Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nailed it

Sometimes I don't know how much I buy into therapy.  I did it for a while, because I needed to sort my shit out, but that mostly just made me realize that "my shit" was largely related to dealing with other people's shit.  I think the problem with things like therapy is that it's supposed to help you understand why you do things or feel certain things or whatever.  I over analyze everything.  I typically understand the why.  It's really the "how do I do this differently?" question I struggle to answer.  And, even after having gone to therapy, I still struggle to answer that one.  Today, though, I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw this post:

"All the highly empathetic people I know in my life have had abusive home lives, and that's because we were trained to read a situation at any given moment in our homes and learn how to react within seconds because if we didn't, and we said or did the wrong thing, we'd get yelled at or beat or hurt.

But, subconsciously always reading the mood of any atmosphere or space you're in, always being able to gauge how people feel, it's not exactly a gift.  It's exhausting.  You can't turn it off, even if you want to.  You read the situation, and if it's negative you freak out because if someone is angry at you, it's the end of the world.

We've internalized the scars from our childhood when an adult being mad at you was the worst thing that could happen, and it's been carried with us into adulthood.  It's hard to unlearn that.  So, a lot of us have mental health or anxiety issues because we also start internalizing all the energy from other people, be it positive or negative, and it can be anxiety-inducing and frustrating."

On so many levels, I know this is what goes on in my head.  I know that's why other people's moods affect me so strongly.  I know that's why I am always trying to push people to "look on the bright side" or trying to control situations and emotions in people.  Because, in the long run, it's a self preservation thing for me.  If I can control how someone else feels, I can then continue to feel ok myself because I don't have to absorb all of those negative feelings from other people.  I know that is why I freak out when I worry that someone is upset with me, or that I've done something wrong.  It's also why I sort of kick myself when I feel I've done something stupid.  Clearly I missed something, clearly I didn't do the right thing, clearly I didn't understand something and now I must over compensate and fix it.  I know all of this about myself.  This post, though.  This post sort of put it into words, which I haven't really been able to do before.  I understand, I get it, but I never know how to express it in a way that people who live outside my head would understand.

I think, sometimes, I wish other people understood this about me.  Not so that I get a pass on things, but maybe so that situations are handled with a bit more understanding than I typically receive. I don't think people necessarily get that I can feel it when things aren't going ok.  Even if everyone is acting just fine, and things appear normal, I can almost always tell when something is off.  Then I worry that I'm doing something wrong, and I trigger back to the idea of someone being mad at me or upset with me being the worst thing in the entire world, because the consequences of that are just astronomical in my past.  I start to think I should have controlled more.  I should have seen more things coming, I should have prevented more obstacles from happening.  I should have been out front to fix it.  It's a bit of a terrible cycle, and I'm still trying to figure out how to break it.  I know my husband hates it.  He hates that I'm always trying to diminish my role in situations so that I don't have to admit that I don't know the right decision or what the right answer is, so I avoid making decisions or choices on things that largely affect others.  He hates that I need him to "always be happy" because I'm always trying to push him into a better mood or I get really anxious when he gets angry about stuff, and he's always saying "People are allowed to get mad, dammit!  No one can be happy all the time!" but with me....if he's mad, I feel it.  I feel responsible, I feel upset, I feel stressed out, I feel a little mad too.  He doesn't even have to be mad at me, it's just the overall feeling when that happens that is hard for me to swallow.  His years of misery at his job weighed on me.  Perhaps not as heavily as they weighed on him, because his situation was really bad, but it was like a weight on my chest too and it was hard.

So, the universal question is how to make it all stop.  I'm not sure, honestly.  I try to ignore things.  I try to understand that someone being mad at me does not equate the end of the world, though I don't have a whole lot of examples where that hasn't been the case, I suppose understanding is only part of the journey.  But, I think that other people understanding is also a part of the journey.  If people understand why you do things, maybe they'd be less harsh in their judgement about you and that can help a lot as well.  I don't know.  I just saw the post and wanted to get my thoughts about it out of my head.


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