Monthly Archives: June 2009

Writing Group Topic: My feelings are my responsibility

How I feel can’t be determined by others? Whether I’ll ever get to that level of serenity in my recovery, I honestly don’t know. I am lucky in that who I am is giving me the best possible start to work with when it comes to getting people to like me. I’m non-threatening, short, female, reasonably good looking, young, well-kept. I believe I don’t scare people off, and I come across as an average person most people feel comfortable enough relating to.

That’s a start; it could be worse (I could have some deformation, or simply I could be a tall black male some conservative English people could feel threatened / intimidated by). In this country, I’m a totally average person with a steady job and have “normal” written all over me. That is an amazing gift that abstinence has given me (because I am abstinent I am interested in other people, I am not grotesquely fat, I don’t smell because I can’t be bothered to wash).

So the initial outset is OK – I don’t get negative feedback from strangers. Strangers usually make me feel good: I can connect quickly with people, I find it easy to meet new people and have a conversation and be liked. I’m sure that counts for something in the sense of my self-esteem.

I run into trouble when I get into real relationships. Friendships. Family. There are some whose opinion truly doesn’t matter to me and therefore they don’t affect my emotions, positively or negatively… my grandmother, father, sister are all in that category. I could care less what they think and whether something I said or did has made them feel any differently about me. Their feelings truly are not my responsibility, although of course I do civilly and try to do by them as I’d have them do by me. It just doesn’t affect my inside.

Very different with people who I *want* to like me. My cousin. My friends here. My boss. I find myself very affected by what I think they think of me (and that might be wrong!). Not to the point that I’d say I worry constantly but I do get a high and a rush if I feel like I’ve pleased them… and then I feel a certain pressure to keep up the relationship, to continue pleasing them. I’m convinced that is from the way my mother brought me up, in that I would have her love and her attention only through pleasing her. Since she mattered to me, that’s what I did. Today, if someone matters to me, I want them to be pleased with me.

Now I don’t think that generally it’s a bad idea to try and please someone but I would detest the idea of doing things for that reason alone, that I would otherwise not do. Trying to be someone I’m not. I absolutely hate it when I sense someone is trying to please me too much, is trying to say what they think I want to hear. It feels dishonest. And probably the reason why I detest it so much is because I have that tendency, myself.

But, I’m in recovery. I get to work on these things. Today I won’t eat, no matter what, and instead learn how to live in this world as an equal to everyone else.


Writing Group Topic: No one to blame

I loved the quote from the book, “my life is devoted to keeping me comfortable inside in spite of whatever is happening or not happening outside.” That is true, and always has been; what I am learning in recovery is how to consider the needs and well-being of others as I do that. To me, that is still self-centeredness (it’s about ME, and MY inside world), yet it isn’t necessarily negative. I am the centre of my world, that’s only fair – if I don’t look out for my (inner and outer) wellbeing, nobody will do that job for me.

But I also occupy a bigger world, which is inhabited by others who have needs and rights, and learning to consider them and making compromises is what recovery helps me to do.

I’ve never been one to take things too personally. Things are what they are; situations, the weather, the economy – they simply are, and my part as I see it is to do “the next right thing” for me. Growing up, my father (an alcoholic) was never at fault, always the victim. He blamed everyone and everything. My mother took that very personally, when he blamed her, whereas I never did; I didn’t care what he thought. If there was a choice, I’d rather have him blame me than my mother because I couldn’t care less whereas she took it to heart. This has sort of carried into adulthood – with most people I don’t care about being blamed. There are some people whose opinions I care about, and I work to ensure that their view of me is fair, but as for the “general public” I really have better things to worry about than what they blame me for.

For my part, I never blame others. Or myself, for that matter. I tend to accept situations as they are – if someone is at fault then, depending on the situation, I’ll probably let them know that I think they are at fault but it’s nobody else’s business and I don’t need to spread the news of who I think is to blame. My mind tends to automatically go to what to do next (i.e. fix the problem).

You know, I’ve been thinking – I’m either 1) oblivious of my issues in many of the things raised in the book, possibly because nobody is close enough to me to really “rub”, or 2) I have better mental health & recovery than I tend to give myself credit for.

Either way, life is good today!