Emptying Out.

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)

Naruto (ugh)

MHA (aww)

RWBY (err!)

Fairy Tail

Lovely Complex (great show)

Say I Love You

Instant Family (movie)

Married at First Sight

She-Ra

Dragon Prince

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Miraculous Ladybug

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.

 

Can abusers be “good” people?

Weird title I know. Before anyone gets triggered, it’s supposed to be ironic.

But this is about something I notice especially in the church, but I think it’s outside it too, we in the Church just have it more.

Why is abuse so prevalent yet unnoticed?

I’ve heard several stories of it going on with Christian parents, sometimes physical, but more often verbal or emotional, and it slips by, or worse, the church encourages it.

And as a young teen, it began to puzzle me how with my own father, the people around him thought he was a good guy.

His pastor thought his heart was very for the Lord, mistaking guilt addiction for a strong conscience and self deprecation for a penitent attitude.

People would see him kneel in worship and say he looked so devoted. Not knowing that a lot of the time, he was either thinking very depressing thoughts about what kind of a sinner he was (and that is not worship, by the way, though it can be part of it, but it should be leading you back to appreciating how good God is) or he was judging the church of less committed/less humble people.

I knew all this, but I doubted my own thoughts.

Also, I had the conundrum of knowing my dad was a good businessman, tried to be very fair to his customers. He taught his employees a good work ethic.

He was a good man in other ways (still is, I guess) loyal to his country, committed to honesty and fairness in the legal system.

He didn’t drink a lot, or smoke, or do drugs, he provided for us. He spent money he didn’t need to, and didn’t like to share his snacks, but not to the point of poverty.

All this to say, from the outside, my dad looks like an exceptional citizen. Better than most. And a good Christian.

It’s not unique to my family. As I said, I hear similar stuff, my therapist’s abusive father was a pastor… you’d be surprised (I hope) at how common that is.

It’s the personality type, I think. The kind of men who are drawn to positions of leadership can easily become addicted to control and authority and their own way. They don’t start off intending to be abusive, but they have a weak character and the pressure gets to them, they lack the maturity to recognize the bad behavior, so they use their position and biblical knowledge to justify it.

I’m sure there’s articles out there about this oddity, but I’m just going to give my perspective on it (if it lines up with research, it says more for my perception, right?)

There’s two reasons for it, though I think at the core, they are the same reason.

  1. Mental/psychological

The problem with abusers is they’ve usually been abused. Or they have some weakness that makes them unable to recognize destructive behavior, or they don’t care. Most is the first one.

When you’ve been abused, it feels normal to you. It’s hardwired into your mind. Even if it made you furious, the biblical sounding quote holds true

“Good begets good; evil begets evil;” (Paul Auster).

Evil leads to more evil. You do it because it was done to you. But no one wants to feel they were as bad as their parents. So, they come up with reasons it was okay.

My grandfather once told my dad, not that long ago, that he treated him badly partly because he didn’t know what to do, and partly because “you were kind of an a—h—”

Which still hurt my dad after 50+ years,

My dad told me the same thing. He told me he didn’t know what else to do because I just wouldn’t listen otherwise.

I’ve heard the same words come out of my mouth, I am now trying to break that habit.

It’s so, so easy to convince yourself it’s not as bad as all that. They’re not a bad person. Or you aren’t.

Abusers don’t know any other way to handle people, and even if they’ve seen it demonstrated by friends or movies or books, they often are blind to how they can apply it to themselves.

Yet, they have some awareness that what they do is wrong. My dad used to periodically apologize for it, promise to do better, to never do it again. To be more loving and considerate of my needs.

One time, the last time, was right before he left. He’d come back after his pastor so unwisely counseled him to do so, and brought us flowers and candy and cupcakes. IT was mockery, my sisters and I agreed, because I used to express how my love language (it’s a style of relating described in a book series by Gary Chapman, popular in the Christian culture in America, if you don’t know) was Receiving Gifts. I had hoped my dad would try to love me better by doing it, but he never did, except once in a very long while he’d get us a movie, not me specifically though. He got me presents to make fun of me a couple of times. Fried worms, pimple/acne soap, that kind of thing. (IF you think that sound cruel, it was.)

My dad actively showed his contempt for everything about me, so these gestures meant nothing, only rubbed it in. We didn’t touch the stuff, I tore up a note he left and threw it away.

So, when the apology came, along with a fake smile and penitent look, I didn’t even look him in the eye and said I wold not talk to him, he still told me anyway, to my chagrin. My sister was there, and refused to talk to him, with more success. It was a reminder how little my comfort mattered, or my acceptance.

My dad basically gave up on me ever accepting his behavior, made it the same as rejecting him, and excused all his abuse on those grounds. It was my fault for not being a better daughter, was his line of thinking. And sometimes almost exactly what he would tell me.

This is how abusers think. Otherwise, most of them, at least the Christians or otherwise moral ones, would be too horrified at themselves to live with themselves.

