I have been thinking about a reality. Today is the first day or the rest of our lives. We get to choose how to spend and use our time. I am reminded that I am powerless over people, places, and things, however, I am not powerless over my attitude. My attitude and the perspective I choose to maintain determine how I experience my life.
I have found that when I believe that I am a victim of my circumstances I feel helpless.
As I have shared in my 4 part series, My Struggle living with an Invisible Disability, not everyone is going go accept the limitations of my disability. My responsibility — if I chose to accept that some people do not have eyes to see and ears to hear — is to honor myself. Although some people may be angry with me because I can not be more or do more, I do not have to take on their anger. When I allow people the dignity to own their attitudes or perspectives I free myself from the need to rescue or fix those individuals.
I do not need to “fix” them or make them OK with me so that they will not be angry with me.
Through my experience, I have learned that when I attempt to “fix” anyone — so that they will not be angry with me, in order that we can be OK, so that I can be OK — I live in a state of panic and dread. Through my recovery process, I found a title for this dynamic: toxic shame based codependency. Toxic shame based codependency creates lose-lose outcomes. Many times, when toxic shame based codependency is being practiced, double-messages are given. Manipulation occurs as these double messages create inconsistency and emotional hostage taking.
Behaviors, which convey messages such as “come close go away”, incite the fear of physical and emotional abandonment.
For many years, the threat of physical and emotional abandonment led me to disown the parts of myself that were not pleasing to the people of significance in my life. In my attempts to reduce the threat of emotional abandonment, I developed a false self. Unconsciously I was conditioned to disown whatever did not please the love objects in my life. Consequently, I had no idea who I was, what I liked or what I wanted from life.
Through the course of reaching my own emotional bottom, I came to realize that I desperately needed to stop doing the “dance” to prevent people from being angry with me.
In my experience, in order to live an empowered life; I had to get off of the merry-go-round of denial. I had to stop attempting to people please and approval seeks so that people would not be angry with me. I had to let people be responsible for their anger when I did not measure up to their expectations for me. I had to learn to accept myself as a traumatic brain injury survivor, regardless of whether people of significance in my life could accept that reality.
I had to learn how to live in my skin and be at peace with myself.
Please read Part 2 of this article by clicking on Having an Invisible Disability – The Consequence of Denying Reality—Part 2
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