Dark and Difficult

At some point in my interactions with other people, I will begin to feel limited and restricted. As the feeling progresses it will grow into a sense of being trapped. If I let it expand, continuing to grow without tending to it, it will become a beast who wants to break free. Once it becomes the beast seeking freedom from being trapped, from feeling limited and restricted, there’s only one path it will take – the proverbial bull in the china shop.

The china in this case is the feelings, perceptions and egos of other people.

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bad bunny

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I used to blame other people for creating the situation which caused me to turn into a charging and bucking bull desperate to break free from the restrictions which they were placing upon me that made me feel trapped.

I felt bad about breaking the china, upsetting, offending, hurting them, their feelings, egos and the perceptions which meant so much to them, however they gave me little choice in the matter – they surrounded the bull with floor to ceiling shelves cluttered with breakables and then told the bull not to be a bull, not to move not even to breathe.

They were trying to control me, imposing their rules and regulations upon me, attempting to make me fit into the box they had crafted for me, and they were doing this for their benefit not mine. It was all about me having to shrink to fit into their version of me – the role they needed me to play in their reality so that they could be who they wanted to be and the world would spin around them as its axis.

It wasn’t illogical to blame them. I was often blamed by them for their problems, so using them as an example, as the role models which they aspired to be, meant that my problems must be their fault.

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boring fun

It’s their fault for making you feel boring!

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Of course other people don’t like it when you blame them the way that they blame you and others because… this isn’t fair to them. They were right to blame you and others, but you and others are never right for blaming them.

It’s like blaming society for your problems and omitting the uncomfortable detail that you’re a member of society even if you feel like an outsider.

Society says: Act your age, but don’t look your age. Society makes you feel bad about the way you look, having wrinkles, white hair, so you inject toxins into your skin, pour chemicals on your head, and it makes you pay for it repeatedly.

It poisons you from the outside in and you ingest it… you accept what society is telling you to do to yourself – so is it really society’s fault or yours?

Blaming other people for your problems, even when it seems logical and you can tie it up in a tidy bow, never really solves the problem… sometimes it creates even more problems, particularly when you try to fix it by fighting back and trying to fix them as then you become the problem for them.

If I were to try and stop other people from making me feel restricted and limited… I would probably have to impose a set of rules and regulations about how they were allowed and not allowed to be and behave around me, what they were and weren’t permitted to say and do in my presence. I would end up crafting a box for them which they would have to shrink to fit into, and make them play a role to suit my preferred version of reality – one where they would be trapped by my need to feel free.

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love-me-without-restrictions-1

accept me for who I am… which is someone who doesn’t accept you for who you are.

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This feeling and the process which unfolds from it has been around for a long time… long enough for me to stop blaming other people for it and start blaming myself for it.

It can seem terrible to blame yourself for something, especially when you’d rather blame others, when you’re still convinced that this is someone else’s fault. And maybe it is someone else’s fault – like your parents – someone else created the dynamic within you which set you off on this course. They nurtured it. It’s all their fault that you’re this way, they did this to you!

Yes, they did this to you. But does that mean that you have to keep doing it. You can’t stop what they started. You’ve been doing it for too many years. You’re in too deep. It’s ingrained. They got under your skin and planted a poisonous weed, every time you try to pull it out by the roots the roots wrap around you and keep dragging you down into darkness. This thing within fights back. It’s too difficult to stop.

Maybe you don’t have to stop doing it. It’s a part of you now… it’s your fault now, your flaw, your problem. If you keep blaming others for it, they’ll end up taking the credit for anything good which comes out of it… what’s that? They get the blame but you get the credit if the problem gets solved or if it produces positive results?

So if you look and feel great after undergoing some procedure which makes you appear ten years younger then the credit goes to you for accepting that society was right and you should grow up but not grow old. However if you feel awful and look how you feel or perhaps feel how you look, it’s society’s fault for making you do to yourself what you would have never done had you not felt pressured to do it.

What is dark and difficult is only ours if it inspires us, we are the phoenix who rises out of the ashes of a fire which consumed us and gave birth to a new improved version of ourselves…

but if it oppresses us, if it destroys us, if it leads to more darkness and difficulties, it belongs to someone else even if we have to live with it.

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who's a good boy

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Blaming myself didn’t make this feeling and the problems which arose from it any easier to deal with or lighter to carry, it was still dark and difficult. In some ways it became much harder and heavier because I carried it all by myself.

However at least I had the power now – there’s power in blame.

Blame others and they get given power over you. They’re the cause of the problem and therefore they become the source of the solution. You can’t move on until they admit it’s their fault, own up to what they did to you, and apologise for it, make amends – solve your problem. You can’t get on with them, or with your life, until they change who they are. You’re stuck in a waiting room, waiting for someone else to care that you’re there, and do something about it.

