I Can’t Make Me Happy

I Can’t Make Me Happy

I think all the time. I have always been overly cognitive. Inhabiting my body was not safe when I was a child. I invented a much nicer world in my head and it helped me through some horrible situations. But constant thinking is a recipe for disaster. It is easy to take small things and turn them in to big things. That’s how the brain works. It stays in charge that way. The problem with the “brain on trauma” is the creation of problems that do not exist. The brain will take those old separated emotions and create a problem to accompany them. Then, the brain will create all sorts of approaches to resolve the non-existent problem. This overactive brain of mine has led to heavy anxiety levels and an exhaustion that reflects running a marathon a day. While constant daily “planning” can lead to exhaustion, it also leads to another detrimental problem. Expectations. In order to meet my needs for safety through general life perfection, everyone must meet my expectations. Since I believe I have life figured out, life can become disappointing very quickly, because life is not something that can be figured out. And while some of my expectations are unfairly aimed at the people around me, most of my expectations fall squarely on me. And there is nothing worse than failing to meet my own unrealistic expectations. The punishment never stops. I can’t get away from me. And while I have learned to ease up on myself in many areas of my life, I am abusive about my parenting. When I say I am abusive, I...
Words to Live By

Words to Live By

How many people in your life would qualify as the “A-word”? You know those people who are nasty and manipulative and selfish, the people who are only interested in what’s in it for them. And I label them as abusers. (What word were you thinking of?) They aren’t necessarily punching you or sexually assaulting you, but their behavior is abusive on the emotional and mental levels. Sometimes I wonder if trauma survivors are more prone to come across abusers. I wonder if there is a sign on my back that says, “I was horribly mistreated by my parents so that makes me more likely to succumb to your nasty bullying behavior.” (That message may be a little long.) And while I could spend hours, even days, feeling victimized all over again, I know I have to look at this from a different perspective. It is not possible to change the abusers. It is not possible to avoid the abusers entirely. While I am proud to say I have learned to set better boundaries, the abusers will always be around. I have to understand how I am reacting to them internally. My reaction must change. Nothing else can. Of course, that means hard work. I am not new to this kind of work, but it doesn’t get easier. Changing myself is the most challenging thing I have ever done. I would much prefer to attempt to change other people and blame them when it doesn’t work. But that accomplishes nothing but ensuring a miserable life. So being an anxiety-prone person, I have to look at how I am internalizing these...
The Wilderness

The Wilderness

As a trauma survivor in recovery, I have spent a long time in the wilderness. It isn’t an actual wilderness. I am not a fan of the outdoors. Nature and my dissociative defense mechanism are not compatible. I am speaking of the wilderness that is often the subject of the spiritual texts. It seems that before most protagonists find their mission or purpose, there is some period of waiting. There is some period of preparing, of letting go of the old.  And it makes sense to me. I don’t see another way. If the foundation is shaky, it cannot be built upon. But I hate it. I carry a large amount of masculine energy with me. I rejected that which was feminine many years ago in my attempts to avoid the loathing that my parents spewed upon their little girls. I figured that if the feminine was so easily abused and disliked, I would not be that. I learned over the years to be about action, to be about the willful accomplishment of goals. In my early adulthood, it seemed to work for a while. It worked until the children were born. But children don’t respond to the unbalanced masculine unless the goal is to rid them of any individuality. They must be raised with both. So I have worked hard to resurrect my feminine aspects. I have even found some balance. But I still favor action. And so, I sit in an uncomfortable place. The wilderness is not about will. It is not about action. It is about waiting. It is about emptiness. It is about grieving what...