What I Wish Everyone Understood About PTSD

I really felt like it’s time I get this out.  I try to be very open…to some I am TOO open…but that openness is part of what has gotten me through the scarier parts of life.  That openness is what (I hope) helps other people realize they’re not alone in fighting their own demons.  That openness is me…and a part of me that I fought long and hard to finally accept that I deserved to proud of.

You see…the main thing I wish you understood about PTSD is that it comes with shame.  On a logical level, we know that’s insane.  (In general) We did not cause our own trauma.  We did not cause the events that changed everything about us.  We did not cause the images that cause us to wake up crying and panicked.  We did not cause this feeling of never ever feeling safe and secure.

We were victims at one point.  Victims of someone else’s actions.  We had NO control over the events that played out.  And, yet…we carry the burden of shame.  Because we know we aren’t “normal”.  We know that people look at our “dramatic” reactions to things as being “strange”.  We know this, because what we want more than anything is to NOT feel this way.

But we fight against being “victims”.  We fight to be “survivors”.  We fight to take back that control.  While we can’t erase what happened…we can’t erase the changes it made in us…we CAN choose to take our experiences and grow from them…help other people with them…find the silver lining in our cloudy skies.

But no matter how much we heal and face our own demons, there will be times that we will not feel safe.  There will be triggers that cause us to want to run…that cause us to want to hide from those we hold dear…because we don’t want you to see us this way.

Maybe it’s a night of the nightmares that pushes us to those feelings again (they never really do go away).  Maybe it’s a place or a smell that sends us into that feeling of wanting to run.  Some of us still face the fear of our past finding us, so it could be seeing someone that reminds you of the one who rocked you to your core…or it could be actually seeing them or having to hear from/about them.

In the last couple of months I’ve had all of the above happen….and, like Mad Eye Moody taught us…CONSTANT VIGILANCE has become my mantra once again.

It’s exhausting and embarrassing.  Being told you cry in your sleep.  Knowing that some days dealing with people is tantamount to torture, but knowing that you have to pretend that it’s not.  Knowing that people see when you jump at the slightest sound.  Knowing that people notice when you flinch at the first raised voice.

Knowing that, no matter how much you heal, this is part of who you are.

And, mostly, knowing that some people will never understand why.

But we also SO MUCH value our loved ones who DO understand.  Who let us be us.  Who let us be the joyful, happy, HEALED people that we are…while still understanding that we will have moments (or even days) of fear and hopelessness.

These are the people that give us hope.  These are the people that help us learn to trust the world again.

These are the people that become our family.

Voices From The Past

I can’t get out of my head today.  Thoughts just keep spinning around and around and around…so I figured I’d write it all out…the people who matter will read…and maybe I won’t feel so fucking alone.

I don’t know why.  I really don’t.  (Maybe just because November?)  But for the past few weeks the voices from the past are spinning around in my head.  The voices who told me I’m not good enough.  The voices who told me I had to be a certain way if I wanted love.

The voices that have said things like:

  • “Why can’t you be pretty like [insert so and so]?”
  • “The first time I met you I looked at your dad and just said, “Oh that poor girl, she’s so ugly.”
  • “I’m not buying you glasses.  They’ll just make you uglier than you already are.”
  • “I’m not buying your school pictures because you’re too ugly in them.”
  • “You look depressed.  You should buy some eye shadow.”
  • “If you ever get fat again, we can still be friends.”
  • “I mean…your stomach isn’t exactly a turn on, but maybe if we ever get married I’ll get you surgery.”
  • “Your daughter is turning out just like you.  This is a problem.”
  • “Don’t cry.  No one cares.”
  • “Insecurity is unattractive, Sheri.” (As I was being cheated on…lol)
  • “I don’t need a daughter.”

So many messages.  From so many people.  And all of them add up to…I’m not enough.  I’m not pretty enough.  I’m not funny enough.  I’m not cool enough.  I’m too smart or I’m not smart enough.  I’m a terrible mother.

I’m just…

…Not enough.

Ever.

And, logically, I know these messages came from people who didn’t love me.  Some were supposed to.  Some said they did, but had no societal NEED to.  Again, logically, these words don’t make up who I actually am.  They don’t mean that I am unlovable.  They don’t mean that I’m not enough.  They don’t mean that I’m actually ugly…or stupid…or annoying…or…whatever.

Logically I know they don’t.

But sometimes logic can sit in your brain like a heavy stone…pushing the waters of emotion even higher…making you feel like you’re going to drown in a sea of confusion over how the two don’t match.

Today.

I’m drowning.

