Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Abuse, patterns and growth.

As should be obvious from previous entries, I have something greater than garden variety knowledge when it comes to domestic violence. Having spent the better part of my life as a victim of domestic violence, it's painfully easy for me to see these patterns in the people and world around me, and how it impacts growth. Quite often, there is no growth, or worse, only sickness and eventual death. It falls to me then to determine what is healthy for me to deal with, and as needed put some space between myself and unhealthy situations.

Abusive, co-dependent relationships are terribly hard to deal with, to see in action, and try to mitigate the emotional toll on my own life. Emotional blackmail comes OEM with these kinds of relationships and even standing on the sidelines, one cannot help but be dragged into the fray. People who live long term in these kinds of relationships know, no other way of dealing with life or the people around them. Often the only relationship skills they know are manipulative, emotionally abusive tactics, and use them simply as a matter of course. They don't actually know any better, because as Pat Benetar sings;

"Love and pain become one and the same in the eyes of a wounded child."

Wounded children have no choice but to grow up into wounded adults. It's the only thing they have ever known. When growth occurs, as it rarely ever does, the costs are frightening. More often than not however there is no growth, only sickness and death. When you pile on other conditions, like bi-polar disorder, the entire process become that much more a mess. No-one is 100% sure what causes bi-polar disorder, and any of a number of other mental health issues that people suffer from, but there are two commonly accepted paths to severe and disabling mental illness. One is genetics, if a parent has one or a number of mental health issues, children have a fifty percent chance of being touched by some form of mental illness. When both parents are suffering, it's almost a certainty. Trauma is another pathway to mental illness.

Regardless of how one winds up touched by mental illness, it can, and often does have a profound and quite often devastating effect on ones life. Combine this with a history of domestic-violence, and the patterns inherent in such relationships, and life quickly becomes more than rough. It often becomes impossible.

Now maybe I'm turning into the mental health version of an ex-smoker, but I really don't think so. Too many years I spent living so many lies, thinking and allowing the world to believe everything was okay. When reality finally hit me, well it nearly took me from this world. Overly dramatic? Regrettably, no, not so much. The sheer enormity of it all was very nearly more than I could stand.

So I'm in recovery. Working hard to move forward and establish new and healthy patterns and behavior, isn't the most pleasant thing one should need to have to deal with. Having people around me in various stages of their own journey, or lack of it, toward heling and growth is hard. I want very much to be supportive and compassionate, even, considering my background empathetic, but by the same token when do I have to step back. When can or do I step back?

This is where things get even more complex. When I'm dealing with other people, I need to remain sensitive to their history and background hopefully not make things worse. At the same time, I have to know when it is all way too much for me to deal with. I'm working hard at not repeating the mistakes of the past, making changes to my thinking and behavior, and finding ways to mitigate the long term damage while I heal. I have come to realize that in so many ways I am terribly sensitive to others problems, and these same issues harm me.

It's also terribly hard to see people in so much pain and watch them not do anything to help themselves. To have to stand by and see them not take what control of their own lives they do have, and try to make positive changes. So I have been forced to consider, and begin implementing, a policy of controlled access. Other people want to wallow in their own pain and misery, rock on, but don't bring it to my door because I'm not going to open it anymore. Toxic people who refuse to take any serious steps to improve their own lives are just that, toxic.

I cannot, and will not, keep actively exposing myself to poison.


~K~ said...

A lot of this falls in line with the positve thinking and paying it forward blog I wrote. Becoming a better human being means overcoming whatever obstacles that are placed in our paths and hopefully learn from it. All to often though it becomes dependent upon the people we circle our lives with.

Take a bad cirmumstance and add some negative person and you have a volitile depressin mixture.

in the end we can only save ourselves and if someone gives us a helping hand then even better.

I came from a semi abusive childhood and my mom was a very negative person. It's taken me a long time to realize how toxic that really was on my emotional well being ...

You seem like you're doing well, hell if you can put it in writing you're dealing with it. .. that's inspirational in itself ...


Samantha said...
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Samantha said...

What a nice thing to say. Thank you. It's kinda funny, writing has become one of my best friends of late, and I've only come to realize of late how important sharing some of this can be.

Ironically what makes it to my blog is nothing compared to what I manage in college rule comp books. I started keeping a diary in June of '04 just as a way to get some of this stuff out of me, expressed and made tangible. Now, nearly four years later, it encompasses 13 volumes of 200 pages each.

Having been bored and curious one day I stopped to do some statistical analysis on my diary, and was stunned to find out that based on the samples I took, I've written nearly half a million words in those four years. Kinda scary, and I wasn't even counting things like "A" "OF", "THE", "AND" or "OR" when I did.

Part of my getting more involved in my own blogging has become a function of growing tired of hearing myself say some of the same things time and again on groups. I've also started growing restive with groups because, well there is a great deal of anger and lack of lucidity out there these days. Plus, there are too many people who are not actually dealing with a medical condition these days who are trying to convince those of who are, that they are the same as us. It has become very tiring, so I'm pulling away from groups.

For want of trying to help by being available in groups and such, I figure a decent blog is a fair contribution. Folks can read what they want, or not, and go from there without me having to be directly involved at all times if that makes any sense.

I'm fomenting a post in my head as I write this about acceptance and other related issues. I think people miss the importance of these thing sometimes, so that's up next.

Anyway, thanks for stopping in, and thanks for the great work you do with your blog. We need more smart, funny, brilliant women bloggers in the blogosphere, so it's good to have you there! (Oh dear, I actually used the "word" blogosphere! Eeek! What is the world coming tooooooooo???)