I’ve Come A Long Way

I was looking back over some of my journal entries and came across this one written on 9-26-2015. I’ve come so far from where my mindset was during that time and well, God is good! Take from it what you will (which I hope is a lesson) and most of all, happy reading!

9-26-2015
In the last few months I’ve been forced to acknowledge something that has apparently always been a factor in my relationships: I have a lot of relationships in my life that are not give and take, but seem to be more one sided. In addition to acknowledging this, it also led me to look deeper as to WHY this is and then it came to me: it can be traced back to my own issues and dysfunctions.

Let me tell you what kicked this whole thing off. A few months ago I made plans with my besty  to go over his house and just geek out like we used to do but hadn’t in a long time. Before I go on, let me say that he’s in a very dysfunctional relationship where his girlfriend is so insecure that she accuses him of being involved with everything from the bathroom mirror to other men behind her back and he’s never even given her a reason to think such outrageous things, hence her own issues and dysfunctions come into play here, and at the same time, so does my besty’s for putting up with it and not drawing boundaries. Anyway, having not seen him for a while, having dragged a ton of my devices with me and looking forward to us hanging out, I got about 60 seconds from his gate, text to let him know this and what was his response? That his girlfriend was there! Apparently she had just dropped by only a few minutes prior to me texting him my ETA (which in my opinion, was ample time to send a short text informing me of this)and at the end of the day, what this meant was that it was a no go on the geeking out, let alone me even stopping by for a hot minute to say hi! Remember she has unfounded “suspicions” and “jealousy” issues.

I can say that I was pretty much sent into an internal rage! I personalized it as I do most things that involve other people and their behavior towards me. The first thing that came to my mind was that he didn’t value our friendship enough to at least defend it to her if I came over for just 90 seconds. Then I thought about how he didn’t value ME as a person to initiate a text or call to let me know not to come – even if I had one foot in the gate, so to speak. After I calmed down, or is it more accurate to say that WHAT calmed me down came next and that was realizing that my feelings about how the situation was handled and how I personalized it was a direct result of my OWN issues. Issues that I’m in the process of addressing and trying to heal from that originate in childhood. Issues of feeling disregarded. Never being chosen because I never felt good enough. Issues of not feeling not important to anyone when it comes down to it because EVERY ONE else was better or more valued than me.

Once I saw the situation from this perspective, I realized a few things that can be applied to a lot more interactions that I have in my life: 1. I usually place way more value on my relationships than the other person does and as a result I’ve had to reevaluate if each relationship is worth continuing to be that unbalanced or is it time to withdraw a little bit 2. Although I have a ways to go, the fact that I made that connection so quickly and was able to pretty much take my anger level down twenty notches proves that I have made progress on my journey to heal and 3. I won’t take ownership for my besty’s unhealthy choices. He chooses to be in a relationship like this where he has to sacrifice others in order to appease her and keep the drama down. Although I strongly disagree with that method, sometimes we just have to go through things before wet get to certain points.

At the end of the day, even though I was able to take ownership of MY emotions and MY reaction to the situation, process it in a healthy way so that I didn’t get stuck in that old familiar ‘what’s wrong with ME’ mental broken record and not take on the choices he made personally, he still needed to know that the WAY he went about it was NOT ok! So, instinctively I didn’t communicate with him for weeks, even though I really wasn’t mad at him. I guess that was my way of coming to the conclusion that after weighing out our 14 year friendship, it was clear that I either valued the friendship just a little more than he did or probably what is closer to the truth is that I just have a better sense of self awareness and ability to confront things head on than he does. Either way, I considered that situation one of the many revelations I’ve had about myself over the last few years that have been part of my healing journey.

And yes, me and my besty are still friends, although I don’t place as much emphasis on trying to hang out with him anymore and it’s still all good.

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Who Am I?

