Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Living the 'Should'

Another symptom of living a life as the daughter of a Narcissist.  I live in a constant state of 'should'.  It's a bit like living the Christian way of life (which I did, briefly, in my teenage years): you're in a constant state of 'What would Jesus do?' and the guilt that comes with choosing a different path to the perfect icon of the faith is not really worth it in the long run.

But my 'should' isn't completely like the Jesus one: I hold only myself accountable, and I'm a tougher taskmaster, and much less forgiving. I was realising in my therapy session yesterday that I have such high expectations of myself, that I even expect a perfect recovery from myself during this breakdown time!  Like really.  I expect that I will follow every piece of advice on the process of recovery and not weaken and 'backslide' on any of them.  In spite of the fact that I'm currently dealing so many life events at once that I can't even count them all on both hands!!

I have always prided myself on being the most resilient person I know.  I am that person that faces adversity, feels the pain, takes the knock and lands on her feet.  It's why I'm an entrepreneur.  It's why I'm living the dream: mom, wife, lover, businesswoman, speaker, innovator.  I'm that survivor.  I read Victor Frankl's book, 'Man's Search for Meaning' years ago and the resilience principles he uncovered seemed to fit me to the 'T'. I would have been a concentration camp survivor.  I look reality in the eyes.  I learn from adversity.  I find purpose and meaning in every event.  I also believe that my life is my choice.  That I create the life I want.  That I choose everything that happens to me.  That I 'make my own luck'.  Flip man - I think  every second sentence that comes out of me was somehow born in a self help book written in the past 30 years!

But I crashed.

My body made it happen.  Tired of believing all that glass-half-full stuff I feed myself, I suddenly could no longer get up (you know - it doesn't matter how many times you fall down, you only have to get up one time more).  And now that I'm on my feet again, my body still tells me regularly when it's time to stop again.  Sit down.  Wait. Breathe. Recover.  My brain that doesn't want to focus on work tasks yet.  My voice, that tightens up and sounds like it's full of unshed tears every time I start to feel stressed again.  My heart, that starts to beat at unhealthy rates the moment someone tries to hurt it.  My body suddenly feels like it's not my own, but rather a well synchronized orchestra, conducted by my unconscious, that turns up the volume the minute I try to step beyond my current limits.

I think that it has even taken me completely by surprise that I now do have current limits.  I have preached mind/soul/body connection for years, but somehow I believed that I, myself, was immune to the ravages that a stressful and traumatic life can wreak on a body.  My body.  My body has revolted because my emotional life is so terribly traumatized and broken.  Somehow I still cannot bring myself to believe those words completely, even though I have written them myself, uncoerced, on this page.

But I am incredibly harsh with myself when I can't do what I think I should be doing now.  I should be out there, selling up a storm, saving my company and turning it around for my new buyers. I should be leading and motivating the rest of my team to step up and get moving.  I should be focusing in on my own healing process by writing this blog and my journal at night, and move through the necessary recovery steps at a punishing pace.  I should be keeping strictly to my 100 days of solitude programme.  I should be mothering my sons perfectly through this unsettling time.


Simple really: just obey all the shoulds in my head, and I'll be fine.

But I cant. I get weak.  I miss him terribly.  Terribly.  I feel lonely and bereft of the man I loved with all my heart.  Not the abuser part of him, just the lover part.  The part that filled my soul. Then I contact him.  Text him. Call him even. Email him.  Anything for a connection that fills that lonely and desolate place he left behind in me.

Or I contact Berlin again.  Or one of my other boys.  All things I should not be doing, because if any of them really wanted me, then THEY would be contacting ME.  But the pain of that sad loneliness is so deep.  And I although I know I should experience it and go through it, sometimes I feel so horrible that I just distract myself with a boy anyway.  And then I'm embarrassed by my lapse, I'm even ashamed to tell my close friends I did that.

One of my precious friends admonished me lovingly yesterday about it: she said 'if you were as hard on me as you are on yourself, then I really wouldn't be your friend!'.  She's so right.  I am SO not being a friend to myself.  I'm telling everyone I'm being gentle with myself, but I really am not.  I am expecting the 100% compliance that my Narc mother always demanded. That voice isn't mine - it's hers'.

So I'm not going to commit to turning my SHOULDs off.  Because even that becomes a should.  I'm just going to notice.  And then see if I can have compassion for this woman. This girl. Who is battling so hard to find herself in the fog.  And is so alone.  She deserves a friend.  I will try to be that for her. While I try to remember who I am, rather than who I should be.

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