Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coping Mechanisms - Free To Good Home.

Woke up this morning feeling much calmer and more relaxed, a direct result, I believe, of sharing at my meeting last night, and writing to a program friend. I got a reply from the latter, with a suggestion that I not make any impulsive decisions. (More on impulsive decisions later on in this.)

And, like a bad horror movie, this morning, the cow has my face. (talk about providing someone with a good straight line) What I mean by that, is: today, I realise that what I was hit with so forcibly the other night, was my own coping mechanism of accepting unacceptable behaviour so as not to cause conflict. Once again in my life, using it may have made life a bit more comfortable in the short run, but in the long run, it creates far more problems, and it slowly nibbles away at my self-esteem. I sacrifice my self-esteem for a peaceful life, and so I won't be rejected.

From COURAGE TO CHANGE, page 361:

"Here's one of the most useful lessons I've learned in Al-Anon: If I don't want to be a doormat, I have to get up off the floor. In other words, although I can't control what other people say, do, or think, I am responsible for my choices.

Looking back I can accept that plenty of unacceptable behaviour was directed at me, but I was the one who sat and took it, and often came back for more. I was a willing participant in a dance that required two partners. I felt like a victim, but in many ways, I was a volunteer."

Being a volunteer for unacceptable behaviour is absolutely a pattern in my life. I no longer volunteer for major abuse, but I most certainly volunteer to accept minor - snarky sarcasm that hurts me, belittling comments, "jokes" that are nothing of the kind.
I'm not sure why, but this is an area in which I have trouble establishing, and maintaining, boundaries - "jokes." Just let someone close to me give a nasty comment that label, and I will somehow find a way to choke that sucker down, try to smile or raise a laugh, and, make excuses for the person who's just said it. They don't have to defend themselves, I do it for them - she's just tired, he had a rough day.
So what if she is/he did, does it then follow that I must accept any amount of minor verbal abuse because of it? I believe this stems from my fear of being seen as "too sensitive" or "over-reacting" or "not having the maturity to have a sense of humour about my own faults."
Instead of contorting myself, making allowances for people who are abusing me, my time would be better spent, being kinder to the person with whom I spend 24 hours a day - myself.
Which means I must be willing to do the small, tiresome piece-work of program, the speaking up each and every time, the dealing with my fears of rejection, accepting them, asking my HP for help with it, and stating my boundaries once again, calmly and courteously, every single time it happens, so the other person (and I,) can recognise a change for the better. I get out of 12-step just exactly and precisely what I put into it.

If I work it half-heartedly, and only under duress, I will get a half-hearted recovery.

I want full-hearted recovery. I want all of my self-respect intact. Only I can make that happen. Onwards and upwards! Life is a carnival!

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