My dad also suffers from bipolar depression. Or did, he does not really anymore. He went off his medication, and actually got better. But the things that cause depression, he never learned to deal with properly. My dad does not have manic, uncontrollable mood swings like you hear about, instead he has a tenancy to dwell on the negative, to lose his temper quickly, and to feel guilty and low about it afterward, instead of seeking help and to change by changing his attitude, he simply tries to stop himself, that never works.

But he’s trying so hard, he has to have an excuse for why it doesn’t work, rather than it just being a hopeless case, no one wants to fee hopeless. No one is hopeless, really, but people who will not allow for God’s grace will end up stuck in a rut they cannot leave.

So, the excuse is, it’s our fault, and abuse is justified.

Abuse is not about hating you family, at first. C. S. Lewis observed that once you mistreat someone, you begin to hate them. The author of “The Enchanted April” also observed that you can dislike someone after you’ve deceived them. The feeling of guilt gets tied to your idea of the person, and you dislike them to avoid disliking yourself, or along with disliking yourself. This was even in the Peabody and Sherman movie.

An abuser hates the person they abuse after awhile because they know, deep down, that they are wrong.

A revelation for me was realizing how right I was fro years that I was really not th eone to blame for the situation. I had never dreamed my father would lie to himself so effectively.

This brings me to the second reason:

2. Spiritual/human nature.

We can make all the theories of mental psychosis we wish, but they all are just fancy ways to disguise to ourselves that human beings are deeply flawed, born sinners, and cannot be good. Even our good has so much selfishness, pride, and fear mixed into it that it would not be called pure good by any honest critic.

Pure good, some say, does not exist. Those people do not believe in God. They deny that the evidence that we feel there should be a pure good proves it must exist, for if all we had was mixed, it would be all we would know to expect.

Every child who is shocked at its parents for doing something wrong for the first time is completely justified, we all know we ought to have been perfect. That is why parents get so ashamed and often angry at their kids for calling them out (and yes, you can guess I was that kind of child.)

Really, people mock naivete and it is foolish to expect people to always be good, but it is not unreasonable to think they should be.

Abusers fall into an ugly place on that scale. They must not be found out, for their whole world would crumble. They are not naturally good. They cannot seem to help but be abusive. Even if they could, their fallen nature makes it too tempting not to try, and they can play off others weaknesses to get away with it.

My dad and I both have perceptive skills that go above average. We see things about people they don’t see about themselves. In my case, it makes me an empath. I have chosen to try to use this gift to help others.

In my dad’s case, it made him a nightmare of emotional abuse. Able to read people’s weaknesses and their emotions easily, say just the right thing to throw them off, and yet, enough of it was true to make you wonder if the problem was with you.

I found out there’s a word for one of his tactics: Gaslighting.

He’d deny saying and doing cruel things, say I was just overly sensitive, or I was trying to make him out to be worse than he was, I had this image of him.

I think he really believed it while he was saying it, yet he’d confess at other times to mistreatment.

Still, he was right when he’d say I have self worth issues (I wonder why) and anger and mistrust of him. He was not wholly unaware of what we felt.

Which makes it worse, really.

But human nature is to be easily corruptible.

One last way my dad would appear to be a better person, that I think is commonly why this does not get exposed.

There were times I would stand up to him, boldly, angrily, and tell him off, and he’d listen. Be too surprised to stop me; or, I think, recognizing I was for the moment, out of reach. Perhaps, a part of it is he knew he was wrong, deep down.

The last time this happened was several months before the blow up that led to moving out. I told him he could not threaten me with violence anymore, that he had hit me once, and that was unacceptable, and threatening me again was wrong.

he didn’t disagree. He redirected the conversation, eventually I told him to stop trying to “help” (read: control) me, and then, in a final offer of peace, I asked him to pray about it all and consider what God told him.

I knew soon what happened, we were watching a movie and I commented on one of the characters, and my dad said in a defeated, woebegone voice “maybe his daughter doesn’t want him to help her anymore.” I knew immediately he had not done what I asked, and would not do it. he was determined to take what I said in the worst possible way.

I knew also that more anger would follow that, now that he had dismissed all I said. So I was not surprised when it melted down after the family got back from vacation.

Sadly, my sister had made what seemed like headway on the vacation. Having some really honest conversations, telling my dad to stop doing what he was doing, and how they really felt. It looked like he might change, but he acted the same toward me after getting home, and then within the next week, things got crazy.

It had gotten, I suppose, too close to home for him. he felt his glass house was cracking.

And, here I am.

But trying to understand how an otherwise good man coudl be so cruel, even evil, to his own family has been a hard task for me. One my therapist is assisting with.

Yet, as MHA has noted, being a hero in your profession does not make you a hero with your family, or anyone outside your comfort zone of control.

BNHA Endeavor Wallpapers - Top Free BNHA Endeavor Backgrounds ...

And Miraculous Ladybug has shown how a man can convince himself his end means justified every abuse and exploitation of what should not be exploited.

Hawkmoth ヽ(´ー`)┌ | Chat noir

Anyway, I hope this post has been interesting for you, since it ran a little long, and until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

Why did I choose Therapy?

