If you have not already read Part 1 of this article series, please click on this link: Having an Invisible Disability – The Consequence of Denying Reality—Part 1
Yesterday I introduced the concept of consequences for denying my reality. Today I am going to share what I have learned. For many years I was encouraged to buy into a belief system that would not or could not consider the possibility that the injury to my brain contributed to the difficulties that I encountered when interacting with some people and social situations. Consequently I was frequently criticized for my inability to “get along” with people, without factoring in the damage to my brain.
The sad reality created by a lack of acceptance — concerning my invisible disability — resulted in my being blamed, shamed and in many instances made to be the scapegoat for matters that were out of my control.
Because I believed that I created my sad reality for many years, I lived in a state of guilt and shame. I did not believe that I merely made mistakes, but that I was a mistake. I had an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and spent much of my time saying I am sorry. My 6th grade English teacher had me write out I am sorry 500 times in his attempt to get me to stop saying I was sorry. My exercise in writing those words did not help to rid me of my sense of shame.
Consequently, I continued to assume the position of a scapegoat, because I was led to believe that I was responsible for the restlessness, irritability and discontent in my world.
I continued to believe that I was responsible for people, places and things even though they were out of my control until I reached an emotional bottom when the relationship with my fiancée ended in 1991. In response to the break up I started to look for solutions. As I looked for solutions precious answers were revealed to me. I found that when I became sick and tired of being sick and tired I was willing to be honest with myself.
I had no idea — at the time — how much good would come from the ashes of my pain.
As I was honest with myself my ability to change the way I related to myself changed forever. My ability to love and respect myself began when I was able to come out of hiding. (Please read my post, Who am I) Although shame and guilt left me accusing or defending myself for many years, as I began to accept the child that God loved unconditionally, I was able to begin to find and integrate parts of myself that I previously discarded in the process of feeling shame and in an attempt to keep people from going away and abandoning me. I did so for many years because I believed that I was not enough if people did not approve of me.
Over time I have grown in my ability to accept myself and live an empowered life, as a man with an invisible disability. I have come to realize that I am powerless over what people think of me and if people go away, that is more about them than about me. I have also come to realize that my circumstances are not meant to keep me down, but they are meant to build me up. Instead of shaming and berating myself, I have come to realize that with all learning, there is a learning curve. Because I know that with everything there is a learning curve, I have determined to live life on life’s terms.
Please read my post, The Art of Change
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