at the table of negotiation, (my profile doesn't show that I posted this, so if it's repeated, then I'm sorry)
Sometimes we have wars with ourselves, maybe it's a tendency to think things have to match. Maybe it's deciding that you can't be with someone when your heart wants to. Maybe it's thinking that you have to love one thing, one language and you can't love others, because you feel like you're betraying someone, maybe yourself. Maybe it's sitting for hour arranging things because they don't feel just right in the arrangement.
Either way, we fight battles with ourselves, make rules that feel like they absolutely can't be broken, like the whole world will come down on us if we break them.
I'll give this example. I have 8 stones that I'm carry in a little bag in my purse. But, there are options. Sone follow the oval pattern, some feel like I absolutely must carry them, or something will happen emotionally and I won't have that particular one even though I have others in the bag that can help in a similar way. One of my inside people has a student he's teaching in his spare time that he's become good friends with, and feels something more than that, but because he's teaching this person, and he was brought up being taught that you absolutely cannot have it both ways.
He spent 6 years fighting with himself about that. I think part of it for him had to do with his trauma history and the thought that he was absolutely the lowest thing on this planet.
For me, it was the idea that we couldn't cary an odd number of soothing items. It started with the stones, we couldn't have more than 5. There were 5 other items that we cary so they
I spent days dealing with this and watching it change into something else, we
had to have
our number of stones match the other soothing items in number.
I'll outline it. There were 9 possible stones that we could carry. The problem was, which ones should we carry?
Definite ones; hematite, red jasper, amethyst, smoky quartz, jade.a, rose quartz. Possible pairings; shiva lingam, petrified wood, unicorn stone. First team = red jasper, hematite, second team = amethyst, jade, 3rd team = smoky quartz, rose quartz.
But this didn't feel right. Those were the definite ones, but something was missing. So I arranged, worked with the less certain options for days. It felt absolutely essential to follow the rules and pattern I had set out. And then, one of the unclaimed stones, the unicorn stone, had something, maybe it was just because of what it was made of, a bit flaked off. I panicked. I thought to myself, "there are only 2 unclaimed stones that can work with any of the teams, and now this one is falling apart? Why?"
I still have no answer for that. I finally came to an agreement with my inside people, especially one who is an organization fanatic. They kept telling me that it was ok to use some one day and some another day that were different. I thought that I couldn't. What if I broke one of them? What if I got attached to one and was too big to keep in my ELS (emotional life support) kit? It was a mess. I think it took me several weeks to come to peace with myself about what I would and wouldn't carry.
But why? Why do we spend so much time fighting wars with ourselves when, well we're changeable, adaptable, when we can even define ourselves but know that there's a stubbornness to keep going even while it seems like nothing is going anywhere?
I don't have answers. It's a mix of building on traits you already have, lack of object constancy , and that ever looming feeling of impending doom, like something awful is just a few days away from sending us tumbling back into the dark quicksand of decompensation and therefore an inability to keep ourselves safe, keeping us from ending up at the hands of yet another person who will hurt us while seeming like they care for and want the best for us. If people aren't reliable, at least outside people, and if we're in this isolated state, we absolutely can't go back into the smothering landslide that starts slow and insidious, then once you've accepted your increased depression or nightmares or loss of time as normal, it speeds up, towing you along with it. Spinning you around until you can't think straight, until you can't tell which way is up and can barely breathe because you're so weighed down.
But maybe the rules we make for ourselves are allowed to change.
Maybe we can start being more flexible.
it's just so hard to accept when you think any change is dangerous.
But getting wound up in our rules means our mind is racing all the time, we're constantly frustrated with our life. We're unable to concentrate,
But there is another aspect. Maybe the reason we get so uptight about things
doesn't have anything
to do with being finicky and seeking to control something when everything feels like you're fighting an army all alone.
It could have something to do with the brain keeping us in a state of intense finicky hyperfocus because it's constantly on alert for danger. It has been wire by too much trauma that both says "you're not good enough" and "you must be on alert so you can know exactly what is going and can know if you're on someone's 'target' list."
This isn't a new concept for me. It is manifesting in some strange ways that are not obvious at first glance.
One of the most cliche things I've hear from therapists is that you have to "let go of what no longer serves you"
I am not fond of that phrase. When you're not even sure who or what you are, how can you even tell what "no longer serves you"? I call bs on that phrase. But I was reading a book and in that book, someone said "rules. If you make 'em, you can break 'em."
I think that really opened my eyes. Or rather, it lead me to examine the things I become hyperfocused on. Seeing it at face value, it just looks like someone who is either a control freak, or someone who has way too much time on their hands or has obsessive tendencies and is perfectionistic in the extreme. But looking deeper, I realized that it's my brain's learned response to both the fact that very little in my life is anywhere near in my control, and my anxiety working with people like my dad who is, as someone inside put it "king ambivalent", makes me feel like I'm still in danger. Plus there's the fact that I feel like I'm just being dropped in the ocean without knowing how to swim frustrates the hell out of me. It is nice to know that there is something I can do that has an end result, even if my brain goes on super hyper focus overload sometimes.
I've always heard you have to pick your battles, but something you have to survey the terrain of the battlefield, and talk tactics until you're blue in the face.
I think the other question I have to constantly keep in mind is, "how long have I been focusing on this? What's beneath the obvious surfaces here?"
#Anxiety #PTSD #CPTSD