I was going to write something further about isolation, but that has fizzled out. Sorry for the sudden left turn, but I have to go where there is inspiration. I was preening my ego (hey, when you have an audience of 1, don’t tell me you don’t need an ego boost to keep on keeping on) by reading over my previous 7 posts.
As promised, I am going to beat you with my “Tough Love” bat for just a little while.
I went back to my first post and found the term “your little self-imposed prison.”
As in, “YOU chained YOURSELF to this wall.”
As in, “You have the key to get out of there you silly person, so use it.”
As in, “It’s time to move on.”
As in, “Enough is enough.”
As in, “Your only kidding yourself that this is a good idea.”
Let me explain.
Stuff happens. People hurt us. We hurt people. We learn from previous experiences to react in a certain way to a set of circumstances that have familiar features. For example, I have always had a tough time trusting men. I sometimes feel threatened by men who seem to be flirting with me, especially if they are significantly older men. I would give them dirty looks, I would feel the “fight or flight” hormones coursing through my veins, my stomach would hurt, my thoughts would swirl out of control, I would feel fear. I learned not to trust older men because my father sexually abused me. He could not be trusted in so many ways. I learned to fear him because he caused me significant pain. As a child, it is normal and natural to feel fear in these sorts of circumstances. God made our brains to cope with painful events in particularly helpful ways (i.e. dissociation). But what about when I became an adult? Was feeling fear actually helpful? Did I need to worry about being hurt EVERY single time? Every flirting, older man does not mean to harm me. Reacting with anger and fear every, single time this occurs is not helpful to me now. Being cautious is good, but I don’t need to overreact.
At some point, I had a choice. I could stay chained to this emotional response, if I wanted to. After all, I am an adult and have the right to choose (you did know that, right?). What are the ramifications to reacting with fear and anger in this situation? Well, let’s start with the physical:
- Production of the feel good hormone “serotonin” is disrupted leading to depression.
- The heart is strained and leads to heart disease
- There is an increased risk for stroke
- The immune system is suppressed and prone to causing an inflammatory response
- The risk of cancer is increased
- Gastrointestinal issues arise such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Peptic Ulcers, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Eating disorders can develop which leads to weight gain, anorexia, or bulimia
- Diabetes can develop
- Body aches can develop
- Sleep can be disturbed
- Normal sexual function is disrupted
- Memory, concentration, and learning is affected
- Alopecia, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin disorders can get worse
- Substance abuse can develop
(Information taken from an article located at University of Maryland Medical Center’s website)
Relationally, men in my life would constantly feel challenged and uncomfortable around me. I would not develop any normal or healthy relationships with men. Emotionally, I would constantly pay the price for my poor choices. I would be in constant state of turmoil. I would always be uptight.
Out of an intense need for self-preservation, I could choose to live my life this way.
I could choose to be chained to my little prison of fear and anger.
Or, I could choose to take my key, unlock my fetters, and walk out of there.
I could choose change.
Change in how I approach relationships with the men in my life.
Work on being calmer around men in general.
Not give dirty looks to men.
Not feel an adrenaline rush every single time.
How does one do this?
- First you start by believing that you can change.
- Decide that change is what you want.
- Talk to yourself about this.
- Talk to others.
- Talk to God (if you believe in a helping God, like me).
- Look for resources.
- Work at it.
- Don’t give up.
- Understand the truth of the situation.
- Use your critical thinking skills.
- Remind yourself you wanted this change…
Believe me, unchaining yourself and moving on is the best thing for you!
Okay, I’m done beating you now. Feel better?
Be honest, are your chained up in your own little prison?