Tag Archives: reactions

Insights

In talking to TM today, something hit me. We were discussing my utter surprise any time someone actually likes me or wants to see me again. She asked if I’d heard it often growing up. I realized that the only person who ever told me I was worthless was bitch. Everyone else kept telling me how wonderful I was (but don’t let it go to my head). G always felt fake and over the top. Then I realized that hearing how good I was, and how smart I was is coupled with memories of some pretty shitty stuff. It felt like such a revelation when I was able to voice to her that I didn’t want to believe I was good because that would mean crappy stuff was going to happen, yet I don’t want confirmation that I’m as horrible as I believe I am…

Part of my shock when people like me comes from the incongruence of knowing those people won’t deliberately hurt me. How can I be good if that’s not coupled with abuse? That doesn’t compute in my brain, at least not in the emotional one. She was trying to ask if being aware of it made a difference. Sadly, the negative voice in my head is so loud and overpowering, I have trouble believing my rational side.

When I say people should hate me, I’m not looking to hear the opposite from them, I’m just mired in an old emotional/cognitive pattern. I’ve been aware for a while that I have a confusion around associating violation with “genuine care”, but I hadn’t put together that my emotional brain associates being liked and worthy and good with abuse…

Too bad this is coming at the end of working with TM… at least I heard back from Dr C this morning, and she is willing to work with me when I return. It’ll be much easier working with her. And I’m SO glad I don’t have to “start fresh” yet again. (Telling TM about returning to working with Dr C was what prompted the admission that I’m constantly surprised when someone wants to associate with me again).

Oh, and now TM and I are back to the original end date… we talked about it, I avoided making the decision. I attempted to distract her, then we returned to it at the end of the session. I told her that I was unsure, but that I needed to feel in control of the ending. In a moment of weakness, I admitted that I would really like to keep seeing her through the next 2 weeks if it was still an offer. I started to give voice to that negative stream of thought that said she was probably really just wanting me gone, then I stopped myself and let her tell me what she thought or felt about it. She said the offer still stood, but that it was also going to be accompanied by the plan to call her or the crisis line if I started to get overwhelmed. Check. I can promise that. I work really hard to keep my promises, especially to people I care about. Now I just have to keep from getting overwhelmed because I really don’t want to bug her between sessions, and I certainly don’t want to have to call their crisis line.

Now I’m off to the beach for some centering time. And I’m feeling good after talking to TM today, so hopefully no further planning will happen while there (like I said, don’t want to bug TM between sessions). I’m sure I’ll post pics later. It’s funny how I used to hate the beach, now I want to be there all the time.


hearing voices: a sane reaction to insane circumstances


behavioral observations

I have a knack for working with animals… and people.  I have found that my success comes from careful (and often unconscious) observation.  When I worked in animal control in college, I was the worker with the reputation for being able to handle and calm aggressive and anxious dogs and cats.  I would take the time to watch them and pay attention to their reactions to things.  Most of the aggression came from fear, so I would volunteer my time and sit with the animals for hours on end, alternately talking to them and just going about my business nearby.  I instinctively made my posture non-aggressive (see, leaning to tip-toe around abusive and explosive adults can help with something).  I brought animals out of their shells, and worked with them to mold the aggression into acceptable and wanted behaviors.

I have found that most aggression comes from fear.  The fear may be deeply rooted and hidden, but it’s almost always there.  I have found this true with my reptiles as well as my mammals.  I have a snake that will strike wildly whenever I go into her enclosure for any reason.  I am working on hook training her and getting her used to handling.  When she does not feel cornered or uncomfortable, she is a cuddle bug (yes, snakes do cuddle, they like the warmth after all).  By using less intimidating body language and actions, I can communicate to her that I will not try to eat her or harm her in any way.

I think the same is true for people.  I think we are either so wounded or so terrified of being wounded that we often lash out in anger.  I think the anger is a defense mechanism.  People don’t have time to get under your armor if you are busy throwing out spikes.  They can’t get close enough to hurt if you run around bearing your teeth and pushing everyone away.

I think this relates to self-harm in some ways.  Self-harm is a form of aggression, only against yourself.  It is the result of anger and fear turned on the body.  It can be preventative – no one can hurt me as much as I can hurt myself; I’m going to get hurt anyway, might as well get a jump on things.  It can also be reactive – I screwed that up, so I deserve to be punished for it.  Both inadvertently work to keep people at bay.  The concept of self-harm is a scary one.  Most people will cringe at the thought, and bolt at the sight of it. They will over- or under-react to the news, but rarely be helpful in their reactions at first.  Those of our family and friends that have dealt with it in the past react a little better (we have given them reading materials, access to our treaters, insights into our pain), but they still give distance, or at least that is what we hope – that is what I hope.  I don’t want questions about my scars.  I don’t want to launch into my story with everyone that notices.  Why write a blog you may ask?  Well, I still want to tell my story, but I like the measure of anonymity the internet provides.  I can give you glimpses of my inner crazy, and you won’t change your opinion of me if you see me on the street.  If you don’t look closely at my arms, you won’t guess that I struggle (ok, if I’m crying my eyes out, you may have a clue, but that’s rare, especially in public).  If you don’t see me on the psych unit, you wouldn’t know I can barely make it through a day without craving peace at least once.

Even those that know me rarely ask about the scars (we are trained to mind our own business, and I doubt they really want an honest answer).  They look past it.  It’s scary and dangerous to be let into a world that allows someone to do so much physical harm to themselves on purpose.  It keeps people from asking with any real honesty what my life is like.  They anticipate a drama, so they avoid the inquiry.

The long and short of it is that aggression is a defense mechanism, as is self-harm.  It keeps people away from the real you so they can’t reject you and confirm all that you fear about yourself (but in their distance, they confirm that you are not worth it, so it kind of just back-fires).

This train of thought was brought to you by the article I saw online this morning that named 3 small breed dogs as the most aggressive… It got me thinking about the roots of aggression, which lead me to the thoughts on self-harm… lots of branches, but really all the same tree

(I want to add also, that self-harm is not only engaged in for the reasons mentioned above, but they are some big ones.  It can also be relief, a grounding method.  It can be a visual and outward symbol of inward pain and turmoil.  For me, it is mainly a release and grounding method.  It also has the added benefit of being somewhat preventative in that I feel no one can ever hurt me more than I can physically hurt myself… it’s really figurative, because it doesn’t really hurt, and mostly it’s trying to prevent further emotional pain, but it has still been a reason in the past).


i get so frustrated

lately, I have a short fuse… I snap when I shouldn’t. This is a relatively new thing for me. I don’t like it. I’m a bitch, and that’s not who I really am inside… I get mad at other people for getting frustrated and snapping… but I do the same thing they are doing.  It’s really just a huge double-standard. It sucks. I try to be better about it, but I only seem to catch myself after the fact. I hate it.  I hate myself for it.