My attempts to try and solve this problem were almost as bad as the problem itself. I ended up doing to myself what I’d always blamed others for doing. I tried to control myself, imposed rules and regulations, told myself to shrink to fit into a box which I had crafted for myself, told myself who to be and how to behave, what to say and do, and especially what not to say and do.

The box looked not dissimilar to the quote below…

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well liked traits

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I wasn’t doing this to be well liked by others, I was doing it to be well liked by myself.

Did I succeed?

I tore through that china shop and obliterated it… on more than one occasion.

 

14 thoughts on “Dark and Difficult

  1. Your blog, I found by accident, has kept me captivated for awhile now. Very thought provoking. I thought I was the only one to have thoughts, feelings, and emotions such as these. Comforting to know now. My question is: What do you do to “tend to it” before you become a raging bull? I’ve never commented on one of these blogs and don’t have a clue what proper blog etiquette is, so I hope I don’t ruffle feathers in asking questions .

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    1. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

      Your comment is actually a perfect example of what is recommended in the blogging etiquette guidelines for commenting on blogs. You flattered the blogger πŸ˜‰ with wonderful compliments, gave feedback about the post, engaged personally by sharing yourself, and asked an interesting question while being very polite, courteous and considerate.

      For my blog asking questions is more than welcome as it’s something which I enjoy doing and enjoy when others do it too. Questions which ruffle feathers are welcome too, a bit of squawking may happen which can be insightful. We have pheasants where I live and they’re so funny when you surprise them, they let out this squawk which sounds like a shocked lady (even though the pheasants who squawk are the males) in a period drama and then run away (as though they’ve forgotten how to fly) in a dignified manner with their feathers flapping like petticoats in the wind of their kerfuffle.

      For me ‘tending to it’ means taking a time out to be by myself and have a long chat with myself. Asking myself blunt questions seeking honest answers in an effort to find out what is really going on, what is at the root of the matter. The sooner I catch myself in the process, the easier it is to diffuse the situation. The bull only comes out when I leave things to simmer, ignore the warning signs, until the whole thing boils over.

      Sometimes all I need is some time alone, so taking the time out ends the cycle.

      I’m a typical introvert and if I spend too much time with other people I get tired and cranky because I’m tired, and I usually just need to be by myself and recharge my batteries.

      I also have a tendency to get bored – not because people are boring but because either the activity or the conversation is repetitive. I get bored of myself too when I’m being repetitive but I don’t mind if I’m rude to myself. It’s not so easy to be rude to others. If someone is saying the same thing over and over and I’m saying the same thing over and over I get tired and cranky, and prone to doing something erratic to break the monotony.

      I have reactive boredom – if I’m bored then it’s up to me to do something about it.

      If a film is boring me I’ll switch it off or walk out of the cinema and do something else, maybe even a spot of doing nothing at all – if I’m alone it’s okay to do that, no harm done, but if I’m with someone else and they’re not bored but are enjoying the film, and if part of their enjoyment comes from them thinking I’m enjoying the film too… and my telling them that I’m bored will ruin their enjoyment… then I begin to feel trapped, limited and restricted.

      It’s a knotty problem. Especially as there are times when sticking it out through the feeling of being limited, restricted and trapped (tired, cranky and bored), and not being a bull in a china shop about it, has actually been beneficial. Sometimes there’s a prize for reigning the bull in. Sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes the prize comes from being the bull and setting it free. Sometimes the other person is the one doing what you think they’re doing to you and sometimes you’re the one doing to yourself what you think someone else is doing. Figuring out which is which requires taking a time out to tend to the feeling in its early stages, to think things through, have a conversation with yourself, and analyse the situation, and yourself in it.

      Hope that answer your question, if it doesn’t please feel free to ask more questions and let me know your take on it.

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  2. Indeed. I understand. No matter what… from everything I have learned and experienced thus far, I cannot tolerate being hemmed in… I will fight with all my might or close off. The thing is, I have been looking within my own self in how I set traps for and trap myself. Thanks for expressing this… well said.

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    1. Thank you πŸ™‚

      Yes, I used to go with fight or flight (shutting people out) too. I still feel the urge to go with one or the other, sometimes one then the other. It took me a long time to realise that rather than being freed from the trap I ended up making the trap smaller for myself. If you fight the ties which bind you they tighten their hold on you, and if you run away from being tied by shutting others out you end up shutting yourself in.

      I try to catch myself in the early stages of feeling trapped and offer myself other options for dealing with it before it becomes a fight or flight scenario. Most often what I really need is to take a time out from others and spend some time with and by myself.