John Gardner’s Grendel: Pigeonholed by Myth

John Gardner’s Grendel:

Pigeonholed By Myth

 

John Gardner’s Grendel is the story of all of us.  As Gary Simmers stated in “John Gardner’s Grendel: The Monster In Search Of Self”, “Though Grendel becomes the voice that echoes the philosophical progress of Western man, the novel is really about the monster’s own search for self understanding.” (177) However, through myth and bitter trickery, our monster is led away from the path of self-discovery and is, instead, led to believe that all he can be is who other’s tell him he is.  Although not a victim, because we are all the deciding factor in our own stories’ endings, Grendel is the picture of how the monster (inside all of us) can be led down a path of being nothing more than a true monster. In essence, through Grendel, we watch as the child grows up from states innocence and confusion to become an adult filled with hatred, directed both internally and externally.

            In “John Gardner’s Grendel: The Monster In Search of Self,” Simmers very adeptly states, “In order to successfully understand his reason for existence, Grendel must either fulfill his destiny within the existing myth, or rewrite the myth that defines him.” (179). While Simmers exhibits his understanding of this early in his criticism, he ends his criticism by stating, “After all, he is not a hero.  He is a monster.  And it is the monster’s absolute destiny to be slain by the hero.  Ultimately, his true identity, his mythic purpose in life, is that he is the monstrous evil which the good, represented by the world-hero Beowulf, must overcome.” (190). It is through these two contradictory statements, Simmers shows the same urge to pigeonhole a character by myth and destiny that the men and the dragon in Grendel exhibit.  After all, how does one “rewrite the myth that defines him” if he has an “absolute destiny”?

From the beginning of the novel, Gardner shapes Grendel as little more than a confused, lonely and scared child.  We can see his wish to understand the men who speak the same language as he does.  We can see his frustration at being unable to communicate.  We can even see his hurt at being seen as nothing more than a monster.  These childlike feelings are further enhanced as he watches the horrors of the ways mankind (through Hrothgar) treat each other and, especially, the weakest of their kind.  “…no one getting hurt except maybe some female who was asking for it” (33); “…all they killed – cows, horses, men – they left to rot or burn” (36); “I watched it, season after season” (37); “His power overran the world” (40); “I was filled with a wordless, obscurely murderous unrest.” (40); “I knew the truth.” (44). It is through images such as these, we can see Grendel begin to change.  We can see the beginnings of when his innocence starts to morph into distrust, anger, and bitterness; as will happen with any sentient being who is left alone with his thoughts while watching the horrors of what man is capable of.

However, even with the monstrosities (of men, not of monsters) that he is confronted with, Grendel finds understanding and possibly even a sense of compassion in the songs of the Shaper.  Unfortunately, through these songs and through the immediate actions of the men, it also becomes apparent why the men find him to be a monster and that they will never see him as anything but.  “The harp turned solemn.  He told of an ancient feud between two brothers which split all the world between darkness and light.  And I, Grendel, was the dark side, he said in effect.  The terrible race God cursed.” (51); “I sank to my knees, crying, “Friend! Friend!” They hacked at me, yipping like dogs.” (52); “…they could kill me – eventually would if I gave them a chance.” (52) Grendel now sees himself as the mythical monster and believes that his own true destiny is set in stone; and, yet, he seems to accept this lot in life. “It came to me with a fierce jolt that I wanted it.  As they did too, trough vicious animals, cunning, cracked with theories.  I wanted it, yes!  Even if I must be the outcast, cursed by the rules of his hideous fable.”  We now begin to see the child who has never been understood become the young adult who feels that it’s better to have his place as the enemy than to have no place at all.

