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 Post subject: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 8:10 am 
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Something I have discovered, well perhaps not dicovered, but have come to believe myself over the last little while.

I am my own worst enemy!!!!!!! (no one else)

No matter what others have said about me in the past, or now even.

Do I really believe that of myself is the question I have to ask? Do I really think that of me now?

Mostly the answer is no. So why do I behave like I do believe it at times? It's what I have come to think of myself? Why? Hear something enough it almost becomes my reality, yet is it? If I tell myself the same perhaps! So why allow anyone else that much power? I have the power within me to be whomever and whatever I want to be. Absolutely shown by my own power and will to survive. So why let it hold me captive? If it makes me unhappy? I can rewrite my own messages. If I hear me often enough, I begin to listen to my inner voice. She holds the key!

Why allow others to dictate my future when they have had so much hold over my past?

Big stuff for me, thought I would share!

I am me and I am beautiful, just the way I am. I will change for me and nobody else. I have power to make choices and I can daily make them and change them I can be and will be whomever and whatever I want to be! I have my own personal needs/ wants and desires and I myself have the power to fulfill them.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:51 pm 
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YESSSSSSSS. ((Tracy))) excellent stuff. BIG stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 9:28 pm 
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Location: Reality ~ It's a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there!
I see both beauty and danger in your statements!

Tracy wrote:
I am my own worst enemy!!!!!!! (no one else)

No matter what others have said about me in the past, or now even.

Do I really believe that of myself is the question I have to ask? Do I really think that of me now?


I think that we know ourselves better than other people do and we often think we are keeping our faults hidden well enough that others won't pick up on them. Then someone says something with the ring of truth to it and we internalize it so that it becomes a focus of our energy. That is not necessarily a bad thing, though, and it can be a hugely positive thing if we are not afraid to face the truth of who we really are and do what needs to be done to improve who we become.

Tracy wrote:
So why do I behave like I do believe it at times? It's what I have come to think of myself? Why? Hear something enough it almost becomes my reality, yet is it? If I tell myself the same perhaps! So why allow anyone else that much power? I have the power within me to be whomever and whatever I want to be. Absolutely shown by my own power and will to survive. So why let it hold me captive? If it makes me unhappy? I can rewrite my own messages. If I hear me often enough, I begin to listen to my inner voice. She holds the key!

Why allow others to dictate my future when they have had so much hold over my past?


If someone were to say "you stink" after I had just taken a bath and used deodorant, I would question that person's sense of smell. However if I had just returned from a two week horse pack trip where I was only able to rinse off the dirt in streams that whole time, I would be quick to conclude that the person really was smelling my odor (and my horse's smell as well, LOL). The trick is when someone might say "you stink" on a day when I had not just bathed that morning and can't remember if I used deodorant that day so that it is possible that there is a detectable odor. My brain is telling me that there could be some truth to the statement in that case and then it is a matter of determining how offensive I am to that person. I may be pretty sure that I don't smell as bad as I would if I had not been able to bathe for 2 weeks and was living in close proximity to my horse and yet I might feel just as offensive to the person as if that were true, knowing there have been times I have been that dirty in my life.

I don't think it matters so much what we tell ourselves about our flaws, what matters most is what we do about it. If I have the perception that I will always smell as if I just returned from a two week horse pack trip no matter how many times I bathe or how much deodorant I use, then it is possible I will give up on bathing and using deodorant by assuming those things do nothing to get rid of my own personal smell. That would do nothing to make me less offensive to others, though, as it would only be a means of ignoring the truth. I have to be willing to do those things that will improve my life and the lives of people who come in contact with me. Sometimes that means hearing honest feedback for what it is and not allowing dysfunctional coping skills to distort the truth, either through magnification or minimization.

