About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Old Trauma: Rabbit in headlights. Spineless, Weak, Mute, Jellyfish 'mode'

My 'stuff' is still very real.
Here's an example. One of my things is that if someone is just plain nasty or attacking to me, I can REALLY feel it. There's no way I would have been able to feel it the way I do if I hadn't done the steps.
Anyway. I digress. Its just that when someone maliciously out and out attacks me verbally, with bad intentions, I feel it very forcefully, and it CAN (in certain cases) sort of 'nudge' my head into this 'other place' where my normal functioning just isn't there. I think I have always been like this. I hate confrontation. I have always hated it. Probably because my mind state can sort of 'regress' when it happens. Thankfully I very rarely have to contend with this as most of the time I do not come in to contact with what I call 'toxic people'. Not for long enough for it to have any noticeable effect anyway.

Anyway, I got 'caught out' at work yesterday when a guy (who has a history of being difficult with people) came over. Normally I avoid conversation with him, but he had been 'ok' with me in recent conversations so my usual defenses were off guard.
He came over and started 'normally' but then deteriorated into a rant of bile, directed at me. Character assassination.
None of this would have mattered but I was 'open' and unguarded, and made the mistake I could reason with him. Wrong!
What surprised me was how powerfully I went into another, very old, childhood? Mind state. I've been there before, so I know how it works. The first thing for me that 'goes' is speech. Speech just seems more difficult. My body feels very 'weak', almost like I have no bones, or my body has turned into a jellyfish. My muscles feel very weak. Its like power has just left my body. Suddenly I become I spineless, weak, mute, jellyfish. Like a rabbit, paralyzed in headlights. Also I become convinced that I am indeed at fault. Instead of thinking 'what an arse!', I think I am stupid and at fault. I feel embarrassed and 'caught out'. This makes 'normal functioning' (like speaking up for yourself) very difficult! It was like swimming through treacle! Like one of those dreams where you want to run, but your legs just won't seem to work.
Thankfully I DID manage to reason with him and say the 'right' things, leaving him no defense in his argument other than to keep telling me to 'shut up'. ?? By which point I was able to tell him that he really couldn't speak to ANYONE like that, and that he couldn't just walk up to people and tell them to shut up because it just plain nasty. To which all he could say was 'shut up'. Lovely!
Anyway, I was pleased that I managed to say the right things, but that guy is full of bile for whatever reason, and I am not likely to change his behavior with one attempt at reasoning.

The good news is that I complained to his manager, who knew he had been difficult with other people, and he will be spoken to. Also I will be in no hurry to engage him in conversation again as I have no intention of risking further bile, no matter how weak. Also everyone I spoke to about it at work was really sweet and kind. Kindness always reduces me to tears!

The reason I find this interesting, is because of the 'place I went to in my head ' or emotions when this happened. It shows that old trauma (or whatever it is) doesn't just vanish overnight. And that how bad for us it is to be around negative toxic people. I am a real stickler for 'sticking with the winners', and I just think this episode shows how important that is.
I feel as though I have enough tools to steer me safely through this type of thing. I can sustain just enough functioning to pull it off. But I wouldn't say I liked dealing with it! Also I really am sensitive to other peoples 'stuff', and it means that now I have a duty of responsibility to myself to protect myself from these types of people.
I suppose what I'm saying is we ALL have our 'stuff', our 'weak places' that we need to work on. And all I know is I seem to have a keener ability to feel those weak places than I ever did before. My mind just seems much more 'open' and flexible, so things get 'in' easier, good and bad.

I know Sponsees who are very 'mouthy' from the off. I have never been like that, and I do not hide behind bravado, so my personality makes me less likely to just tell people to eff off when they push my buttons. Everyone is different. I don't lose it verbally with people, I just don't have that tendency. I go quiet instead. People think I'm terribly self restrained, but I'm not, it's just the more disturbed I am, the more mute I become.

Also I thought you might like to know some tricks I have for when I have been knocked sideways emotionally.
Really this is what I would call a 'shock trauma' response. So that's how I 'treat it'
For the increasing tendency towards panic, distress, and shakiness: I love the 'emergency' Australian Bush Flower formula for stuff like this. Experiences like this really shake up your energy,and this remedy sort of helps calm it all down again.
Vetiver and Lavender in an oil burner. Again settles down all the energy and protects.
For the weepiness. Taoist Arch.
For the 'wisdom' or insight into the situation: Active imagination. I really love just thinking of the dalai lama. I love him.
For energetic protection: I have protection sprays which I use. Also the vetiver and lavender work. Also the green tara mantra.
For the tendency towards ''muteness': I speak about it. To everyone usually! Also singing out loud is very good for opening the voice centre again. Shiana Twain type stuff is good for me. Anything really. Not depressing stuff!
For the tendency towards physical inaction: Avoid staying in one place. Physical movement. The gym. Housecleaning is good as it keeps you going.
Motivation: I like listening to uplifting and positive music when I'm 'recovering from psychic attack.

Phew! So there you go! My shock trauma response! The more sensitivity you have, the more keenly you feel your 'old stuff'. Its do able, and not everyone has old trauma to deal with, but if you do, you might benefit form these tricks. If you have traumatic events in your past, even if you do not 'feel' them now, you may very well feel them more as you get further down the road in sobriety and you become more 'open' to ALL your emotions. Don't worry! It's do able!
Emotional 'work' is not 'pleasant'. But you just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with it! Keep doing the next right thing till you are back to your normal self. It doesn't take that long. I hope to be ok again in less than 24hrs. We'll see!
'Normal functioning will resume shortly' as they say..

I encourage you to become 'interested' in your weak places, and the way your mind and body plays tricks with you when your buttons are pushed. We cannot change our past, but we can change the way our body and mind habitually respond to old triggers, by becoming very aware of the shifts in consciousness and physical changes that occur. Also we need a good 'plan B' of action that can restore us to our old self. Get to know what works for you. None of us are the same, we all have slightly different triggers, and different involuntary responses. I don't expect you to have the same as mine. I just mapped mine out so you can see the way in which I break it down into different component parts.

Thank god for AA! I am so grateful for having a 'plan' for life!

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