Through these first two steps of Grendel’s life, we see him slowly learning to understand his current lot in life while still maintaining a belief that he can be better.  This is never more apparent than when Grendel first meets the dragon.  “I thought all at once about what he’d said: “Now you know how they feel when they see you.” He had a point.  From now on I’d stay clear of them. It was one thing to eat one from time to time – that was only natural: kept them from overpopulating, maybe starving to death, come winter – but it was another thing to scare them, give them heart attacks, fill their nights with nightmares, just for sport.” (60); “Why is it fiddlesticks if I stop giving people heart attacks over nothing?  Why shouldn’t one changes one’s ways, improve one’s character?” (72)  We see Grendel’s wheels turning and we see him begin to wonder if he, too, can change.  Perhaps it is possible to “rewrite the myth that defines him”.  However, he is quickly dissuaded of this idea by the tricky, bitter dragon. “You improve them, my boy! Can’t you see that yourself? You stimulate them! You make them think and scheme.  You drive them to poetry, science, religion all that makes them what they are for as long as they last.  You are, so to speak, the brute existent by which they learn to define themselves.  The exile, captivity, death they shrink from – the blunt facts of their mortality, their abandonment – that’s what you make them recognize, embrace! You are mankind, or man’s condition; inseparable as the mountain – climber and the mountain.  If you withdraw, you’ll instantly be replaced.” (72-73) Grendel does not see how the all-knowing dragon also contradicts himself. This wise new confidante who proclaims to know the future as everything is set in stone also states, “What god?  Where? Life-force, you mean? The principle of process? God as the history of Chance?” (74) The all-knowing seer of “destiny” has admitted that life is nothing more than chance.  Here we have the friend from young adulthood; the friend that speaks in riddles and in metaphors that are full of holes, but speaks so passionately that we are unable to see that his passion is born of nothing more than bitterness; the friend who teaches us to believe that our lot will never change and we shouldn’t bother trying to change – we must merely accept that this is who we are and the rest of the world deserves our worst.  This is where the young adult moves into adulthood fully secure in his place in the world – a world that he now believes sees him as the enemy and there is nothing he can do to change this.

Sadly, from this point, Grendel refuses to save himself.  He is now the “monstrous” adult instead of the monster-like child from the beginning of the novel.  While Grendel shows a few moments of potential change, but the bitterness always wins out. “I’d meant them no harm, but they’d attacked me again.” (79); “I was Grendel, Ruiner of Meadhalls, Wrecker of Kings! But also, as never before, I was alone.” (80); “But thought I laughed, I felt trapped, as hollow as a rotten tree.” (81); “I will count my numberless blessings one by one.  I. My teeth are sound. I. The roof of my cave is sound. I. I have not committed the ultimate act of nihilism: I have not killed the queen. I. Yet.” (93)  Our adult monster now still has moments of lucidity – moments where he hopes that all is not lost – moments where he admits to his pain.

Yet, through the power of myth and the bitterness of mankind and dragon kind, Grendel loses all hope, “For the world is divided, experience teaches, into two parts: things to be murdered, and things that would hinder the murder of things.” (158). It is apparent that Grendel speaks of man with these words, however, this was also clearly how he placed himself in the world in which he lived.

Through the story we watch Grendel live a life pigeonholed by the beliefs of men and the power of myth.  We watch him grow:

  • Innocent and scared child.
  • Lost and confused adolescent
  • Bitter and angry adult
  • Hopeless old man who knows nothing will ever change
  • To the violent death of a monster who simultaneously cries out for his mother and hopes that his pain is felt by those who never understood him

“’Poor Grendel’s had an accident,’ I whisper.  ‘So may you all.’” (173)

Fear

I have so fucking much in my head tonight. So I’m putting it here.

First off, I love people who share Amber Alerts more than you know. But goddamn when there’s 2 or 3 DIFFERENT missing kids in my timeline in one day, I start to spiral. I don’t think that will ever NOT be a trigger for my anxiety.

Second, I’m supposed to be sleeping. But instead my brain is sitting here in spiral mode jumping back and forth between two different topics.

School

Registration is open for spring. And I can’t decide whether I’m registering or not. I’m doing great in school. Straight As with a 13 credit courseload. So it’s not that I can’t do it. It’s that I’m afraid I’m letting Bella and everyone else down with my constant juggling act. And, as we see over and over again, I’m all Bella has. Like it or not, I’m apparently an amoeba and made her myself. So, being me, instead of being LOGICAL and cutting down on courses…I keep vacillating between no classes at all or a 15 credit load so I can finish faster. 🎶 I don’t know why I go to extremes 🎶

People

You guys, I’ve come a really long way this past year. We all know this and even *I*, my own harshest critic, acknowledge this. I accept myself for who I am and even love who I am. But I’m afraid I’m never going to equate my own self love with a belief that I’m enough for other people. This shit with my family is getting harder and harder. The people pleaser in me wants to just go back to the way things were where I was miserable but they at least spoke to me. The woman I’ve worked so hard to become knows I can’t do that. Ever again. And Lord knows I’m 💯 over SpongeBob SquareBalls, but I’m the first to admit that I’m not over what he did to me. Not the cheating. That’s whatever. The being my best friend for 5 years and then walking away as soon as my life got hard and making me feel like it was my fault because I feel too much. Exactly like my family. And so…it’s gotten to where I’m TERRIFIED to admit to any feelings that aren’t sunshine and rainbows and unicorn piss. And I’m afraid to tell my friends, “I need you.” Tonight I’ve typed and deleted 10 statuses where I was going to see if anyone wants to do something this weekend. Because I’m scared.

