About Finding that Switch (Again)

Obviously, my bag is quite packed with stuff I’ve been carrying for 48 years. Some of the more resilient stuff, I’m gonna have looked at from the pro’s once more. Hopefully, this can happen very soon. It relates to many of the symptoms that make me physically uncomfortable bordering on dysfunctional when reaching their peak levels. In that regard, I’m trying to prepare myself to the finding that I may not have too much room left for improvement – but still some room I may not have identified yet. On the other hand, whether or not I can actually apply helpful coping tools is not going to be totally independent from what my choices for the future are as I may not be able to afford a life that’s built around my challenges forever, if I don’t intend to stay isolated and impoverished. And I have to throw a big fat “No!” to both.

And then there’s the stuff, where my emotions have been tampered with – in very, very bad and very profound ways, just a hair shy of saying I got destroyed or broken. (And I’m not all sure about as to whether or not that is actually the case, but at the very least, left some very bad marks on me that resulted in something I refer to as emotional mutilation). However, whether or not that is the case, it doesn’t have to affect all areas of life and every fibre of my being (although those mutiliations incurred often seem to do that, i.e. affect me on every level). I am afraid I have to find that I’m incapable of having a close, romantic relationship in ways most other people do. By that, I mean the typical, conventional setting of two significant others, sharing bed, table and roof over their heads, sharing common interests and activities and possibly deliberating to start a family somewhere down the road. I don’t think, that’s for me. I’ve come as close to that as I possibly could and then had to back out, because I fully realized that I wasn’t built for this, i.e. family life somewhere in the suburbs and going on vacation once or twice a year, paying off a mortgage and car loans, etc. etc., in other words: Being shackled by a portfolio of ongoing obligations that have to be met regardless of being up to them or not. But that’s not the end of the world, at least not for me. There are so many other areas to explore, friendships and relations to be made, people and situations to be discovered. In other words, striking off one option from an imagined list of cornerstones doesn’t necessarily have to collapse the entire building, right? At least that’s what I told myself after the final breakup from my ex-wife.

So, as far as the emotional side of things, after my divorce I was set on improving my health first, as I had been feeling physically uncomfortable bordering on plain sick very often and I wouldn’t have it no more! I was resolved to make any change required for me to feel better in my own skin. I moved from the place her and I had lived in and started investigating my health issues more thoroughly and from every possible angle. After moving to the area I still live in, I found me a good doctor, who helped me to remove the bulk of my physical ailments and symptoms over a span of roughly four years. I felt an energy and vitality I hadn’t ever felt and with renewed energies in that regard and after some more poor choices for jobs that went awry, I set out to make a brand new start for myself in – Canada. Without going into details, the entire point of making choices roughly outlined here was to own my life again – including my distant and more recent past and regardless of how those have shaped me, but in simply acknowledging the outcomes and taking it from there. Or so I thought in my naiveté.  When saying I thought of acknowledging the outcomes, I seem to have skipped the part, where acceptance is due – first. And that’s a crucial thing I seem to have overlooked or thought of being able to “skip” in some way. But naw. I had to find it simply doesn’t work that way – or didn’t for me. I often found myself referring to this step as “flipping the switch”, as if I could magically “switch off” the past and be in denial over it happen in the first place. In fact and in retrospect, I’m afraid I have to say that this is the exact way I have been living most of my adult life: By being and staying in denial over what’s been done to me during those formative years in early and later childhood. What a gargantuan effort! To make up and live an act of being someone you’re not, but would have liked to be and to be doing this 24/7, more or less.

Quite inevitably, my strength to keep up this act collapsed at some point. That point happened in 2007, when I completely burnt out, became dysfunctional on the job and deteriorated into partial and then full disability on account of those unreconciled chapters from my past. In other words: The past caught up on me and kept banging on my door, refusing to be denied any longer. Not only did it bang on that metaphoric door, it also had the switch in its hand and waved it to my face, yelling “And just forget about flipping this one!”. So it began to dawn on me that I needed to do the work I had attempted to do since my late teens and was let down with by the so-called professionals time and again. I kept looking for qualified and well-suited help in this area later on throughout my adult life, most noteably again before, during and after my divorce. But insights garnered remained scattered pieces of a puzzle too complex for any one single therapist to make complete sense of and shed a conclusive light on. Diagnoses and treatments remained fragmented at best, and in at least one case amount to blatant malpractice (I’m still thinking of sueing that particular person….)

So in the midst of a journey of finding the right person to talk to, which can only be described as nothing less than a cruel odyssey, it dawned on me that an entire spectrum of emotional injuries and challenges was at work here as my symptoms never fit one single disorder, but were rather comprised of a number of them. But I’m digressing.

The thing I seem to have realized last night, which might become the first step of a journey that’s likely to continue until I draw my last breath, and a very crucial and liberating one is this: I have to throw out uninvited boarders from my head! To be more specific: Whoever ingrained me with low self esteem bordering on self-hatred from years and years of the most cruel verbal, emotional and some physical abuse you can think of only to exert complete control over me as a person – they were wrong to do so! Not only were they wrong in doing this to me, but along with it they were wrong with every single judgement and assessment they ever uttered about me. In fact, this person who did all these things to me, never really knew me to begin with – and didn’t and still doesn’t bother to give a flying hoot about who I was or wasn’t. They don’t and never will know the person that I am and as far as I’m concerned, coming from this place, they don’t deserve to know me or who I become, either. Kimberly spoke of divorcing someone from her life the other day. I had accomplished this before. And it needs to be done again, there’s just no way around it if I intend to be happier. It somehow breaks my heart – for them, as they will never know what they’ve been missing out on and what they might be missing out on in the future. But – that’s their choice to begin with and more importantly, their problem to deal with. I got enough to take care of here myself. So each to his own, in a manner of speaking.

Last night out somehow reminded of the person I had betrayed somewhere in the process, a person I had already become – and pushed away again from thinking this might get me closer to those, whom I’d have thought to be naturally close due to the biological connection. But then, apparently the biological link doesn’t say much about experiencing or building a healthy relationship. I had idealized thoughts of removing those injuries from the past together, process them and make room for something new to grow. But sadly, I keep experiencing time and again that when approaching things from this angle, I am being allocated the role of victim over and over again and that any attempt of getting closer or meeting each other half way always follows a rule of “their way or the highway”. So I draw the line. Enough is enough. I’ve been trying for 48 years, more or less constantly. I even bent myself out of shape in embarking on a lifestyle and place myself in an environment that is so unconducive to the real make of me. I sacrificed my happiness and personality then and more recently. I’m not going to do this any longer. There can be no value in a “relationship”, where respect is completely missing and which hinges on one party being a martyr of sorts. I don’t need that and noone does. And that’s the switch of insight I had flipped some 28 years ago and that I’ve been looking to find again.

Last night handed me back directions and an operating manual to that switch. And I’ve flipped it. Irreversibly.

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One thought on “About Finding that Switch (Again)

  1. Pingback: An Intermediate Resume | Late.Shift

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