You know, recovery can be really sucky.
I experience a lot of mood changes, small things make me want to cry, small things make me want to laugh, more feelings than I’ve ever experienced before in my life go through me in a day, or a few days, after something triggers me.
It doesn’t help that abuse was also tied up with a lot of spiritual things in my life. I don’t envy anyone else who’s experienced it more than me, but even on a small level, it’s doubly disturbing to have human cruelty mixed up with spiritual problems. not that it’s ever not tied together, deep down, even when it’s hidden.
Between times like that, I can feel normal, level, happy. Like my old self.
Now, I don’t know who my actual self is. The one who doesn’t get emotional easy, or the one who gets emotional over everything, or both. Probably both.
I always wondered if my calmness could also be a bad thing, like why don’t I get moved easily? Why do emotional displays annoy me more often than get to me. (Which can still be true.)
Generally, I can empathize more with anyone I feel is trying to improve, but still getting tripped up over their feelings. While people who wallow in it annoy me.
For others, it’s the opposite. they don’t like people who try to stay positive and progress, they like the more “realistic” Everything sucks attitude. Emo anime characters come to mind.
Anyway, I’m not about the self-pity party, but I have to take how I feel seriously at the same time, treat myself with kindness.
A lot of days I end up saying to myself “It’s okay to feel bad, but it’s not okay to let that rule you. You can feel sad, and not be depressed.”
I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m sort of a trailblazer in my family when it comes to focusing on the good stuff, but not ignoring my own needs.
I have a father whose whole side of the family is obsessed with their own feelings, and that is all important to them. If they aren’t happy, no one can be. Everyone else is to blame.
And I have a mother who’s side of the family is about never talking about your pain or anger, and always soldiering on. Even if it means losing connection and communication with your family members. They go silent, and you freeze to death.
Where does that put me?
Well, the good thing about two opposites as parents is you end up seeing the pros and cons of both and if you try, you can find a different way.
Not ignoring my feelings can be a problem though because it is very hard not to dwell on thoughts and feelings that are negative for me. It was never modeled for me as a kid, and neither was positive self talk.
Here’s where I find myself. Two feelings are at war in me almost all the time, almost every day. One is negative, sadness, anger, anxiety, etc. The other is positive, joy, gladness, hope, triumph over the battles, love even.
Love is odd too, it runs very high sometimes. I think it’s a way to take my mind off myself.
I’ve been told to watch that Inner Critic, that it’s a big part of being stuck in an abusive cycle.
But I don’t have a very strong Inner Critic, I haven’t for a while.
When I get down, the thing that goes through my mind is more:
“God loves me.” “I love you.” “I love this person.” “I will not be ruled by my emotions.”
Sometimes another voice starts up “How do you know you’ll ever get better?” “Maybe this is the rest of your life.” “Maybe you are crazy.”
I guess if I am, everyone is. Crazy people aren’t the ones who hear stuff in their minds, they’re the ones who are dumb enough to believe it when it tells them bad things.
Going mad can be a choice. Giving your ind over to darkness is a choice. If at some point it ceases to be a choice, it’s because you gave in too much.
Yet anyone who can become a Christina at least can become sound in their mind again, according to Romans (5 I think).
Humans have survived great suffering, even torture, with their minds intact because they would not give in to it.
The process of Recovery can feel like an emptying of everything. For better or worse, something that was always in your life is now gone. Probably for good.
When you are emptying out, certain temptations become hard to resists (The Screwtape Letters covers this well).
Sexual temptation is big for many people. For me its more the temptation to dwell on romance. It could easily turn into pitying myself because I don’t have it, but I try to just enjoy watching it, seeing any kind of healthy love.
I guess I internalize healthy depictions of romance and parent-child relationships because I know I have a void of examples in my life, and I need to fill it.
I notice I’m not the only one. There’s a YouTuber I watch who loves good parents in fiction and sweet, touching moments because they know they didn’t have that, and they want to learn to be a better kind of parent.
You don’t have to have seen a good marriage growing up to see a better dynamic on TV or in a book, and know it’s the real deal. The classic Pride and Prejudice evens mentions Elizabeth’s ideals of marriage are not based on her own parents. Jane Austen got it.
I also am a more open shipper, I don’t have a “ship type” like edgy boy and upbeat girl (though I enjoy those, often.) I try to glean a lot of different examples from all kinds of couples, I don’t know what my marriage will look like yet, you can learn a lot form fiction.
I find as I feel empty, it’s best to focus on good things.Wholesome things.
You give out what you put in. I’m drawn to shows about overcoming emotional problems, neglect, and abuse.
In fact, just to really expose myself, here’s a list of the stuff I’ve been watching since my dad moved out:
Fruits Basket (in the process, actually)
Lovely Complex (great show)
Say I Love You
Instant Family (movie)
Married at First Sight
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Fruits Basket again
There’s more, believe me, but just on that list, anyone notice how many of those shows deal with the topic of abuse and emotional growth? Pretty much all of them.
I have a type.
The thing is, going into most of these shows, I had no idea they would be like that, it just happened.
This happens in my life a lot, I’ll start learning about something important, and suddenly everything I watch and read will be about that, not because I typed in in some search engine, it’ll just turn out that way.
I think it’s a Divine Gift. A way for a girl to grow who never had a lot of good mentors in her life to help her.
And it is possible to be shaped by books, movies, and shows, anyone who says different is lying.
Music too. I mean I started listening to Skillet in just the past year, and a lot of their songs are about that stuff. And the Oh Hellos.
Focusing on all this is a way to not feel so alone in my experiences, and as I can’t exactly join a support group right now, that’s good.
There’s more to the process of moving on, but I think I’ve said enough for one post.
Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.
3 thoughts on “Emptying Out.”
“Going mad can be a choice. Giving your mind over to darkness is a choice. If at some point it ceases to be a choice, it’s because you gave in too much.”
Definitely. If you look at every one of the 7 deadly sins, the extreme result of any of them is to become like that of a beast. Carnal, material, pathological, et cetera. From a sex addict, to a drug addict. From an overly proud sociopath, to a lazy and unmotivated drone… at the end of the day the difference between us and beasts is that we were created in God’s image, we have a soul, we were chosen by God and saved by Jesus Christ. But people who refuse to acknowledge that, who reject the gift of eternal life, who push God away and turn to sin, become more and more like beasts as a result.
I can’t speak for you of course, but I will say that you should take refuge in knowing that Jesus Christ saved you and that no matter what happens on this earth, you have been redeemed through Him! An entire lifetime of suffering is still nothing when compared to an eternity in God’s Kingdom.
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Thanks for the thoughtful comment, yomu. I do agree, its important to remember that Jesus has still saved us from the worst fate.
Our identity in him is more important than any earthly experience can be.
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“Crazy people aren’t the ones who hear stuff in their minds, they’re the ones dumb enough to believe the bad stuff they tell them.”
Ha. True though.
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