Awareness Can Be a Long Process

Original post date: May 24, 2014
This is another post originally from Safire Falcon.  It was even longer than what I’ve posted here. The second half includes a POV of co-dependence that I’m not completely sure of now. So I didn’t include it. I may edit and include it later. But for now, no. It’s interesting what you can learn about yourself when you go back to old writings. It can be discouraging too when it looks like there’s been stagnancy or even regression.  I did edit what I’ve posted here a little, but not much. I didn’t make any notes on where I edited either.

Awareness is still coming in like a process. I spent a lot of my life ‘asleep’ so awareness has been a bitter pill. But as bitter as it is, not knowing…not being aware of all the bullshit makes me what I used to call ‘stupidly happy.’

The absence of awareness makes any happy I felt non-existent(?) cancelled out. I was played…whether it was intentional or not. And when I say that, I mean whether the person was self aware of their own sickness or not.

I think of my sister when I say that because she is narcissistic in a big way. And I don’t mean in a healthy way. So although she has abused and hurt me I don’t think she has done it with the intention to set out to hurt me. It has everything to do with her having the need to avoid pain. She is very much about winning her arguments, being right and proving that her issues with me are bigger than anything I may feel. And if it means hurting me to accomplish it then so be it. I then become just a pesky obstacle to overcome, manipulate or push out of the way in such circumstances.

She feels justified in pointing her finger, blaming me and to sound all therapist-y, has no problem using “You” statements rather than “I feel” statements.

When it came to ‘romantic’ relationships, most of the time there was an issue or problem, I would try to rationalize any problem in any relationship to be all me. Even if at first in my anger I would blame the other. I’d be the one hanging her head in shame and guilt after it was pointed out to me how irrational I was being. And then I’d take all responsibility.

And just like the ruminations I’d have about my sister, those situations would come up in my head later and I’d ruminate about what I ‘should’ve’ said. What I’d so wished I’d said. Tense and so angry because this…thing…argument, was never resolved.

I’m sure all that owning up and taking the whole blame and feeling so much shame is a form of denial as well as confusion as to what is theirs and what is mine. Although I was conditioned this way, I still see a form of denial in this. Some of the issues would’ve been deal breakers if I’d had my self-esteem about me. But the denial allowed me to stay. It was better than being lonely and in pain.

I find myself thinking about what my sister might say in certain situations being the narcissist I believe her to be, and what I would say in finally sticking up for myself, no more tail between my legs. As well as still wish I could have redoes in many other situations.

A fellow blogger asked me in a comment recently:

“I can’t honestly say that I would rather be where I was, than where I am now. What do you think and feel about that? Comparatively?”

I made one comment saying that I wonder if my anger will ever go away while in the next comment saying that I don’t feel so angry anymore. Yeah, just a bit contradictory dontcha think?

I had to go back and ask myself about that contradiction. I think the first comment was just me speaking from how I’d been feeling that last week or two. Because to be honest I am not over it. I’m not done and I don’t think it’s that easy. I jumped to a response without really FEELING what my emotions really were/are.

So to comment here now on that question she asked me, I will say that I would much rather be aware than be foolishly in the dark. “Ignorance is bliss,” is a saying we’re all aware of but I don’t believe it’s true. We may THINK we’re blissful without knowing, realizing or understanding that someone is trashing us, lying about us, manipulating us.

But isn’t it a better and more empowering feeling to be able to CHOOSE whether we continue to include such a person in our lives with that kind of information as part of the decision making process?

I certainly think it’s better to know the truth…even if it hurts…to know the reality of what that person is doing…is capable of doing. If such people exist, it’s a matter of keeping yourself safe from them. I mean if someone was treating your child like that wouldn’t you prefer to keep them away from such a nasty human?

There is relief from being away from my family now. Thing is when I feel the relief of being away from them, the anger in moments and days can subside so much I don’t even remember that I’m still going through the anger.

If I’m by myself, alone, minding my own business, enjoying whatever I’m doing, there’s nothing to react to, right?

But mere moments later someone could say something, even if it’s something innocent, not intentionally or maliciously meant to push any buttons, and BAM! There I am getting angry, irritated, annoyed, frustrated and then finally confused. What the hell happened there?

Have you heard of Emotional Flashbacks?

Displaced anger happens within these emotional flashbacks.  I go through different points, where I am able to separate myself more in a way that my anger isn’t being taken out so much in situations where it doesn’t belong. But other times, not so much. And then I’m reminded to be careful not to have such a false sense of security. Meaning, “don’t be telling people I’m over it” when there is no possible way it can happen that fast.

I try to keep in mind that my anger and ruminating at their narcissistic behavior and lack of empathy is not hurting them. It’s not changing them. I’m not sending messages through osmosis about my side of it all and how I was hurt.

Intense anger over those things are only hurting me. Sometimes (not always) I can change the energy of the anger with a thought,  “There is no way I will allow this emotion to eat ME up because YOU are the douche bag who doesn’t give a fuck about me.”

And I continue, “You are not more important than me. I don’t care that you think you are in the right by thinking I am the selfish one. I don’t care that you are so self-righteous that when you say that I’m the one so messed up with my head up my ass, that you are so blind to how fucked up YOU really are. And that you can’t even see yourself when you are pointing that crooked finger at me. Look in the mirror and while you’re at it, look how many fingers point back as you point that one out at me.”

