Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Childhood Coping Skills Cause Adult Problems - Part 3

Part 1

I didn't mean to pick on Kahless in these last two posts. I'm sorry if it seems that was my intention. What I really wanted was to walk through the process that enabled me to put aside this old coping mechanism of all or nothing thinking.

Part of the reason I felt it was important to do this, was because I have a number of cyber friends who are struggling with the same issue. Each time sometime happens that makes them feel bad, they retreat convinced that life is out to get them in some way. Just like Kahless they can be thinking that maybe there is no point in trying to change or be open and honest when the world is not worthy of being trusted.

Since it's been a while since I walked down this road, I'd have to dig my journals out to remember what was even pushing my buttons way back when. It has become so automatic to see things differently that I rarely even think about what I'm doing anymore. If I stumble at all, I soon recognize the signs of all or nothing thinking and just let go.

Kahless provided me with examples that were not the least unlike those I would have thought myself back in those days. I used them because I understood them so well. After all they were shoes I'd walked in at least a million times.

They were exactly the same kinds of things I was hearing from my other cyber friends. Those friends were struggling with seeing them differently as well. So I decided I would post and travel the same road I had done to get clear of this form of thinking. That was to dissect them into manageable parts.

Yes, I broke them down into the most very basic forms because that is what it took for me to see there was another side. The big picture seemed so accurate to me until I dissected it down like this. Sometimes I felt a little foolish once I'd done this exercise.Other times I was relieved to see that people really weren't as bad as I thought they were. Regardless that's what it took for me to see that those old skills were really causing me problems.

It's so much easier to look back at those times because I have better skills now. During those times I was a wreck. I had no self esteem. All of those messages kept me beaten down and afraid to even try to find another way. Not to mention the fact that I was convinced that I was right about my fears about people and the world. It was really hard for me to see what might have been obvious to others. Maybe that's why I had to strip things down to such basic information.

It's been a long road to get free from those messages. Much of that road I took in baby steps just like these. Do I feel stupid or inadequate because I had to strip things down to such basics? Not in the least, there are many people who will never see their way to challenging this old messages and beliefs let alone changing them.

I know how hard it is to travel this road. I know that few people really embrace this journey. I have nothing but respect for those who do. It doesn't matter to me where they might be in the journey. What matters is that they seek it at all.

I have a number of cyber friends who are trying to find their way. Some are struggling and some are doing ok for the time. Some are public about it like Kahless speaking out on her blog and those of others, and others are in the shadows. Through all of their ups and downs, I am proud to call each of them friend. I might add that includes Kahless who never ceases to amaze me with how hard she tries to find her way.


Cheesemeister said...

I have great problems with all or nothing thinking. And I really have no idea how to think any other way. Believe it or not, I'm a lot better than I used to be.

Anonymous said...


lovelee said...

Thanks for the support MiKael!

Kahless said...

I know you would never pick on anyone RR, so its cool. I know you are a caring thoughful woman.

I guess I feel so damn stupid at the moment. I am sorry. Sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut.

Anonymous said...

RR, do you need some more questions to provoke some posts? You know I am always happy to oblige!!

How about on mental backlash. I have explored this a bit with my last T. When I do something which was a big no no from when I was a kid (like stand up for myself) I notice I then have a big mental backlash. Is this common?


April said...
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April_optimist said...

Isn't it interesting how many of us were conditioned to the all or nothing thinking and that so much of it was negative? Well, of course it makes sense if we were abused that we expect bad things to happen. It's the all or nothing that seems harder to explain. How liberating once we can let it go!

lovelee said...

RR... I have worked very hard at shedding the "F*ck it" attitude. I have run into some problems with a recent move, and a med reaction that sent me to a specialist. My old psychiatrist has moved and is backed up 2-3 months, much like everyone else. Went to an acute clinic, and they wouldn't treat me because I wasn't acute (enough). The med may be doing permanent damage, and I couldn't get anybody to help me off of it. My first reaction was to fall into old behaviors, and I had to make many conscience decisions to just not even go there. Instead I applied my muleness. I spent about 8 hours on the phone today, but I did secure an appointment for a week from today. I have the willpower to do things, I just have to check that I am applying it right!

Raine said...

kahless if you had "kept your mouth shut" then she wouldnt have put up these really great posts that alot of us needed to read. So for myself I am very glad you said what you said. If you hadnt, then Rising might not have put up these posts, I might not have read them and saw myself in them and I wouldnt have learned what I did from them. SO thank you for not "keeping your mouth shut"