A monster of trauma is buried deep within me, and I took a self-destructive path Saturday night. Instead of showing myself compassion with the slip up of behaviour I had, I straight away turned shame feelings. I invalidated my own feelings and truths due to the uncomfortable reactions around me. Judgments were placed upon me. I know people see things differently, however, I want to write something personal today. My own truths I have sat on so very silently. Silent as I felt obliged to live by phrases 'be kind to everyone. Practice kindness to everyone'. Realistically, I practice kindness to the best to my ability. Unfortunately, a lot of people have taken advantage of my kindness and compassion. Its hard to not be reactive towards someone who has caused you immense amount of trauma and pain. It is extremely difficult to bite my tongue when I am a very intuitive and emotionally intelligent individual. It's hard to keep up appearances when you are adamant you don't want to see this person ever again.
I ask you to imagine this situation. I have to use imagery and metaphors to show people a different perspective. I have worked too hard to take ten steps backwards. Relapses are valid during a recovery process. So maybe I have relapsed. One thing I know for sure is I have been accountable of my past behaviours by acknowledging my mental illness was causing a lot of destruction between a relationship I was in. My accountability is shown through the efforts I have gone to seek the help I needed to stay alive. Unfortunately, the people who have caused me pain in the past have not gone to lengths or the determination to show me the same.
A thing we learn in DBT is to 'live in the present moment'. The most challenging thing for me is flashbacks due to having PTSD symptoms in the mix with my BPD diagnosis. So that makes the triggering situations a thousand times hard to regulate then just one or the other. This is how I like to describe the way I feel when I am put in a situation with some who heightened my distress.
Picture yourself in a caged area with a wild tiger. You know the tiger well enough to know it sparks danger within you, making you want to run (fight or flight response). You don't feel safe around said tiger, you feel endangered around said tiger so your survival skills set in. No one except you can use the only skills you know how to protect yourself from the danger that is presented in this moment, That is what PTSD feels like. When I am around someone who I have shared trauma with, whos behaviours along a long period of time caused me great amounts of pain, I go into the fight or flight response. I cannot control my emotions at that moment in time. Majority of the time I can control my behaviours due to intensive DBT skills. Me running into people that cause me pain is warranted. However, me being kind to people who have caused me pain is not a necessity That is a passive approach. I am no longer the doormat I once was.
I am better than most of the behaviours my mental illness has caused me. However, once people look further past that, that is when we all learn the key to validation. I would have no issue being around people who are harmful if they were accountable. I have not seen any accountability. I have seen words thrown at me to justify not answering phone calls when placed in emergency situations, I have seen discrimination towards me due to my mental illness, I have seen exclusive behaviours, I have seen the 'you need to move on' invalidation processes. So I can understand why I don't want to be placed in situations where I should be 'well behaved'. Me slipping up now and then is not a reflection of who I am as a whole. I am only human, and I hurt. Trying to fake the hurt is more detrimental then you may realise.
The moral of this is, as a society we strive for good behaviours and perfection too much to the point it's more damaging. Expressing your pain is healthy. There are healthy ways to do that, and if you resort to unhealthy ways you can learn from that. It may not always be the way that other people agree on. The use of terminology is vital, and if you slip up on that keep that in mind for next time. I am not going to be living my life as a lie. I was hurt, I was emotionally tormented and I am doing the best I can to better myself and learn from this pain. I will use my kind energy, compassion and validation on people who love, care and respect me. You aren't obliged to use your energy on people who won't reciprocate the same respect, love and compassion you do deserve. Your pain does not define who you are, even though others may perceive that it does. The people who see past the pain are the ones you need in your safe space. You get to choose who you keep close and who you don't want to be caged with.