Hi, and welcome back to Second Chance to Live. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by and visit with me. I am a bit flustered today with what has been going on in my world. I am doing the best I know how to do with my set of circumstances. I make decisions that are based upon previous experience and I seek to live a life of personal responsibility and accountability. Nevertheless, over the past week, I found myself being placed between a rock and a hard space. If I agreed I would be jeered along the way and if I disagreed I would be shunned. I found myself in an all too familiar double bind.
The double bind becomes apparent when I interact with individuals in group 2 and group 3 as explained in My Struggle living with an Invisible Disability –Part 1. Although I attempt to educate people within those groups as to the nature of my disability, for some reason they can not or will not accept that I have legitimate deficits and limitations. Nevertheless, in many instances when I interact with people within groups 2 and 3 they still want me to function as a person without deficits and limitations. What makes matters more difficult for me is that when I interact with individuals in groups 2 and 3 I am held responsible for not being able to live up to their expectations. Often times I am blamed, shamed or put in the position of being a scapegoat for matters that are out of my control and thus the double bind.
Based on my awareness and acceptance I attempted to negotiate a win-win outcome. In the process of attempting to negotiate an amicable course of action, the other person became incensed with me. My attempts to negotiate a win-win outcome were discarded as unacceptable. After I stated how a win-win outcome could be obtained, our conversation became heated. In the process of attempting to prove my point, I got caught up in justifying, answering and defending my position. Angry words were exchanged before the conversation ended. Several hours later I contacted that individual and apologized for my part of the verbal exchange.
Several nights later I attempted to process what I experienced during my negotiation process while attending a support group meeting. After the meeting ended, while talking with a friend he pointed out that I was focusing on the other person’s behavior. At first, I found myself experiencing shame over wanting to be heard. Reality became apparent as I thought about what my friend had told me. In my attempt to be heard I lost my focus. I forgot to remember that the person with whom I attempted to negotiate continues to believe that I am making excuses and using my traumatic brain injury as a tool of convenience. In essence, I am being given the message that I should not be limited by the injury to my brain.
Through the course of attempting to negotiate the win-win outcome, I re-learned several valuable lessons. I am powerless over people’s perceptions. I do not have the power to change anyone’s perspectives. What other people say or think about me does not make it so. I am not responsible for fixing another person so that we can have a better relationship. I can not help open eyes that chose to remain closed. I need to accept people for who they are, rather than who I want them to be.
Because I have the power to make healthy choices, I am able to avoid being placed in a double bind. I no longer need to stay stuck in shame and guilt for not being able to measure up to the expectations of people within groups 2 and 3. I am an empowered individual because I choose to practice live and let live. I am responsible to people, but not for them or their choices. In the event that people, like the individual that I discussed above, choose to deny my reality then I need to practice healthy self-care and limit the amount of time that I subject myself to their criticism. In my choice I do not judge people in groups 2 and 3 as bad or wrong, I merely recognize that I am unable to create a win-win outcome through our interactions.
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