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Emotional PTSD…

“Some people try to avoid pain by walling themselves from life experiences.

This is an effective short-term goal, but in the long term they are denying themselves opportunities for happiness and growth.

The most effective way to deal with pain is to face the problem head on and use it to propel you forward while working through it.”

 

–Development Issues in Human Personality & Behavior Course, 2014

 

I realized I had emotional PTSD when I received two stimuli related to this nature.

 

  1. I had met a new guy.
  2. I was contacted by a love from the past.

 

My love life has been less than stellar.

 

Every man that I ever dated walked away from me.

It was a process, which was gradual. The first thing that would happen is they would emotionally distance themselves. Then eventually they would physically distance themselves from me. This happened in every substantial relationship which I had hopes for. So naturally, I decided that ceasing to have hope in a meaningful relationship or that I would find the one, was easier than the risk of losing someone with whom I had deep feelings. 

 

Then I met the guy mentioned in scenario number two. We developed a relationship and I slowly started to hope again.

After five months of dating, he left.

The way he did this left me with a broken heart and no closure.

 

I dated after him.

But being totally honest with myself, I looked for him in every guy that I dated. I almost fell for a guy that resembled him the most, but snapped out of it when I discovered he was emotionally unattached. This realization is what helped dissipate my loving feelings.

 

Needless to say, I took some time alone.

On the one hand, I am grateful because I VALUE the time I spend by myself.

I’d like to think I’m more selective with of with whom I spend my time. I have a stronger sense of self that I didn’t have in relationships during my younger years.

 

But, this did NOT help me work through my emotional PTSD.

Unbeknownst to me, I was also avoiding the issue by not dating.

I don’t even know how to conduct myself with men!

On the one hand, I want to express my independence, letting men that I meet know what my expectations are up front and that me honoring them with my time is a choice.

I want them to know that I’m ok with being by myself, in hopes they will do everything in their power to win me over.

I’ve been told if you don’t make a man work for your affection, he will use you. And when he is done, he will walk away.  That’s what I was trying to avoid.

So, pushing them away before they could leave would be my tactic.

Also, being overly emotional ha also been a pattern of mine.

I’d internalize become overly frustrated by the very smallest fraction of inconsistency. I’d internalize this frustration as rejection, and the rejection to be stemming from a personal defect. I was also afraid to hope. Every relationship I hoped would work, didn’t.

 

I decided in order to begin the process of healing from the wounds of my old love, I have to let go.

I feel strongly that he would benefit more from a relationship than I would.

Also, I am quite sure he is a diversion from something better that’s headed my way.

 

I am still feeling the new guy out.

I like his responses to some of the challenges I’ve presented to him.

I want things to work out.

What I don’t like, is that the communication (even early on) is inconsistent.

It’s not what I’m looking for and I’ve decided once I put what I like out there,  he’s got to WANT to do it. 

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L.O.V.E.

DSC_4833So it’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t have a significant other.

I have not spent a Valentine’s with a man in going on ten years. I see evidence of all the love that my family and friends is experiencing and I have mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I am grateful that they found someone that loves them so deeply. I ponder some things in the relationships I witness, especially online.

But the bottom line is Love…

On the other, I feel this awareness that I’m not in a relationship with another person.

I am in one with MYSELF though.

I look at her, now more than ever before and think she’s beautiful.I KNOW her struggles in and out, thus I KNOW her resilience. I want to protect her and groom her to project all the richness she has on the inside, on the outside as well. I want to show her all the love she never got in her romantic relationships.

I know it’s kind of weird to talk about myself in the third person as I just did.

But we are conditioned to project those feelings outward.

To our children.

To our significant other.

To our friends.

To our family.

In my season of singleness, I’m looking at person staring back at me in the mirror every day. And I’m striving to turn love inward.

I’m doing so by embracing my fears and shedding the irrational belief that I’m NOT good enough, so I should settle for less. I hope someone does come along and love me…and takes care of me. But in the meantime, I need to love me…and take care of me.

So that’s what this Valentine’s Day symbolizes for me.

This year I am two months into my pledge to continue building my relationship with myself.

DSC_4835

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R.E.D. Tape!

red-tapeWe are all familiar with the phrase.

In the public sector, it is the legislature which oppresses us.

It is the laws which govern what we do.

It is the way several bodies of government regulate funding for various human services.

Many times, it is a catch 22 situation!

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