      The early stages tend to hold more information about the dynamic. You can see the threads which form into knots. The dynamic has a lot to do with our relationship with ourselves – we may only truly feel alive and fully conscious of who we are when we place ourselves in a scenario that demands an extreme reaction from us. But what happens in the in-between, do we fall asleep at the wheel of ourselves and only wake up when there’s an emergency, when the car has rolled into a ditch? Do we only appreciate our freedom when we’re trapped – only enjoy driving on open roads after we’ve been stuck in traffic?

      It’s a puzzle which reveals a lot when we explore the pieces of it, whether it solves it… I don’t know yet.

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      1. Yes! I agree and resonate with what you have said so very well. I am just starting to realize this for myself. Much to explore here. I sure appreciate you opening this trapped and freedom subject. I am deeply pondering… πŸ™‚

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  3. Thanks for sharing this struggle with us. It’s a struggle that’s very human. I’m experiencing something similar right now, as well.

    Am I in my box, not in my box? And did, or did I not, construct my own box? Do I similtaneously inhabit two or three boxes at once? Stuff I’m thinking about right now. Feeling trapped? Yes.

    You’ve expressed this conumdrum extremely well. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you πŸ™‚

      The other night I watched an excellent mini-series based on a book – Olive Kitteridge – it’s a slow journey through the relationship of a couple. At one point the title character has a moment where she asks – Who do I think I am. I loved the way they did that moment, it was like a sharp pause in a life between everything which led up to it then would lead away from it.

      There’s a great quote from the book:

      β€œYou couldn’t make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You had to just wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along. Or sometimes it didn’t go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind.” ― Elizabeth Strout

      Maybe the feeling of being trapped is when we’re caught between two boxes?

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      1. Thank you. πŸ™‚

        You might be right about that. I’ve fallen while jumping from one to the other, or something. Most of this sense of entrapment is coming from the fact that I’m tired but still have to keep going … I haven’t heard yet whether my contract will be renewed and so I am job-hunting, just in case. Also feeling a little frustrated by how long they’re taking. Grrr …

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        1. Best wishes for the best outcome in this situation!

          When people keep you waiting they end up giving you time to consider whether the waiting is worth it. It’s a bit like when you decide to make a significant purchase and whatever you wanted to buy is out of stock, you can’t have it immediately, and that delay makes you rethink your decision to purchase. Maybe you decide not to buy it and later down the line you find out that the delay was a blessing in disguise.

          Waiting can wear us down, make us feel trapped, cause us to make rash decisions, or it can cause us to make wise decisions because we’re trapped and our mind is focused on this issue which surrounds us, giving us time to review it.

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  4. i do share every word you have written here.
    At the moment i am losing contact with so many people as i try to respect myself so I am ,not giving them anymore what they are used to expect from me.
    have started shrinking very early in my life, but it never helped, the more you do it, the more you are asked to do it. We have learnt that being used is normal and we object using others.I have noticed that if you don’t impose yourself and your rule, if you don’t control others, people tend to think you want them to do it on you.I hate this split world, this labelling, this pre-digested way of looking at people.
    I also share with you this particular behaviour of feeling as a beast who tries to break free.
    Your post reminded me of many disruptive relationships in my life.You are very talented at analysing it and making it interesting rather than only upsetting. xx

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    1. Thank you πŸ™‚

      I think part of the problem is that when I come across an issue in a relationship I tend to wait too long before I do something about it. I shrugs things off and don’t realise until later that the shrugged off things are accumulating in a pile behind me and they’re making a mess. So something which may only be a small misunderstanding may become a large one, and that’s what tends to bring out the beast.

      Maintaining a balance of power in relationships can be tricky, especially if the power is fear-based. The split-world issue comes mostly from fear. We tend to label and split, and want control, to make things and people less threatening to us. People who are controlling tend to suffer from anxiety, the more anxiety they have the more controlling they are. I’ve noticed that with myself, when I try to control others it’s invariably due to anxiety – the anxiety rarely has anything to do with them and doesn’t get solved by controlling them instead it gets worse. If I tackle the anxiety within myself and manage to diminish it, then I don’t feel the need to control others and can relax.

      It’s true that there are some strange behaviours which have come to be viewed as normal. I was thinking something along those lines about lying. I was watching a TV series in which everyone was lying to everyone else and anyone who wanted to tell the truth was considered disruptive and encouraged to lie, to keep the status quo (which included dramatic complications), and it struck me how simpler life would be for all the characters if they all stopped lying, but then the TV show wouldn’t have a plot, would probably be considered boring and get cancelled.

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      1. I have tried so many times to react punctually but to no avail.It semmes i have the cocotte minute syndrome.That’s the way i am, although it’s not good. Sometimes you have to accept your limits.

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        1. The way you are – that’s you, don’t change yourself for anyone (sometimes including yourself). There’s no right or wrong with something which is a part of you, it’s more about understanding who you are and knowing what you will and will not do.

          You’re right about accepting our limits – they are there for a reason. πŸ™‚

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