TW: Mentions of abuse.
I know what you’re thinking..two blog posts in one week, am I actually committing to regularly posting after selling a dream back in April..You hate the fact that you bought a dream when they sold you one A. Graham (2011).
After I write, (and I write in different spaces not just here) I tend to feel gurdd. Bit refreshed. Depending on the topic. Reminding myself of that is important and sticking to what I’ll say I do, is also important. On todays topic…(is topic outdated? Is there a better word? lol).
Getting hit with the big G. Feelin’ guilty. I don’t know about you, but for me I know I have spent hours and hours of my life feeling ‘guilty’. A lot of this time it is irrational and misplaced, there are times though, when you have done something that you should feel guilty for and you need to take the steps to make amends (Just wrote make a mense as I thought that was the saying, everyday I’m educating).
Guilt for me is in bed with my fear of burdening people. Hands up everyone with mental health difficulties who tells themselves they’re a burden…
‘They have enough problems’
‘I just dont want to waste anyones time’
‘They’re already really busy’
‘Don’t I always talk about this?’
‘I’ve upset them because I’m upset’
You are not a burden. Remember that. Breathe it. Shout it. Tattoo it on your arm. That isolation monkey that sits on your shoulder that wants you to cut of from everyone and not talk about your feelings, wants you to feel like you burden everyone in your life. The monkey lives for it. Not sure why I’ve decided its a monkey..maybe yours is a cat a goblin. EITHER WAY. Confront it and ask yourself why? Why am I saying this? Whats making me think this? It’s you vs you in cross examination and it sounds ridiculous I know but if you don’t question that negative thought, it’s going to remain there.
Sometimes, however, other people do make you feel like a burden and that’s on purpose. It is a technique to wear you down and make you feel insecure, it’s the monkey but in human form and something that wields much more power. This relationship can come in many forms; romantically, friends, family, work. There are abusive people in all areas of life and they prey on those who are vulnerable. Mental health increases your vulnerability (in my opinion), you can become susceptible (difficult word to spell there) to all kinds of exploitation. I’m going to do a post on this next week as it’s important, I’m not sure I am in the place this weekend to go into the depth it’s needed.
This is a big step and it demonstrates how far I’ve come; understanding when I am able to share. Sometimes we have people close to us that want ‘to be let in’ and although it comes from a good place, we expose ourselves by sharing our past experiences. You forget you have to protect yourself and know how to 1. Manage your triggers 2. Process your triggers 3. Know the impact of your trauma on others.
Only share when you are ready – plan it, you can write it down, voice record. I learnt a difficult lesson and that is don’t share on impulse without putting support in place. Those who have your best interests at heart, will understand – having once been on the receiving end of someone that didn’t, I will want to share with you what that kind of looked. For now though, what I will say is that I was in an abusive relationship for many years when I was younger. It took me a long time to recover from this, even now sometimes I question if I have fully ‘healed’ from it. On this note, here are some support services – Male, Female and LGBT+ support.
Ok, so a slight side track but of course, very much related. At this point I want to talk about when your guilt may be justified. When we are the damaging person. I’m seeing toxic used a lot more recently and I have tried to use a different word, as it comes across negative but you can have toxic behaviour to another person and still be a good person, but maybe damaging is easier to understand (hear me out)…we all have flaws, we have parts of our character we should work on..we all make mistakes..you are a human being and it is part of what makes you grow (me and the word grow lol) but when we don’t recognise these parts of us and look to work through them, we can be the damaging partner of any relationship. Mental health can change how we approach situations, problems, every aspect of your day..for me I believe I used it as a ‘safety blanket’ to not challenge parts of me that really needed.
To give some examples – I could never take criticism. Not that I felt I was ‘too good’ to receive any, more that any criticism I took as an attack. If anyone would highlight maybe I could have done something differently – I would take it as an attack on me entire being and would react irrationally. I’m really struggling to explain this in a way you might understand but for many many years I have battled with low self-esteem and insecurities, as we spoke about in this post and because of this, I couldn’t separate constructive feedback, to another human wanting to wear me down. I had become so conditioned in thinking there was an ulterior motive behind everything. Now, I could probably again try and justify this by stating that it wasn’t my fault I had such bad experiences but for me, that isn’t good enough. I have caused a lot of upset in the past due to this and that is my fault – *cue guilt*.
My ability to communicate – Wow. Huge. this has been a barrier for much of my life and thankfully, I really believe I have worked on this to the point where I can communicate how I feel, my thinking, my understanding etc etc. Communication for me used to go in two ways – silent or shouting. An emotional bull driving the reigns and making a situation 6 million times worse. There was a situation recently whereby a friend had said something that had upset me, I looked at my phone and started drafting a reply. I paused. Put my phone down and went and made a tea (peppermint to be exact) and I simply asked myself why. I realise this sounds may sound ridiculous to you communication pros, but linking my emotions to a reason was previously unattainable.
‘Why am I upset? BECAUSE THEY MADE ME UPSET OBVIOUSLY’ – was probably the level I reached to. For anyone who has been through alot, or even if you’ve just had shitty day – your ability to communicate effectively is going to be impaired. Your perception of situations will be driven by different factors and this may never change, what should change is being able to recognise when it’s happening or being accountable after *cue guilt*. I realised after I had taken 30 minutes or so that I had misunderstood the comment – don’t throw yourself under the emotional bus so quick (if you can help it).
I know I have 100 other areas to work on as well as the two I’ve mentioned and thats okkk. It is ok to need some improvement. Give yourself a quick check over every now and again. I find stuff out about myself all the time. You can love yourself and know you are not perfect at the same time.
I can say this, because I have taken a long time to heal. It’s not easy and I still have such a long way to go but I am h e a l i n g. Put yourself first. Give yourself the chance to really be no.1. You are more important than you may be giving yourself the credit for right now.
Guilt has played a huge role in stunting my recovery – some justified and some illogical. I used to go over past situations and try and analyse everything I did and want to change, reach out to old friends and make amends (still cant believe its amends not a mense). Whilst this partners with your reflection, you have to learn to forgive yourself or you are going to keep spinning that negative narrative. Yes you need to recognise when you are making excuses for yourself but The BIGGEST thing to remember is that you ARE STILL A GOOD AND WONDERFUL HUMAN AND YOU DESERVE FORGIVENESS from yourself first and foremost.
- You are not a burden. Life is exhausting yes, but the people who care about you want you to be ok
- Don’t let guilt stop you from moving forward
- You are still a good person and every person makes mistakes along the way