The Explanation/Manipulation Trap

I am realizing that I don’t owe anyone any kind of explanation for the way I live my life.  That is between me and God.  I am a grown woman who does NOT have to answer to mommy and daddy anymore.  I will not let anyone trap me into explaining every move.  I have a family, and my husband and son come first.  This realization is so unbelievably freeing.  I can live my life, without the stress of “what will other people think” and “how am I going to explain this?”   My decision making process just got a lot easier:  Is it congruent with my faith/morals/ values?  Is it the best thing for me and my family?  End of story.  I don’t require approval from anyone.  I am letting go of that.

Manipulative people demand explanations as a way of-you guessed it-manipulating.  It’s a trap.  They demand an explanation, making you feel guilty and like you owe them, “after everything they’ve done for you.”  Then, you unknowingly take the bait; you explain yourself and defend your decisions/actions.  You talk in circles in a desperate attempt to make them understand.  If they understand, they won’t be upset and see you as a disappointment.   All will be well in the world again; after all, you hate conflict.  Once you’ve made your case, the manipulator swoops in like a vulture to a wounded animal.  Before you know it, your words have been twisted around to fit the manipulator’s agenda.  They use your explanation to argue why THEIR way is better, why yours is flawed.  They turn the whole situation around until the finger of blame is pointed at you.  They know just what buttons to push and just what to say to get to you.  And oh, are they convincing!  The more they talk, the more you start feeling guilty, and wrong.  You think to yourself, “Hmm, they make a good point.  I never thought of it like that before.”  You immediately second-guess your original decision, which felt so right before.  There was no doubt in your mind, until your friendly neighborhood manipulating vulture swooped in to eat you alive.  Just like that, the shady smooth-talking salesman is laughing all the way to the bank and you have officially been mind-fucked and sold a piece of shit car.

Just like vultures, manipulators sense weakness and prey on it.  Do they see a wounded animal and rush to it’s aid?  No.  They devour it, because they have an emptiness inside that they’re driven to fill by whatever means necessary.  And that shady car salesman doesn’t care about you either; He pretends to be your best friend, until he rips you off and has your life savings lining his pockets.

The common denominator here is this: manipulation is not about you, it’s about THEM.  It’s what can THEY get, it’s what THEY want, and you are just a means to THEIR end.  But you don’t have to be.  Stand up to the vultures, and don’t give all your money to that greedy salesman.  Take control of your life, your choices and your mind.  If you don’t, they will.  You do not owe anyone an explanation.  Don’t give mental and emotional abusers that kind of foothold in your life.   You should never have to give up who you are to complete someone else.  Their incompleteness and insecurities are NOT your responsibility.  I am responsible for my own happiness.

Progress.

Session three of therapy today.  It’s getting a little easier as far as talking to a complete stranger about my problems goes.  I find it hard to sleep on therapy nights; so much crap from my past gets dredged up and keeps my mind too busy to sleep.  I have a lot of nightmares since starting therapy, as well.  My subconscious is trying to work through it all, but is showing signs of progress as it turns out.

I dreamed that I went to see my mom for the first time in years.  And it took guts.  But I went for it.  Things immediately went downhill.  There was no “Hi, how are you?”  She went straight into trying to destroy my marriage.  She reported domestic abuse that didn’t even happen to the cops.  She hadn’t seen me or my husband in years, she knew NOTHING about us and then pulls this stunt.  She took my phone and tried to cut me off from my own husband.  Now me and my kid were under her roof, under her control and manipulation, just like she wanted.  I let it happen before in real life, but this dream had a different ending.  I saw through her manipulation this time.  And I fought back.  I let her have it.  In a blind rage, I screamed at her and blamed her for divorcing my dad, amongst many other things.  I then took my phone back and called my husband to pick us up and leave immediately.

My subconscious is taking my past, and mixing it with my present.  It’s telling me that I don’t have to take shit from anyone, not even my own family.  I have a mind of my own, now.  Something I’m just discovering, sadly.  I have been manipulated and controlled my whole life.  But it ends here and now. 

