Did It To Myself Again

I have a habit of doing this to myself: skipping steps and missing very important points.

In my last post, I mentioned getting Brene Brown’s book, Atlas of the Heart. I felt judged because I have gotten out of the family and am not interested in restarting those “relationships.” Even though getting out is a simple choosing of my sanity over social convention, I felt like Brown would disapprove when I looked at an advanced chapter.

Reality check: read the introduction!

“When people are being hateful or cruel or just being assholes, they’re showing us exactly what they’re afraid of. Understanding their motivation doesn’t make their behavior less difficult to bear, but it does give us choices. And subjecting ourselves to that behavior by choice doesn’t make us tough–it’s a sign of our lack of self-worth….[S]ometimes, even when the pain takes your breath away, you have to let the people you love experience the consequences of their own behavior. That one really hurts.” (p. xix)

Her words reflect my entire life philosophy. They could have been taken out of any Al-Anon meeting.

That’s what I do to myself: I skip steps and then miss what I need. I have always been able to advance faster than most intellectually. But then it is easy to miss the point and the support that I need that is available.

But I am 55 years old now. The time to skip steps is over. I am currently trying to catch up all the various parts of me to the same level. I have a lot of time to make up and I don’t know that I have it. None of us knows if we have it.

Brown’s book is not about family systems. It is about giving language to the terrain of emotions. She considers herself both the topographer and the traveler. Giving emotions a nuanced vocabulary helps to connect the different parts of the brain, parts that I know Gabor Mate would agree get disconnected in trauma. That is a worthy endeavor.


About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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