I was looking at some posts and videos about therapy today, just to see if other people are sharing my experiences.

I found some surprisingly negative stuff, people saying therapy is for people who can’t face reality, yada yada.

Well, a lot of people have written articles debunking therapy myths, so I can’t add anything new, but I’d like to share why I chose Therapy.

  1. it was not because my depression and anxiety are so debilitating I cannot function.

I can sleep, eat, and work, I don’t feel bad all the time. The feelings are not usually very strong when I do, more of a nagging “something isn’t right” kind of feeling.

The reason I decided to seek therapy despite that is A. I didn’t want it to turn into that because I ignored the problem, and B. I don’t want to act in ways that will hurt the people around me.

With abuse and trauma and neglect, the problem is all you’ve seen demonstrated is the wrong way to handle stuff, therapy cannot replace good parents, but your therapists ideally is showing you a healthier way to listen and talk about feelings and problems, and helping you find what will work for you. In place of being shown it as a child, you can choose to learn it as an adult.

2. I didn’t want a pity party.

What drew me to therapy versus just some kind of support group sort of thing was I wanted to be able to learn and apply for myself so I don’t end up dependent on other people for everything in my life. My therapist acknowledges my life was hard, but doesn’t linger on how that makes me a victim, I’d hate that.

3. I ran out of options

The thing is, therapy is not always necessary. A strong friend group, family, and community can help you the same way.

The problem is, if you need therapy, that’s a  good sign you don’t have any of those things.

That was the case for me, I have loving family members, but not ones who are very emotionally healthy and strong in the areas I need to grow in.

I have friends, but few I can really talk to, I end up encouraging them, more than they contribute to me. Also, people don’t want to talk about abuse, it scares them.

My community was somewhat supportive, but not on an intimate level where I could talk things out and figure out how to move on.

I’ve sought these things for years, and not had as much success as I could wish, so rather than wait until I do, Therapy seemed the wiser choice. Give me some breathing room to build better relationships.

Of course, it can be frustrating not to have those things, but to not have them should not be the end of emotional healing and growth.

4. Therapy is a way to acknowledge my need for help.

It’s dangerous to try to handle everything yourself, but I am tempted to do it. Therapy is a commitment that will keep me from being able to do that, even if I wanted to. It also keeps me talking to my family about my struggles because they are aware of what I’m doing.

5. Therapy is not an escape from the hard stuff.

I did not want to ignore what happened by putting a band-aid on it. Therapy does not do that. The idea is to face it with the attitude that it does not define you, and you can keep it that way by developing healthier habits.

A little look at what this is for me:

A lot of the process of healing is something I’ve been working on for years. So, my therapist knows she is not talking to a novice. So far she focuses on what I need to be encouraged to keep doing it. And to not give up on thinking it can get better, which was what I was tempted to do, and still am sometimes.

I lived in the ad situation for years, it affected me in ways I’ll still be discovering for years, and that’s okay. Because good emotional health does not depend on knowing every thing that bothered you ever before you can be good again. It depends on knowing how to treat it when something comes up.

Also, having issues does not mean you live out of them, as I’ve said before.

One of my defining issues for years has been “It’s my fault”, my dad used to blame me for literally everything that upset him about our family.

My therapist says he was all the more angry at me because I refused to accept his blame. My dad upbraided me for “fighting him” which meant all I resisted and argued and called him out on over the years. he didn’t break me. But he tried, and just knowing he tried was traumatic.

Perhaps some of you know what I’m talking about. Maybe the person didn’t go all the way with a threat, or an attack, or a bad decision, but just that they did part of the way was scary, and you didn’t know if they’d go further.

The more my dad tried to scare me, the more I fought it.

There’s a quote I found about depression that goes like this:

Quotes about Clinical Depression (42 quotes)

That’s what it is like for me. I was holding my family together by sheer enduracne, it felt like, until I just couldn’t do it any more. I ignored my suffering. Or I faced it alone with God because I had no one to talk to.

I came a lot further because of God, but turning to God can become a way of avoiding it, not because God does not help, but because you can stop actually seeking his help in your attempt to use that to justify not needing anyone else. God’s help may be in other people.

6. I thought God told me to.

Avoiding therapy was stressing me out more than my other problems were, now at least that is off my plate.

I did not want to need help, but the thing is, I also do not want to live my life by that desire. The one to be stronger than other people just to make it easier for myself. Being smart has always made college classes easy for me, yet in classes I do struggle in, the worst of it the people who have an easy time and have no pity for those who don’t.

I’m the classmate people ask questions of and what the homework is, because I don’t mind telling them. Would you ask the person who acts like they are better than you for knowing?

Even if I stumbled through without therapy, I don’t want to be the type to judge people for needing it. I have had a weakness for being afraid of people who are broken, partly because I lived with it for so long, but I want to have compassion for them and be able to help them.