So…basically…LSS…I’m losing my mind not sharing what’s really in my head…but I’m too scared to share it for real. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail my child and everyone else. And I’m afraid that, no matter how much I love myself, that I’ll always have this sick feeling that I’m the problem…and that I’m the only one who can really love me.

Welcome to my brain and thank you for attending my demenTED talk.

As Natural As Breathing

As Natural as breathing…I’ve always hated that term. For most people it’s a term that means something is easy. These people have never felt the grip of fear and anxiety that makes breathing feel impossible.

Anyone who’s known me for long knows of my fascination with the psychological. Anyone who knows me well knows that it comes from a place of trying to understand the people that have tried to rip my life to shreds.

We all know the term narcissist. Many don’t truly understand it. It’s easy to see someone who is conceited and say, “Gah! He’s such a narcissist!”. It’s simple to be angry because someone puts their needs ahead of yours and think, “She is such a narcissist.”.

The truth is this: The term is VASTLY overused and misapplied. We ALL have narcissistic tendencies. They are part of human nature. However, there is a severe difference between someone acting narcissistic and someone BEING a narcissist.

How do I know? Because I am one of the lucky [insert sarcasm] people who has lived in the shadows of the truly narcissistic my entire life.

You see…it becomes a cycle.

Being raised by narcissists leads you to certain beliefs. Beliefs about yourself. Beliefs about what you deserve. Beliefs about how you should be treated. Beliefs about what you owe anyone who shows you the slightest bit of “love”.

You learn to walk on eggshells. You learn that everyone’s happiness is your responsibility. Above all, you learn that your feelings must never ever be considered as important as the feelings of those who “love” you.

You stay with the narcissistic parent…or you don’t…it honestly doesn’t matter…because THEY stay with YOU.

Every relationship is colored by what they have taught you. One relationship after another after another after another…

Keep your head down.

Make sure they know that you know how lucky you are for their “love”.

Cater to their every wish and desire.

Make their life your own.

Ask for nothing.

Give everything.

Watch as they leave because that is still not enough. They need more and you can only supply it to them for so long before you are disposable in their search for someone better.

Because you know they’re right. You’re not enough. You’ll never be enough. And they deserve better.

It doesn’t matter how many times you break free of the cycle. The cycle follows you into the next relationship.

It becomes an eternal battle of, “Maybe this time I’ll be enough if I just love them enough and I’m smart enough and pretty enough and kind enough.”

But you’re never going to be enough for them. Hell, you’re not even enough for yourself. You don’t even know yourself anymore. You’re afraid that you are so connected to who they want you to be that if they open their eyes from their dream you’ll just disappear…because you don’t exist for any reason other than to please them.

And that breathing? Completely unnatural. Every breath gets lodged in your chest as the panic and anxiety take over…from the reality you are living or from the memory of what you lived.

I’ve spent the last year trying to break this cycle…a cycle that was started for me before I could even walk.

One narcissist. Can’t love me.

Next narcissist. I’m still not enough.

Another narcissist. If only I could be more Perfect…

And another…and another…

Years of therapy. Doors being slammed left and right and DESPERATELY fighting to learn how to set boundaries…

I’ve cut all of the true narcissists from my life. I have severed all ties.

And yet here I lay…swamped in memories…a panicked fight or flight reaction in my every thought…

Just dreaming of the day that BREATHING will be as natural as breathing.

Today’s Psychological Rabbit Hole – The MBTI (Specifically INFJ Heavy – As To What INFJ *Really* Means and Some of the Potential Implications)

infj write

 

Ok, Today’s Psychology Rabbit Hole.  By Sheri. (P.S. Blame my writing on the above pic… lol)

If you’re interested in social psychology at all, you may actually enjoy this particular rabbit hole.  Note, my analysis is mostly about the INFJ personality, type, but I’m putting various links in the comments and some of them pertain to a vast array of personality types…so if this isn’t you, you may still find some rather interesting information.

I’ll start with what led me down this rabbit hole.  As you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about how *I* affect other people….about how I never really feel like I fit in…

And then something occurred to me, based on a conversation I had with someone about Personality Types last night.

I’m INFJ.  Which, supposedly, is the most rare personality type (OR…for the sake of argument…the type of personality least likely to take those tests?  But I kind of doubt that one…we think too much…).  INFJs are only approximately 1.5% of the population TESTED.