There actually are people who will try to deny and argue that their shit does not stink just because everyone else's shit stinks! It becomes one of those situations where the person who farted starts pointing fingers at everyone else in an attempt to cover up their own stink. Then there are those who feel guilty for ever having passed gas in the public so that the mere mention of a fart will have them feeling a deep sense of shame, even if they were not the ones making the stink. It is not that farting in itself is such a terrible thing, we all do it! It is the distortion of reality that is the problem, either by thinking that farting should be appreciated and embraced or by thinking that farting should be punished and outlawed.

Tracy wrote:
I am me and I am beautiful, just the way I am. I will change for me and nobody else. I have power to make choices and I can daily make them and change them I can be and will be whomever and whatever I want to be! I have my own personal needs/ wants and desires and I myself have the power to fulfill them.


As long as we are being honest with ourselves and not infringing on the rights of others, this is a healthy viewpoint! There will still be negative consequences when we mess up but we can use those experiences to grow by accepting reality and making it a personal goal to be our best. Obviously there has to be social constraints that remove dangerous people from having contact with society as effectively as possible or everyone would be so busy being who they want to be that other people would be hurt by another person's self-serving interests.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 11:44 pm 
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I see what you are getting at Denim. Guess this is a positive thing for me because I notoriously give myself such a hard time. Internalise so many of the you are wrong / bad messages that I become disabled by them. So guess I am not thinking of this kind of realisation as being over bigging up of myself. More accepting of myself and the road I have worked so hard to travel, and perhaps accepting myself just a bit more for the person I am today.

Rewriting old meassges has been really important. Not being held captive by negativity and Tracy is bad for being Tracy messages have been a big part of my recovery. I don't act out a lot these days. I can mostly sit with with my feelings whilst acknowledging them. I am so quick often to judge myself harshly though.

I guess seeing myself through the perception of those I grew up around for all those years really did keep me stuck. What I do know now though is that I have choices. I can choose to believe them as much as I can choose not to.

I guess in terms of tools I can say I can now embrace the four agreements and say that 99% of the time I do my best!

Its really important for me to look at such things as above in a positive light rather than seeking to constantly change integral parts of myself.

It's not an excuse to run about saying I am a good person I can do what I like. More an acceptance that I generally don't go out of my way to cause people hurt and suffering and I do have choices to how I respond to the things people think of me. No one can be liked by everyone!

I'm not done growing and I am not done with changing nor working with the tools. I am going to allow myself to breathe a bit though and accept my imperfections within grey realms.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:49 am 
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Location: Reality ~ It's a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there!
That sounds healthy and I imagine that you are able to see reality clearly in your self-assessment and would not find your own perceptions about yourself too far off the mark of the way others see you. I can see where being given false messages in the past may have led you to believe lies and now you can see the truth so the lies have lost the meaning they once had in the past. That is certainly a positive thing.

I have seen this way of thinking misused in a narcissistic way by people who do not even realize how narcissistic they come across to others and that is why I said it could also be dangerous. When people have a concept of entitlement and put their own self-gratification above other people's needs, the concept of "I will be who I choose to be" can be used as an excuse to continue acting in self-gratifying ways without taking reality into account.

Tracy wrote:
I see what you are getting at Denim. Guess this is a positive thing for me because I notoriously give myself such a hard time. Internalise so many of the you are wrong / bad messages that I become disabled by them.


I know that I have been told that I am "overly self-critical" and yet that probably comes from being a bit of a perfectionist. There are times when it is helpful to be self-critical and at other times it could become too overwhelming. It is not something I would ever want to give up entirely because having a "this is how I am so deal with it" attitude is not the kind of person I want to be. I am not saying you are like this, but I have seen it in others and it is something I choose to avoid when I see it.

As social "animals" living in community with each other, we do have a responsibility to set aside our own needs and desires at times for the good of the group. People who expect a group to bend to their whims tend to scare me because they have no concept of how social relationships work. The concept of "I can be what I want to be and do what I want to do" only works when a person's individual goals are not in conflict with society's expectations for acceptable behavior. It may have been the repeated emphasis on "power" that scared me about your words because there are times that people do not use their personal power with positive intentions or positive results.

