There are times I can look at intrusive thoughts objectively, & be glad they basically force me to deal with painful things. Unfortunately though, most times, I get highly annoyed.
Today has been one of those days.
I was changing my cats’ litter boxes this morning (the glamorous life of an author- don’t be too jealous..lol) when for no obvious reason, something came to mind.
A few years ago, I shared a picture of something I liked on facebook. I said I thought the item was pretty. That’s all. I assumed it was done other than possibly a couple of friends might enjoy seeing it as well, which is why I shared it. I was wrong. Two people I knew & was close to jumped on me viciously, as if me liking something different than they liked made me a terrible person.
As I was trying to ignore this obnoxious memory because I simply didn’t want to remember it, I remembered other similar times from these same people. They were extremely snarky & critical about many things with me. So much so in fact that the love I once felt for them eventually vanished & was replaced with indifference. It’s hurtful, remembering such things from people I once cared a great deal about.
I was thinking about these things earlier & suddenly realized how I was coping with them. While I was alone & changing the cat litter, I was talking out loud, as if I was talking to the people who hurt me. I asked what gave them the right to talk to me this way? Why do they think it’s ok to talk so badly to me, especially when they are so nice to other people? I said it’s pure crap- they have zero right to treat me so cruelly. I don’t deserve this! I have treated them with nothing but love & respect & it’s completely unfair to do this to me. What difference does it make if I like something they don’t?! Will the world fall apart?! No. It doesn’t matter, even if my taste was terrible. It simply doesn’t matter. I’m not hurting anyone!
Suddenly I realized something… this is how I’ve always dealt with painful, even abusive incidents. I think it must be something God put in me, even before I believed in His existence.
Growing up, not only was I an only child, but my mother kept me abnormally close. I wasn’t allowed to get close to anyone else, so I had no friends or family that I could talk to. It was an unspoken rule not to tell anyone anything that happened in my parents’ home. Once I was in my teens & my mother’s abuse was at its peak, I was screamed at if my mother even simply suspected I was “airing our dirty laundry” by telling others about her abuse.
I obviously had to learn ways to cope with my pain alone. It was my only choice to survive the abuse with any semblance of sanity in tact. And somehow this way to cope came to me when I was very young. I only can credit God with this coping skill, even though (I’m loathe to admit this) I didn’t believe in His existence at the time.
The reason I’m telling you this today, Dear Reader, is that this coping skill may be helpful for you too. Whether you talk out loud as I did earlier, you write in a private journal, or you write letters you never send, it’s helpful to get out the pain you feel inside. Carrying around hurt & anger is unhealthy, physically & mentally. You deserve so much better than that! Get your pain OUT!! Continuing to carry it around does you absolutely no good but only does you harm.
Whether you are hurt or deal with painful intrusive memories, then please, deal with it in whatever way helps you the most. I know it’s hard, but it’s also necessary. The more you deal with your pain, the less of a hold it has on you, & the happier & healthier you will be.
After this morning’s intrusive memories, I admit it, I’m very tired. Emotional work is so draining. However, I’m glad it happened. I was able to get out a lot of hurt & anger. There is still some more to deal with, but even so, there is much less than there was! That is a big step in the right direction. What worked for me may work for you as well! Isn’t it worth a try?