Posted by: Judy | June 29, 2017

1 of 25 Things

Yesterday, I shared a link to my sister’s post and one to an article about 25 Things You Do as an Adult When You’ve Experienced Childhood Emotional Abuse:

1. “[I] can’t stand conflict, loud sudden noises, shouting and screaming or aggression in any form. [It] triggers my fight or flight, instantly.”

This is my sister’s response to the first one:

This is mine, and as much as we have in common, we also have significant differences (a good thing):

Yes, I remember feeling the same way. The question to address is: Is this still true?

I spent much of my life believing it was my job to smooth things over, make everything all right, even if it meant crushing my own thoughts and feelings. “Peace at all cost.”

Funnily enough, my younger brother and I fought constantly. And yet, I would swear I hated conflict. The hypocrisy is not lost on me. Now that I think about it, he was the only one I argued with, pretty much ever.

I also excelled at disappearing inside myself. I would hide in my room with my radio playing. If I couldn’t escape, I turned my thoughts inward, mentally shutting out what was happening.

Arguing back only landed me in more trouble. The few times I attempted to stand up for myself, it was frightening how fast my sense of rightness would be twisted until I was in the wrong and needed to apologize for having done something wrong, even though I hadn’t. Fighting wasn’t worth it. Whether I was right or wrong didn’t matter. No matter what, I would be found guilty of wrongdoing.

Watching conflict on television or movies can be entertaining. A good story has conflict. However, it can also be annoying. It depends on the type. I love action movies but hate bickering. A well choreographed fight scene is great, but it’s difficult to craft an argument worth listening to for long.

Do I think the battle is worth fighting? If I don’t, then I don’t want to hear it or be a part of it. If I do, then I endeavor to keep a level speaking tone, though I do become quite intense. I don’t resort to name calling unless I’m grumbling about someone not present.

I don’t like fireworks in real life, but that’s because it’s painful. I enjoy going shooting because I like to use earplugs and earmuffs. I could use the same protection at fireworks, but I still prefer to watch them on television where I can turn down the sound. I startle, but I also think it’s normal.

Crowds, like at a concert or stadium, generate enough noise that feedback occurs, a buzzing noise in my ears that makes it impossible for me to hear much of anything. It’s annoying.

When someone behaves aggressively toward me, I will first retreat, determining what kind of threat I’m facing. If I determine I’m not in harms way, I will stand my ground.

How did I change my behaviors?

Owning a dog, I was pack leader and retreating wasn’t an option. She was my early-warning system, and I was her protector. She depended on me to take care of her. Owning a horse, he was 1,000 pounds and could do serious damage if I didn’t hold my ground. Those were starting points. I watched others and learned by practicing. Most of my time with my last counselor was spent with me telling him about situations and how I handled them and asking him if I handled it correctly and what were other ways I could have done it.

Which brings us to now, if I’m familiar with a topic, I can hold my own in an argument. If I’m not, I’ll let it slide. Not a fan of some noises. No problem with others. Shouting and screaming tend to bring out Miss Super Calm. Most screamers have a hard time with someone who refuses to scream back and also doesn’t cower or back away. Aggressiveness doesn’t scare me so much as annoys me. Unless I have a sense of danger from the other person. I’ve still a lot to learn, but I’m a whole lot better than I used to be. I’m willing take it for a win.

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