RABBIT HOLE STEP 1: Is INFJ REALLY most rare?

bmti

 

RABBIT HOLE STEP 2: So… *if* INFJ is the most rare personality type…it would make sense that we tend to feel like we don’t fit….because we don’t often find people who ARE like us.  (I’m lucky, through friends…and through my introverted habit of making a lot of my friends on the computer… I’ve managed to surround myself with more INFJs than one would be able to do in just living everyday life…especially, when…you know…you never leave your house to meet people… 😉 )  So…what is the actual TECHNICAL MAKEUP of INFJ?

 

The MBTI preferences indicate the differences in people based on the following:

 

INFJs’ Functional Stack

Dominant: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Auxiliary: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

Tertiary:  Introverted Thinking (Ti)

Inferior:  Extraverted Sensing (Se)

Rabbit Hole Step 3:  OK…NOW…What exactly does that mean?  AKA “Do-huh?” 

(Another Very, VERY interesting website, in general) – https://exploringyourmind.com/infj-personality-most-rare-personality-carl-jung/

Here are the characteristics.

  • Oriented towards helping others
  • They are good at relating to others but they value being by themselves
  • They are active dreamers
  • Their enthusiasm and idealism can exhaust them

https://www.16personalities.com/infj-personality <—-This site also has the most in-depth MBTI test and analysis that I’ve personally come across.

  • Not idle dreamers, but people capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.
  • Tend to see helping others as their purpose in life, but while people with this personality type can be found engaging rescue efforts and doing charity work, their real passion is to get to the heart of the issue so that people need not be rescued at all.
  • Though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in.
  • They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain –will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to INFJs, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.
  • Find it easy to make connections with others, and have a talent for warm, sensitive language, speaking in human terms, rather than with pure logic and fact.
  • The passion of their convictions is perfectly capable of carrying them past their breaking point and if their zeal gets out of hand, they can find themselves exhausted, unhealthy and stressed.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/personality/infj

  • Strongly humanitarian in outlook; tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally “doers” as well as dreamers.
  • Often take a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.
  • Deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large.
  • Sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people — a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few.
  • May well have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil. The most important contributing factor to this uncanny gift, however, are the empathic abilities often found in Fs, which seem to be especially heightened in the INFJ type (possibly by the dominance of the introverted N function).
  • There can sometimes be a “tug-of-war” between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals.
  • The I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings.
  • Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills.
  • Hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life.Those who are activists – INFJs gravitate toward such a role – are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.
  • Champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress.
  • Accurately suspicious about others’ motives.

RABBIT HOLE STEP 4: (Note, the website I listed here is actually quite fascinating for ALL personality types…if you’re into this sort of thing…and if you’re not…why are you still reading all of this rambling???)  So, then I started wondering…What exactly is it that makes INFJ so different?  Tons of people have these traits?  So…what is it about the conglomeration of them that makes it more of an anomaly (if in fact it really is)?

Psychological (?) Opinion – Dr. AJ Drenth – https://personalityjunkie.com/the-infj/   – ß–Actually, this entire page is quote-worthy if you’re into this stuff, so in order to save this from being an extra 10 pages long, I highly suggest clicking the link.  But the main part that caught my eye was:  “To fully understand INFJs, it is necessary to recognize the full implications of their dominant function, Ni, being a Perceiving function. Namely, INFJs are far less serious inwardly than they appear outwardly (ENFJs, whose dominant function is a Judging function, are characteristically more serious). INFJs’ inner world is well described as playful, imaginative, colorful, mischievous, and daring. They love playing with ideas, perspectives, theories, images, symbols, and metaphors.”

Below From: https://www.today.com/health/personality-type-infj-rarest-myers-briggs-combination-t118739

PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH – Donna M. Ives, MBTI Master Practitioner –  “Dissecting the INFJ, or any of the other 15 types, is fairly rigorous because everyone is an individual. But broad generalities can be made by looking at the middle letters called “function pairs.”  In the case of INFJ types, that’s the “N” and the “F.”

“These pairs tell a lot about a type, and NFs are really viewed as very compassionate, and highly empathetic individuals who like to focus on ideas and people versus say an ST who approaches things more analytically or objectively,” “MANY INFJS ARE OFTEN MISTAKEN FOR EXTROVERTS.  That’s because INFJs are “very warm, interested in the people that they are with, especially on a one-on-one basis,” Ives says. ”Actually, being a reporter is kind of a dream job for an INFJ since so much interaction is one-on-one.  Ives stresses that although you fall into a category, you are an individual, and the assessment doesn’t measure character or abilities.” “Actually, several types are rather scarce, according to the estimates of the relative frequency of each of the 16 types in the U.S. population, provided by the Myers & Briggs Foundation.  ENTJs, those extroverted, intuitive, thinking and judgement-oriented folks, represent only 1.8 percent of the population. INTJs, just one letter off from us INFJs, show up about 2.1 percent of the time. The largest represented type is ISFJ, introverted, sensing, feeling and judging, at 13.8 percent. Overall, “sensing” individuals are more common than us “feely” types.”

