Abuse comprised part of the life in which I participated for some of my existence. In years past, I felt an emptiness and couldn't understand why. I did the stuff I thought I was supposed to do. When things went awry, I looked for ways that I could alter my actions to help life go better for everyone. I thought that's what people did. This mindset eventually got me into some hurtful situations that feed my assertive present.
Rachel Simmons wrote an excellent book about psychological aggression, Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. It talks about power dynamics in adolescent female social circles. According to her site, Simmons now speaks openly about how she was once a target for aggression and how she later acted aggressive toward others. While I don't agree with all of what I read of her stance on the college admission "industrial complex," I find great meaning in her honesty about her experience with aggression. It relates to what I mentioned in my last post -- that the abused among us likely abused at one point. Getting out of the aggression/victim pattern involves hard work. I've spent a lot of time educating myself about different methods of communication, and I regularly practice with my sets of tools.
... I make mistakes and say stuff that could be said differently in the future.
... when I express a boundary, I feel guilty. It can be difficult sometimes for me to hold my ground. I went to a dinner with some people I've known for a long time. Someone said to me, You knew her. And at first I said, Did I? The second time I stated, I don't remember knowing her.
... conflict resolution involves changing the number of voices in the conversation. I didn't want to see it this way for a while because I felt abandoned by my family, and I didn't want to abandon anyone by telling him or her to stay out of the conversation. However, sometimes the solution to a conundrum is to not be around someone as much anymore. That doesn't have to be abandonment. It can be balance.
... vulnerability and insecurity exist.
In my early life, I learned how to interact in ways that fit the dynamic of my environment. My father treated me as an adult from the time I was 11. My mom bought me a baby blanket when I was 28. My younger years were a mix of mostly unspoken, strict expectations to do well in school; get a good job after college; and don't cause problems. My family relationships consisted of little empathy and many expectations for high achievement. I developed a tolerance for psychological aggression, and I observed it in play around me when my immediate and extended family members participated with each other. I learned how to parlay in eye on the prize and ignore offense. My life developed in stressful, anxious leaps. Sometimes people intimidated me with looks. Others said a lot of words to me and then declined to listen when I started to share a lot of my words with them. I would later learn how to recognize and decline behavior that disrespected me.
My steps included learning how to converse; how to recognize and verbalize emotions and boundaries; participation in group situations with people outside of my family and longtime friends; expressing disagreement in a conversational manner; energy psychology methods; and creative development along the lines of artful emotion expression. It took so much work to get to this point where I now assert myself even when it's disagreement! Very worth the effort.
Well hello there.