Being Real

“. . . I have tried to take care of my needs by indirectly projecting them on those around me and then acting as if I am taking care of the other person.

This indirect way of trying to get what I need by planting my feelings as needs to be attended to in those around me has been a way to hide my vulnerability, while still managing to appear as a kind and other-centered person. I realize I am not alone in this malady. It is often so subtle and so close to our healthy way of relating to others that we seldom realize the manipulation and deceit involved.

. . .the energy wasted in trying to quietly get others to behave in ways that will satisfy our needs remains a major source of anxiety and alienation. Rather than prevent us from being hurt, indirectness and dishonesty only heighten our isolation from what it means to be alive.” -Mark Nepo

I do this.

I hate that I do this.

My awareness that I do this is so heightened that I feel raw.

So I’ve been embracing the directness in my personality because it is totally there underneath the nicey nice and people pleasing and co-dependence. My directness does not come from a hurtful or mean place. It’s just me listening to myself and speaking aloud my wants and needs. It’s just me being honest and vulnerable and strong. It’s just me being completely me.

In layman’s terms: I am owning my shit.

Not everyone is going to like it. That’s a different battle I will wage while lying on the couch of my therapist’s office (yes, she has me lie on the couch and yes, I sometimes pretend I am a character in a Woody Allen film). I am breaking down so many of my old habits that came from a place of intense fear of being rejected based on my unworthiness. That feeling of unworthiness has had a firm grip on me for a long, long time and from that I’ve made countless decisions that did not have my own best interest at heart.  I’ve cared more about what other people thought than what I thought. I’ve tried to manipulate situations to protect everyone’s feelings. And sometimes my attempts at being thoughtful have come from a place of self-protection not altruism. That’s an ugly truth but there it is. It all started with my Dad and the demise of the family and how in my own child’s mind I thought I could be enough to fix everything that was broken and it’s rambled on from there.

Lately, I’ve been cutting people out of my life for good reasons- reasons that have always been there except before I was not strong enough to walk away. I’m working on letting go. I tend to blame myself when anything goes wrong because I’ve spent my life being responsible for everything- even stuff that is not my stuff! And I am just bone fucking tired of it. I’m giving it up. . . and in the process some relationships are over. I’m making my peace with that. And with myself. I’m trying to work my way back to the start of all this so I can REALLY let go. I know I am getting closer. I know I am getting stronger. I know I am on the right path.

But I might need you to hold my hand sometimes.

I’m learning to ask for help.

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31 thoughts on “Being Real

  1. Once not long ago, a friend of mine asked me to go to her therapist with her, as part of her therapy. I went and mostly stayed quiet as she talked about so much of the same things you’ve talked about here. Something I remember her therapist saying that I think will always stick with me is to think of it as energy conservation. She asked my friend if she really had time or energy to support everyone else without supporting herself. Rather than making it complicated, when the situation presents itself, she should just ask herself “is this a good use of my energy?” I don’t know to the extent that it’s helped my friend, though she says it has, but it has really, really helped me.

  2. …you call things as they are …you have called me on my bullshit …even though you may not have been trying, you have taught me so much …we remain close and i am thankful for having your friendship …great awarenss practice!

  3. Oh, so now I understand why you’ve ditched me.

    Heheheh.

    Seriously, though, this are huge steps you’re taking. It’s a tough balance, not to lose yourself despite having the giving spirit. Understanding why you give and how you give are key to this process. Finding yourself through the muddle is huge.

    Go Sizzle, go!

  4. good for you. i think the whole thing is a process but you are doing so well with the self awareness of it all.
    my hand is here if you need it!
    and that mark nepo… what a smarty.

  5. I’ve been a reader of yours for quite a while, but I’ve never commented. That being said, I felt compelled to comment on this entry (actually, the last several entries if I’m honest) because I seem to be going through some very similar things. Half the time I read your entries and think, “WOW, I could have written that whole entry!” Anyway, this isn’t about me.. I wanted to let you know that you’ve got strangers out here rooting for you, and I KNOW you will come through this. You are an amazing person (just based on what I’ve read over the many months), and like other comments have stated – you’ve got help out here if you need it. Also? I’ve been seeing a life coach/therapist, and one of the things she’s had me do are Emotional Freedom Techniques. EFT Tapping, specifically. They don’t know why it works, but for many people it has significantly helped them work past many kinds of emotional traumas, etc. And hey, it may not work for you, but perhaps your therapist is familiar with EFT? If not, you can check out their website (no, I don’t work for them): http://www.emofree.com. It has really helped me, and I’ve become a believer. Ok, enough out of this stranger. I just thought with all the work you’re doing, this may be another tool you could use on your journey.

