My Truth

Guilt and Shame…

Something happened last month that still surprises me when I think about it because I reacted to it differently than I ever had before. It was in that moment that I realized that I can recover from codependency behaviors and break this cycle that I have lived most of my life.

In the past, this person knew all the right buttons to push and knew exactly what to say to bring me to my knees and ‘win’ a disagreement. This person thrives on disagreements and tends to like to use big words to show me he is smarter than I am.

I have little contact with this person anymore but we do need to communicate at times.

We had a meeting scheduled and the night before the meeting, I was hammered with text messages about several things out of my control and frankly out of his control too. These messages included bringing up old situations which had long resolved themselves but not in the way he wanted. As well as why didn’t I notice this or why wasn’t I paying attention to that. And then THE ONE CARD that has always worked in the past was thrown at me.

And my reply….. You will not guilt and shame me into an argument with you.

And the messages stopped.

The meeting happened but before the meeting the same questions were asked and I said, this is not the time or place. If you’d like to meet for coffee, I’ll be happy to talk about it.

And after the meeting, it started again. And I said again….You will not guilt and shame me into an argument with you. I’m not trying to guilt or shame you he said….really I said and gave him examples of all the things he said or asked my those two days by text or in person. Those aren’t trying to guilt or shame me?

Tools I have learned because of recovery and not only learned but have put into practice are amazing.

The tit for tat and keeping score that worked for so long to get me to say or do what he wanted, no longer works. And taking a new approach from listening and love and support, works so much better for everyone involved.

One of my hangups is not being heard. Especially with this person. He has run me over time and time again because that is how we related to each other. But when I listened for what’s really going on and pointed it out. It has changed everything for me.

Arguing with someone not in recovery is hard because their version of the truth is clouded by their addiction. And it’s not just drugs or alcohol. It could be gambling or having to be right or perfect. It could even be Anger. Whatever it is, I don’t have to continue to react the way I always had. I can tell my truth and end the argument and pray that one day he will be get past his habits and hangups too.

I never learned a healthy way to disagree. Until I worked my 12 step program. I never knew how to be heard. Until I worked my 12 step program. I didn’t know a better way……until now.

12 step has changed my life for the good. And working a Christian based 12 step reminds me that all things work together for my greater good.

My journey to serenity continues….

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My Truth

The Greatest Showman…

I know it’s been a while since I have written. Life sometimes gets in the way and while there has been things I’ve wanted to write about, my tank has just been empty.

This post my opinion and observations from the movie The Greatest Showman. And while I love a good musical, my thought is they could have easily pulled this off not being a musical. But the soundtrack is great and I adore the song This is Me.

If you have not seen it, I’d highly recommend that you do. This post will likely have some spoilers so you can choose if you keep reading or not. #spoileralert

I go to a Christian based 12 step group. It’s for anyone with hurts, hang ups or habits that they want to change. And how The Greatest Showman told PT Barnum’s story is a perfect example of someone with hurts who could benefit from this 12 step program, like the one I attend. I love seeing recovery in unexpected places!

PT Barnum was born the son of a tailor. Poor. And treated that way from the wealthy clients his father worked for. Seems he was around 14 when his father died and from what the movie shows PT survived by selling newspapers and stealing food from time to time. (This would have been around 1826)

As PT has several types of jobs as a young man. And in 1834 he embarked in an entertainment career.

Now in the beginning it was difficult to get people to buy into his ‘freak show’ but he was a showman and played on people’s natural curiosity.

Hiring ‘freaks’ was very strange at that time. Some would say cruel to make money off them. As said in the movie, when PT was talking to a little person, they will laugh at me. PT replied kid they are laughing anyway so you may as well get paid for it.

It was interesting to be reminded that PT gave the people in his show a purpose. Which then became a home. And a community. A family. And as one of the characters said, you love us and many of us grew up with even our mothers not loving us.

Now I said that PT is a perfect example of someone having a hurt that recovery can help heal and this is what I meant by that. PT was treated badly by people of wealth. He carried this need to be liked by the wealthy from his childhood. And as his show grew in popularity, he wanted to draw the wealthy to his shows as well but they were not interested in him or his show.

So he’s focus changed and he hired a theatre producer to join him with the purpose of showing him how to get the wealthy to his shows.

He was able to get an invitation to England and perform for Queen Victoria. This opened doors to other royalty and an European tour. Where he met Jenny Lind, a Swedish Nightingale, at the height of her popularity.

He hired her to tour in the US and she gave 93 concerts. Now the movie tells one story of why they stopped working together and I could not confirm that story so will just leave it that they made each other a lot of money and went their separate ways.

The movie depicts that while the Jenny Lind success was happening and PT was finally feeling liked by the wealthy, things back home were falling apart a bit. As his attention was really focused on the wrong things.

PT wife asks his why it’s so important to him to be loved by the wealthy? To what end? Don’t you see the people here, close to you love you and that’s what matters?

Things fall apart, his wife leaves him, the museum is burned down and Jenny Lind quits. He has nothing. It’s his rock bottom.

He ends up returning to his roots and starts over. And rebuilds the life he has with those who loved him most.

I just can’t help but see how this need from childhood, carried through to adulthood, impacted how PT behaved in trying to fill that need. It’s exactly like any addiction or poor behavior.

Had helped me look at myself again and understand just a little bit more about my own codependent behaviors.

In what ways have I used a need that I have and filling it either all the wrong things or tried so hard to fill it and then realized it wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Have there been times that I used relationships in an unhealthy way? Have I used food to fill a need that didn’t require food? Have I ever used alcohol to fill a need even if it was temporary? Have I used helping others, as a way to avoid my own issues? You betcha I have. But not so much anymore, and that feels amazing!

Thanks for reading….my journey to serenity continues….