Obviously I DO care otherwise I would not be angry. But…

I take comfort in the fact that I am the one with the awareness. I am the one learning where my actual responsibility lies, not where some disordered other perceives it to be.

It’s those moments that I feel stronger in my anger, rather than out of control. The anger isn’t quite as mixed with fear of them anymore. I’ve had time to step back and see the situation for what it is, and these people for who they are.

That being said, I know there’s probably plenty more that I’m not seeing, that is still shrouded. But as I’ve said previously, it’s a process. Even if I had come from a healthy background life would still be a learning process, right?

I now have though the space to think about what I can do to take care of myself if I ever find myself in their presence again. Anxiety certainly creeps in there too, when I think about this. But some days/moments there’s a determination at the same time that comes out of the anger.

Disappointment is also part of the equation. The absence of a family foundation is very disappointing, especially when I’ve been walking around blind to my actual role in the dynamic. However it clears up a lot of the mind-fuck, head spinning confusion I was dealing with. Knowing the truth, SEEING the truth clicks on a bright light bulb in my head.

It sucks yeah. But there’s the reality, which has clarified so much of that disarray. It’s been one long continuous sigh of relief, that can also cause forgetfulness of how I once felt and even how I still feel at certain moments.

It’s always more productive to work within reality and know what you’re dealing with than to continue spinning wheels in fantasy.

Anxiety is a nasty part of the equation to which is something I’ve not always been aware of, thinking it wasn’t a problem for me. But that was wrong. Again, it’s something I was just unaware of, despite being able to look back and see my behaviors that indicated it and situations that brought it out of me.

I cannot change my own past behaviors and go back and ‘fight back’, letting them all know they cannot and will not walk all over me. I do resent myself, in that if I’d insisted on the respect, stuck up for myself, I would’ve felt so much better about myself, therefore manifesting that outward in my treatment of others, choices I made and even the intensity of the emotions I felt.

But I think that being said, I could get into a chicken and egg kind of cycle. I was groomed, ‘beaten down’ with abuse as a small child, into adolescence. My brain was forming all kinds of things at that time. It normalized things that shouldn’t be. It formed pathways to lack of self confidence and I was stripped of self esteem. My brain took to a shape that gave me the beliefs of not being good enough, worthy and that everything about me is wrong.

Over the last decade I have slowly become more mindful of my treatment of others. There were times I have been snotty and even nasty believing that if I show my displeasure I could get what I needed, whatever that was and whatever the situation called for. I was being narcissistic. And I could feel the chaos in my mind, the agitation, the impatience toward myself as well as the other.

I find that my anger is more toward myself than toward them in those situations and I’ve done lots of misdirecting. Something I catch myself at and apologize for, when I do.

That behavior may also come from the dissatisfaction I’ve felt about my life. I believe this is also a result of childhood trauma. Making clear and concise decisions about my direction in life and my future, were severely impaired.

I did not have someone who steered me in any sort of direction. I had no one to reel in the reins and I was neglected in many ways. I played alone a lot as a child, I remember. In high school my parents were completely uninvolved in what I was doing in school. And I was able to get away with dating a man 7 years older than me when I was 13 and then when I was 16, I ‘dated’ a man the same age as my own mother.

I wouldn’t call that dating, but used the word for the sake of simplicity.

At 18 I began to binge drink and worked only part time. College was discouraging for the short time I attended because as I said, I had no direction and had NO idea what I wanted to do with my life. So at that time I saw no reason to stay in school. And I had no parent speak to me about this decision. I had no support and I was left to feel my own way through despite not having been prepared to do so.

It all led to a chronic anger because I was not able to express a healthy anger. And by the time I’d reached young adulthood, I certainly didn’t even know that’s what I was feeling to induce such behavior. In fact I didn’t even know when to be angry sometimes. For example, I wasn’t hip to when someone was being disrespectful. Boundaries weren’t exactly something shown to me, given me or taught that I even had the right to.

Anger doesn’t feel good, especially when it’s chronic. Chronic embedded anger is different I think than healthy anger. Chronic anger seeps into every part of your life. It destroys relationships, it diminishes chances at having healthy relationships, including with the self. It eats away at the body and brain. It keeps blame right on top, even if it’s justified blame. Chronic anger keeps one in a state of not being able to move forward, feeling that someone else needs to make up for it. An apology is owed. Closure cannot be found from within.

But unfortunately, people like narcissists or other disordered individuals won’t come forth with apologies and validation. So working through it alone is a must if I want to move forward, despite the difficult.

Validation and acknowledgement and even approval is a healthy human need. But the need for those things can run over to the point of becoming pathological, meaning it creates codependence and people pleasing.This can obviously become detrimental and put a codependent in dangerous situations.

This happened to me. My family situation and their treatment of me while my father was dying is a perfect example of how detrimental it can be. I cared more about how they felt in general and what they thought of me more than I did about my own feelings pertaining to the situation.

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3 thoughts on “Awareness Can Be a Long Process

  1. Pingback: Emotional Flashbacks | Sleeping Tiger

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