I’ve spent my entire life trying to obtain safety through control. I always thought that if I could just get everything perfect, then everyone would be happy, and I would be safe. I don’t know why I still believe this… it never worked when I was a child, and it doesn’t work now; but there’s some part of me who holds onto it for dear life. There’s always the argument that I didn’t get things quite right last time, but this time, I will… It will be so perfect, so seamless that no one will even notice me, and I’ll be safe.
Total and utter invisibility is always my goal.
One of the ways which I maintain my invisibility, is by working. It allows me to pay my bills, and have the least amount of interaction with officials as possible. It helps me to maintain a routine, and forces me to interact with people… So, for me, work is a positive in the overall scheme of things. However, over the last year, it’s become less and less positive. To the point where I realised earlier this week, that I hadn’t enjoyed anything about work for probably close to three years.
I should state, for the record, that I’m thankful for having a job – I know there are many people who don’t. But, it’s now reached a point where my job is negatively effecting other parts of my life. I could probably find a way through if the only problem were the workload issues, but it isn’t… I have a new team leader who doesn’t have any library experience, and appears to have little inclination to learn; and on Friday I was sexually harassed over the phone by a co-worker.
This combination of events means that work no longer feels safe.
My default reaction when something doesn’t feel safe, is to try to gain some semblance of control. But here, I felt powerless… the phone call left me exposed emotionally, and the team leaders lack of knowledge makes me feel as if my skills are not valued within the organisation. It feels like the rugs been pulled out from underneath me, and I have no idea how to regain my balance.
I’ve spent the weekend trying to get my balance back. I’ve failed. I’ve been rude to people who have tried to show me kindness, and gotten lost within a dissociative haze. All I can think of, is that it feels like my coping mechanisms were fired out of a shotgun, and the pellets from the shot were spread far and wide… I’ve been running around here and there trying to fix things… but instead made bigger messes, and caused more hurt. This, of course, triggers another round of self-loathing, and more shots to be fired…
I entered the weekend feeling unsafe and out of control… I leave it in much the same way.
Monkeytraps is one of my favourite mental health professional blogs. It’s about control, relationships, and monkeys… well less about monkeys, and more about control. Steve Hauptman (the author) writes some really interesting posts; so when I saw the latest one titled Just the world, I was curious as to what it was about. This was my sister’s birthday after all, the perfect day to be challenged slightly… However, there was no way I could have anticipated what actually happened…
Steve wrote about how each of us form this concept of what is a “just world”… one where good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. I admit, that I fall into this thinking, regarding myself and my past… I was abused because I was bad, evil, asked for it, provocative, a slut, a whore… the list goes on. I don’t judge others in this way; but for myself, I lay it on thick!
After describing this “just world” scenario, Steve gave the punch line… we buy into this concept of a “just world” because it gives the illusion of control. Talk about a kick in the gut…
All of my life I have strived to be perfect. I got as many A’s as I could, while panicking over every B and C; I played sport above my age grade; I was silent; I didn’t cry; I did everything within my power to be perfect… Because if they saw how perfect I really was, they would stop… They would leave me alone.
But I knew that they saw the evil in me. They saw how dirty and disgusting I was; so my focus of control changed. I no longer wanted them to stop, as I was beyond redemption. Instead, my only purpose, was to stop others from being hurt. As I grew up, I thought I had succeeded with this aim… I wasn’t aware of any whispers about other girls being taken to “those” places. My sister seemed troubled, but “fine”.
It wasn’t until I finally admitted to my mother what had happened about five years ago, that she said “was one of the boys J. Doe? Because I was talking to his mother the other week, and she was telling me about the historical sexual abuse charges he is facing”. At that point, my idea of a “just world” collapsed. I had failed. I hadn’t been enough for them to not hurt others; and I hadn’t spoken up so that others would have been spared. My illusion of control crumbled…
I was unable to see beyond this being my fault… my control… my fault…
I still can’t. I can’t accept, as Steve suggests, that there is no “just world”; but instead, the world is a place where justice is possible, and that shit happens. It can happen to good people, or bad. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t discriminate, it just happens.
But if that’s true; then maybe one day, a long, long time ago, I was maybe a good person? Maybe?
But bad things happen to bad people, so maybe I was bad all along. I came into this world screaming, and didn’t stop for six months. I was difficult and evil, even then.
Please let me have saved at least one person. Please. Please don’t let what they did to me, be for nothing. There had to be some purpose beyond their needs and wants? There does, doesn’t there? There must. That is why it’s easier for me to believe it was my fault, my evil, my badness attracting the inevitable karma of equal badness to balance out the universe.
Funny thing is… we used to say “shit happens” all the time growing up… “Shit happens, and then you get over it”.
As a note: I never think anyone else deserves bad things to happen to them. Please know that. I always turn it in on myself, but never hold that thinking for others. I’m always devastated to know of any pain to any other living thing.