For 4 brutal decades, I was distraught over the confusing swings of mood(with me indicated as THE cause) by my mother, sister, and later my husband/now ex-husband. At times there would be eye contact, engaging conversation, and something resembling connection– then long periods of averted eyes and zero acknowledgment when addressed, or a surprising character assassination in response to something from months or even years earlier. Then, compliments, gifts, or initiatives to engage, close on the heels of emotional vacancy or barely contained rage- impossible to discern which. It is too much.
When things felt ok-ish, I was desperate to know why, so I could maintain them and replicate what I ever I had done to make things better. Pain and confusion resumed, leaving me frantic to identify the thing I had done to cause the contempt and or banishment, so that I might avoid it in the future. This is MENTAL ILLNESS Random re-enforcements that things are ok, made possible by those of us who will assume/be assigned responsibility for moods and behaviors for those of this mentality. Exhausting vigilance for signs of change, crossed fingers and no idea what it even means to be the right kind of “careful?”. Slowly, I am recovering from over-exposure to this instability.
Hearing that “the broken clock is right twice a day”, that expression cracked the code for me. How foolishly hopeful or pathetically hopeless I became with each next mood. In my Family Of Origin, it is said that I cause others to abuse me…their gifts and better moods are who they actually are(according to them) with only my unfortunate presence causing them to behave otherwise. Sadly, I took this mentality (totally mental) out into the world and did some shitty things, thinking none of my behavior was entirely my fault. I did not get that we are each responsible for our own behavior.
In my family, I apologized for having and expressing difficult feelings and for causing them. We all agreed that I was the sorry one. In my first 40 years with my family, then in my marriage, I became expertly intimate with three types of pain. The type I caused, earned, or imagined, each of which offers no comfort. Sex, food, shopping, sleeping, alcohol…..nothing helped. Blacking out was the most I could hope for. It feels miraculous to have those dynamics almost entirely behind me. My refusal to participate in my own abuse and neglect has fanned the flames of righteous finger-wagging fury.
The BEST, is the continued demand that I come ’round, lighten up…quit being so goddamn tense and ruining everything. Being an empath, a highly sensitive person are not things I brag about, but they are words which allow me to understand my constant state of vigilance, intense reactions to people’s energy, and my need to isolate…and now remove myself entirely from those quick to deny accountability for the their behavior along with condemnation for my inability to just Go with the flow—the fucken flow. Hello, emotional whiplash. That flow is no bueno- -no way to live. Today, I go where people can be kind without agenda or condition, where they can own their bullshit, and call others out for bad behavior with the intent and need to heal not persecute. In recovery, not only I have learned that I don’t cause it and I can’t cure it, I have also learned that I do not imagine the horror of this cycle.
The cycle stops here. It has taken me years to get here. I was not handed my “evolved adult card” on my 21st birthday, so things did not change as a result of reaching a certain biological age. I have a lot of unlearning to do. I learned and practiced what I lived. Time does not heal or change things. Doing the work does. I am grateful for the work both behind and ahead of me. To do the work openly helps and comforts others. I see the stats on my posts and get mostly private responses because people are too uncomfortable with pain and brokenness to discuss, acknowledge or address them. I am not. By sharing, I am finding my tribe and becoming findable to those who have the courage and the need to strive spiritually for something better.
Learning this expression of #thebrokenclock and identifying my own boundaries allows me to #recoverfromabuse, to unlearn a lot of bullshit and to #reparentmyself with healthy and sane principles for myself.
Admitting when something is broken is badass, wholesome, healing. It is not for everyone.