Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. You are always welcome around my table. Recently I received a comment / question from a visitor to Second Chance to Live. The visitor asked several excellent questions in reference to the black and white / all or none thinking that I discussed in my 4 part series Finding Freedom from Unrealistic Expectations. I believe sharing those answers with you would be beneficial. My motivation is to share what has helped me to find freedom from the impact of the unrealistic expectations that I placed on God, other people and myself.
My visitor wanted to know if my black and white / all or none thinking was present before I experienced my traumatic brain injury or if my black and white / all or none thinking was a product of my traumatic brain injury.
My traumatic brain injury occurred when I was 10 years old in 1967. You may read about my process up until I created Second Chance to Live in my 3 part article, My Journey thus Far. By reading the series you will gain further insight into my experience growing up with an invisible disability. Because I was able to teach myself how to walk, talk, read, write and speak in complete sentences and do well in school my parents did recognize that I had an invisible disability. In 1967 little was known about traumatic brain injury so I was treated like any other adolescent and teenager.
Although I had ongoing difficulties interacting in complex social situations I was able to obtain both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Consequently, the difficulties that I encountered during my academic / non professional / professional experiences were never attributed to the possibility that I had an invisible disability. Practically speaking, I had no idea that the traumatic brain injury — that I had experienced at the age of 10 — had anything to do with the difficulties that I encountered in both academic and work settings.
Consequently, I only started to consider the possibility that my life had been impacted by a traumatic brain injury when I was 38 years of age. Nevertheless, I continued to buy into a host of denial systems for another 6-7 years. Through my process, I discovered that my black and white / all or none thinking told me — through the various denial systems — convinced me that if I just tried harder I would not be impacted by my traumatic brain injury. In essence the message that I internalized was that if I just tried harder I could and would be enough.
Because I was able to obtain my graduate degree and had a good work ethic I continued to discount my reality for another 6-7 years.
Please read Part 2
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