Sunday, October 26, 2014

emotional fly traps

when I was little, maybe 8 years old, I was sitting in the car with my mom. it was biloxi, mississippi. it was summer. it was HOT. so we had on shorts. I looked over at my mom and noticed aloud to her "my thighs are like less than half the size of your thighs!"

I don't remember what she said back. I don't think she was upset at all. she probably said something like "that's because I'm an adult." but I know that on some level I must have felt some hurt from her. because I still feel bad about that comment.

I am a sensitive girl; I hold things close to my heart; I feel bad for unintentionally hurting others. and i get hurt easily: by others and by my own doing.

there is someone in my recent life who has continually hurt me. I kept resisting cutting him out of my life, despite the pleading of many other friends. "all my friends don't have to like each other," I thought; "I'll be friends with him even though he isn't treating me well; at least he acknowledges he wants to do better."

yes: I now hear it. that sounds like someone in a domestic abuse situation. and emotionally, it kind of was. you know how it's always easier to comment on someone else's situation; how it's always easier to find the flaws that are a little more distal? seeing (or hearing) the harshness of this situation took me a long time, but finally figuring it out is good for me in more than one way.

what's he do that's so hurtful? he jokes about my attempts at romantic relationships. it got worse over the past few weeks as I started to stop joking back with him when he called me a slut. I began to notice how bad I felt after each snapchat that insinuated I'd have sex with anyone; after each uncomfortable call where he joked that I must be out on a date.

so I decided to put myself first: I'm removing myself from this "friendship." I feel sad about this. but also proud.

why have I constantly defended someone who treats me badly? why did I immediately respond to the negative way he spoke to me? I didn't grow up with critical messages from family or teachers. I've never been in an abusive relationship.

well. except the one with myself. and that's the emotionally abusive relationship that is hardest for me to see and/or admit to.

the way he spoke to me is how I often talk to myself. I'm quite judgemental and critical when it comes to, well, anything I do. so I guess it felt pretty natural and almost comfortable for me to receive those types of messages from him.

the reason I need to limit contact with him is because I internalize what he says to me. even though i don't agree with his judgemental view of my life, I find myself starting to believe him. it's almost impossible not to believe something you hear over and over.

the same thing happens in my own head: when I say something negative in my head often enough, my subconscious starts to really buy into it. and sometimes I'm shocked when my subconscious says something like "I am not doing enough." I think "who said that? why would you think that? where did that idea come from?" and then I realise I put that idea there. I'm the one who silently judges myself hundreds of times a day.

so hearing the messages from my friend didn't dissuade me from being friends with him. but when I found myself internalizing the judgements of my friend, I was finally able to recognise that i needed to limit contact. he wasn't changing; he wasn't apologising. but I could take control.

and loving myself enough to change that is the first step in limiting contact with my judgemental self.

i listened to a podcast interviewing ellen burstyn today about survival. and it ended with this: "I’ve learned a lot from my plants. I learn that if a plant’s not growing, it’s dying, and that growth is a state of health."

I choose to keep growing. and, to my mommy: sorry for what I said when I was 8. xo

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