This is going to lead into another post, but I feel like it’s two separate topics to discuss.
I have always very much internalized a lot of external things in my life, and have always struggled with it. The kind of internalization that I have done in the past can be extremely damaging to me as a person. To my emotional health, to my psychological health, to my physical health.
It’s one of the reasons I may seem slightly disconnected to a lot of things at times. It may seem like I’m ignorant of a lot of things as well. And honestly…sometimes it’s a very intentional ignorance on my part. Because choosing to be more ignorant of some things can help me not be a complete and utter mess.
Perhaps some might call me an empath or some sort of thing. Who knows. I can’t find the most accurate word or phrase or theory at this point to really better explain what it is that happens to me. Empath doesn’t fit. Neither does the pseudo-psychological application of the word “internalization/internalisation”, either.
I become so affected by powerful, sad, negative, things that it has often left me so drained for other things in life. It affected my ability to have relationships, friendships, it affected my emotional state so much that I couldn’t enjoy life the way I thought I should.
Even something as simple as a super heart-string tugging commercial about abandoned abused animals can literally make my heart hurt. I tear up, I want to cry, and I have chest and arm pains. It passes, of course. But that’s just a silly example of how easily some things can affect me. I can be “moved” by seemingly small things, far more moved than other people. And that has had some less than desirable effects.
I can look back now and see that there was often a lack of understanding of the mind, of the emotional cores of us as human beings. I didn’t realize just how much things could affect us, and that we had some amount of control over whether or not things did, and how much. Being “impressionable” was definitely a part of it, which comes with being a younger, sheltered, naive person.
(Apologies at this point, I had written the rest of this and it disappeared due to a glitch in publishing it. Thank you, Word Press. I hate you sometimes. I will reconstruct the rest of this as best I can.)
Coming to the realizations that I did has really been the biggest and most important first step in gaining the modicum of control I’ve managed over the years. Though, much of it is a kind of avoidance to some extent, rather than actual control. But the awareness of what can and does affect me greatly has helped in either being able to avoid situations that I probably should avoid in the first place, or to simply accept the emotional tidal wave in other situations and learn to ride it through as best I can without letting it affect other parts of my life or my relationships. I’ve manage to learn to deal directly with emotions so that there are no (or little) lasting effects.
Some of the kinds of things I would feel (especially the obviously negative things, such as anger, rage, jealousy, paranoia and the like) made me a person I really didn’t like, and didn’t want to be. Sure, some of it was my fault, and I accept that. I chose to stay in an area, around people and situations that I really just should have walked away from far earlier. But I also don’t take full blame because there was a massive lack of actual, applicable awareness. I was extremely naive, extremely impressionable, extremely mold-able. And looking back I see that a lot of people in my life were at times very much aware of that and very much the kind of people that would take advantage of it, and did.
Eventually I was able to really accept that I did need to change. That kind of awareness and acceptance is sometimes very hard-won. It took a long time, seeing over time that I couldn’t change other people, and that the only change I had any control over was my own. I had to change, I had to make the moves to really make sure those changes held.
Thankfully because of that acceptance, which wasn’t fully employed at the time, led to meeting new people and finding a new path in life. And I’m glad it happened.
A few people I knew actually said to me that they thought I was running away from my problems, instead of dealing with them. I beg to differ. Removing one’s self from a hotbed of craptasticness isn’t an invalid way of dealing with something. We’re often taught to walk away from what might turn into a fight, be it a yelling match or a physical one.
If we’ve tried so much, to change things from the “inside” of a situation or a group of people, with no success… then changing one’s self from the inside is the only other option. And yes, getting away from the external forces of bad is part of that. There was no amount of talking, cajoling, or manipulation or anything that was going to change those around me, or the repetition of the bad situations, bad choices, and bad habits. Nothing I could have attempted would have changed a thing for them. So nothing was changing for me, either. Other than a growing awareness inside of me that I needed to remove myself from it for any more internal change to happen.
Yes, that involved me moving out of my home state.
Yes, that involved me starting over.
Yes, that involved me finding a new life with new people, and a newly chosen set of family and friends.
If you think that’s running away from my problems instead of fixing them, then you can kindly fuck right off. If I had made the choice to not leave, to not start a new life with a new person, to not take the largest chance of my life… I would not be the person I am today, as much as I wouldn’t be without the experiences I had before this chapter in my life.
But I am actually quite disturbed to think about just where I might be right now, almost a decade later, had I not made the choices I have. And I have to say, looking at the people I was so entrenched with before making those choices, I don’t like where that might have been. I really don’t. Knowing where some of those people are… Especially the ones that I had the strongest connection with. I hate to say that some of them really aren’t in a place that I want to be in, or even associated with.
Some of them have disappeared for the most part.
Some of them have gone a better direction and are doing nicely for themselves, and I am incredibly happy for them. I’m glad I fall into this particular category. And knowing myself, had I not gone through that process of awareness and acceptance of the need of change…I would not be writing this today. I’m not sure where I’d be, and I don’t like that thought in the slightest.
I’m not sure if I ever would have gone through the realization I did. Or continued the path of realization had I not met my (now) husband. Had I not taken a chance on something new.
On top of the curiousness I have about a lot of things surrounding the choices I’ve made and why I made them, I have an odd curiousness about how people, past and present see me. How they view the choices I’ve made, and make. How they view my methodology. To me it’s an unending search for more insight and more answers that I know I probably will never get.
I suppose it stems from the curiosity I have about other people, and the choices they make, how they make them, their thought processes, their reasoning, their methodology. I’ve come to realize that to some extent my choices, my thought processes, my reasoning, my methodology is sometimes vastly different from other people. And because of that realization I’ve become incredibly curious about how those close to me view me when they see me making choices and how I approach things.
And at this point the thought process I have starts sliding into the separate topic of me picking my own battles with social topics. So with that, I’ll leave this one alone and start working on the next.