(Note: I know someone who thinks that handling things on their own has always gotten them through life just fine, but this same person rarely if ever confronts people about what they don’t like, shares their feelings, admits to needing help, or is able to sympathize with other people. They are not a bad person, they are a kind person in many ways, but you just can’t talk to them about anything really deep and expect understanding. So it can be deceptive to assume you are fine just because you feel fine, maybe you aren’t miserable, but your life could be lacking so much meaning in it because you settled for barely getting by on your own.)

7. Therapy will, I hope, make me a better person.

My hope is to be a better sister, daughter, wife, friend, and christian for gong through the hard steps of therapy now and not later.

In all honesty, it can feel like it’s only making it worse. After a session I feel like my insides got poked with a stick on all the raw spots. I can feel off for days afterward.

But even with physical sickness, treatment can make you feel worse.

I used this analogy with my sisters (two of us have or have had braces)

Therapy is like getting braces.

Your teeth may be really messed up, many teeth problems can cause serous issues later in life if left unchecked, like breathing problems, infection, or bone damage from incorrect chewing. Teeth can grow in on themselves and be very painful.

But you’ve had them that way your whole life, since they grew in, you’ve grown up biting and sleeping the way you do, you’re used to how it looks. It’s just your teeth.

So, when your parents make you get braces, it feels awful. It’s painful for the first few weeks, and then with each new tightening, the pain is fresh all over again.

If you’re like me, you have a bunch of appliances, it gets stressful changing the new methods time after time, just when you got used to it.

And then, finally, you have that perfect smile you always wanted, the work is over right, only took 2 and half years…

Metal Braces Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

but, then you have a retainer, or your teeth will go back into their old habits.

49024 Orthodontist | What Happens If I Don't Wear My Retainer?

You see how it’s the perfect metaphor?

Teeth are as stubborn as thought and behavioral patterns, if you aren’t careful, they get out of hand fast. They are hard to correct, and without diligent care, braces can get pretty gross and give you cavities.

Therapy is like braces, it hurts, every session can feel like a new tightening, until you get used to it. even then, what if a new element is introduced later that starts the pain up all over. Even if in reality it’s only a couple years, at the beginning, that seems like forever.

And afterward, you know it won’t stay fixed without help. You have to “retain” what you learned in therapy in order to maintain a healthy  life.

Maybe not getting braces won’t be fatal (it can be with extreme dental problems) but it will leave you in a lot worse shape than if you just bite the bullet for a couple years.

My dad, ever the example of what not to do, did not wear his retainer or keep gong ot the dentist, and his teeth got crooked again and he ended up with a painful infection, had to get most of them replaced.

And you may not be so lucky with emotional and behavioral problems.

My dad almost preferred not having the real thing, it can be easier that way, dentures and fake teeth don’t rot, right?

Just so superficial relationships with people who won’t challenge you may last 20 years, but never be anything really valuable.

I like to keep my real teeth just like I’d like to feel my own feelings with really deep relationships. So, I’ll take the harder but healthier method.

Therapy does not get me out of hard work, it just keeps me form blowing it out of proportion. It keeps things in their proper place, much like braces do.

That’s what I have for you today, I hope if some of  you were wondering about what therapy is like, this answered your questions. This is just my experience of 4 sessions, so I’m barely getting started and not all therapy is the same, but it’s what I have available.

Until next time–Natasha.

Miraculous Ladybug is an Empath’s Nightmare! (And other things)

Chloe is best girl, yeah, I said it.

Man is this show hard to watch and not get involved. Especially if you can sympathize with almost every villain, and the main one. Even if they annoy me.

Now that I finished Season 3, I think:

A. What the heck is wrong with you Natalie? Natalie, vous-ete (est?) tres stupide!

(I took French last year, this show keeps reminding me of it.)

B. Why, oh why, are they dragging out this ship, everyone knows it’s endgame by now.

C. They are wasting Yagame as part of a triangle, she’s freaking awesome, she should be a separate character.

D. Chloe is hands down the best character on this show. Sorry, HawkMoth, go suck an egg.

I am not crazy about the finale, I think they did my girl Chloe dirty, she slowly won me over as the most complex, sympathetic character of the main cast. Unlike the villains, she occasionally makes good decisions, and improves herself.

But by far the crowning moment for Queen Bee was being the very first person to successfully throw off an Acuma (the moth mind control thing, if you don’t know.)

The Mary Sue Marinette does dodge an acuma a couple of times, but only Chloe has thrown one off after already being infected.

Until suddenly, she’s too stupid to know HawkMoth is just using her, or too petty to care. This show has a habit of scrapping Chloe-character development whenever it’s plot convenient.

Even if it did make sense, it’s pretty negative to have a character regress so often, and I don’t see how it helps the message of the show.

But as an empath, this show can be one heck of a ride. The fact that negative emotions are the main antagonistic feature is both interesting, and difficult. They keep it PG, but some of the stuff is very adult, even so. Jobs, money, fraud, all that stuff that adults and kids alike have to worry about.

They have this little sociopath Lyla on the show now, and she’s officially the worst character.

But Lyla provides an all too ugly example of the kind of people we’ve all meant, the ones who embrace and nurse their wounded feelings, and choose hatred and spite on purpose, no matter what someone tries to do to make up for it.