  6. I’m in the process of letting go of some relationships and forcing others to change. But people don’t like it when you alter the status quo and will do anything in their power to put things back the way they were. Not easy stuff.

    Good for you.

  7. Sizz, I think there are a few hundred hands ready to hold yours here on this blog. Thank you for posting that Mark Nepo quote – it’s great and made me think about myself. It’s funny how unaware we can be of WHY we do certain things…like keep people close…or rather, under our thumbs.

    Isn’t there a saying somewhere about how things that require the most effort yield the biggest payoffs? You have a huge one coming your way.

  8. Severing relationships is tough … but it feels sooooo good when it’s all over. It is hard not to go back sometimes, though. Good luck with the changes, at any rate.

  9. I have a spare hand you can hold. I’m constantly amazed by how much of yourself you are willing to put out here for all of us. And I’m so proud of you for taking these steps towards shedding the things that aren’t healthy. You inspire me, Miss Sizz!

  10. I can really relate to your post, especially about worrying what other people think. I find myself trying to act or be a certain way around certain people, because I know they won’t “get” my authentic self. And I have to remind myself, that I shouldn’t give a shit if they don’t get me. That it’s not worth going through a life where you pretend to be someone else to please other people.

  11. I wish my therapist had a couch! Just chairs. But this is so inspiring, doing this is hard. For me, it’s hard to cut out the disease of people in my life because I’m afraid of letting them down, of what they will think. It’s so hard to get that I need take care of myself first.

    Steph

  12. I’ll be happy to be here with you every step of the way. As you know, I fully admire people that own their own shit and can clearly state that they are acting a certain way while working through this or that.

    You are awesome, sister.

  13. Wow. Yeah– THIS.
    I didn’t realize that people were disappointing me because they weren’t acting/doing what I wanted them to for me, for a long while. But how do you stop wanting them to do for you? The answer to that conundrum, I just…I dunno. It is the pitfall in close relationships, but being honest with myself, and not acting or dressing myself up for a part helps alot. I am brutally honest with those close to me, and while it can be deterring, I find that it helps me stay “real”. Maybe it’s not enough, but I guess it’s a start. People-pleasing is easy, it’s feeling inadequate that is the trouble.

    I’m babbling, but it expresses a teeny bit of this, for me. Just remember, you are a good and HELPFUL person. You are a source of joy, and people appreciate that.

  14. I think I am guilty of this sometimes too, though I never thought of it, but now that you mention it, I can see it as clear as a bell. You are doing so great Sizzle, there is always letting go and loss when we are changing into our best self. Go for it. xoxo

  15. We are here for you, honey-pie.
    One of my co-workers has been telling me lately,”You’re kind of mean lately. What happened? You used to be so nice!”
    And it wasn’t in a critical way, more of just observation. My response was simply that this has been long, long overdue.

  16. I am not sure I would even know what people to cut out. And some, I can’t (family). I wish I was able to figure out the toxicity in my life like you are right now! Even though it’s hard and painful, you’ll be so much better off. And we’re here for you 🙂

  17. Re: wafelenbak, and “Being Mean”–yes!
    That can be a horrible whiplash feeling, when people start saying that to you. I remember when that happened to me. There is hardly a worse thing you can say to a Type TWO care-taker personality, than that they are “not-nice!” heh. I guess I am working on the owning, that I AM not always nice! I am, sometimes, mean.(or blunt, whatever)

    If I feel I am just being honest, doesn’t that make it okay on some level? If our challenge is to BE HONEST with ourselves and others, and stop living a lie– Don’t we HAVE to start just stripping it bare? I think that, yeah, we need to own some honesty every day, so that it is easier to face hard times or confrontations.:-/ Those still happen.
    ((hugs Sizzle))

  18. oh i know this so well, for myself

    and well, for you too 🙂

    you know i got your back

    ask away
    (or not…cuz most times, i know already)

    xo
    j

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