whomever at the act. We spent many years trying to control this emotion and some of us never regain that control again even with the most trusted of friends. We feel controlled or manipulated even when there is no cause to do so it’s just so easy to let that emotion back into our lives, and for the most without any real cause or intent from others. But there is that pull on our invisible strings of power of which we are never going to let happen again right? Hey, it took us years to find any sort of control of ourselves or over ourselves so whoever is trying to pull our strings can go to hell!! Sound familiar? It sure does for me.
The problem is that over time we can go from feeling controlled to wanting to be in control of everything and everyone one around us, sadly this reaction sits inside of us watching our six for that inevitable battle just around the next corner. We really need to look at how we make that change of being controlled and knowing clearly that becoming the controller is just as destructive. As I write these words I feel every one of them like an old battle scar that for so long I kept picking at never allowing it to heal, I guess it’s a sharp reminder now that lingers deep within me that took a lot of inner work for me to see the difference of all that I have stated above. Because make no mistake there is a very big difference between taking back the control of ourselves and becoming the controller because that is also fundamentally wrong. Those words may leave a bad taste in many a mouth but this is a question we must ask ourselves if at times we are guilty of. But it’s just so damn hard to find that equilibrium between the two without questioning ourselves with are we being controlled or are we being controlling? So we just better head for that wall positioning ourselves well and protect our rear firmly against it.
But there is a different kind of control that we never really see coming from those that have walked beside us many times without incident, simply because they are someone that we trusted with our demons never knowing that they would use them against us. They have knowledge of our ups and downs watching us at our darkest point and the effect our past has inflicted upon us. They are family or someone that you never thought would use that knowledge for their own gain but in reality, they may not be all that they seem, and they know just where to push that dagger in your most painful of parts. Your vulnerabilities have always been on show to them and they know just how to tear you apart from the inside-out.
For myself, I recently found out just how painful having that knowledge can be, overly more I had to face the fact that this was something that I had allowed to continue for much too long. Overly more, through my uncontrollable fear of losing those that I love so deeply they knew just what to take from me, and they were happy to do just that if I did not capitulate. I however needed to push that emergency stop button because I recognised that to let it continue I would cease to be, as time passes (although painfully) I now feel that they can only ever take from me that which was never really mine to include my happiest memories, and I’m trusting that in time they will find a way back to me. I’m not talking here about a casual acquaintance a friend or even a partner but someone with a bond to me in a way I never thought or wanted to think them capable of, but maybe I just wanted to see it that way because the other option was unthinkably painful to me. To demand from another whilst armed with the tools to hurt deeply is something that takes me right back to that being controlled, faced with a choice that once again I would never be in the winners’ seat. Whichever decision I had to make it was not going to be an easy one and I would stand to lose whichever way I was to choose.
I knew that I would hit the ground hard I was never under any illusion that it was ever going to be a soft landing for sure on either decision, but it was one that I had to make it had gone on for so long that oddly I had not really noticed or maybe in truth I didn’t want to acknowledge it. But within that truth when I honestly pull back the veils of delusion I had been looking at it square in the face for so many years. I had to make a stance because I was left with no other choice I had to quite simply jump or continue to be pushed with full knowledge that there may not be a way back for me. I won’t bore you here with the details because it’s my own pain to work through myself and out of it to the other side, it may be that in time and trust in my decision something will alter with the passage of time but over that, I have no control. My aim here is to share my experience and I’m sure it is recognisable to many “so you don’t need to start pulling on your heart strings “ it just helps us all to understand that someone else out there has been going through or maybe even still be going through a controlling situation themselves. So it’s really a reminder that as with many things in life you have many a kindred soul freely giving you both empathy and understanding through their own story to tell.
Control enters our lives in so many situations and they can be quite diverse in structure, invading our lives at times that we are not aware of until the control erupts out of all control. There is the control that we were under as children through our abuse, controlling everything from and around a scared and unworldly child. It’s not only the abuse that we are receiving but also the control over not being able to tell your secret, control over every part of our lives always with the knowledge impregnated deep within that we have no control over the situation. There is control of our decisions as we are always second-guessed making us alter the things we would like to do for ourselves as we are told “it’s better if you do it this way” That the friends you choose to include in your life are not good for you or spending time with them upsets that person we love through their controlling instinct.
There is a deep-seated control that for me was so very difficult to deal with but it seems after many years I find myself there, the control of blackmail or the remove of those you love deeply if I did not comply. There is the control of your time your money your every choice as to what and whom you want to include in your life because you always thought that you needed to be available to those people at the drop of a hat. We are controlled this way as a residue of the control in our childhood where we were not allowed to make choices of our own at all. It’s like we are somehow expecting it never really paying it any attention or feeling that it’s wrong for us to be used this way, which in itself is imposed upon us through an open door that we have never really closed behind us. Words like domination, command, and regulation all spring to mind when we look at this situation clearly, but there comes a time when that is the only option “to close that door I mean” it becomes the only thing left open to us even with the threat of what our actions may ignite, just because we ourselves want a life that we envisage. At some point in our lives, we need to make a stand or we will always be that puppet on a string controlling everything we do, from the way we wish to live our lives to even controlling of the words that may come out of our mouths. I, of course, can’t speak for you but I’m finally done with this game of control and with the rest of my life however long that may be I will do be and see whomever I wish, the realisation was so difficult to deal with but I am now in a much stronger stance and situation simply by recognising me in my own right for the first time in so many years of being controlled. Through this situation, I found that even though I thought I had firmly closed that door many years back there was still the turning of the key in the lock that needed to happen.
So you see control wears many hats and does not mind digging about in the dirt seemly not minding the smell of the garbage, one can only hope that after a time others will recognise that dump site for themselves and recognise just how wrong they acted. There is nothing that we can do to influence the situation either way so we are faced with the choice of allowing them to control us once again by capitulating, or recognising that even for them this stance that you are taking is right one although it’s lost to them today. Life will always continue to throw up these types of situations where we may once more begin to feel controlled, but equally, we must see that not see that not everyone wants to control us and know the difference and recognise it. It’s a little like a juggling act which takes practise and perfects with time and it’s inevitable that you are going to drop a few balls, but unlike the juggler, we have to watch them roll away down the hill because they were always on the downward slope. They will never roll up the hill towards us until there is recognition, that holding control or demands over others is wrong however these situations manifest. But that’s their own growth and learning and we can’t do that for them and to be honest we shouldn’t.
Because a lesson learnt and imparted by others can’t and will never be a lesson learnt………