If you have not already read Part 1 of this article, please do so at this time by clicking on this link: Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury — Am I Being Manipulated? Part 1
In my experience, I have found that pointing fingers in anyone’s direction is of little value. Pointing fingers in other people’s directions only keeps me feeling helpless and hopeless. Through my recovery process, I have heard and believe to be true, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” I am powerless over what happened to me, but I am not powerless over what I do about what happened to me. For this I am responsible. In my experience, I have become aware. Through becoming aware, I have grown in acceptance and in my acceptance I have come to realize that I have choices.
These choices empower me to experience my life. In my experience, when I became aware, I realized that I could do some thing different.
For many years, I was conditioned to buy into a core belief. After this core belief was established, a trigger was set to be tripped to get a desired response. The core belief was that I am responsible for other people’s feelings, needs and wants. In the belief system, I was conditioned to believe that I was also responsible for other people’s irritability, restlessness and discontentment. Consequently, if the people in my life were irritable, restless and discontent — for whatever reason — I was at fault. This conditioning led me to believe that if people were angry or upset with me, I needed to” fix” them.
When I did not meet the expectation(s) of people, I was criticized and blamed for not meeting their expectations. When I experienced criticism and blame, the previously set trigger — shame — was tripped. The trigger produced anxiety in me, which instigated my drive to comply in order avoid being further criticized, blamed and shamed for not meeting expectations. With such repeated experiences of being criticized, blamed and shamed for not getting it “right”, I strove all the more in an attempt to be perfect. In my striving to be perfect, I found myself being enslaved by doing to justify my existence.
In my over developed sense of responsibility, I strove to be perfect so that people would not be angry and upset with me.
Doing became more important than being, as I sought to do more, to be more, to be enough. To do more, to be more in my attempt to be enough, I engaged in a dance that perpetuated being manipulated. I did this dance with virtually everyone in my life. The dance went like this: If the people in my life were not “OK”, I was at fault. In my hyper vigilance to arrest feeling like a mistake, I felt driven to “make” them “OK”. To “fix” their irritability, restlessness and discontent, so they would not go away. To keep them from going away, so that I would not lose myself.
I engaged in this dance, because I was led to believe that what other people thought about me was more important than what I thought about myself. I engaged in this dance, because I did not know where other people ended and where I began, as I lived my life. I engaged in this dance because, I did not know how to be “OK” with myself. I engaged in this dance, because I did not know how to have a relationship with myself.
Please read the conclusion in Part 3 of this article by clicking on this link: Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury — Am I Being Manipulated? Impact Part 3
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