Any little thing is enough to offend those people, and if it’s a big thing, you can be sure you’ll never hear the end of it from them.

One can’t help but think while watching about how we are tempted by our own negative feelings to give into them.

The show does not hide that many of the people who get acumatized feel ashamed afterwards, their private feelings were just displayed for all the world to see, and they do not even remember it.

The show even acknowledges that some people would begin to find the city of Paris a too dangerous place to walk around in freely, but the wiser characters remind them that giving into to fear will only make it worse.

The show kind of skips the distraction of politics that usually make it hard to focus on the point of whether living in fear is wise, or necessary, instead it goes right to showing how living in fear is the worst response to a threat because it gives it more power. Intimidation is a key component of any take over, the season 2 finale even shows this brazenly in its plot.

That being the case, we can draw some interesting parallels to many things in our world, where our fear makes the situation worse.

People decry the world for getting too relaxed, lazy, indolent. Shows like MHA, and RWBY, even have the villains taunt heroes with that attitude, but the fact is, fear driven societies are disasters. They are miserable, and there’s a collective wisdom in our desire not to dwell on fear.

How to Cope in a Fear-Driven Society | Psychology TodayIf It Bleeds, It Leads: Understanding Fear-Based Media ...

The idea that we should not dwell on our negative feelings is one that strikes home with me too, as you may remember, I have been dealing with depression.

Happily, it’s gotten much better, I don’t think it was ever full force anyway, but I had to do some soul searching, and I came to the conclusion… soul searching doesn’t work.

There are times and phases in life when you have to look at yourself and ask “what the heck am I doing?” but not when you’re depressed, stressed, or anxious. Introspection is a real pain when you aren’t feeling great about yourself to begin with, and it’s rarely honest.

Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out. 3 As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings cannot be searched. ” (Proverbs 25:2-3) 

C. S. Lewis gave up keeping a diary because he saw no use for focusing on his own thought and feelings so much anymore. As a young teen, having a journal kept me sane, I did not have a lot of people to talk to.

Now, I still don’t have a ton of people to talk to, but I think I understand emotions a little better than when I was 13.

I do still keep a journal, but it’s become less of a comfort, it can be fun to write out good things, but the hyper-focus on what’s wrong no longer helps me process, it’s become rehashing the same thoughts over and over.

I think journaling does work, but perhaps God has not put his hand into that at this time of my life. So, I switched to therapy.

And in my last talk with my therapist, she told me again that my controlling father will probably not change, after decades of getting away with the same behavior.

At one time, I would not have wanted to hear that. While he was around, hoping he’d change was about all that kept me from despairing of my situation, up until last year, I never imagined he could leave. It’s still remarkable that it happened.

I can’t say I enjoyed hearing that it may be hopeless, but I did realize something, a lot of my hope depends on the idea that other people will change, or that I myself will somehow learn a new trick to manage my life.

In therapy, I’m being encouraged to just keep doing what I’ve already done, with few extra tips. Turns out, maybe therapy is  support system for what people already would need to do, but we can get so psyched out if left to ourselves, and not make those decisions. We need someone else to back us up.

See, the approach so far is not that I need to be “fixed” like I thought, but that I need to be encouraged to keep making the right choices, it’s having someone else on your team.

So, if you’ve ever considered therapy, at least Christian therapy, let me say, don’t expect it to be carrying you, but it can give you more resolve and help you feel there’s a way to move forward.

I now don’t think I’d have lost my mind without it, but it is hopefully shortening the amount of years I’ll spend recovering from this, since a huge part of recovery is not walking in the same circles of anxiety.

How does this tie in to the show?

Well… everyone on this show needs therapy. They need to learn ways to make better choices.

Chloe had the right idea, having someone you can trust to care about you is  good first step, you need to have hope.

Chloe hit the wall of having hope in a human being though, they will not always understand, or make wise choices.

Honestly, one of the ironies of the show is that Marinette, the person with a good background, loving parents, loyal friends, can be the most insecure, immature person in the main cast, save for Hawkmoth, ’cause that guy is whacked.

However, I’ve been thinking about that.

See, my dad had a royally flipped up background. Some of it might blow your mind, but some of you might have had similar experiences, I’ve discovered that suffering and evil are not what’s uncommon.

I know people with better parents than mine, too. But I have still been lucky in some ways.

The thing is, the people with good parents, aren’t necessarily the strongest, neither are the people with bad parents, despite what anime seems to think.

Trauma+tragedy is not a recipe for strong, brave character. In many cases, they are the most afraid and abusive of all.

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But, good family also doesn’t make you compassionate. Marinette is a perfect fictional example of how it make you less able to understand what others go through, while Adrian is far more sympathetic to people’s difficulties.

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Miraculous Ladybug is Adrien's Story: Here's Why

I used this analogy the other day, your background is like being dealt a hand of cards (I borrowed this from Stasi Eldredge).

The thing is, in most card games, you don’t win with the hand you start out with. With games like Shanghai, you have to add and replace cards slowly over time to get the right combinations.

