Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Emotional Boundaries

During the past six weeks, I have been confronted in a big way with the darker sides of myself. It came into stark realisation, just how close to the surface everything seems to still be. The self destructive attitude, the desperate need to not face reality in any shape or form, the constant gnawing knot in my stomach of fear, the nervousness, the longing to throw myself of a cliff just to see if I could finally feel alive, the constant feeling of inadequacy at all that I do and am.

Today, I realised that this really isn't the case.

The above was triggered by others. I do not blame them in any way for this, for it has indeed taught me a very important lesson. I have no boundaries. And I am ok.

Prior to the past six weeks, I have lived quite an isolated life, wrapped up in the simple and pretty much superficial conversations with work colleagues and the safety and understanding of husband to be. I haven’t really been exposed to anyone who could even come close to understanding or relating to my situation. I therefore happily bimbled along in my own little world, pretty much trigger free.

I then wander into a world where bang, suddenly I am surrounded by others who need me to fix stuff for them, and who can fix stuff for me. Suddenly, all is dredged up, and is remembered, all is drowned in too much red wine and cider and cried out into tired embraces. All of it is suddenly pushed back to the surface, and I turn myself inside out to try and absorb the pain that surrounds me and take it from those who hurt.

So, I get caught back in the whirlwind of drama, drink, screaming, entanglement, unspoken threats and screamed accusations. It’s horrible, and yet so fantastic at the same time. I’m alive! I feel like I’m about to snap all the time! I'm crying one minute and laughing the next! I can't sit still I can't eat I can barely breathe unless I force myself to.

Not a particularly healthy way to be I'm sure you'll agree. And what surprised me so much was how quick it was, I literally had no idea that this would happen. Next thing I know I'm thinking about opening a tinny at 10:00am! (I didn't, for the record)

So, I'm sure you are all thinking "get away! run! flee! get back to the stability that you had!"
Now, how would that be dealing with the situation?

I have recognised, this perceived 'need' for extremes of behaviour and emotion. As a child I was under such devastating control, any expression of emotion other that what you were told to express was reprimanded. I was moulded rigorously to be as my parents wanted me to be. I spent the majority of my time rebelling against it, and being punished. As a result I hate feeling what I call 'numb'. I am not used to a 'stable' mindset, and I embrace extremes because I was not allowed to feel anything as a child. Sometimes, I do feel very bland, even dead inside, because I am not used to feeling 'normal'. I remember a conversation with husband to be that I actually felt relaxed once, and it was the oddest sensation in the world. I actually said I didn't like it!

Ooooooh stress release headache...... gah thats better

Sorry, digression. Anyway, so if I can't feel something totally and be engulfed by it then I worry that I'm not feeling it. But, I have realised (again! some lessons take a couple of times to learn) that life does not rely on extremes. Life is life, and a good life is a balanced life. It relies on moderation, on truth, and on all experience. Extreme is nor truth by its very nature, it overpowers, it consumes and pushes out. I would never give up my extremes completely; they are a lot of fun sometimes, but to live on the edge of emotion all the time is very crippling. You cannot do anything, you’re just caught in this spiral of thoughts and tears and god know what else, and (if you’re me) you end up drinking in an effort to calm it down a bit just so you can get some kip!

So, the past has its role to play as it always will, but what has really been brought home is my lack of boundaries. Part of the reason why the past 6 weeks has resulted in all this upheaval is that I just opened myself up to it all. I just flopped over, exposed my underbelly, and went "here! I can save you! give me what you got!" with no concern whatsoever for my own welfare. I thought to rescue my friends, keep them safe, and make it all better, like superwoman.

Today, I realised that I am not superwoman. I cannot and really must stop doing this. I must become more aware of my actions and not just fall into relationships hook line and sinker. People are people at the end of the day, we all make mistakes, and we all take advantage if something appears that looks like it will make life easier for a bit. I will get hurt, and I need to mitigate that as much as possible without losing any of my compassion.
Now, I do have a bit of a dilemma with myself over this. A big reason for why I am the way I am is this deep seated belief that I have: I am stronger than anyone else that I know. I will be ok, even if it takes a day, a week, a month. I will process what has happened, explore it, understand it, work with it. It will be ok even if the knife twists and burns in my side initially.
So, what I need to learn to do is to THINK. Looking back over my behaviour I have reacted, I have not processed what has been happening with any detachment. I have simply gone "Oh my god what can I do to make it better!"

Acquiring some detachment is the boundary I need to build first. I get too personally involved, because in everyone’s eyes I see a little girl with coffee coloured curls who had a really really tough time of it, and I don't want anyone else to go through that. I need to remember that they are not me, that they will have developed their own ways of dealing with and coping with their legacies. I am simply an addition, someone who can help, but not someone who can transform and erase. I need to remember that my pain is just that, mine. And I need to look after myself, and not throw that pain out there for others to deflect off of and get distracted by. I need to learn to say to people "No, I'm sorry but I cannot do all of this for you" or "If I do this, I want something back, otherwise I walk".

I feel better and stronger today than I have since this started. I actually sat and read a book for 1 hour. I haven't done that in ages. I'm enjoying my solitude, wandering around in scruffy clothes and just getting readjusted to myself. Is this the end? of course not, I will no doubt continue to be a fool for others for a while yet. Hopefully now though, the effect will be less drastic :)

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