Everyone has baggage, emotional baggage. But if you have come from an emotionally or verbally abusive relationship – that baggage is piled much higher.
I spent 21 years hearing about how I didn’t have a sense of humour (because I didn’t find his nasty so called ‘jokes’ funny), I am negative (because I threw a dose of realism on his fancy and totally unrealistic plans), I have no friends, or the friends I do have are only friends to be nice to me (yeah why would they do that if they didn’t like me? – this one was hard for me to understand!)……. The list goes on.
When you hear that often enough and for long enough – you truly start to believe it. I did. I really thought I must have no sense of humour. Until I left him and my new partner loved my sense of humour, although it can be a little dry!
Sometimes you know there is an element of truth to what you are being told … and that eats away at your soul with even more acid and bitterness. I probably am a bit negative, some of the time, in some circumstances. But I am also enthusiastic, loyal, loving. And I might be negative some of the time because I have been through the wringer and lied to and cheated on for all of those 21 years.
What I do have though is self – awareness – and that is the big difference between the mentally disordered and the ‘rest of us’. I know I can sometimes be negative, so I work hard at being positive and try to forgive myself when some negativity creeps in – after all I am only human.
Sometimes the emotional baggage from the past comes back to affect our lives, even years after we left the person that gave us the baggage.
Today I had a ‘facebook’ fight with a ‘friend’. Now I often walk on eggshells round this ‘friend’ which should have been a big red flag to me that this isn’t a healthy friendship. But I persevered – ignored the times she upset me, or misunderstood my meaning or was rude to me by sms. I swallowed it and wondered if I had been the one who had said it wrong, or been faulty in my communication in some way. After all my husband of 21 years always told me everything is my fault, why should this be any different. I gave her the benefit of the doubt.
This friend, lets call her Nita, posted a fun test on facebook, a left brain/right brain thing. I did it and came out with a score of 45 / 65 – and a few other people did it and posted very similar scores. One of them said ‘All the scores are similar, lets join a club.’
I posted a throwaway line – ‘maybe the answer is it’s not a very good test and we will all get similar answers!’ I put an exclamation mark at the end, I thought it was a funny remark. Actually I didn’t think very long about it all, just wrote it and posted it, like I normally do on Facebook!
Not Nita, she didn’t think it was funny. She posted – on Facebook – for everyone to see – ‘you’re such a party pooper Frog’s Tale, something fun and you manage to be negative.’
Well I was pretty upset. I read it at work and commented on it to my work mates. They all said it wasn’t a particularly nice thing to say and there was nothing wrong with what I had said in the first place.
Then my baggage started weighing me down.
‘I am negative, I musn’t have said it right, no one gets my sense of humour, I should have put a smiley afterwards…….. what is wrong with me, why would she say I am negative, it wasn’t negative …..’
That voice in my head that questions everything and wonders what people think of me was getting louder and louder.
But then I thought it about it some more and realised it was probably projection on Nita’s part – she is often being negative about people and things and is very highly opinionated.
So my workmate suggested I write back – ‘who’s the party pooper now? :-)’ I thought it was quite funny and to the point.
So can you believe what I got back?
‘OMG Frog’s Tale, grow up.’
Real friends don’t make you feel bad about yourself, are rude to you on Facebook or make you question your motives, feelings and how you say things.
If Nita had a real problem with my so called negativity she should have taken me quietly aside and said something – not advertised it on Facebook. Or done what I normally do – shrug it off and move on. And I don’t even think my first remark was negative anyway, it was just a line said in jest.
I don’t need people like Nita in my life anymore. I should have learned by now that if someone makes me feel bad about myself – they aren’t good for me, don’t have my best interests at heart, and don’t ‘have my back’.
I told her that I had found her remark offensive but just sent a joke back. That it isn’t necessary to be rude on Facebook and I will end it here. And I un-friended her. Knee jerk reaction I know, not my finest moment, but I have had enough.
I will follow up with a call just to explain why I un-friended her – because I don’t want to get another response nor read what anyone else says about it – and because if we can maintain any sort of civil friendship for the sake of our children, who are friends at school – I am not doing it electronically anymore.
And then I will move on.
I am going to put down one of my pieces of emotional baggage (accepting less than I deserve) and walk away from it.