A hand of cards at the start of a game of bridge - ABC News ...So, whether it was good hand, a bad hand, or in between, you still can’t win, unless you play the game, and play it well.

The game is life, bro.

What I mean is, you can choose to discard what was negative in your life, to stop listening to that, to exchange it for something better, in a Christian’s case, a new history in God.

How To Play UNOYou can get help, you can change your course. You can build on a good background, if you have one.

Whether you start off bad or good, you choose where it goes from there.

On the show, Chloe has to look at the very bad examples of both her parents, and realize she wants to be a hero, she wants to be kinder.

77.9k Likes, 709 Comments - Chloe Bourgeois ...Thomas Sanders just released a new video talking about almost the same thing, and asking the question “Why should we be good? What’s our motivation.”

I could have saved him 45 minutes of screen time, I have the answer.

Because God made us with that purpose. God requires goodness of us, and God has provided a way to be justified in his sight, because we cannot pull it off.

When you love God, you will want to be good. You will be able to be, more than if you were just trying for some abstract standard. Love is really all that motivates us.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

And for me, I don’t love myself so much I want to be a better person just for that reason, I do want to be happy, but there are times I loathe myself, not because I think it’ right, but because I have issues. I can’t always feel pleased with who I am.

But what I don’t do, is hate on myself when I feel that way. I try to remind myself God has a better vision of who I am.

And for the love of God, I can keep trying, He is the one who’s there for me, and I am so grateful for that. Even on days when I feel down, and feel like it’s not worth it, and I’ll never be free.

That’s just an illusion, a Lie, if you will.

Volpina (2016)Gotta watch for that.

Until next time–Natasha.

If you want to support my other writing, check me out on Kindle and Wattpad 🙂

 

 

 

 

https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj

 

Arrival at UA by worldwalkerdj

Normal?

Today I’m feeling better… I got in touch with a therapist, set up an appointment, fingers crossed.

You know, though, Anxiety and Depression is very frustrating for me. I’ve dealt with them my entire life, and the only time I have been free of them is since turning my life over to Jesus. Yet, periodically, they come back. Always in a different guise. School, sickness, emotional issues.

In times of stress, like currently, when my family life is rough, I didn’t always feel depressed before, but it’s like there’s nothing else, so my mind goes to that.

Being worry free can actually be outside my comfort zone.

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I read that one thing people with Depression feel is Self-Loathing. I always thought that meant I hate who I am, and I used to, but Id on’t any more. I don’t always love myself, sometimes I am downright frustrated with her, but I wouldn’t say I hate her.

Only, I’m noticing, the times I’m more frustrated with her, are when I feel anxious or depressed.

It’s not enough to just feel bad, I feel bad about feeling bad. I feel like I should know better. Like it’s a waste of time. Like if I could just stop focusing on it, I’d be fine.

Come to think of it, that’s what my parents always told me. Well, it was either that, or telling me how much worse they had it than me, and how they considered suicide, etc. Not exactly reassuring.

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It’s easy to see suicide as some kind of quick fix, if you lose sight of what’s important in your life. Right now, that’s tempting for me to do, because it looks like I’m experiencing a lot of what my dad experienced. It’s been ages since I had a really good experience with God, saw a real breakthrough, and my finances are not great, plus my family is a mess.

All of those things are things that caused my dad depression. He indulged it, it cant be said he really tried not to feel that way. My dad never worked proactively on his emotions, he just tried to remove stressors. I wonder if he feels better now that we are out of his life, as a huge stressor for him. My mom thought he might be relieved.

Well, good, I thought. So am I.

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So, I’ve found myself in my dad’s position. Things are a little less desperate. I’ve not had quite the same level of trouble as him, but it feels much the same.

My dad does not like being happy. I do, but I can feel uncomfortable with it, like I can’t trust it. Misery was company so much of my life, what do I do without it?

Yet, I could see potentially there being a plan in this somehow. I have dreaded becoming like my dad. It’s why I hate the idea of having depression, but why does that scare me so much? Is it because I saw it ruin my dad for being in our lives, and he was never happy, and he was always angry at me?

It’s like for me, there is no in between, if I have it, that’s the end of my life as I know it. I’ll never, ever be able to be normal. It couldn’t just be a phase.

Out loud, that sounds dumb. Many people move on from depression. Many only have it as a phase. Those who don’t can still learn not to be ruled by it. Knowing that doesn’t make me feel any better, it feels like a rationalization.

I have always felt like there is something wrong with me, deep down. It seems to be a weakness common to human beings to feel, especially women, but in my case it makes sense. I was treated like there was something wrong with me since I was a baby.

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#relatable

Always blaming myself for the lack of love in my life. Always afraid I was just too wrong to be happy, or fulfilled. On and on the cycle goes.

I used to try to fix that by self-improvement. When that didn’t work, I gave up on it and tried to move toward accepting myself. When that still didn’t quite do it, I thought I should move to focusing on God. Then to trying to enjoy life.

