Posted by: Judy | September 5, 2017

22 of 25 Things

As I started my journey working through these, it was to clarify to myself what I went through. However, as I’ve worked, I’ve discovered a deeper reason for exploring each “Thing.” Each of the 25 Things applied to me. I also realize that I’ve worked through some. They are no longer a problem. I’ve made progress on all of them. This is an opportunity to look back and see how far I’ve come. It’s important to do that, once in a while.

Original post from The Mighty:

https://themighty.com/2017/06/childhood-emotional-abuse-adult-habits/

22. I never, ever fight back. I may cut toxic people out of my life with the help of amazing friends and professionals, but whenever a conflict is actively going on that involves someone attacking my character… I completely shut down. I let whatever they want to say wash over me until they tire themselves out. That’s what I had to do when I was younger. It was so much worse to fight back. I learned to let them yell themselves out.

My sister’s response:

https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2017/07/30/perfect-victim/

My response:

I used to do that. I always described it as going blank. Looking back, I’d describe it more as freezing. If I don’t move, they won’t notice me. I’ll be invisible. If I’m invisible, I’ll be safe. Magical thinking.

Now, I decide whether or not the battle is worth fighting. Usually, it isn’t.

Something I would like to change: I’d like to be able to let it go, like water off a duck. For now, I will still allow it to natter in my head. I’ll think of all the things I could have said or might have said… actually, that isn’t a bad exercise. It allows me to say the rude things I would never in a million years say, and it allows me to reframe my perspective.

Was their criticism true? If it’s true, what can I do to improve? Not to make them happy but to help me be a better person.

I sometimes forget to recognize when I started fighting back. I’d read dozens of self-help books. Some where great. Some were awful. I learned I didn’t have to finish every book I started. A tough lesson to learn for a perfectionist. One of my early lessons on not being a perfectionist.

I read about saying, “No.” No is a complete sentences. The author suggested starting with saying “no” to little things, things that didn’t matter, simply as a way of practicing. The first time, it was absolutely terrifying. I kept practicing. It became easier.

Along with learning to say “no” I also learned to stop and think before replying. An abuser doesn’t give their victim a chance to think. Everything must be done 10 minutes ago. This was something I learned from a guy I knew for a short time. He always paused before replying. I liked it and discovered how it removed the frantic sensations.

Learning to say “no” and thinking before replying are a couple of the new tools I added to my toolbox of healthy habits.

Another tool: Sometimes, you have to walk away. The abuser never allows the victim to walk away. It isn’t easy. It also requires practice. Sometimes I remember to walk away and sometimes I endeavor to wait it out. Knowing the difference is, unfortunately, a hard earned lesson achieved through trial and error. It’s okay to be wrong. That was a really tough lesson to learn.

It’s important to remember that sometimes shutting down is the best answer. It allows for time to process. However, if you’re in danger, remember that you are worth protecting and escaping is paramount. You can always shut down later. In an emergency, I shut off everything but what needs to be done next. I also give myself permission to fall apart later, when it’s safe.

Dealing with conflict is an acquired skill, including learning to fight fair. My first observation of it was on the “Lord of the Rings” fan club forum. A few of the members had differing views on the story, okay, there were two strong women who had different perspectives. I would watch in fascination as they argued their respective points (all online, they were both skilled wordsmiths). It frequently became heated. They’d argue until they’d both fully shared their perspectives. Then an amazing thing happened: They agreed to disagree and the argument was over. They’d tease each other, and life would go on. I was astonished and amazed. I learned about how to disagree agreeably. It first requires that both people are willing to allow the other person to have a different opinion.

Fighting back only requires violence when the other person intends harm and you are not able to walk away. Fighting back is more often something that happens inside. You refuse to take on the other person’s problems. You refuse to accept the lies told about you. You refuse to stay stuck. Fight for you. You are worth fighting for.

Rain storm last February, at least that’s when I downloaded the pictures.


Responses

  1. Great post, this is good for those work situations where we have bosses that try to intimidate us, etc. Smiled when you mentioned the “Lord of the Rings” forum. People can get heated when they are discussing a certain subject. I have a friend like that… she calls it “debating,” but I told her when you are yelling and becoming “mean” in how you discuss a topic, it has passed the debate level. She doesn’t see it, so I told her we cannot discuss certain topics that fuel her temper (politics, for example). 🙂

    • The cool thing about watching these two friends was that they never resorted to name calling. They adamantly disagreed on some things and wouldn’t yield. It also helped that it was all done in writing, and both were excellent writers, so it turned pretty interesting. 😀 Good choice to not debate at all when both sides can’t agree on fair fighting.

  2. Nice post and good ideas. No is indeed a complete sentence.

    • Thanks. 🙂

  3. I needed this today. Really hit the heart of what was happening yesterday. Reassuring to pick my battles and know when to fold and walk away.

    • Yes.


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