That last blog post was mid a really heavy anxiety attack 2 days ago so thought I’d update since a lot has happened mentally since then.
I was listening to Gabor & Daniel Mate’s book “The Myth of Normal” and it started talking about how attachment versus authenticity is one of the leading causes of trauma in our society. It went into it in length and it really resonated with me.
For instance, it spoke about (paraphrasing here) how – at birth – we automatically default to attachment over authenticity because our very survival depends on another person. However many, as they get older – especially if undeveloped, traumatized or without guidance – don’t switch to authenticity. They stay in attachment mode even though they are adults who can now swing more to authenticity if they were so inclined. People do this for a variety of reasons, the main one probably being that we are social animals and have needed others in primitive time to help raise children and other tribal things.
It dawned on me that I’ve been in survival mode since I was but a toddler, living and moving in FOUR different countries with completely different languages that I didn’t speak by the age of 8. That alone is traumatizing (compound to the fact that I was left alone quite a bit so would get lost like on the streets of Copenhagen a number of times etc) but then you add a hostile cult school environment where EVERYONE was traumatized and so found me the easy scapegoat for things I didn’t even do. Add physical and verbal and emotional abuse from adults and kids alike. That’s just childhood.
I realized I really don’t know myself outside of survival mode. Like, in a really authentic way. And all my childhood “friends” were ones I created out of attachment. There has always been a simmering distrust of all of them. They were trauma bonded in ways I wasn’t since I came later and didn’t even speak their language at first. Even now, simply a vibe or them gossiping about me behind my back would set off an emotional flashback now, as an adult (emotional flashbacks are a thing. Look it up. Wish more would know about it). I created kind of a basic facade for them of the little I did know about myself and stashed away the really deep parts of me I felt people wouldn’t like or that were teased/mocked.
At the end of the day, I never felt intimately close to them. Like ever.
And it all kind of came to light when a friend broke up with me. I cried but definitely felt a sense of relief. So I leaned into myself to find out why. And it’s really simple: The first time I ever stood up for myself with her and set a boundary, she was out, which shows me how surface level it was all along.
I then started looking at other relationships and I feel the same way about a vast majority of them. I don’t like myself when I’m around some of them. I have to bite my tongue etc etc.
This is not a them problem though. It’s MY responsibility to set boundaries and you show people how to treat you by what you allow. And I allowed a lot. And people aren’t mind readers.
It’s also my responsibility to show up as my authentic self. Being in survival mode is not only exhausting mentally and physically but it’s not sustainable and I’ve been doing it every day for decades. I haven’t even felt like really getting to know myself because I’m always preparing for what’s about to blow up next and that became all-consuming. It’s a vicious cycle.
Have you ever talked to someone constantly in survival mode? Isn’t it exhausting? So I get it from all angles. Nobody is their best self when they’re just trying to feed themselves. No way can you be going off having nice spa or brunch experiences when broke, etc. And friendships require at least some fun experiences to keep them going… my opinion anyway.
At first I was like “none of these ranchers get me. They don’t SEE me. And I don’t like how they act towards me which makes me not like how they must be seeing me because I’d never do that to them”. But I have ZERO control over how others perceive me.
All I can do now is learn myself. Who I am outside of survival mode. Now that I’m working and have a place to stay for the season, I want to get to know me. Bring back some lightness and laughs. I can’t remember the last time I was hugged or laughed really hard …. Things feel too heavy right now since I can feel my body straining in survival mode even now, despite my many reassurances that I’m safe right now.
So disconnect from people for a while (not in a Scientology way. Just detach for a bit). And focus on me.
I’ve always been an odd duckling. It’s time to embrace it. Take myself out on some dates or something and discover myself under all this shit that really no longer matters. Get my nervous system a bit more regulated so I can function and not be so tired.
Anyone else going through an existential crisis? Hahahaha. Hit me up. Let’s talk ideas and notes