From my last post, “The Decision to Wake up and Live” Carla asked:
“Darlene, I can relate to a lot of these fears and am also starting to feel gratitude for difficult decisions I made in my past that make for a much more fulfilling present. I’m interested in what you say about being “afraid of how I would have to relate to others if I was to embrace wholeness.” Can you expand on that? What’s it like to relate to others in wholeness now?”
Here is my answer;
Carla, I was specifically referring to not dissociating when I wrote that part of the post. I was so afraid of facing people and facing my fears of them. When I used dissociation, as a way to deal with situations and a way to deal with others, as soon as someone said anything that made me feel unsafe, I just disconnected. Since I was working on my dissociative identity disorder and working on becoming one, I knew that when I was no longer dissociating I would have to actually be in the moment, face the fear, reassure myself that I was not in danger and actually deal with people.
Once I got through that part, then I moved on to the fear of standing up for myself and I think that is what your question is about. There were people in my life that disrespected me and disregarded me. There were people that didn’t ever consider my feelings and I began to realize that it was up to me to set the boundary in order for that treatment to stop. I only wanted to be treated as equally valuable, which is not really a lot to ask, but I also knew that this request would be hard for people who had devalued me my whole life. So I was afraid that I would be rejected again and that I would be laughed at and looked down on if I stuck up for myself. I imagined that I was so worthless to them, that they would say that I was not worth the effort for them to care about my feelings. I thought that rejection would kill me, and although a few people in my life did react this way, it didn’t kill me. It made me stronger. It made me more determined to move forward in my recovery.
The bottom line is that I had let others define me. I had let others decide that I was not worth much, and they treated me that way, and because I believed them, I let them. When I began to live in wholeness, I began to redefine myself, to own the truth about myself and embrace that I am not worthless, I am worthy. I am worthy of life, happiness, respect, love and I am valuable. I have something to offer others in relationships. I am not just a servant. I don’t deserve to be the fall guy for everyone else’s unhappiness. With that redefining of myself, I learned that in those situations where I was being discounted as a person, I could ask questions such as “why are you talking to me like that? Why do you think you can treat me like that?” and these questions were empowering for me. (they also caused people to pause…as though I had slapped them.. lol)
Just because someone treats me as though I don’t matter, doesn’t mean that I don’t matter. Just because someone thinks I am stupid or unimportant, doesn’t mean that I am. It is one thing for me to know that, but a whole other thing for me to draw the line against being treated like that. Living in wholeness and relating in truth has a lot to do with this kind of understanding.
Oh and one last thing; although most people didn’t like this new me at first, (the one that refused to be treated like dirt) I have flourished in the true definition of myself and have wonderful relationships today, based on truth and equality.