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Sometimes it will just hit you, that someone you care about deeply can very deeply hurt you. I don’t know why, but I realized today that I’ve been operating for the longest time on the hope and expectation that the people in my life will treat me fairly and that relationships can operate in logical and sensical manners. But I forgot my roots – I forgot all the times I tried to operate in this way, and how it backfired and blew up in my face. But I was shocked today at the realization of how naïve I’ve been, with my utopian thinking that everything would be great if we could all just find a way to get along. Like Connie Kendall in Adventures in Odyssey. How could I be so stupid? It’s kind of funny. But realize the depth of how much someone truly hates you can really shake your worldview. Especially when you thought that things were getting better. To hear the scorn in someone’s voice when they talk about you – and finally realize the depth of it, and realize there might not be any coming back from it. There are two or three people in my life like that, where there was once a lot of love, even if it was co-dependant, and now there’s this unbelievable bitterness and hatred that is so ugly. It makes me understand why God is so disturbed by it. I’m finding out how disturbed I am when I notice it in my own life. I never thought about the extent to which hatred could be so all-consuming and disgusting.
And it’s even harder when it confirms my borderline fallacies – that I really can’t trust what people say to me, because they probably do hate me in real life. I mean, that third person, whom I didn’t know for very long but ended up betraying and hurting me quite terribly, was just last week smiling and asking me for coffee. And the second time, saying how nice it was to see me. What am I supposed to think, other than that people can’t be trusted? What am I supposed to do with this paranoia when the conspiracies that I joke about end up being true? What can I do when I know I have to take everything I think with a grain of salt, and that nothing people say can be taken at face value? Especially when I do the same thing to others?
When I learned that my way of trying to relate to people – namely, with what I think is logic and fairness, though of course they would probably see it differently – does nothing but lead to betrayal and pain, I learned that being honest about my emotional needs gets me nowhere. I learned that the only way is through passive-aggression, suppression, and manipulation. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it, and that really shakes me up. Only over the last few years am I really starting to understand this side of myself, and only these last few weeks have I had the courage to really face it. It’s horrible, because that’s not the kind of person I want to be. I like when things are logical, straightforward, and trusting. I like knowing that when I try to relate to someone, we can have an honest discourse, and maybe even make some positive changes. If not at that moment, than to at least agree to come back to it later. That’s the utopia that I have in my head. That’s what I think heaven would be like, if there were problems. But it’s not how people work! It’s not how I work anymore, either! Trying to be honest with someone is terrifying. It’s scary worrying about whether you’ll be dismissed or invalidated, because it just crushes your self-esteem. But what’s even worse is not being able to have a logical conversation about it, with grace for how emotions might get out of hand sometimes. With the promise that there will be forgiveness, and do-overs, and good faith.
Good faith and good intentions! Why is this so difficult? Why should I even spend time trying to craft what I hope will be a compassionate, logical, accommodating response to a betrayal, laying out the facts and asking for a courteous discourse, when the only result will be told that I’m controlling, or even harassing? This is the gaslighting that brings back so many memories and makes me think that I must be crazy. I must not be able to be a good friend or a good dialoguer, because it often feels that no matter how careful I am, I will still be villainized and misunderstood. Why should I bother?
I know in my head that every interaction won’t be like this. Right? But then, if my judgment was wrong before, what will keep it from being wrong again? I thought I knew who I could trust and who I couldn’t. I’ve come to expect certain behaviours from certain people, but what shakes me is when it comes from someone I never would have imagined. If even these people, who I thought I was so in sync with and had such a good understanding with, can turn around and betray me, then how can I not lay frozen, waiting for the shoe to drop with the next person, and the next, and the next? How can I operate in the world without being terrified that something I say or do will be misconstrued, and I might hurt someone without even realizing it, and never be told about it until long after, if at all?
I’m feeling in the dark here, holding those two ideas in my head. Knowing that I can’t just shut myself off from people, but also feeling completely off-balance and unsettled. I hate cognitive dissonance with a fiery passion, and I just wish that everything made sense.
Things got so dark today that I got dangerously close to needing the hospital. Which is ironic, because one of the things that keeps getting thrown in my face is my hospitalizations from last year. And I am so, so sorry if you are a survivor of suicide who keeps getting backlash for what you did. I’m writing this for you, in case you get into the dark place that I did today. Sometimes it is easy to believe that these people who weaponize our trauma really do think it would be better if we had died. Maybe they do think that. And maybe these are people that, for some reason or another, you’re going to have to keep dealing with in your life. If you had a day like I did, where these accusations and blame were thrown around, and it was triggering and you tried to call people to talk about it and no one answered, and that wave just crashed over you and you thought about ending it all…well, all I can say is that I get it. Writing this to you helps me to process my own dark cloud and realize that as painful as it is to have to deal with these detractors, I have others in my life who, for now at least, are an encouragement (until they betray me, of course.) So I’m going to try to focus on those for now friends. And more than that, focus on Jesus, who is a forever friend, infallible like those well-meaning but ultimately human people who love us with the imperfect, painful love of mortality.
Lisa from a few hours ago, I know it doesn’t feel like it, but that devastation is only a feeling. It will pass. It might come back again when you’re all alone tonight, but it will pass again, and again, and on and on while God continues to work on your heart.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13