I’ve recently headed back to therapy. Processing being disconnected from my father and the continual pushback experienced from family members that don’t really have my best interest at heart but rather, they’re own need to justify the trauma they experienced.
Among other things.
Over the last few years, I’ve continually shed fucks in a manner not dissimilar from a long haired cat shedding hair, consistently and without a care in the world.
This has led to a deeper understanding of boundaries. How they are NOT a negative (this is what narcissists that want to continue leeching all that you contain within your spirit will tell you) and how they have to be continually reinforced.
One of the simplest things my therapist says to me while I’m working out the shenanigans in my life is “that’s not their values system” as a starting point of discussion when faced with something someone else is doing. It is amazing how much that phrase puts into perspective. And how much it takes off of me. Guilt, hurt, anger, questions.
People sit on a different wavelength than you. Even when they tell you they’re right beside you. That wavelength is informed by the way their own stories have been woven together as they made their way through life and whatever generational trauma was handed down along with the hair color gene.
I have learned that there’s more than measuring someone by just their actions. We say that a lot: actions speak louder than words.
But here’s the kicker: they don’t. A great deal of times, those words are also reinforcing the action. But you have to look and really hear what someone says. At face value it might mean one thing but, once you analyze the pattern of words and actions and how they affect your life, you will see exactly what they mean.
Sometimes, that package adds up to:
- I want you to do the work.
- My time is more important.
- I won’t change my priorities even though they don’t align with what I say I’m doing/want in my life.
- I’m not interested in what you have going on so long as I get what I need.
Those sound a bit harsh, right? They never sound like that, I promise. It might look something like, though:
- Your friend constantly calling and only talking about her problems and when it’s your turn to vent, telling you that she has to go or reminding you of how much worse her life us.
- A loved one telling you about all the issues they have going on, you helping them with all that emotional labor only to find, weeks later, that the person has taken zero action and is back to complaining and telling the world they don’t know what to do because sympathy feels better than facing our demons.
- Your spouse waiting on you to get back from a business trip to go grocery shopping because he didn’t think the kids wanted to go (like you ever have this choice).
- You having to have your space and time invaded on a Wednesday night because your partner was handed last minute tickets that he just “couldn’t pass up” on the day that you’d agreed would be your mental health day.
As women, we are raised with the idea that we have autonomy and choice but rarely, especially as mothers, do we actually feel like we have those things. They are not given to us but we must take them.
It’s generational, it’s cultural. But whatever it is, it needs to stop. Because it is also toxic and harmful.
I fucking refuse to hand this down to my child!
It has taken me the better part of 40 years to get to a space where I am not afraid that what I say will lead to harm. That my actions won’t lead to pain. And let me say that I rarely, if ever, felt like the harm would be physical. I’m talking about the psychological and emotional harm that so many of us wear like second skins without really grasping they are there.
I refuse to let a different value system diminish my own. I refuse to take down my boundaries out of fear of repercussion or emotional abuse, I absolutely refuse to let anyone else step into my space and prioritize themselves over anything that is meaningful and purposeful to me.
And in those refusals, I have found peace. I have found renewed and ever growing faith. I have found air for my lungs and light for my eyes.
Go into your week being clear about your values system and understanding that a difference in others means you have to operate from a different standpoint, not compromise your beliefs system or your situational comfort.
I’m wishing you light for this week, my loves.