From birth I was trained and programmed to be a target of abuse or misuse. I was trained to smile despite unfair treatment. This cultural bathing marinated me into prime meat; I became the wheelchair and trampoline to any shape-shifters I encountered who needed back-up to support their well-managed outward images.
I championed and (succeeded?) a long list of people who mis-used my loyalty. I succumbed to invisible albatrosses: I did not know how to be hurt or vulnerable because this was not something I was trained to be. So I became needless and high-performing in all situations.
Despite diligent work from age 16 to 21 to re-learn my programming, I only learned a limited set of boundaries. I shed one mis-user and the culture they maintained, only to hop into a large ocean of predators. I supported a marriage that involved constant twelve-step programs and therapeutic methodologies and tools that did not work; I remained needless while month after month for two decades a rubber band continued to snap back into place, as if the state of disorder was the only end state of our lives, no matter how many times we relied on therapists to stretch us into a state of perceived trust, truth, and hope.
Now far from those disordered addictions and behaviors, I work hard every day to re-choose my environment. I observe and document the people and experiences in my life that consistently make me feel safe, heard, and uniquely appreciated. Beyond my kids and my labrador, the list is short, but amazing. To live out days that welcome positive (and not controlling) people is not only SO MUCH EASIER; it is like a drug. I now know that my previous two decades felt like I was carrying a torturously heavy load up a hill every day only to have it fall to the bottom again, like Sisyphus. With that load gone, and the added bolstering of interactions with experiences and people that feed my passions and curiosities without judgment, I feel like I’m on drugs every day. And when I fall into my well-made bed every night, with no “against” energy of a shape-shifter nearby, I get high. I sleep like a babe and a jump up at 5:30am to go to yoga. Gratitude is not something I need a forced for prescriptive prompt for in a daily journal; it is just always embarrassingly oozing out my ears. I’m SO FREAKING GRATEFUL.
Yes, I could be regreful that when I was 23 I walked into a usury world with only 20% of the tools I needed to protect myself, but my personal KindEdge Kind Reframe on that is that by the time I was 23, I’d been trained in such a tough environment, it took some really tough actions to break me, to stop me from smiling through pain, mistreatment or misuse. I needed these past two decades for me to say ENOUGH. And even bigger, with the 24+ year seeing up to three therapists or programs at a time, and reading every book there is on the long list of disordered behaviors I was enduring, I finally learned that the results of all the learning I invested my time in must be VISIBLE IN REAL LIFE. It is NOT ok to live “on hold.” Understanding the psychological causes of disordered behaviors and getting clinical diagnoses for those behaviors DID NOT MAKE ME SAFE and did not enable my life to become the primary life in my life.
Can you imagine any such life? Ever life has literally one life. How can we not have permission in our own lives to be THE life in our lives? Ugh…
I’m going to share some stories – I have a big Me Too story that altered the course of my life… but in Kind Reframe style… I don’t feel like I can blame that one story, because I was SO unarmed, if I had not fallen prey then, I’d have fallen prey to the next situation. And as I re-choose my people and environments, I see many people and environments that I “managed through” years ago that i would never choose for myself or anyone I loved.
- Skip McDickin – pushed me to falling into narc relationship … 20 years
- Mom (upbringing culture)
- Other: people and jobs – Accenture, Accenture paris boss, situation with Tamara – so sad, but I let my gut guide. I was DONE.
- Tom & Jerry mouse “en garde, en guard, phoey!)
- Oddly – full circle to where I am now – back at the beginning – but a world of difference. No matter the material things, I have superpowers worth billions: a wealth of skills that can never be hacked and which protect me from bankrupcy forever. I am rich, whole, centered, energized and naked. I am bare. Like a baby, open, ready and playful. With the wisdom to welcome in all that aligns with my feelings and values, and no need to own anything else.
- I’m not sure of the trajectory my life would have taken if I’d had some of this awareness when I was 23. But my heart tells me I must document this. This is legacy. This is stewardship. This is my opportunity to raise the waters all around, as when we share good things, ALL BOATS RISE.
Stay in touch. I know where ever you are on your journey, you’ve got wisdom to share too.
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