I have a lot of work ahead of me, though.  I also learned today that I am really mean to myself.  I was instructed to try positive affirmations and to be more aware of my inner dialogue and thought process.  I need to change the channel when those self-hating thoughts rear their ugly heads.  I have always been a perfectionist and really hard on myself, so this will be a huge undertaking to say the least.  My INFJ personality type is kind of notorious for being their own worst critic, so I’m actually rewiring my brain here.  It’s overwhelming.   I need to take this one step at a time, which presents another challenge: INFJs are forward thinkers, but this requires me to be in the moment…hmmm.

The Difference Between You and I

You…

You’re the boat no one dares to rock.

You’re the nails digging into my skin refusing to let go.

You’re the fragile glued-together vase that no one wants to break.

You’re the virus glitching out my brain.

You’re the travel agent giving away free guilt trips.

You’re the voice whispering behind my back.

You’re the projector and I am the screen.

You’re the judge and the jury of my life.

You’re the loud voice drowning out my own.

You’re the tornado tearing through my life.

 

But I…

I am a boat built to handle every wave that threatens to drown me.

I am ripped from your desperate grasp now.

I am a vase made of steel instead of glass.

I am scanning my brain and deleting the viruses.

I am no longer packing my bags and accepting your tickets to the guilt trip.

I don’t hear the whispering anymore because you’ve pushed me so far away.

I am no longer a screen to project your delusions on; I’m a freaking mirror sending it all right back to you.

I am not on trial and you are not my judge and jury.

I’m making my own voice heard now.

I built a fortress around everything I love so no tornado can destroy it.  Never again.

 

“You’re the One With the Problem.”

I had a nightmare during my nap just now:

It was raining really hard, and was supposed to stay that way for days.  I’m not even sure where I was; it looked like my house on the inside, but outside was my parent’s house.  My older sister lived next door, and my other 2 sisters lived in the house with my parents.  I’m not sure why we were staying in the same house as my parents, because this would never happen in real life.  But whatever…We weren’t interacting with my parents much, we were all just trying to weather this storm.  The driveway had become a tiny mudslide, and our car was in the middle of it, stuck like chuck.  So there we were. 

We’re all sitting on my couch when a huge, fat black widow skitters across the floor and hides under the other side.  We we all jumped up screaming, and found a brown recluse crawling down the other side of the couch.  We were sitting in the middle of an infestation of deadly spiders.  I was terrifed and suggested we leave.  My younger sister had never moved from the couch, and proceeded to make fun of my spider phobia.  Typical.   Maybe my sister next door would let us stay with her.  I packed our bags and ran outside.  I could see my sister taking laundry off the line on her back porch, with her son in tow.  I went to her fence, and we made eye contact.  Her son, my nephew, didn’t even crack a smile.  They just looked at me, and quickly went back inside, locking the door.  Shutting me out.  I didn’t have a problem with her..not a one.  My mom obviously trashed me to her and made her hate me. 

My son was younger in the dream, around 6 months old or so.   My mom was holding him when she stuck her head out the back door and asked me to help her–she needed something important that was out in the car and she couldn’t carry it.  I snapped out of my shocked daze and followed her, baby and all.   We get to the car, and there is a flat bed trailer next to it.  Mom laid the baby on the trailer, in the rain.  I asked her why she couldn’t bring him inside the car with us while we gathered everything, just to shield him from the heavy rain.  She replied, “sometimes we have to do the best we can for our children, even when it’s hard.”  What?  okaaay…so she opens the car and there are a couple stacks of books piled up, most of them about health because that’s what she is obsessed with.  THAT is what we came out there in the pouring rain to get: books.  I was annoyed.  The rain got heavier, so we grabbed the baby and took shelter in the car.  She read one of her books and I made a card for her from my son.  I may not have the best relationship with her, but I still thought it’d be nice for her and my son to know each other at least.  As I’m writing in the card, she looks over and sees it.  She says, “So we’re writing letters now?  That’s how you want to keep in contact?”  I replied that yes, when we we’re out of there, it would be letters only.  She said, “whatever you want to do.  After all, you’re the one with the problem.”  Followed by a quick change of subject that left me wondering if I’d even heard her right.  Did she really just say that?  It’s so like her to throw some cold-hearted jab in the middle of the conversation and keep talking about something else, like that somehow will  make me forget she even said it.  Like that somehow made it okay.  I was going to get out of the car with the baby and walk back to house in the rain, but I woke up and the dream was over.

