I know this girl, she’s got a psychological disorder: someone got in her head and now she can’t get him out. No one really knows how but he got in and now he plagues her thoughts constantly. She struggles to function on a daily basis because of this person stuck inside her mind, his voice always there. No matter what she does she just can’t drown him out, can’t make it stop, can’t get away. It’s painful to see, this beautiful intelligent young lady plagued by the dysfunction of her own mind. Tortured by a voice in her head that is not her own but is always there.
In a way we’re all like this girl. We all let people in and do what the voices in our heads tell us. Sometimes the wrong people become the voice in your head or the wrong person. You don’t even realize it’s happening but one person starts to push all the others out, including yourself; they start to dominate your internal dialogue and change the way you see yourself and the world. They start to shape the way you think and infiltrate you personality. Once they’re in it’s so so difficult to get them out, to make them stop even when you know they’re wrong. You might not even realize it’s their voice that you’re hearing, you hear it so much the familiarity tricks you into thinking it’s you. But it’s not.
Whenever I start something new I feel a need to prove that I belong there, that I’m smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, hard working enough, whatever enough to be there. I have to show myself as much as others that I am good enough to be there. I feel like I have to prove my legitimacy, that I have to earn it every time. This is something I’ve just recently realized about myself though my over-achieving tendencies have been apparent since my mid-twenties when I went back to school for the first time…
Yeah, I rank pretty low on the self-awareness scale.
At least I know that about myself.
I’ve been debating a slight change of plans regarding my academic goals and as I was weighing the pros & cons of this I kept thinking to myself “I have to get done with school. I just need to get through and get a job!” There was a sense of urgency about finishing. “Time is of the essence!” my mind was saying. It was stressing me out a bit and was the main thing preventing me from considering a path that actually appeals to me quite a bit. I caught myself thinking this way for the umpteenth time last week when it hit me: I really like being a student. I love learning new things and engaging in challenging material. And I’m fine with my current lifestyle.
Sure, I’d like to make more money and have more security. Who wouldn’t? But in general my life is fine. I have a house that I can afford, I have a job, my bills are paid, my children are cared for, and there’s food on my table. Why not do what I want to do, what I truly enjoy?
This voice telling me to hurry through school and just get done already, it wasn’t my own. It’s a voice that’s been in my head for way too long, so long that I mistook it for my own and perceived it as truth. It’s not either. It’s the same voice that tries to tell me I’m lazy and dishonest, that I’m immature and behave badly, that I’m irresponsible and lonely. It’s the voice that says “When are you going to stop that?” “When are you going to change?”
It’s been there for years.
It repeats over and over again in so many different ways that I’m just not enough…ever…no matter what.
I thought I had kicked him out, and I had to some extent but sometimes they dig their claws in deep and the disentanglement is a long, drawn out process. And sometimes life requires that we keep these people around for at least another thirteen years and try to function with them in a job that’s supposed to comprised of teamwork. It allows them opportunity to try and worm their way back in, to attempt to maintain the old dynamic and repeat the same pattern, to keep it’s power over you.
There are scars and there are minefields embedded with explosives just waiting to go off but I’m learning to see them coming and disarm them before anyone and everyone around gets hurt.
I’ve always cringed at the idea of labeling myself a victim. I’ve thought “I’m not that person. I’m too smart, too strong, and too damn independent.” And I am…
but I’m not, no one is because becoming a victim of anything isn’t something that only happens to the weak, though it makes you feel weak and inadequate. It strips away your self-assurance and makes you question everything about yourself. But having been a victim does not mean you’re weak, it means that you have the opportunity to be stronger, stronger than you were before and maybe stronger than anyone else sees.
A couple weeks ago when I went to pick my kids up from their dad’s I did something that, at the time, I felt mildly bad about. Not guilty bad, but ashamed that I had handle the situation that way bad. Usually when I pick my kids up to start my “parenting time” week with them (we have an every other week rotating schedule) I don’t see an adult. The kids just come out, get in the car, and we leave. But the last time their dad was standing in the doorway. That struck me as odd straight off. Then two of the kids asked about our upcoming plans to go to Georgia. They said their dad wanted to know. I told them I planned on e-mailing him all the details as soon as I got them figured out like I usually do. That’s when it happened. He said “Just so you know, you don’t have the kids the whole week next week. You get them Wednesday so you’d better not plan on taking them earlier especially out of state.” I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal and really it c=shouldn’t have been. I just misinterpreted our holiday schedule, but I could tell he was geared up for a fight. And there is no winning a fight with him. I was clearly being bated.
So I turned and pretty much literally ran away…and gave him the finger as I was doing so.
Yeah, maybe I’m not always the most mature person.
I fled. Even as I was doing it part of me felt weak and defeated.But another part of me knew that I just needed to leave and get out of that situation. So that’s what I did. It was quite literally fight or flight and I chose flight.
He later e-mailed me a somewhat harassing e-mail basically calling me a coward for running away because I “didn’t get my way”. According to him that’s what I do when I don’t get my way.
He’s wrong though.
That’s what I do when I know it’s not worth engaging, not worth a fight that’s never going to end let alone end well. I’m not going to stand there and be belittled and insulted by him. That’s not how I choose to spend my time and energy. Because I do have a choice and I realize that now.
I get to choose who I spend my time with and who I allow in.
I get to say what voices get to be in my head and I’ve learned the hard way that only MY voice should be the voice in my head. That’s my choice.
When you realize that you win. Someone else can try to assert themselves and establish some kind of power over them but they don’t get it unless you give it to them. So don’t. You can’t always choose what happens to you but you do always get to choose what you do with it and how you let it effect your life.