For so long my identity has been tied up in being a fitness trainer. At one point in my life I felt like that was my passion. And it was. But that was back in 1997 when I first started and was a lot younger. Now, I’m 45 and have been on hiatus from training clients since 2010 because I felt that the spark was gone and I needed to take a break to see if continuing in that field was really what I wanted to do. It wasn’t an overnight decision but one that had a lot of factors built into it. The irony to my story of becoming a fitness trainer is that I am also someone who has suffered from body image issues and and an eating disorder since elementary school. Of course, when I first became a trainer I saw an opportunity to finally address these issues but not in a healthy way and of course, I didn’t. I must admit though that as the years went on, my mind set shifted from doing extremely unhealthy things to achieve what was a never ending, never satisfied hamster wheel of trying to achieve what I thought I wanted to look like to ultimately liking what I look like, accepting my body fat percentage and finding new gratitude and appreciation in my athletic physique as well as encouraging and motivating my clients to truly except who they were and not pay attention to the number on the scale but instead to focus on their athletic ability and the things that they could do on a daily basis that was above the average person. Even with this shift in my mind set, in the back of my mind I still struggled, to an extent, with feeling pressured to look a certain way. Although mild, it was still there. At that point I had to really consider if being in the fitness field was truly conducive to my ongoing issues about body image and food. So I took a break. That was 6 years ago and since then I’ve taken on other endeavors in the social work field. Not becoming a social worker, but helping to re-train social workers on how to interact with families in a better way. Yes, completely different than Fitness. While I’ve been doing this work I’ve come to realize that while I still think somewhere deep down I have a passion for Fitness or at least an extreme enthusiasm for it and the desire to teach others about it, it’s not my calling so as a result, I’ve been at a crossroads ever since. I know that when you try to force something, it won’t work and people really DO need to find what it is that makes them happy. I’ve come to accept the fact that Fitness may not be my passion anymore, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be involved in it while pursuing other career choices. However my dilemma comes with the fact that I have allowed my identity to become being a trainer and being connected to the fitness world. It was one of those jobs that when people found out that’s who I was, it never failed to get a response that resembled that of envy or one of being held in high status. Although I have other interests that I would love to pursue such a psychology, technology, etc. I’m finding it really hard to do what one might call, reinvent myself. Its not just about reinvention, but also about letting go of the old and allowing the new to take place. Time is ticking and I know that I need to buckle down, focus and move forward. After all, I’m not getting any younger, I have too much potential and there’s so much left for me to do.

Memoirs Of A Toxic Relationship – Lesson 1

Self reflection is awesome. Awareness is even better. Once you get it. Most of us know, at least those of us with half a brain or who have experienced it first hand, that being in an unhealthy relationship is emotionally,
psychologically, physiologically and even physically draining. So when chaos breaks out and we go thru it with our significant other, the one we care about, that person that knows how to push the right button or buttons and then walks out, why do we instantly wish that they would come back? Well, there’s obviously many answers to that question depending on a lot of factors, but what I’ve come to realize was that it wasn’t the actual person I was wanting back – after all, why would I want someone whom I just argued and fought with, who just shifted blame in my direction and took no responsibility for their behavior, deflected, lied and attempted to manipulate me and the entire situation to his advantage, to come back into my presence? Shouldn’t I feel relieved that he just left? Shouldn’t I see that as an opportunity to gather my thoughts and regroup? Yes. Well, let me add a disclaimer right after that answer: if you’re even remotely emotionally stable you SHOULD see it from that perspective, but obviously, when dealing with a malignant Narcissist or any other person with some element of a or actual severe personality disorder, it doesn’t work that way. If indeed you ARE dealing with someone like this, then chances are you yourself have some unhealed emotional wounds that need to be addressed. So with that said, seeing it from that perspective will probably be the furthest from your reality in that moment, for hours or even days to come and a lot of times until that other person comes back. Back to ultimately end up going thru it again and again with you. So what is it really that we feel if we’re at least smart enough to know in the moment of that conflict we wish this person gone, the fight to be over and things to calm down and then when they leave, want them to come back?

In my own personal experience, it took me a while to realize that it really wasn’t the person that I wished would stay and not walk out the door, but rather it was me trying to avoid the feelings and mental scenarios that I knew would automatically come as a result of them not being there. Feelings I didn’t want to deal with because they were too overwhelming and draining. Scenarios that I would create, whether real or speculated, that were too painful, such as WHERE he was going, WHO he was going TO and WHAT he was doing. All of those things were the driving force behind why I thought I wanted him to come back – or not leave in the first place. Once I connected the dots about this, I was able to stop beating myself up about having such a stupid desire and finally address the real issue. I was able to take another step  forward on my journey to heal my issues and dysfunctions.