I wrote this during my stay in Hawaii, when I was really immersed in my clumsy recovery. Trigger warning: this is a fairly sad and hopeless entry. Coming back to it later and reading it as objectively as I could, I could see a few important things:
- I was scapegoating myself. Yes, I have responsibility for my behavior, but I was deeply in victim mode at this point. This thinking pointed me toward recovery work focused on scapegoated abuse sufferers.
- I was sabotaging myself. I was completely undermining my own life, giving myself nowhere to go. My unhealthy outlook on the past and the future was classic hopelessness. This pointed me toward recovery work focused on growth, with an emphasis on making future plans and sticking to them. I also found I needed to work on self-esteem and healthy ego.
- I was isolating myself. My social phobias are fairly obvious. I did more research on attachment theory. I still have a lot of work to do in this area, but I am venturing out a bit more confidently.
Journal Excerpt: Taking responsibility for my recovery…
Looking at it all and finally spending some time alone I realized that there was another big piece of the puzzle that I was missing. It hit me today and brought out some very deep emotion. I know that’s good. It’s the same thing that’s happened with each of my new realizations, but this one is directed at me… not anyone else.
This time, I’m looking at my own responsibility for this “mess” I’m cleaning up… y’know, the internal mess as well as the external fallout. I guess it’s a critical step in moving from victim to survivor to I’m-just-bloody-well-over-it, but it comes with a real confrontation for how I have (or have not) handled my responsibilities in my life. After all… regardless of anything that has ever happened to me, I am responsible for my behavior and my feelings. It’s so confronting, but so very necessary for me to understand this and own it.
I’m responsible for not having a full life in the Netherlands, for not fully giving to my job or my kids or my friends or myself. It doesn’t really go any farther back than that. That was the time I let myself fall apart. That was the place where I let myself give in and give up. I feel all the shame and disappointment of that right now, but I guess that is part of owning my responsibility. I let myself flow along with the bad events, even created a lot of them. I let myself get wrapped up in self-loathing and self pity and felt entitled to do so because of a whole host of physical, mental and emotional issues. I was one great big crybaby. I hid from everything, rather than facing it full on like I should have.
Now, I find myself reaching back to that time and wishing it had all been done differently. Wishing I had the courage and strength to face it the right way. I know I learned a lot and I will get back to that gratitude I had for what I learned, but until now all the responsibility for it was somewhere outside me.
It’s hard to own up to my failings, but I have to. I expect the work I do on this over the next little while will be hard (big lump in my throat now).
The hardest part is that I’ve spent so many years in a place where I felt so out of place, with people I didn’t really get to know and now I feel that they must think as little of me as I do of myself. I know I’m not supposed to focus on what other people think of me, but I don’t think it’s possible for me to examine my responsibility without seeing where I failed other people. I can’t examine my failures without seeing what other’s must have thought of me.
I let myself fail. I let myself down and I let other people down in the process. I was unreliable, inconsistent and non-performing. I had no successes. I compromised a career I once loved and thrived in… a career I will never have again. I cost myself a reputation that I had built on hard work and real talent. I sabotaged my life and now have to rebuild it as something completely new (and foreign).
I will make something new of it all. I know that. Somehow through all of this (even the shame and embarrassment), I will make something that I can be happy with…. but, I think the grieving for what I lost will take some time. For the first time I will have to do it completely alone and only for myself. I can’t bring new people into the depths of this process.
I’ve had to face myself alone for the first time in months… face myself with all this new knowledge from seeing my family again… face myself in a new place with no outside pull to do or be anything… face myself. Ugh.
I know this place will ultimately heal my spirit, but being here is asking me to examine it more than I expected. I knew when I left the Netherlands, I was leaving in shame and as a person who failed to do what was expected of her. I said it was to go off on some other great adventure, but inside it just felt like shame. I can never go back and make it right. I can never undo it and I can never get back what I lost.
Somehow, I will come to an understanding of what I’ve actually gained and find real peace and acceptance… once I feel like I’ve tackled each part of this complicated mess. I can’t think of anything more difficult than forgiveness…. especially forgiving yourself.
I didn’t mean for this message to come out like this. I didn’t realize how much I was feeling until I started writing it. I was actually just feeling overwhelmed at reading my own writing from three years ago, two years ago, last year. I was feeling a little sad because I know that there are people in the Netherlands who couldn’t give a rats ass if I was gone or not, who wouldn’t care if they ever heard from me again.
Stupid, self-indulgent self pity, eh?
I swear my spirit tells me I’m a good person, but my ego is beating the hell out of me at the moment. Reading the very public pain and drama I spewed out three years ago is so very hard. OMG, I really made a complete fool of myself.