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPINION – Dr. Carla Stebbins – “Some possible explanations for the relative rarity of INFJs may be due to the fact that we’re just not in situations where the test is offered, or maybe we don’t want to take the test.” “Another possibility is that when taking the assessment, people may not be honest, especially if they believe being an extrovert is better than being an introvert,”

RABBIT HOLE STEP 5: Ok, with a more thorough understanding of what makes INFJs tick…Is social media good for them or bad for them?

https://personalitygrowth.com/what-each-personality-type-uses-social-media-for/

INFJs who use social media often do so to keep in touch with loved ones or potentially make new friends. For the INFJ who is feeling especially introverted, making friends online can be a great way to connect. They might struggle to find people around them who understand them- but sometimes connecting with people who have shared interests can help them feel close to others. INFJs might feel the urge to deactivate their accounts for a period of time, especially if they feel too engrossed in the time they spend on social media. INFJs have a tendency to react emotionally to something, and then feel the need to step away for a while. This is perfectly acceptable, and can actually be a healthy way for them to explore the physical world around them. When INFJs do use social media, it is usually to maintain connections with people.

RABBIT HOLE STOP 6: Wait…are these tests really even psychologically conclusive?  There are a lot of people who poopoo them (even though, from what I have seen, most people will score the same or virtually the same throughout their entire lifetime.  For this part…anyone interested in a PHD interpretation of the validity of the MBTI).

I liked this quote from these the best –  Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. – : “Perhaps the best use for the MBTI is for self-reflection. If used as a starting point for discussing how people vary in their personalities, and emphasizing tolerance for individual differences and taking others’ perspectives, then it can be a useful tool.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cui-bono/201603/are-scores-the-mbti-totally-meaningless

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201402/the-truth-about-myers-briggs-types

 

OTHER OPINIONS I FOUND INTERESTING.  So…here are some of the most interesting things (and links) that I found

My absolute favorite thing that I read today – “INFJs are Divergent.  Think Shaylene Woodley in badass leather pants.”

The self-awareness of it cracked me the eff up – “A body needs a variety of parts to function properly. Every part cannot be an eyeball or a hand or a brain or a muscle – we need an asshole too.”

“Only a true INFJ would answer the questions the way they were intended to be answered,in order to get an honest evaluation of thier personality type. Society has taught us it’s undesirable to have many of the traits special to INFJ,that might skew the results,rarely will people admit to having these traits. When answering questions remember to go with your first answer,for an infj that’s where the truth lies.”

OTHER INTERESTING LINKS:

https://www.bustle.com/p/whats-the-most-common-myers-briggs-type-a-significant-amount-of-people-test-as-this-8406913

https://www.quora.com/Why-are-INFJs-so-rare-1

http://www.jennifersoldner.com/2013/06/top-10-things-every-infj-wants-you-to.html

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-personality-type-INFJ-rare-How-are-the-people-with-that-personality-type-different-than-others

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/infj-rarest-perhaps-most-fascinating-personality-type

https://www.personalityclub.com/blog/why-are-infs-so-rare/

https://ispeakpeople.com/infj/

 

Self Reflections

Awhile back a friend of mine asked me a very pointed question and requested that I think about her question…not for me to answer her, but for me to answer it for myself.

The gist of the question was this:  Why do I keep allowing people in my life who are unhealthy for my emotional well being and why do I allow them to stay?   Why do I think this is what I deserve from people?

One thing that can be said for me is that I do actually listen, even when it seems like I’m not…so I’ve been mulling this over for awhile now.  Day after day I kept coming back to the same answer, though.  I feel like I’ve grown so much over the past couple of years.  For every obstacle I’ve hit, I’ve found my way over it.  I take less garbage from people without opening my mouth…JUST LOOK AT HOW I’VE GROWN!!!!

Then today, out of nowhere, everything fell into place.  It wasn’t anything special about the moment.  I was at the gym, doing my thing…and suddenly I had this thought run through my mind.  “Man, it’s so nice to be able to work out and not have to listen to how I’m not doing it right or why I shouldn’t be doing it at all.”

This thought was immediately followed with another, “Well, that was a weird thought to have…”.

So, I’ve been mulling it over and over in my brain tonight.  I’ve been piecing together the question that my friend asked me with the thoughts I have about myself…and with the realizations I’m also having about myself.  I think it’s finally clicked into place.