All the while, walking around with the emotional equivalent of a hole in my chest, spilling all the hurt out.

What could I do? It was hard to explain this to anyone. People praised me for how joyful I was. I thought I was.

I think, I am too. Sorrow does not suit my nature. Though I can describe all this, it might surprise you to know how little of it I can easily stay in. Half a day at most. It’s not easy for me to stay sad. It is easy to worry about being sad.

Anxiety is the sneaky agent of losing joy. It sneaks in when direct sadness would alert you too much to the attempt.

I get so furious at myself for feeling bad, and then I start this inner dialogue of all the reasons I don’t really feel bad, and if I’d stop thinking like this, I’d be fine.

What if I just had a reason to be sad? What if my parent’s response was not always to say I should just choose not to feel that way, but to listen? And listen without trying to fix it with cheap advice. Just be encouraging and kind. I do not even know what that feels like–well, I had one friend once who got it. But I moved and we got out of touch.

I have always found it hard to just feel feelings, without panicking because I feel them. I am not a very emotional person, that could be because I am terrified of emotions. They seem so uncontrollable, and I never had anyone who would pick me up if I fell apart.

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I expressed this fear to my family not too long ago, and they had no answer for it. Nothing. No reassurance they would be there for me if I did. I have been hanging on by my fingertips it feels like.

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God has been my outlet. I could cry and rage to Him, and not feel He could not handle it. Lately that has not been so easy to do. All the suppression seems to be reaching my prayer life too. I can sit an roll the problem over and over gain in my mine, never learning anything about it, but I can’t just cry it out, rage, and maybe feel better.

Oh, gosh, I actually do need therapy don’t I?

Evolution of the Big Brain
It’s kind of hitting me this week that all this isn’t normal.

 

The thing is, I didn’t choose to be this way. I’ve tried many, many times in my life to open up to my family, and to other people. With the same result of being brushed off, and shut down. No real help in learning how to process emotions well. I was fortunate to have an outlet, I was able to get this far because of grace.

But, if people do that to you, eventually you pay the price. It makes me angry, like, you all screwed this up, took out a loan from love that you couldn’t repay by making yourself depended on us for you happiness, but I’m the one who’s paying back that interest.

Somehow, it’s easier to blog this than it is to say it. I hit the same roadblocks when I try to talk, like “you just can’t say that in this house.”

 

Err, how am I going to do therapy?

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Well, I pray that’ll be worked out in time. The COVID crisis isn’t exactly helping, face to face is out, and I prefer that. But I don’t think I can wait till it’s available again.

One thought that does sometimes help, even when I feel helpless, is this:

I did not choose to have this happen, to be pushed into this dark hole, but, I can choose to leave it.

I can do what my dad didn’t, and try to get out. Early on in life. (Well, he did, but he didn’t address the real problems.)

The last year has felt like one long test to see if I will become like my dad, and do the things he did, I keep choosing not to. Lately, when I hear the same crap coming out of my mouth as he used to say, I think “This needs to change too.”

I hope that this is the right way to go about it.

Well, I guess therapy will give me something new to post about. Who knows, maybe I can help some people understand it better?

(I mean, you don’t have to talk about it, but I tend to talk/write about everything, I don’t really care much whether people know or not, once I commit to something.)

With that, I think that’s about all. Hey, thanks for reading my basically venting-about-my-life post, stay safe and healthy–Natasha.

The D-word.

Time for some real talk.

I don’t like to get super vulnerable on this blog because I prefer writing about other stuff,

but I also write about what’s on my mind, and lately, it’s been the D-word.

Depression.

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I loathe depression. I’m one of those people who grew up with a constantly depressed parent, and even my other parent never seemed happy to me.

I struggled with depression for a few years while living in fear, then it was gone for a while, it came back whenever I went through a dark place where I was fearful or stressed a lot.

I always just put it down to the stress.

I have never been one to wake up with a dark cloud over my life every single day. I do not have mood swings. I don’t like to sleep a lot.

So far, I’ve never thought about it being a medical issue, and I still think that is unlikely.

But, I got to see Depression modeled for me by my father. It made for a very stressful last 8-9 years of my life.

My father would tell us, when business got bad, that he had considered ending his life so we could get the insurance. That he would get really low, and think about it. Unlike me, who has always been horrified at the idea of taking my own life (even though I have been plagued with thoughts of it at various times throughout my life) he seemed to feel it was a viable option.

It put a lot of anxiety on me and my sisters, and my mom. We wondered if he meant it.

I now think that my dad wanted attention, from us, from God, and turned to desperate methods to get it. And I have now experienced he same temptation when people disappoint me, to do the same thing.

The extreme selfishness of saying things like that just to make a point has long been apparent to me also.

I have spent years trying to get the horror of those moments out of my system, it’s still a work in progress.

Somehow we kept on, and we didn’t talk about it. Ever. I learned to keep my fears to myself, as well as my fury at how he tormented us.

Now, I’ve been paying the price for all that repression by having a lot of stress that seems to just come from nowhere. And I get depressed.

