In recovery, I am reminded consistently that we are never victims. This does not mean that people do not intentionally victimize and persecute others, but that we do have choices about how we respond. All choices may be highly undesirable, none the less, they are choices. Like going to a crummy restaurant where you hate evereeeeything on the menu. Every single thing.
Listening to NPR this morning regarding the Stand Your Ground Legislation, reminded me of some complex dynamics in which I have felt nearly hopelessly tangled up in the axle, overwhelming urges to defend, retreat, or retalliate. Instead, I choose recovery.
Being diminished by a person with authority is tricky AF. Especially when it is covert and seems aimed at baiting you into reacting in any way– at all. Recovery is teaching me to do one right thing at a time, even in the face of injustice or cruelty. I get to choose right action– rather than offering up a reaction, they expect/need from me, for justification of whatever it is they are already going to do next, anyway.
This means not telling people about themselves. It means not tryyyying to be understood or to work it out(where there is not mutual will and investment) or to matter enough. Standing my ground means, I will not react to bullshit– when I react I allow another, usually a non-trusted other, to be in charge of my behavior. My standard is this: I will do nothing out of fear, shame, or guilt. I will be honest and open. I will do my best. I will be kind. I will listen. I will show up for life on life’s terms. I remain committed to expectations which I help to create.
I will not battle, ever, not for money,power, or better treatment. I will participate in a collective efforts to elevate an underserved or marginalized group but that is the extent of my will to “fight”. The way people behave near me or toward me is not about me and not for me to control or manage. Kind, honest people will be kind and honest–not because of me, but because of who they are and what they value. The opposite is also true.
From overexposure to dynamics of public shaming, gossip, alienation, and various diminishing tactics, I am extremely sensitive—all of the time. So often, when my younger son is challenging me, I react unfairly and unleash disproportionate anger on him. I have spent the better part of the morning thinking about this. I continue to tell him (with words) that he is an undeniably good boy. That our tension and struggles have nothing to do with his goodness. Ever. I will continue to work on myself.
He is difficult with me and I handle that poorly—and that is on me . We each need to elevate our own games, over here. As I shared with him all the ways in which he is good and lovable, I fell apart crying– my mother would have me and others believing that if I had only been a worthy and good girl, we may have gotten along and she wouldn’t have had to shun, ignore, diminish, and ultimately desert me.
I would do anything for her to believe and say to me…that her inability to be more loving and nurturing and protective of me is in no way a reflection of my worthiness. This all began long before I knew how to be in the world. She told me I am the reason she must take anti-depressants. How am I responsible for my own behavior and mental health as well as for hers? HOW?
I stand my ground on this. I do not cause anyone to behave in any kind of way. I will take responsibility for myself and my children and that is it. I am sorry when things turn out poorly and for not always knowing how to handle myself better. I am a work in progress. Please pray for my children that I effectively break the cycle and do not dare hang my mental state and behaviors on them. Even when they are adults, they will never be on the hook for behaviors and attitudes of mine. I am either choosing or reacting–either way, that is on me.Much Love,
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