On New Year's Eve I lost myself. This is a common occurrence during social interactions. I can handle three or four people, but once the numbers rise above that I start to struggle. Add strangers into the mix and I become even more detached. My grandmother might have referred to someone like me as a 'shrinking violet.' These days we call it social anxiety.
Other's unwittingly hold dominion over my damaging thoughts and feelings. My friends ability to laugh and chat highlight my perceived social inadequacies. I'm no longer connected to myself or others, I'm lost to the trauma of abuse, the uncomfortable sensations in my body, the toxic thoughts in my head.
When I'm 'triggered' my belief system and sense of self is not my own, it's my fathers. This is a repulsive place to be, but I have to be here. It is not possible for me to turn these feelings off.
I've traditionally tried to ease the pain by controlling people or isolating myself. Neither have benefited me or those close to me. Isolation brings deep depression and loneliness. Trying to control elements I cannot fully control brings more anxiety, poor choices, poor decision making.
The third option is to live my life and learn to be with my feelings. Don't push them away, the more time I spend with them the less overwhelming they'll become.
I've just begun to understand what 'being with my feelings' means. After all I'm with my feelings all the time, whether I like it or not. The important element for me is not allowing the feelings to dictate actions, the ability to resist potentially damaging impulses gives space for other options/strategies. The space to recall what I've already discovered. That I'm O.K and deserving of love. Through that love I'll find self compassion. This minimizes the opportunity for self judgement and comparisons to others.
The next challenge comes on Saturday, my next Counselling session. I'm looking for my pride. I felt it on New Year's Day after my partner expressed pride for me. I felt it overwhelmingly but also anger and sadness. These emotions were for my father who was never proud of me.
Well that's the plan!