Anyone who’s known me for a long time knows that I really have come leaps and bounds in one area.  It used to be CRUSHING to me if people didn’t like me.  The reason behind this is obvious…my self esteem was so low that I based how much I like myself on how much other people like me.  In that, I HAVE done better.  There is sincerely no question about it.

There are plenty of areas where I still need to work on ME, but I LIKE ME.

Here’s the thing…I’ve always joked, “I DO have self confidence.  I like myself a lot.  I just don’t expect that to translate into other people liking me.”

But this leads right back to the question that my friend asked me.  Why do I feel the need to keep people in my life who make me feel like THEY think I’m less than or like their opinions matter more than mine.

And here is the answer that clicked tonight.

Because I didn’t want to believe that anyone who WOULD approve of me exists.  If I have their approval, then when they leave it will feel even more like I’ve done something wrong.

But, here’s the funny part.  I can still see WHY I thought I was doing so much better.

Child Sheri – Stays quiet in the face of everyone’s disapproval, becomes a perfectionist in hopes that SOMEONE wouldn’t think she was a disappointment.

Teenage Sheri – Starts running away from any situation that involves someone being disappointed, because confrontation is scary and she didn’t want to deal with it.

Adult/Married Sheri – Took care of EVERYTHING, because if she got everything done she was still going to be lovable.

Divorced Sheri – Finds herself in one relationship after another where she was TOLD FLAT OUT everything she did wrong…all the ways that she was less than other women…and sat there and took it.

TURNING POINT – Post Finding Some Self Respect Sheri – Becomes BELLIGERENT in the face of disapproval.  Starts sticking up for herself.  Starts arguing back.  Starts saying that her thoughts and beliefs and such matter, too.  <——But check it out…that Sheri was still allowing those people in her life.  Growth isn’t growth if you’re still allowing yourself back in the same positions.  Growth is only growth when you realize you deserve better than to be in those positions in the first place.

So, back to the epiphany…  “Man, it’s so nice to be able to work out and not have to listen to how I’m not doing it right or why I shouldn’t be doing it at all.”

Why would I allow anyone in my life who made me feel like I couldn’t do that in the first place?  Once I saw that “red flag” (as my friends talk to me about), why would I not say, “Yeah, dude.  You have fun with that attitude.  Peace out.”  Why did I feel like the only way to grow was to start “sticking up for myself”?

Because that feeling of not being approved of…that feeling of walking on eggshells…that feeling of being perceived as less than…that was all there was, right?  I mean, sure…other people found people in their lives that truly respect them and their beliefs, but that’s not anything I’ll ever find (outside of my friends), right?  So, growth is not to walk away from those people…it’s to fight them.

But I don’t want to fight anymore.  Because that was my other epiphany tonight.

The person that I’ve worked so hard to be?  The person that I actually really LIKE being?  She’s been a little more absent lately.  She’s started letting certain situations turn her bitter.

And that is NOT who I am.  I am #SilverLiningGirl.  I am the girl who always finds the bright side. I am the girl who always finds her laughter.  I am the girl who, although she is typically terrified of people, LOVES humanity and persons.  She’s the tree hugging, nature loving, “everything happens for a reason, so let’s just find what this reason was” girl.

So, Sarah, you asked.  Why do I think those people are what I deserve?  I don’t. I haven’t for a long time.  I simply believed that learning to fight their disapproval was the answer, because that was in my control more than expecting people not to be that way in the first place.  And, at the root of everything I am, I am still the girl who is afraid of expecting too much from anyone other than herself.

So, epiphany done.  This is why I do what I do.  This is why I need to STOP doing what I do.  I’m in a pretty good place for this kind of epiphany in my life.  My life is legitimately FULL right now.  Bella, work that I *usually* love, school, friends, gym…the works.  I have finally filled my life with things that make me happy.  Which means that until I can continue down this path of reflection, I will also be more likely to NOT invite those people into my life…there’s honestly not much room left for anyone else right now anyway.

And maybe…just maybe…while I’m filling my life with the good stuff…for me and for Bella…things that I have to fight myself to achieve, but no one else…maybe during that time I’ll keep growing in loving and accepting myself…so that the next time new people show up in my life, I’ll only make room for them if they make me feel as good about me as *I* make me feel about myself.

 

 

Purpose

I haven’t written in awhile. Too much to do…no time to focus on me.

Which is what actually brings me back to my writing tonight. I had an epiphany today…and I figured writing it out might help me process it.

So. Today.

I went to another baseball tournament and this time I didn’t hide behind my camera. I watched. Partially because I had SOMEHOW convinced a professor to let me write my theatre in life paper about a baseball game…and partially because I wanted to try…to try to be social…to try to not be scared in the crowd…to try to take part and not hide.

