Growing up in a toxic environment(s) has made me develop quite a number of defense mechanism(s) that I have became unfortunately desensitised to. I did not even notice I had such things/ ideas that have been embedded so deeply within myself but I am so glad that I have managed to identify them and maybe you too could resonate as well. I believe we should always learn and yes learn from ourselves, even from the negative experiences that we have dealt with in the past. Only then can we can look forward into the future with hope and serenity. Here is me pouring my heart out. Take care of it. I will take care of yours as well.
This is the first thing that came to my mind when I was writing this post. I will never accept a compliment while growing up and it pains me to say this but I do love them , it is just that I felt so guilty receiving them. It is like I don’t seem to deserve them for some reason(s). Unfortunately, I had been given these untrue reason(s) prior to receiving these compliments, so these compliments seems very abstract and not personal to me. Yes, I have developed a coping mechanism to detached myself from compliments such that I view them as just everyday phrases that people threw around for the sake of moving through society. That is seriously how I had viewed compliments given to me for the past 25 years.
Additionally, it did not help that I was given a lot of backhanded compliments which made me develop a distaste of sarcasm to the point that I decided not to even understand it. Yes, I deliberately chose not to understand sarcasm and to take everything at its face value because honestly, I was too tired of deciphering people and their indirect ways. I am still working on this and learning to accept compliments graciously and fully. I did learn that I prefer it being told to me personally face to face rather than via text. I am still figuring out why I have this preference.
Let me give you an example:
Person A : What time is it ?
Me: Oh, it is 8pm! It is so late, isn’t it?
Person A : So what if it is late? I still can have dinner right? ( said angrily)
Me: * state of apocalyptical horror *
Herm, I know it sounds crazy but that was the kind of craziness I had to deal with as I grew up. I realised that I have done this crazy thing with others as well though not as common but I have definitely done it before. It is totally eradicated from my person. Who has time for this , honestly? THANK YOU, NEXT!
I grew up with so many indirect people surrounding me that what they say does not mean what they say and what they do always had some ulterior motive behind it. It was never straightforward, the way I always preferred. Hence, I always read into things to truly understand if someone truly means it and I ask many times ” what do they mean by it” because I genuinely want to know. Nowadays, I have learned to just take it as it is at the face value. I am truly exhausted and beyond disappointed to care if they weren’t genuine.
You have no idea how many times I would replay a conversation in my head just to see if I could have worded things better or if my reactions and demeanor was appropriate enough. This is because I was a very shy and soft-spoken little girl growing up (ps: I am still shy, and soft-spoken to most people). However, I was misunderstood to be arrogant and haughty because I refused to look people in the eyes and barely say a word when I was addressed to. Now, yes I know we have to answer if you are being addressed to but even when I was answering I was still called arrogant because I had a different mindset from most around me. I did not know it then but now I do know. I was open-minded and have progressive ideals even as a little girl. Thank my mother for that!
I have incorporated bowing which was adapted from my south Asian culture to show that I understand and to show gratitude but other than that there is no other ways I am going to show that I am “humble”. Just take me as it is.
I always dreaded the word ” no” while growing up because I always had it directed my way for even the most mundane of things. Hence, why I would avoid situations where I know that there was a high possibility of a “no”. However, as I grew up I became bolder and fought for the things I desired and believed in and didn’t care if I was accepted or not. Anyway, I have learned that it is okay to receive “no” sometimes and being vulnerable to the right people is in a way quite beautiful, hence, why receiving a “no” sometimes for the right reasons is alright with me. I know I always give my best to everything I do regardless, so I can always walk away with peace and serenity. If you get rejected no matter what the situation is , walk away with your head held high and your self-respect intact. No one or no situation is worth losing your dignity for. Trust me.
Oh this is such a SORE topic for me. I hate arguing or even confrontations for this very reason. This is because in the heat of the moment people don’t rationalise properly and throw painful words that can really wound you. I rarely throw words unless I feel a great injustice ( even so they were never profanities because it is not my cup of tea) but while growing up even for the most simplest of mistakes, I will get the most gut- wrenching , soul tearing words thrown at me. This is why I used to analyse words often and can even remember them for so many years until my mid- twenties.
I am so glad that I have forgotten much of them because I struggle to remember most of the scenarios that has transpired. I can’t even believe that I turn out to be quite gentle after all of that. Truly it is a miracle that I struggle to feel intense anger, and at the very most, I just get very upset. Now, I won’t even bother to entertain if someone were to throw harsh words my way. I will just walk away, block them and sleep in peace at night. They are not worth even a second of thought to me. Yes, I have reached my threshold and I can’t take anymore of that. Maybe, this seems harsh but I will prioritize myself and my mental health first and foremost. Forgive and let go. Toxicity be gone! Honestly, let’s be kind to each other and refrain from harsh words. Let it not be on the tip of our tongues even in anger or sadness.
I know these are very heavy sub-topics that I have briefly explained. However, I hope that maybe someone or some others who may not have realised that they have these conflicting things within themselves , start to realise that they do and begin the process of self-healing and resolve these entanglements within themselves. I believe that by dong so , one can be more at peace with themselves and with others as well as with the world at large.
The second noble truth states that we must discover why we are suffering. We must cultivate the courage to look deeply, with clarity and courage, into our own suffering. We often hold the tacit assumption that all of our suffering stems from events in the past. But, whatever the initial seed of trauma, the deeper truth is that our suffering is more closely a result of how we deal with the effect these past events have on us in the present.
– Peter A. Levine