I think that if I talked to 100 people, removing the one who walked away asking me who the hell I was and why was I talking to them, lol, the individuals who remained would at least be able to tell me ONE thing that happened in their past that they carry around with them. Some might be pushing imaginary wheelbarrows filled to the brim with heavy, burdensome loads while others are just fine and have no worries. In the case of the latter, I truly believe that they are either masters at moving on, or they have chosen not to reveal something. Of course, all this is theoretical, because I haven’t spoken to 100 people about it…just saying.
In the tale from Greek mythology detailing the punishment of Sisyphus, we learn how he was punished and tasked with pushing a huge rock uphill continuously and that he had to repeat the task indefinitely. While it is certain that Sisyphus was in great shape (ha!), I’m sure it was a pain in the ass to push the rock over and over. To see the summit, the culmination of your task, only to see it rush right past you and descend to the bottom, where the task awaits you yet again would seem unbearable to most.
Taking my personal experiences and my relentless anxiety into account, I have a very hard time letting things go. Also, the extrinsic factors, including suggestions by others to also let issues go and move on creates a bit of urgency that truly doesn’t exist. It can be quite exasperating to constantly feel the pull and tug of things from the past that keep popping up in your head. I most certainly don’t believe that you need to have an anxiety disorder for that to happen either, but I am speaking of my own encounters with this.
I will readily admit to “flip-flopping” back and forth when it comes to dealing with awful things in my past. Certain people who treated me horribly and have come to their own epiphany, asking for me to accept them back into my life has always been incredibly difficult for me. It’s not long after I allow them back in that certain words and phrases return, spoken to me and others, that reignite the torment and in some cases, unbeknownst to the person speaking them. It’s like they want to not be that person, but they can’t help themselves. So, I am once again left with the task of either allowing those words to pass over me or to take them in and somehow process this internally and realize that “they are trying”. I can’t always do it, but perhaps the question I’m not asking myself is, “Should I allow them back into my presence?”
I do have to at least recognize that my misery and torment during my married years with my late husband will never leave me 100%. I at least can now say that I don’t carry it with me that much anymore. Sure, I discuss it in this blog and have had to discuss it in my life with family and others, but it doesn’t rule me as it once did. I know my life has been permanently affected by it, due to my mistrust of people in general and my extremely restricted social circle. I don’t know why those feelings persist, but I think I’ve come to accept that it’s a product of what I went through. I’ve had some tell me that they would have thought the escape from that life of torture would have propelled me towards a larger social circle and an acceptance of new people. I guess my trust ability was broken and perhaps there isn’t a repair kit.
I recall an incident, where one of my children did something that hurt and shocked me. They were caught red handed in the lie that was trying to cover up the incident, and it truly captured me off-guard. What it was doesn’t matter in the context of this telling, but it was significant enough that I had to change the way I dealt with some things in order for this issue not to repeat. When I actually remembered it for this blog post, I actually had a bit of a shock when I realized that it was almost 12 years ago that this happened. The feelings surrounding the issue still linger and I take some precautions to avoid it happening again. I used to think that I could let go of things like that, but even though we can “move on” from something doesn’t ensure that our psyche isn’t affected forever. Sure, people change and no longer repeat certain acts, but it truly makes me wonder if trust can be 100% regained. Maybe it’s dependent on the situation/person etc?
I also believe that the manner of how you were hurt, offended or otherwise betrayed is a crucial factor in the processing, storage and release of things. The years of domestic violence I experienced will always be with me in some way, but the loathing I feel for my late husband is diminished somewhat. I’m sure part of the diminishing has to do with the fact that he is deceased and can no longer harm me, however, I will never remember him with any fondness, on any level, due to his sadistic and unrepentant ways. I used to think this made me a somewhat petty and unforgiving person, but I finally realized that I am not the one who has to forgive, rather I need to come to terms with the fact that it happened and that it was not my fault. The people who enabled him and supported him during these acts are the people who need to forgive themselves. The child who challenged my trust in them needs to work on it from their side.
Not trying to deflect from the fact that I have done things in my life that might have broken the trust of others myself, I am not trying to maintain an air of omnipotence and insinuate that I am devoid of any blame for anything in my life. I am most certainly not innocent. I try to think of things I did when I was young that complicated the dynamic between my parents and myself. I try to figure out what *I* did wrong to feel so unloved and unwanted by my parents and extended *family*. While I no longer interact with my extended family and my parents have since passed away, it has taken many years for me to realize that I was not to blame for the way I was treated in the past. While they can no longer take responsibility for how they treated me, my parents gave me plenty of things, but there was no affection or love that I ever felt. Buying someone an object does not replace love. So, the countless interactions, incidents and years of experiences I have accumulated will always be there as long as I am here. While my parents are gone, the way I deal with things today are a testament to how long events can take up space, challenge our ability to forgive not only others, but ourselves as well.
I can recall the time, far before my parents got sick, my late husband perished or I ever sought help for the torment I endured that I used to have such a terrible time sleeping. I would lie there, like so many of us have, ruminating constantly about something I did when I was 11 and how bad of a person I was. Enduring my (former…thank goodness) therapist, sitting across from me, “role playing” my mother, screaming at me that I was a terrible person not worthy of love or affection, until I broke down sobbing, disgusted with myself and the awful person I thought I was, was something I believed I “deserved” because of the terrible human being I felt I was.
Now? I believe they are all unworthy of ME. There isn’t an elitist perspective, me perched upon some high summit looking down at all the former emotional peasants in my life. No, it’s a fought for feeling that was a long time coming and not always here to stay. I have intense periods of doubt, when I believe that I cannot tolerate what was done to me and rage on the inside and outside about how unfair it all was. I hang on to these experiences and allow them to affect me because they are MINE. I know that I shouldn’t but the ability to trust again, love again, and eventually relax again is something that I believe will always be a challenge. I guess some things will always remain.