My younger daughter would actually tell me "I don't have to if I don't want to" or "I can do what I want" when I gave her redirection. It is this childish misuse of personal power that is not healthy in adults. Not many adults still carry around these childish views of reality but some people seem to have not grown up over the years and they still think like children instead of thinking like an adult.

Tracy wrote:
I guess seeing myself through the perception of those I grew up around for all those years really did keep me stuck. What I do know now though is that I have choices. I can choose to believe them as much as I can choose not to.


I relate to having a difficult time with internalizing messages given to us as children because they can be hard to break if we believe they are true. That is why it is important to seek the truth from more than one source. I have some beliefs that people have told me they do not share and yet these are common beliefs among people all over the world so I am more likely to find truth where there is more supportive evidence. I also have the ability to look within myself and see those things that others see in me so I know they are there and that people would not tell me something was real just to confuse me. It can be hard to know what is real at times so it requires a great deal of reality testing in order to know something with any certainty.

It is nearly 3:00 am and I usually try to avoid getting too deep into thought before I sleep. All the various thoughts on a topic like this can keep me up all night! I should try to sleep now since an ongoing lack of sleep can distort my perceptions of reality. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:34 am 
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I can see how you may have been able to hear the power statements as dangerous Denim. I was really talking about how i have come to view myself on an internal level.

I never was one to start a fight, more scared of conflict than anything. I would often give away my own personal power cos everyone was better than me, I really didn't matter to myself. I would often think the world was a better place without me in it.

I acted out through self harm and overdoses and I guess in that way I didn't stop to think on the impact of those actions around me. For a while the onlly reason I didn't do such things was again for other people.

I got well and became stable for others and not really for myself either, mainly my children, although I can see the benefits of it on myself now. I don't think there is much danger of me running around starting fights of being generally abusive to people it isn't me.

I think more the above is that I have developed a sense of self. I believe in myself a lot more than I ever did. I don't think any longer I am an inheritantly bad person. being raised to believe anything I did my parents didn't like was a sign of being taken in by the devil has been very hard to combat. I have also had to deal with being estranged by my family members for not staying stuck under what I saw as an oppressive and controlling regime, where questions were not allowed, opinions allowed even less, where I was an awful person for loving certain music etc. (Its kinda funny thinking back now when it was bach and bethoven I loved the most!) Where abuse was tolerated because the most important thing was that I did as my parents told me. or may god strike me down. I wanted an education, I wasn't allowed such, I since have done a degree and will be continuing to study some more. I was raised I had no future....I do!

A lot of the internal pain is diminishing as I take control of my own life, both today and for the future. That tome is where my internal power comes to play.

So yes I will choose who I want to be. I am pretty sure that wanting have a successful career and being able to tell my children I love them each day without feeling guilty or carrying shame. To provide myself with stability and security and hope for the future not dread. (my goal is to avoid going to prison not find me a way of getting there)That I am able and have it within myself to build my life to be one in which I am happy and content and true to myself. Isn't a bad person to want to be.

I am learning though that in order to look after anyone else (as I like to do) I have to put myself first. That isn't narcisstic its realistic!

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:39 pm 
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thats it, trace. a sense of self. big recovery things! and its ok to have that self! isnt that cool?

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:44 pm 
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strangely enough, it is when we gain that sense of self power we are least dangerous.

we dont NEED to control another or wield false power over anyone. the dangerous ones are the ones who have no self power and must get it from others. the control freaks. the Ns. the abusers. the addicts.

anyone with a sense of self power just can let go of giving away our power and is self assured and not frightened of others at all. we dont need others any longer for our self worth. we dont need the fake power of trying to control another. we arent looking for it outside us any longer.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:21 pm 
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Tracy and Jody - quite an "aha" moment for me - to read your words. Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:29 pm 
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Tracy, I think you have made great steps for yourself and I support your discovery of your own personal power. Those same words coming from someone else would not be so healthy since I have seen them misused as justification for socially inappropriate behaviors. It is important for people to be open to feedback from others looking in from the outside so as long as your feelings about yourself can be verified by others, then I would say your viewpoint is realistic.

