Connections, moment to moment.
Didn’t expect how my appointment went this morning. I slept in and had less than 15 minutes to leave my place to make it there almost on time. Felt groggy, puffy-faced, and unprepared for face-to-face interaction.
Somehow it all went deep unexpectedly fast. I didn’t foresee it, didn’t plan it. It just went from talking about how both my procrastination habits and my work habits are mostly forms of fear avoidance. Yesterday I had this pretty productive and good feeling day, for half the day. Then I geared into this non-stop momentum, even though I went off track. I kept on going when I needed to stop. But I didn’t know how to stop. I didn’t know what to do when did stop…(or the scary voice would let me think of what to do.). When I procrastinate I am fearful and when I work like a maniac I am fearful. I didnt entirely get before. Now I know, they both are avoidance of something. Through my talk with my therapist this morning I found that they are both ways that I try to avoid feeling fear.
When I was around 5 years old my parents took me to the lake. My brother was just a baby so my mother was on the shore holding him and I had to go into the water with only my father. I think I was scared of my father pretty much all the time when I was little. And my mother paid absolutely no attention to how I was feeling… So, when I said that I didn’t want to do things or even acted like I didn’t want to it was mistaken for me being difficult or shy or misbehaving.
So, I went into the water with my father and we were standing in water that was about up to my belly and John wanted to teach me to get in the water, to get my head wet, to swim probably. I don’t think I ever had a fear of water or swimming or trying new things. I always just had a fear of John. But I didn’t show that, or it wasn’t what he wanted to see.
So, as John tried to get me to duck my head under the water I began to get scared. I think I was scared that he was not going to save me if something happened to me. I was scared that he was more interested in me obeying him than me feeling safe or good or comfortable. So, before I could get upset (which I had long ago learned simply angered him), I frantically began to squat and duck my head under the water and pop up again, over and over. I looked like a adhd little kid but I was actually just popping into and out of the water so fast so that I did not have to look at his face or see him get angry at me, or grab me or push me down or hurt me somehow. I kept on bobbing up and down over and over…even after he told me to stop… Swimming or learning became a life or death chore, and if I did it I was safe for a moment. It was not fun. I did not enjoy myself. I did not learn in a way that I was empowering. I wanted to keep on bobbing until he stopped…until he stopped whatever he was. I wasn’t afraid of the water. But I was doing that in the water because I was afraid.
That is how I have lives most things.
Hiding if I didn’t want to do something. Acting like a terrified maniac if I HAD to do something.
So, my pattern as a kid was, when I was nervous or scared, to hide, be quiet, not to disrupt or draw attention to myself, disappear (and by consequence be unproductive… or when I was doing something active, to do it to forget what I had to go back to. To lose myself in a dysfunctional way. To escape reality.
And now know that I still do the same. Things have shifted somewhat since I left my ex, and since I have spent this time on my own and since I began to do all of this work. But the bottom line is that I have not gotten over feeling terrorized and unsafe as a little girl. And my understandings of the connections between those early childhood experiences and my current experience of everyday life are becoming so incredibly… clear.
I was afraid of ‘uncareful’ and uncaring and volatile people, and I was afraid of being or showing I was afraid of uncareful, uncaring, and volatile people. Because I was never removed from those situations and never comforted in my fear, I have carried that helpless with me.
Now, as an adult, I relive those moments where I was terrified, helpless, always felt in danger… I relive them constantly.
The experience of those childhood moments, days, that turned into years… I learned a lot of lies. And I learned to live lies.
Now I am learning my truths. But I am curious how I begin to live them.