The old saying has it that you should “follow your heart.” However, this isn’t necessarily a good idea for everyone, and definitely not a good idea for me, or people like me. When I follow my heart, it usually ends in disaster. This is due to the fact that our rational thinking process is very skewed when we’re highly emotional, and most of the time, we don’t make the best decisions in that place! Why is that? Because it’s never a good idea to make decisions in any state of imbalance or extremes!
I’m a very emotionally charged person. My emotions can be really overwhelming when it comes to certain “triggers” I have. When someone triggers me, they might as well have committed a crime. In the past, depending on the “offense” I felt someone committed, I could launch an all out attack that would leave not much left in its wake.
Struggling through months of cognitive behavioral therapy is teaching me that I’m not “allowed” to act on my feelings. I have every right to feel them, but I must step away before I talk to the person involved, and take a time-out. I have, and still am, learning behaviors that are healthy and appropriate in situations that would have had me fly off the handle, or even retaliate. It is very hard and painstakingly difficult to rewire my brain, but it’s keeping me away from a lot of the heart aches I have brought on to myself throughout my life.
Every time I want to really react, I do something that is good for me instead. For example, when someone triggers rejection, I go and get a manicure, watch a movie I want to see, work out, go swimming, read a book, or play World of Warcraft. Whatever keeps me stable and rewards me for not acting out is allowed. Whatever is HEALTHY is allowed.
My initial responses are not yet changed. My first response is still the good old storm, but then I stop dead in my tracks and before I pick up that phone or write that email, I force myself to walk away.
The same old trigger for me is that I feel that people “got away with it.” I am the one who has to tell them what a true douche they are, because all the other cowards idly stand by and look the other way. I keep feeling the way I felt as a kid, when people did stand by and no one intervened or helped on my behalf. When I feel this way an unbelievable rage comes over me, literally shutting down my rational thought process and I go after the person; or so I did in the past.
The overwhelming feeling of not being able to confront those who have cowardly abandoned me, turned on me or betrayed me is deeply ingrained in me. And yet, I am learning to heal from that. It has never worked to confront them. I never did get an apology, but instead would get more hurtful blame and guilt trips thrown at me. I have never really accomplished anything by telling them what it did to me, because the ones who pushed me to that degree of hurt were every single time not only so deep in denial that they couldn’t see truth if it hit them on the head with a 2×4, but were also so incredibly selfish and/or heartless that they simply lacked the ability to truly feel for another. This is like screaming at a deaf and blind person, literally.
It sounds simplistic, or even stupid, but one of my mantras is “Just say NO!” Whenever I am presented with something that hits my fight mode, I don’t run from it, but I walk away, talking to the voices of reason in my life. Whenever I want to “help,” or “save” I do the same.
I am stumbling about like a child. It’s almost as if I ask “am I allowed to say this/that” and then wait for the answer before I proceed. It’s just that nowadays, I actually know the answer before I act and follow accordingly.
My life is changing drastically. I look around me, and there is very little that is familiar to me. From the initial “ranks,” there are less than a handful of people left; I have a brand new job in a brand new environment, and I’m really taking care of my health now in ways that I never have before.
It’s all so unfamiliar. Nothing is as it was, and maybe because I’m no longer acting on emotions, I’m feeling them so much deeper and stronger than ever before. It’s like a mountain I keep climbing and I know, with absolute certainty, that one day, in the not-so-far future, I will have overcome and climbed that mountain. I shall then plant my victory flag and finally thrive, instead of merely coping and surviving.