What scares me is when a person's view of herself differs so much from what outside observers notice and she insists on defending her distortions rather than to be willing to see things as they really are. It is important to have a sense of self but that sense of self needs to be a true reflection rather than a projection. I have seen countless examples of someone trying to "prove" that they are not what other people see when it is apparent that the person is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

I rely a lot on "reality testing" to make sure my impressions are not unique to myself and that what I observe is seen by others because then I know I am on track. Sometimes people come to accept things about themselves that are unacceptable to most people and expect others to change their views to accommodate them. I read a true crime book titled Bully where a group of teens brutally killed another teen and could not understand that what they did was very wrong, even though their victim had been a bully. They felt that their actions were justified and they could not accept personal responsibility for their own criminal behavior.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:31 pm 
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I have had bad experiences with people telling me what they see about me. In some cases, they have been distorted. So I rely on myself, my H and my therapist to give me reality checks. I dont' think everyone is so qualified to let you know exactly how you're doing.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:56 pm 
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BG, we all have our own reality. it comes from our history, our past, our filters. thus, what you see in me is partially from who you are as BG. as what i see in you is the same with me.

in the end, we are born alone and we die alone. it is always up to us for our own truths.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:44 pm 
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Bordergirl wrote:
I have had bad experiences with people telling me what they see about me.


Is that because you agreed with what they told you or because you disagreed with their viewpoint? Sometimes it is hard to hear the truth and we use denial to protect ourselves from painful realities.


Bordergirl wrote:
I rely on myself, my H and my therapist to give me reality checks. I dont' think everyone is so qualified to let you know exactly how you're doing.


Do you really allow your husband to help you define reality? It sounds like you often disagree when your husband points things out to you. For example, you posted about his being upset with you when your behavior indicated a double standard (although instead of fighting you made light of his bringing up his observations, which could have been viewed as invalidating). I don't know what context that example was used since some of the posts in the thread are blocked out with the "ignore" feature but it sort of concerned me that you did not say anything about taking responsibility for your past behavior. Maybe that happened without your telling about that part of the interaction and you actually did take your husband's comments seriously enough that you will not have one rule for him to follow while breaking that very rule yourself. Perhaps your husband is able to "forgive and forget" without any reassurances from you that your behavior has changed for the better but I think most people would want to see a consistent pattern of behavior before believing that any change will be lasting. It has to do with "walking the walk" and not just "talking the talk" because actions really do speak far louder than words.

Bordergirl, you have made great progress here lately and I have been getting the impression that you are more open to honest feedback. If, however, this is not something you want to look at you do not need to do so for my benefit. I am just putting this out there for you to consider and I personally don't need answers to the questions I posed. If you do want to discuss this further, we can take it to another thread so we don't hijack this one too far off topic. I could not post anything in the original thread so I brought it here since it seems related to what you posted in this thread.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:08 am 
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I use my H's feedback if he thinks I am getting depressed or over-anxious. It is to get a reality check. Mostly of how I am feeling. My T does the same - if he thinks I am behaving paranoid or depressed, he will tell me - often I cannot tell.

Regarding the other stuff with my H, sometimes his views are colored by his remembering past events, which to me are over and done with. I don't appreciate him bringing up past transgressions from months or years ago. It serves no purpose for me. As long as I am okay now, and working on recovery, I don't need a reminder of what I did 3 years ago. I dont' go digging up past stuff that he did. I don't think it's very useful.