According to Dreammoods.com, this is the interpretation:

To see a spider in your dream indicates that you are feeling like an outsider in some situation. Or perhaps you want to keep your distance and stay away from an alluring and tempting situation. The spider is also symbolic of feminine power or an overbearing mother figure in your life. Alternatively, a spider refers to a powerful force protecting you against your self-destructive behavior.

To see a black widow in your dream suggests fear or uncertainty regarding a relationship. You may feel confined, trapped, or suffocated in this relationship.

(What’s interesting is that spiders have been a recurring nightmare for me for as long as I can remember.  hmm..)

To see a trailer in your dream suggests that you are feeling overburdened. You are carry more weight on your shoulders than you need to.

To see books in your dream indicate calmness. You are moving toward your goals at a slow and steady pace. Books also symbolize knowledge, intellect, information and wisdom.

To see mud in your dream suggests that you are involved in a messy and sticky situation. It also suggests that some spiritual cleansing is needed.  To dream that you are walking in mud suggests that you are feeling weighed down by a situation, problem, or relationship. You are feeling frustrated. To dream that mud has gotten on your clothing means that your reputation is being attacked and called into question. Consider the term “mud-slinging” to refer to some politicians. 

interesting.



 

Session One

I took a huge leap today.  I went to therapy for the first time in my life.  I felt as though I were approaching an enormous staircase, and I couldn’t see where it led to.  I took the first step.  Already, I feel like I’ve made progress.  Each step in this journey is a step closer to healing and understanding.  Each step holds a lesson.  I was so nervous going into this, and I’m glad I did.  My therapist could tell within the first 15 minutes that I had a divine sense of intuition.  She was kind of impressed by it, actually.  I told her I’m an INFJ and she wasn’t surprised.  🙂 

My parents split up when I was little.  I grew up with a step-sibling who has borderline personality disorder.  It took my marriage almost falling apart for me to realize that my mother has been manipulating me my whole life, like I was her puppet. I was sheltered…told what to think instead of taught HOW to think.  I left home with no idea who I was or how to make my decisions for myself.  My mother wants me to be 5 forever, and refuses to believe I am a grown woman.  She wants me to be her clone, and to think how she thinks.  Being an independent woman with a mind of my own is unacceptable.  If I think or feel or act differently than she would like me to, she says I’m being “controlled” by someone else.  It’s almost insulting; she is implying that I cannot think for myself.   

I am not responsible for her emotions, as she would have me believe.  I have been carrying the burden of her negative emotions my whole life, and I simply can’t bear it any longer.  She alone is responsible for them.  What a heavy, awful burden to put on the shoulders of a child!  It is no wonder I always had to be strong one.  If I fell apart, she would fall apart and it would be all my fault.  I am not buying tickets to her constant guilt trips anymore.  I am done carrying around needless guilt about every little thing. 

Between her and my BPD sibling, I have grown up surrounded by dysfunction and manipulation.  It’s no wonder I have anxiety, and am so quick to shut down.  All my life, I thought I was crazy.  I thought there was something wrong with me.  I didn’t feel “normal” like everyone else.  I grew up, and still felt that way.  After shit hit the fan, I started to see the manipulation and guilt trips for the first time.  The scales have slowly been falling from my eyes ever since.  My therapist made me feel like I’m NOT crazy, and that feels so good.  Like a burden lifted.  Am I a mess?  Yes.  But now I know why.  I thought maybe I was angry, and not thinking clearly…that maybe I was being ridiculous or was way off base.  But no.  Therapy confirmed everything.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but at least I know I’m not completely insane now. 

I am exhausted, It’s been such a long day.  Yet, here I am unable to sleep.  Too many heavy thoughts swirling around my mind that my therapy session stirred up.  I am finally able to begin the process of sorting the madness out and figuring out what the hell to do with it all.

“Sometimes you don’t realize your drowning when you’re trying to be someone else’s anchor.”

“I can tell a lot by a person by what they choose to see in me.  It’s always a game changer.”

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