I think that the idea of depression scares me more than the feeling itself. For me, sadness tends to be a short feeling, but to come repeatedly throughout the day or week or month. I will shake it off, but then something triggers me to worry again, and with that comes the Depression.

“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression,
But a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25)

Every time in my life I have ever felt depressed, it was because I had anxiety, and it was persistent. Then the Depression would make me more anxious, and I would start to have a panicky feeling, I think it’s called Extreme Anxiety or something.

The Bible also says, “There is no Fear in Love, but Perfect Love casts out fear’ (1 John 4:18)

I was not loved well as a child, or as the young woman that I am now. Since last year, I have only realized just how much I was neglected and abused, and that I still am.

Frankly, God is the only reason I did not end up a Basket Case, but I am still a Hot Mess.

On top of that, I am an Empath, and I feel the suffering of other people very keenly. So, growing up in an emotionally negative house really was stressful for me.

I am also the one who tends to try to hold myself and my family together in a crisis, and this last 8 months has felt like one continuous crisis.

Recognising Depression and Fighting it Off ! - Conceive ...

The Depression showed up 3-4 months ago, probably because the stress continued for so long unabated. At first, I did not feel this way, but the constancy of the situation, and how little it changes it beating me like the ocean beats a stone.

Yeah.. now that I write it out, it kind of seems obvious to me why I feel this way.

Not to mention now we have a National Crisis too, always helpful.

Somehow, I am hanging on to my sanity by prayer, worship, and being able to still laugh at things with my sisters, but it gets tough a lot.

I’m sure I am speaking some of you’s language. Right?

I can’t say for sure why I find it so terrifying to have negative feelings. I remember a lot of times my mom and dad would tell me not to have it, refuse to come and comfort me after a nightmare, and force me to go places that terrified me to go to. With zero reassurance along the way.

I had to tough it out, deal with it myself, and if that ever became too much… well, they might help, but my dad had a way of saying the worst possible thing, and my mom has a way of saying she just doesn’t know how to help.

That led to me feeling my problems are either just too big and complicated to be understood and I shouldn’t be so much to handle…or they are actually way worse than I thought.

So, I tried to solve them myself, or to pray through them.

I was lucky to have a few friends for brief periods of my life that showed me my problems did not have to be overwhelming. But it did not last. I was so hungry to be listened to and not shamed, I quickly got needy, and that lesson has now made me very hesitant to ever open up to people.

That and a few other bad experiences after trying it.

Yep…you know, I’d expect this to be surprising, but I don’t think it is. Anyone whoa voids talking about heir weaknesses as much as I do on this blog is bound to be uncomfortable with it.

I’m not afraid of people judging me, if they did, I’ll laugh it off, I don’t take that very seriously.

What I don’t like it the idea that people might think it’s all I want to talk about, that I live here, that I have no life outside of my issues, and I am very against that.

Part of how I cope, in time where I cannot completely overcome, is by remembering I have interests outside of the areas that trouble me. There’s a world out there, I am a part of it. I enjoy things still. That’s my therapy a lot of the time.

I just can’t stand people who make their problems a badge of honor. To me, they are just problems, if I’m in a good place, I’ve stopped thinking of them as a mark of shame, but I won’t parade them. I hate that.

It was always important to me to be normal, and the realization that my childhood and teenager years were not, in fact, normal, has been a shock. I’m still fighting it, that I could be that jacked up from all that.

50 Fighting Depression Quotes : Battling Depression Quotes

I may not be crazy, or hell bent on destroying my life, but I do have issues.

If Depression is one of them, that’s probably normal.

It’s important to be to choose differently than my dad. He let his Depression and Anxiety push him around, he didn’t try to stop it, he left it up to us to drag him out of the pit, and we couldn’t do it.

I have anger too. I have found that Fear leads to Anger. Anger is like a drug.download (4)

It could have been so much worse, the gladness I still have, even now, is all due to God preserving me. Sometimes (a lot lately) I wish He’d work faster to heal me, and I doubt that He will. Yet, little by little, I am also learning to not give into those thoughts.

Today I have felt pretty bad, but there’s been less intrusive thoughts and less doubt than there was two months ago. One thing the Enemy cannot do, and that is, last forever. There is always an end to it. Every dark time in my life, I came out of into a better grasp of happiness and joy.

This will be one of them, even if it takes a year. (Though, please God, make it shorter than that.)

I am not a quitter, that is the main reason I made it this far, and now I am trying to get counseling. I didn’t want to, but God has sort of impressed on me that it is not right to go through this alone, and I should not have to, I always had to in the past.

World Mental Health Day: 16 famous quotes on fighting depression ...

I guess it’s a change I need to accept, I cannot be a loner anymore. I never wanted to be one anyway. (Hence blogging about it.)

Hey, if you read this far, thanks for your interest in my life. I do like how people are always ready to hear personal stories, it gives me hope social media has not ruined us for understanding each other.

More posts about anime, and life, and whatever else I think of coming soon–stay warm and healthy–Natasha.

 

Britney Spears's mom posts encouraging Instagram message