Guess what. I couldn’t really do it.

My anxiety was through the roof. I felt out of place. I felt like I didn’t belong. So I found another way to hide. My most time honored way. I made sure I had a purpose for being there. I tried to take care of people. Anyone. Didn’t matter. The young boy with the migraine. Have to help. My friend’s son (aka my favorite teenage boy ever) with the injured shoulder. I’m on it! Anyone hungry? Thirsty? Need someone to wipe for them? LET ME HELP YOU!!!!

I am so afraid of being in the way. Being out of place. Being unwanted. And it makes me feel like I can’t be somewhere unless there is a purpose for me being there. Because surely no one just wants my company.

Just as I hide behind my camera…I hide behind an incessant need to take care of everyone around me.

And then the night comes. With Bella at a friend’s. No one needs my help. No one needs advice.

No one needs me.

And I realize that I even hide from myself. I have no use for me if I’m not helping someone else.

And therein lies the real problem.

I don’t know how to simply BE.

White Knight

I am just about the most self sufficient woman you will ever meet.

After your life falls apart at 10 years old, security is the number one thing you want to make sure can’t be ripped away from you again. And the only way to make sure that’s possible is to make sure you make your own security…you make sure you rely on no one.

And yet…there’s always that dream… That dream that even though you always knew you would never be the girl looking for a white knight, you still dreamed of one.

I started doing that as a teenager. Whenever the nightmares about my mom started up again, I would find that I had a horrible time falling asleep. I have been told I cry in my sleep. I have woken up screaming. They have been so real that it takes me a full day to feel safe from it again. And so yeah…sleep didn’t come easily. Partially I didn’t want to have another nightmare. And partially because I was afraid who would be gone when I woke up this time. (PTSD is a bitch, yo).

Soooo…when sleep eluded me…I would tell myself bedtime stories in my head. I would replay the last nightmare…and I would change the ending so in the end a white knight was there. Not to save me. Because even then I knew I never wanted that. But just to be there and to WANT to be a part of me saving myself from my mother.

These internal bedtime stories have been a part of my life for almost 30 years. In the worst times those are a tool I’ve used to cope. The dream that if things did blow up with my mom again…if the nightmares became reality…I would be able to save myself but I would have a white knight there with me…who wanted to be there…who wanted to support me…who wouldn’t leave me.

And now…reality. The nightmares became reality (although, to be fair I haven’t seen her in sniper gear outside my nightmares…yet…)…and the white knight is nowhere to be found… because he bailed before it could get this bad. He bailed because after having lived this insane life of mine, I feel too much and he couldn’t be the emotional support for someone who needed to be able to talk about her fears and insecurities.

So now even that dream is dead.

There is no white knight.

I am on my own.

Just like a lifetime of abandonment issues SHOULD have already taught me.

Love is not my purpose on this Earth. Not the romantic or familial kind at least…I am MORE than blessed with the love of friends.

But for family and romance…nope. Love = Pain. And I need to never forget this again.

Forever

I figured out what it is that’s made my heart so shattered.

I stopped believing in Forever when I was 10 years old.  When your entire life gets ripped out from under you, that’s a fairly normal reaction I think.  The words “I love you” meant less from people.  The word “Forever” meant nothing.  The word “Security” was something that only I could create for myself.

But with Dustin…I believed.

No matter what happened…no matter his mood…no matter the circumstances…we were going to be together forever.

He told me I was his family.

He told me I was the one.

He told me I was his “Forever”.

And he did so knowing ME…inside and out…He knew the good.  He knew the bad.  He knew my heart.  He knew my mind.  He knew my soul.

And he loved me for who I was.

Every bit of it.

I was finally getting forever.

Even when he was pissy…he still never said anything about the future that didn’t include words like “we” and “us” and “our”.

So even when I was insecure about the present…I was secure that whether it meant marriage or just one day living together without that piece of paper…he was my forever.

For the first time since I was 10 years old I allowed my view of forever to include someone else besides me and my daughter.

I believed.

And that was dumb.

Because I don’t get forever.

And I don’t mean I don’t deserve it.  I don’t think I’m any less deserving than the next person.

But for some reason I’m just not built for it.

I’m fun for awhile.

I’m loveable for a little bit.

But there’s an expiration date on how long people want me around.

And now I need to remember something I’ve always said…

Oh what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to believe.

I need to learn to rely only on myself again.  And I need to remember…I think I’m pretty cool…and I can love myself forever…and that needs to be enough.  Because that’s all I can allow myself to believe in.