I also am careful what other people say. In the past, I have been burned by so-called friends being nasty. I can take constructive criticism, and will listen to it and learn from it, but when it gets mean and nasty, that's a turn-off to me. And I can tell the difference between constructive criticism and nastiness - I have been the receiver of both. If a friend comes to me with honest feedback, I will listen. But when accusations come at me, that's a no-no.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:35 am 
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BG you said it well. constructive criticism vs meaness. a basic thing we all argue about here at the board. i think some mean it as constructive and it comes out as mean.

and the bringing up past stuff just is one of my worst problems to handle. i hate it done. something in my sessions that wasnt allowed. indeed, saying "you did" wasnt allowed. we had to say "i feel" all the time. it stuck with me deeply. you did is not owning something. i feel--is.

just wanted to say i relate to what you said.

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:25 am 
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I have to say I was given the biggest assessment of me ever in the family courts. I was pulled apart for everything from having been in abusive relationships to using self harm as a coping mechanism right down to the food I gave my children, how it was cooked, how I prepared it. I heard some of the harshest criticism I think anyone could ever give. Three full psychiatric assesments, parenting assesments, psychiatric reports on my children. Social services reports on my living arrangements, my friends were vetted under the criminal records bureau. I was not allowed unvetted visitors to my home. I was deemed vulnerable and unable to cope with even the simple things in life.

My children were placed on the child protection register under the category of neglect. They were removed from my care. I was classed as unfit to provide for their needs. I was told I was a difficult patient, that was non compliant with treatment. I was also told I was severely mentally ill with little hope of ever being well. Court papers do not provide reasons only facts. They don't say but this is because Tracy was raised a certain way or anything else. They are harsh to read. I hated my doctor, my social worker, the psychiatrist, my psychiatric nurse that decided my children were at risk. I felt they didnt give a damn about me.

Thing is no matter how harsh those words were to hear they caused me to become well. I fought back with every bit of strength I had in me, to be well enough to provide myself and my children with a stable life, regardless of the pain I felt doing so. Nor how much I felt I had the right to be unhappy at having been abused as a child nor attacked on the streets a year earlier.

I am not saying the tools offered here are the be all and end all. I am not saying that it isn't nice to be heard and to be validated and have people tell you they care. I will say though they afforded me the skills to keep my life steady enough to move forward. Gave me hope.

So yes sometimes criticism can be constructive and sometimes it appears down right cruel and nasty. I had a choices though. Sit and say how unfair the system was and argue my case for not being anything they painted me to be, in that case my word against theirs. Or I could prove by my actions that I wasn't and the bits that rang true meant I had to dig deep within and change. Change the way I thought, my reactions, the way I dealt with things and most recently the way I see myself.

For me. Its not the criticism I receive nor how it is given, it is considering its validity that counts (is it a fair criticism or not? If I pretty the words up can I see the point they are making?) How I go about discovering what to do with the criticism / the challenge is mine. Is someone really criticising me for the hell of it? Or are the challenging me to look at something from a different point of view?

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:03 am 
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Tracy wrote:

For me. Its not the criticism I receive nor how it is given, it is considering its validity that counts (is it a fair criticism or not? If I pretty the words up can I see the point they are making?) How I go about discovering what to do with the criticism / the challenge is mine. Is someone really criticising me for the hell of it? Or are the challenging me to look at something from a different point of view?


This is, to me the answer. Where I can accept criticism and then decide for myself how and if it fits me, and how I want to take and use that criticism. Criticism for me can lead to much growth, because a lot of times there is at least a little truth there.

I think the real challenge for me has been to be able to set goals and expectations for myself, but if I don't reach them, to know that I am human and not a failure and a loser. To be able to accept criticism and the faults in the others doing the criticizing, so that I don't have to take in anything I don't want to take in, or be responsible for their stuff. To choose how I accept their words. To choose my own actions in response to their words. And to remain strong in the fact that I DON'T BELIEVE I am unworthy of anything, as long as I earn it (because there's just not enough proof in the world to convince me that that is true!).

To me, it's finding a balance, a place where I can achieve the belief that I am worthy as long as I reach my own expectations, but also not to believe I am unworthy because I make mistakes. And of course "Always Do Your Best" works, because if I do my best but I don't reach my goal, I can still feel good about what I have done, because I know I did achieve and I feel good about that. But not to be too easy on myself either, in accepting my place as-is, and allowing non-growth to occur (and then possibly allowing old ways to take ahold once more). I think the point is to keep moving forward, set Realistic goals, do my best, make realistic assessments, take responsibility, but don't beat up on myself or be too hard on myself for any perceived failures. There is always tomorrow and a new day to work to achieve my goal!

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 Post subject: Re: My lil thoughts!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:21 am 
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Tracy wrote:
I have to say I was given the biggest assessment of me ever in the family courts. I was pulled apart for everything from having been in abusive relationships to using self harm as a coping mechanism right down to the food I gave my children, how it was cooked, how I prepared it. I heard some of the harshest criticism I think anyone could ever give. Three full psychiatric assesments, parenting assesments, psychiatric reports on my children. Social services reports on my living arrangements, my friends were vetted under the criminal records bureau. I was not allowed unvetted visitors to my home. I was deemed vulnerable and unable to cope with even the simple things in life.

My children were placed on the child protection register under the category of neglect. They were removed from my care. I was classed as unfit to provide for their needs. I was told I was a difficult patient, that was non compliant with treatment. I was also told I was severely mentally ill with little hope of ever being well. Court papers do not provide reasons only facts. They don't say but this is because Tracy was raised a certain way or anything else. They are harsh to read. I hated my doctor, my social worker, the psychiatrist, my psychiatric nurse that decided my children were at risk. I felt they didnt give a damn about me.

Thing is no matter how harsh those words were to hear they caused me to become well. I fought back with every bit of strength I had in me, to be well enough to provide myself and my children with a stable life, regardless of the pain I felt doing so. Nor how much I felt I had the right to be unhappy at having been abused as a child nor attacked on the streets a year earlier.

I am not saying the tools offered here are the be all and end all. I am not saying that it isn't nice to be heard and to be validated and have people tell you they care. I will say though they afforded me the skills to keep my life steady enough to move forward. Gave me hope.

So yes sometimes criticism can be constructive and sometimes it appears down right cruel and nasty. I had a choices though. Sit and say how unfair the system was and argue my case for not being anything they painted me to be, in that case my word against theirs. Or I could prove by my actions that I wasn't and the bits that rang true meant I had to dig deep within and change. Change the way I thought, my reactions, the way I dealt with things and most recently the way I see myself.


Well, on the receiving end, sometimes what we get isn't what we think we deserve, and then criticism DOES seem cruel. It feels like we don't deserve what we are getting, and that seems to make people angry and lash out at the system. I was angry for Years because I felt that I had been dealt a crappy hand from the get-go, and it seemed like everyone worked only to make it worse. I felt like I was dredging through trenches dragging a ball-and-chain. Until one day, I realized, hey, I can do something about it. Just because I was dealt that hand doesn't mean I have to KEEP it... And that regardless of what hand a person is dealt, everyone has challenges in life. So there's no need to compare hands, but only to keep working to make your own better.

There is so much personal power one can gain from embracing the tools and using them. I have gotten SO much use out of radical acceptance. It has allowed me to break free from a lot of chains and binds in my relationships. Hey, I can just accept that X person does this... and then it seems like I have so much more influence after that. That if I am not bound to the frustration and anger at that person for Not being a certain way, it holds me back from any influence I could have. All it does is cause more dysfunctionalities in interaction, thought, and feeling. And I have learned recently that it is about being an example, not manipulation. People seem to be drawn to happy people, they do offer others hope.

You are at the point, I think, where you are seeing some results of your hard work. You are seeing changes, and you see what you have done, what it took inside to achieve your goal - that little spark you found inside and your strong will that produced the results. The fact that regardless of how you felt or what you thought, you saw the roads before you and you made the right choice. Pointing at wrongs and perceived injustices in the world will never make them or me, right. Working for change will, and that starts with me.

_________________
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ---Winston Churchill

It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow. -- Robert H. Goddard


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